Author Topic: questions on meditations and affirmations  (Read 454 times)

gib65

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questions on meditations and affirmations
« on: October 13, 2018, 08:52:52 PM »
Hello,

I'm new to this forum.

I joined because I'm looking for some guidance on how to practice meditation and visualizations for various life improvement goals.

I'm seeing a therapist who recommended an app called Relax. It guides you through some breathing exercises and an 8 minute or 13 minute meditation in which you focus on various parts of the body. At one point in the meditation, it asks you to tell yourself an affirmation. An affirmation can be something like "I will have more energy today," or "I will focus on the good in people, not the bad." The idea is that while in the meditative state, your unconscious is especially susceptible to these affirmations, and will more readily move you towards realizing your affirmations.

I have many questions about this, but I'd like to start with this: how does this work? I guess it seems a little like magic to me at this point. How does the unconscious carry out the realization of affirmations? What is it about the meditative state that makes the unconscious more susceptible to affirmations?

Also, what are the limits of affirmations? I could probably go to ridiculous extremes, like saying "I will gain supernatural powers," but I'm sure even the unconscious isn't that powerful. But what CAN be done with affirmations?

Thanks for any feedback.

VipassanaXYZ

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Re: questions on meditations and affirmations
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2018, 11:36:40 AM »
Affirmation sets you on a positive note; rest is hard work

dharma bum

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Re: questions on meditations and affirmations
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2018, 05:26:26 PM »
i personally am skeptical of the benefits of affirmations though i suppose they don't hurt. another version of this i heard recently is to use positive language. for eg. "i pray for peace" rather than "i pray for no war" because the word 'peace' has more positive associations in the mind than the word 'war'.

it sounds fine in theory, but i have my doubts if it really makes a difference.
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stillpointdancer

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Re: questions on meditations and affirmations
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2018, 11:07:39 AM »
There is now a lot of scientific evidence that you are what you think. Thoughts themselves change the hard wiring of the brain, and the hard wiring affects the health of the body in terms of blood pressure, and so on. It may be affirmations of this sort do have an effect, especially when coupled with the known effects of meditation practice.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

dharma bum

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Re: questions on meditations and affirmations
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2018, 05:07:42 PM »
You might be right, stillpointdancer. My opinions are not especially based on long-term data. And there is always the possibility that I'm not doing the right thing, so things don't work that well for me.

Quote
What is it about the meditative state that makes the unconscious more susceptible to affirmations?

I think the theory is that when we are in the meditative state, we have gone past the normal conscious state by not chasing conscious thoughts. When the chatter calms down, we are more in tune with the subconscious. By subconsciousness I think people refer to things in our mind that drive us though we are not aware of them. Maybe it's some feeling of injury or fear of not being able to cope or an insecurity that manifests itself in behaviour such as putting others down. So the affirmation seeks to change the mind at the source, which is deep down within you.

Naturally, if you say things like "I have supernatural powers" then you would be doing more harm than good because you would be programming yourself deep down and then in the conscious life, you might be surprised to fall to the ground when you jump off a building expecting to fly.
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gib65

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Re: questions on meditations and affirmations
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2018, 03:09:49 AM »
Quote from: VipassanaXYZ
...rest is hard work

^ Please tell me about that part.

Quote from: stillpointdancer
It may be affirmations of this sort do have an effect, especially when coupled with the known effects of meditation practice.

Quote from: dharma bum
I think the theory is that when we are in the meditative state, we have gone past the normal conscious state by not chasing conscious thoughts. When the chatter calms down, we are more in tune with the subconscious. By subconsciousness I think people refer to things in our mind that drive us though we are not aware of them. Maybe it's some feeling of injury or fear of not being able to cope or an insecurity that manifests itself in behaviour such as putting others down. So the affirmation seeks to change the mind at the source, which is deep down within you.

I got a few answers from this website here:

https://gshypnosis.com/does-hypnosis-work-understanding-the-science-of-hypnotherapy-2/

It explains the effects of suggestions during hypnosis. My therapist who recommended the meditative exercises with the affirmations is trained in hypnosis and says it works the same way. The articles says that 90% of what we believe and perceive comes from "top down" processing--that is, our expectations and prior knowledge dominate how we interpret and experience incoming data (like sensory perceptions or the things people tell us)--states like hypnosis and meditation alter our consciousness in such a way as to inhibit top down processing so that "bottom up" processing (experience in its untampered form or the things people tell us) has more sway over the mind. When someone tells us: you are confident, rather than have our top down processing tell us: no I'm not, the brain simply says: I am? Well, I guess I am.

The article was pretty inspiring as it site a number of frankly amazing effects that suggestion can have under hypnosis, including the part of the brain for reading being shut off when told that certain words are just gibberish. It's very encouraging as it suggests almost anything is possible if one can get the power of suggestion (or affirmations) to work on one's self.

Currently, with the meditative exercises I'm practicing, I don't know how to tell if I'm in a sufficiently hypnotized or "altered" state for my self-affirmations to have the effect I want them to have. I don't feel very "altered"--just relaxed and a bit sleepy--in fact, it's hard not to drift off (I've fallen asleep a few times). I've seen a hypnotist convince someone he was Tim McGraw. I'm having enough of a challenge just convincing myself I'm confident.