Affirmation Part 2 -- Remolding the Subconscious
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2003-06-02
Part 2 of 3 Remolding the Subconscious through Affirmation. This is a two-part process. The first is vasana daha tantra, writing down the past and burning it. The second part is affirmations. "I can, I will, I am able to accomplish what I plan," is the first affirmation mentioned in the affirmation chapter of Merging with Siva. To be effective we must do three things as we say the words. 1. Think, 2. Visualize, and 3. Feel. The feeling part is by far the most important.
There is a very relevant sutra by Gurudeva on this subject, which he calls 'Remolding the Subconscious,' Sutra 308.
It goes like this. "My devotees succeed by remolding subconscious magnetic forces. They purge the dross through Vasana Daha Tantra, writing and burning past transgressions and current problems, then use positive affirmations."
It is a two-step process. We are focusing on the second step today. The first step is Vasana Daha Tantra, writing down the past, burning it up. Gurudeva has given us a very systematic way of doing that, which we have talked about in the past. Of course, it is one of our themes for this year, to make sure we are all up to date on our Vasana Daha Tantra, including last year. With Gurudeva's passing, it has some extra sorrow hidden in there for us all.
After we have done Vasana Daha Tantra, cleared out the subconscious mind of a lot of emotional debris, then it is time to rebuild it, remold it, change its form, change its magnetic content through the power of affirmation.
The first affirmation that Gurudeva gives in the chapter on affirmations in 'Merging with Siva' is the one we just read: "I can. I will. I am able to accomplish what I plan."
There are a number of other very good affirmations in the chapter, but due to limited time we will just focus on that one during this talk.
An affirmation such as this, the idea is we repeat it quite a lot. Gurudeva says 50 to 100 times a day, that is a lot! Because we are trying to change how we look at life. We are trying to change our core belief from "I can't" to "I can." This is work. This is like starting with no muscle at all and building it back. We have to do some serious exercise here. We can't just walk around for 5 or 10 minutes, when we don't have any muscles. We have to exercise seriously everyday, in a regular way. Similarly, when we don't have any confidence, we have to put a lot of energy into affirmations, serious affirmation time.
Gurudeva gives us a very important key to being successful in the use of affirmations. It is a threefold key. It is when repeating the affirmation to simultaneously think, visualize and feel. Three actions to do at the same time - think, visualize and feel.
What does that mean?
"Think" means consciously being aware of what the affirmation means. Not thinking would be to repeat the affirmation out of habit while thinking about something else. So, that is self-evident. If we are fully focused on what we are saying, we know what it means. But it is easy when you do an affirmation say, 100 times a day, after a while your mind is thinking about, "What am I going to eat for breakfast? When am I going to do this? When am I going to do that?" Your mind has become divided. If we have a divided mind, if we are thinking about something else at the same time, we are not grasping the meaning. We are just repeating it out of habit. So, we have to be careful to have the full mind on the one thought and therefore we are thinking, we are understanding the meaning intellectually.
Visualize. "Visualize" means to create a mental picture illustrating the affirmation. For example, see yourself sitting at a desk making a plan to earn some extra money to remodel your home. See yourself earning the money and doing the remodeling. So, we make up a little visualization. It doesn't always have to be the same one, sometimes it is nice to change it. That again keeps it from becoming a habit. We need to picture something in our mind which is an illustration, just like drawing on paper. This illustrates the concept of, "I can, I will, I am able to accomplish what I plan." Somehow, we need to see ourselves planning and accomplishing something. A visualization, a picture in the mind, at the same time as we are understanding what the words mean. That is the second element in a successful affirmation.
The third element is "feel." Feel means to have the same feeling you will have when this is consistently happening in your life. In the case of this affirmation, it is the feelings of confidence and success from being able to accomplish what you plan. You need to feel now how you will feel in the future when you are successful and confident. This is the part that people sometimes leave out because they don't realize that it needs to be done. It is not self-evident. Visualization is common. At least, thinking about what it means would always be done. But, this subtlety of feeling now, how it will feel to be successful, having the feelings of confidence and success. What does it feel like to feel confident and successful? We have to think that way. What does it feel like? Maybe we don't know. Maybe we've never felt that way. So we have to find those feelings of confidence and success and have those present while we're doing the affirmation. Then we have the threefold practice - we think, we visualize and we feel. So this is a wonderful key given to us by Gurudeva, and he says feeling is the most important part of making affirmations successful. He says the feeling is more important than the other two.