“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Choose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, for they will become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.” – Anonymous
Listening to the radio recently, I couldn’t help but notice how sad and bad the news was. A real bloody day for people in Gaza, Iraq and even LA, not to mention continuous doom and gloom reports about the failing economy. I felt a knot of anxiety growing in my stomach as I tried to digest the constant barrage of bad news hitting me. I realize I’ve been paying too much attention to news lately and it’s having an effect on me. Bad news affects all of us painting a pessimistic picture of the world, coloring the content of our thoughts.
How do we overcome the tendency toward worry and negative thinking? How can we manifest our dreams and harness the power of positive affirmations to improve our lives? Isn’t that what we all want? A chance to make each day a bit better and hopefully leave a legacy of worth when we are gone. Beyond these modest impulses, perhaps some may rise to even grander heights of sharing, caring and creative manifestation.
For three decades I have been using spoken word affirmations and guided meditations to bring groups together in a shared communion of visualization and prayer. With my husband, Dean Evenson, playing flute, along with me on hand harp, we have been able to create deeply meditative experiences for large groups of people, opening for Deepak Chopra, don Miguel Ruiz, Larry Dossey and playing for Joan Borysenko and Iyanla Vanzant’s own meditations.
Recently I decided to put together a CD of guided affirmations. Rather than start with the basics of taking a deep breath and walking in the forest, I jumped into a huge project of creating 52 weekly meditations on the universal principles that guide all life. When I sat down to write the script, the words just flowed forth and the practical wisdom that we have gleaned over our many years on earth showed itself on my computer screen.
Needless to say, it came together well and I am pleased that the album, MEDITATION MOMENT, is being very well received. To support the process of understanding what affirmations are and how to use them to create a fulfilling and successful life, I offer some common sense guidelines that will enhance their effectiveness. I present these simple premises to you in the hopes that you will actually use the suggestions and be blessed by the improvements that show up in your life.
Why do affirmations work?
What is it that makes them so compelling?
An affirmation is a positive statement asserting that the goal to be achieved is already happening. It is a declaration to manifest a desired outcome. This desired way of being may seem far from the truth at the moment, but amazingly enough, with repetition and focused intention, it can become reality. Since the subconscious mind processes affirmations and suggestions as reality, it is important be aware of one’s thoughts and constantly edit out unwanted negative suggestions.
The fact is, we are constantly affirming in our mind what we believe. When we look honestly at the content of our thoughts, we may be shocked to discover that we have been telling ourselves a ‘load of crock’ as they say. We can usually tell the quality of our subconscious mind by looking at the quality of the life we are living. If we are not pleased with our life, we must look at the content of our mind to discover how we have been programming our existence to meet our belief structure.
In the 1950s, Earl Nightingale, cofounder of Nightingale-Conant, recorded a classic motivational record called ‘The Strangest Secret.’ He recognized the ‘strangest secret’ to be that we become what we think about every day. He emphasized the power of positive self-talk, expectation and belief. These ideas were ground breaking at the time and today many people use guided affirmations in some way to try to achieve their goals. Affirmations hold great promise for helping improve our lives but like any other tool of transformation, skill and understanding are required that once mastered will enhance their performance.
When we take hold of our thoughts through the repetition of positive affirmations, we can move in the direction of manifesting our highest ideals and vision for our lives. The word ‘mantra’ in Sanskrit means ‘mind protection’ for it is through the use of a repeated phrase, prayer or affirmation that we can get a grip on the rampant thoughts and tape loops that tend to control us. By repeating a phrase over and over again, it becomes embedded in our subconscious mind and then the creative forces of the universe are able to rally support to make it happen.
The interesting thing about affirmations is they do require a belief and faith in them even though the actual statement may be different from our current circumstance. We increase their effectiveness when we put our feelings into them and actually experience the emotions connected with the fulfillment of our desires of love, prosperity, success or whatever it is we are aiming toward. This may be difficult as first but with perseverance and repetition, the words become a part of us and before long, we look around and realize that we are actually achieving what we may have thought impossible only weeks or months ago.
Affirmations only work when spoken in the present tense. The subconscious mind takes things very literally so if you say ‘I will be rich’ you will never experience prosperity in the present moment as it will always be just around the corner, in the elusive future.
Another aspect that increases the effectiveness of affirmations is repetition. In the negative aspect of this principle, we experience inner ‘tape loops’ or ‘monkey mind’ that constantly replay a phrase or thought that is not in our best interests. This thought may be something a parent or ex partner told us about ourselves long ago (‘You are a mess’ or ‘You’ll never amount to anything.’) and we unconsciously have repeated this idea for years, thus creating for ourselves a messy, unfulfilling life.
When we take hold of our thoughts and use affirmations regularly with an understanding of how they work, positive change will occur. When we can truly visualize and feel the reality of the spoken word affimations, we enter into a cooperative contract with the universe to make use of this powerful tool for manifesting of highest dreams.
Dudley Evenson and her husband Dean Evenson are award-winning, sound healing pioneers, musicians and media producers. They are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their record label Soundings of the Planet and have produced over 60 albums of healing and world music. Dudley’s recent CD is MEDITATION MOMENT: 52 Weekly Guided Affirmations. These meditations are also on a popular course at DailyOM.com called A YEAR OF GUIDED MEDITATIONS. The Evensons teach meditation, sound healing and chakra workshops nationwide. For more info visit www.soundings.com or call 800/93 PEACE.