Common steps and sub-activities
An affirmation is a repeated positive statement placed in the present tense. It can be verbal, non verbal or written. So in other words it can be repeated out loud or silently to yourself or written down.
You can also record affirmations and then play them back to yourself during a period of total relaxation. So you are listening and not having to remember anything.
Affirmations can also be rhymed, and rhymed affirmations work extremely well because they are easily memorised and thus do not tax the memory.
“I’m lying here warm, and safe you see
So sweet composer now I’m free”
“So quiet still and safe am I
So sweet composer now I fly”
“Out of body is my aim
So dear composer now no pain”
There is a very good reason for only ever using the present tense. Time in the spiritual world has no meaning – everything is now, there is no past or future, so you need to only think of the now and what is happening now.
The key is repetition – the same positive phrase over and over again. And the phrase must not trigger any learning it must simply make you feel upbeat
It is worth mentioning that affirmations work well with frenetic exercise, but the results can be a bit startling and uncontrollable, so relaxation may be better. If you decide you would prefer to use frenetic exercise, you can both think the affirmation and thus use non verbal affirmations or say them out loud or listen to them on head phones from an iPod [or similar].
The repetition – and you do have to repeat the affirmations a lot for this to succeed, have the effect of stilling the chattering mind particularly the Learning function.
It would seem, however, that frequent statements about your intentions affect the composer, such that the composer function considers them a type of prayer to be answered. So this provides a little added benefit to the technique.
Affirmations are used – principally in the USA – in other contexts besides the one I have described here and it is useful I think to see how and why.
Affirmations are a uniquely American phenomenon. William James described ‘affirmative prayer’ as an element of the American metaphysical movement as America's "only decidedly original contribution to the systemic philosophy of life."
Self help use - Affirmations have become very ‘trendy’ in New Age and psychological circles. They are often included as part of self improvement courses.
Generally speaking this use of affirmations is ‘secular’ in that there is no attempt to contact ‘God’ or some divine creator or similar – in this case it is more like a prayer to yourself. An example of the secular affirmations of the autosuggestion type are those taught by the 19th century self-help author Émile Coué, whose most famous affirmation was "Every day in every way, I am getting better and better".
Unfortunately affirmations have been taken up wholeheartedly by those who think that constant repetition of an affirmation helps them to get what they want in life – so they are using the technique in both a selfish way [I want I want I want] and also almost like a spell! They are treating it as though it had some magic effect.
Affirmations aren’t magic nor do they have the effect of getting you what you want. Of course just about every American self help book tells you that is what happens – but then they wouldn’t be able to sell the books if they didn’t. Constant repetition of a positive phrase can help to quell self-doubt and improve self confidence , this is simply a psychological effect – you are convincing yourself it can be done. But affirmations are not the road to instant happiness and wealth – this you have to work at.
Religious use - You will find affirmations used extensively in American based “New Thought spirituality” and its denominations Religious Science, Divine Science and Unity where it is known as "scientific prayer," "spiritual mind treatment" or, simply, "treatment." Affirmative prayer is also a part of the US based Unity School of Christianity, initially named the Society of Silent Help founded in 1889. In the early 1900s, some in the American Jewish community were attracted to the teachings of Christian Science and founded Jewish Science.
Many of these groups used these techniques as a counter to the problem they saw with conventional religion that one prays to a supernatural ‘God’ who answers your prayers. As was obvious to all of them, firstly ‘God’ cannot answer all prayers as they are quite probably conflicting – what one person wants may be opposite to what another wants. Secondly they were gradually coming round to the idea that whatever ‘God’ is he/she/it is not some human figure sitting on a cloud waiting to help human beings – there is no such thing as a personal God or even a human God. Thirdly, they were also learning a small degree of humility in realising that maybe ‘God’ has other objectives – creation and destruction being one of them - and we were here to help, not to demand.
So the incorporation of affirmations by religious groups, came a bit closer to the approach in this technique that you actually ask your own composer to help – your higher spirit. [And accept that occasionally nothing can be done!]
Healing use - African American hoodoo practitioners also use affirmations to treat illness. If said during a waning moon or at sunset or at ebb tide it is called a prayer of removal , they might use the phrase
"As the sun goes down, this disease is removed from my body"
If said during a waxing moon, at dawn, or at high tide it becomes a prayer of affirmation
"As the sun rises, this day brings me perfect health"
The reason for picking these particular times is largely symbolic, but also a recognition that the physical events are being controlled by spiritual laws and thus by linking one's prayer to a natural condition with its spiritual laws, the prayer is given the added power of natural functions/laws.