My personal view of integral life

Affirmation – a powerful tool for changing a habit or creating a new one

I just finished (finally) reading a 400-page ”Integral Life Practice” book that inspired me to write this blog post. The book is not just a new approach to self-development and higher awareness, but a way or making sense of – and making best use of – the existing treasure trove of insights, methods, and practices for cultivating a more enlightened life. This highly flexible system will help to develop physical health, spiritual awareness, emotional balance, mental clarity, relational joy, and energy level, within a framework that integrates all aspects of life. Sounds plausible, huh?!

But that’s just what it is. That’s why I can sincerely recommend the book for everyone capable of opening one’s awareness and willing to develop oneself. This was just a short introduction to the topic of this post, the affirmations.

Affirmations are a powerful practice of directed intentionality. They are useful when you are ready to make a real commitment to bring about a change in your life – whether it is a new behaviour or a specific goal in your work or personal life or wherever! The practice of using affirmations involves regularly repeating one or more statements of positive intentions. They act as powerful attractors that work behind the scenes to call attention to life’s unscheduled practice moments. While repeating an affirmation it revels the message: remember, remember, remember. What makes an affirmation so powerful is that it resonates with the different levels of your own psyche and begins to reprogram alternative distractive voices and reoccurring thought loops, for example: “I will always fail on whatever I do” or “I have no self-discipline”. Instead you have now created an affirmation where you have decided to let things come to you as they are and accept them positively: “I will enjoy whatever I do and thus succeed”. I have previously written how you can silence your repetitive mind with meditation, but this approach with an affirmation is different. But you can still combine both of them! Let’s continue, shall we…

An affirmation practice begins with a clear decision that a new reality will come to be. It is a powerful tool for transformation. Essentially, you draw a line in the sand and declare, “This will be.” By embodying that in an affirmation, and repeating it daily, you generate an alignment of all the levels of your being with your intention, and you keep broadcasting that resonance into your world. I’m not talking here about the “law of attraction” but this is how it goes. You vibrate certain energy to the surroundings and it responses exactly the same way back to you… What once seemed painfully difficult eventually becomes easy and natural.

When you create an affirmation, it may be helpful to choose an area in life where you have difficulty recognizing practice opportunities. Practice involves finding a way to phrase an affirmation and relate to it, so that you believe in what you are affirming. You must care about it and speak it with certainty, more than just belief – a commitment of your whole being.

Some leading experts, including Michael Murphy, author of the “Future of the Body”, believe they’re among the most powerful tools for developing supernormal abilities. I recently bought a copy of this tremendous piece of literature and it waits to be read; two weeks in and I’m on my summer vacation for a month meaning that I have plenty of time to finish the many books that I’ve recently started reading.

Here is a step-by-step guideline for Affirmation practice from “Integral Life Practice” book:

  1. Always phrase affirmations in the present tense. Like, “I Am healthy”. Avoid using future tense “I Will be healthy”.
  2. Phrase them positively. “I eat delicious, healthy food.”
  3. Make them short and specific.
  4. State affirmations in the 1st person.
  5. Make them believable to you.
  6. It’s essential to care about your affirmations. They depend on a strong emotional connection.
  7. Repetition and persistence are essential.
  8. Act on your affirmations whenever you have the opportunity.
  9. If affirmations are new to you, experiment with them gradually.

Sample Affirmations

–       I love myself unconditionally.

–       I trust myself, and I trust Life.

–       I keep my commitments to others and myself.

–       I choose what I eat to optimize my health, beauty, energy, and free attention. (This one I have been using for ages now; even before I even knew of affirmations in the first place :D)

–       I enjoy a profound empathy with others.

–       I feel oneness with all existence.

For an example I have had problems on getting to bed early enough to get the adequate 8.5hours of sleep, which is the amount of sleep that is optimal for me. Usually on workdays the amount of sleep is more like 7 hours or less. That is why I created an affirmation for improving this part of my life: “I will go to bed at 21.30 and wake up refreshed every morning being ready for a new day.” Now I have thought whether this phrase is too long but I will anyhow give it a try. Let’s see how it goes, my motivation and commitment to the affirmation is with certainty.

I would love to hear what kind of affirmations you possibly have decided to try after reading this!

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Categorised in: Integral, Philosophy, Psychology

8 Responses »

  1. Affirmations surely are valuable, but this irks me a bit: Wilber has a habit of portraying things in a way that gives him way too much credit on ideas he has done nothing to invent. Though, if he cites his sources fairly, then it’s all good of course.

    Sankalpa is an ancient yogic concept, check for example this link for the Satyananda tradition flavor of it:
    http://www.yogamag.net/archives/2005/ajan05/sanknat.shtml

    There it is also quite strongly emphasized that sankalpas should remain strictly private, so as to avoid feeding the ego and to better focus and conserve the energy of the affirmation.

    • Toma, Wilber quotes and cites ALWAYS people correctly and gives them the credit they deserve. That is an important to notice. The affirmation was from the ILP book, which wasn’t written by Wilber, rather just controlled. I’m on the same line you with the affirmation that I should keep it private even I didn’t do that on the post 😀 well, I have many others and that particular turned out to be too long and complicated. I’ll take a look at Sankalpas, thans!

      • Okay, I’m glad to hear, maybe it’s a false impression I’ve gotten somewhere. I’m sure you’ve read him more than I have 🙂

        Btw, I was thinking of ordering this:
        http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0791451682/
        but I’d have to choose between it and the Complete Illustrated Works of William Blake.

        Maybe this would be a keeper for you and a read for me?

      • I must admit, I’ve read this quite vehement critique of Wilber, which has altered my image of him. Probably not all of it is true, but if even a little is..

        http://www.normaneinsteinbook.com/

        It seems Ferrer’s book is at least somewhat related. Btw, the US version of Amazon had a better description of it:

        “In his striking debut, Jorge Noguera Ferrer deconstructs and reconstructs the entire transpersonal project, articulating a more sophisticated, pluralistic, and spiritually grounded transpersonal theory. He brings recent ideas in epistemology and the philosophy of science to bear upon core issues in the psychology and philosophy of religion. The book’s first half (Deconstruction) describes the nature and origins of the experiential vision that has guided transpersonal scholarship so far, and identifies some of its main conceptual and practical limitations: intrasubjective reductionism, subtle Cartesianism, [i]spiritual narcissism[/i], and integrative arrestment. In the second half of the book (Reconstruction), Ferrer suggests an alternate way of reconceiving transpersonal ideas without these limitations-a participatory vision of human spirituality, one which not only overcomes the limitations of the experiential vision, but also places transpersonal studies in greater alignment with the values of the spiritual quest.”

  2. WEll, that critique seems to be quite personal and written from some sort of anger/envy state… I have read Wilber’s response to that and I can say it is HEAVY 😀 What it comes to Ferrer’s book, it looks interesting. I will check the reviews of it. At the moment I have somewhat 20 books to finnish so for me at this point less is more 😉

    • Heh, sure, it’s pretty angry, I wonder what’s the personal beef the guy has against Wilber. But there are also pretty convincing arguments in there too, which I don’t think one can dismiss merely on the grounds of the mindstate of the writer.

      Where’s Wilber’s response, I haven’t seen that?

      As for books, I have about the same amount… but still in Amazon! Wish I had the money to buy them all :p

      • Most of the critics on Wilber is bs, I think.

        “All this dogmatism (by this I mean holding to opinions, even if they are reasonably argued) from Wilber-haters as well as Wilber-groupies tells me he – whatever his actual views might be – has failed in raising basic heuristic principles necessary for criticism. I find the following quite helpful:

        if you want to critisize someone:
        0. forget everything you already know about the topics treated by the author
        1. read everything he has written
        2. assume you have not understood him yet when something does not really make sense
        3. take into account his references, study them in detail
        4. try to grasp his major methodology and what he actually tries to achieve with his works
        5. talk to the person instead of speculating on his present opinions
        6. beware that in criticism you make statements on two issues: a. the quality of the ideas discussed, b. whether the person critisized really holds those ideas”

        That is a great post, found one from a blog citicising Wilber: http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/ken-wilber-is-losing-it/2006/06/12

        Indeed the critics are very variable and most of them Wilber has answered rightseously. But since he is a feeling human being too, sometimes enough bad criticism just is enough:
        http://www.kenwilber.com/blog/show/46

        (verey entertaining to read, I haven’t laughed as much in weeks after reading that :D)

  3. Affirmaatiosi ovat vallan mahtavia, opiksi pitää ottaa. Minusta ihmismieli toimii tiedostamattaankin jollain tapaa affirmatiivisesti, ja tätähän käytetään käsittääkseni esim. valmennuksessa hyväksi. Kuitenkaan omia affirmaatioita ei ainakaan pitäisi ottaa lainomaisina, vaan positiivisina ja oman tahdon valintoina (ehkä juutalais-kristillisyyden ja luterilaisen etiikan perua on siis tämä usko asioiden käsky/lakimuotoon) Se, seikka, että affirmaatiot toimisivat positiivisesti omalla kohdallani vaativan enemmän itsearvostusta ja itseluottamusta – ehkä se itseluottamus onkin affirmaatio, jota enitentarvitsen. Minusta on helppo kannustaa muita, mutta itseni kanssa on välillä vähän niin ja näin. Ei kun pontevasti vaan affirmoimaan ja affirmaatioita kirjaamaan positiivisin mielin!:)

    Enpä juuri voi ottaa kantaa Ken Wilberin tuotantoon muuten kuin omilla luuloillani ja tuntemuksillani ja kysymyksilläni. Onko Ken Wilberin tuotanto erittäin käsitteellistä ja sisällöt rationaalisesti perusteltua, vai löytyykö hänen malleissaan sijaa myyttiselle, poeettiselle tai imaginaariselle ajattelulle?Tarkoitan, että onko kysymys enemmänkin kirjaviisaudesta tai länsimaiselle mielelle sopivista eräänlaisista rationaalisista “herkuista”? Olen yksinkertaisesti ajatteleva, mutten pureksimatta voi sulatella, vaikka asia tai aihe kiinnostaisikin. Mahtaakohan hänellä olla isokin bisnes ja mikä onkaan se hänenideologian/filosofisen mallin kantavin ajatus?Olen utelias, vähän ehkä vaivautunut, mutta ennen kaikkea haluan ymmärtää. En taitaisi jaksaa lukea 400-sivuista eeposta englanniksi, vähän liian vaikeaselkoista minulle.

    Lueskelin tässä Sangharakshitan teosta: A Guide to the Buddhist Path. Buddhalaisuudesta löytyy vaiheittainen evolutiivinen kehitys kohti valaistumista eli henkinen, asteittainen prosessi sekä esim. spiraalipolku, joka tarkottaa, että reaktiivisen, passiivisen tavan sijasta ihminen oppii elämään luovasti. Kysymys on turvautumisesta Kolmeen Jalokiveen Buddhaan, Dharmaan ja Sanghaan, pyrkimyksenä täydellinen (=supreme) Tieto, Viisaus, Rakkaus , Myötätunto ja Energia. Kysymys on systemaattisista keinoista ja prinsiipeistä, muttei kuitenkaan täysin tieteellisessä tai empiiris-analyyttisessä mielessä, vaan myös tiedostamattoman ja arkkityyppisen symbolismin mielessä. Esimerkiksi peilin kaltainen viisaus, valaistuneen mielen kyky heijastaa ja ymmärtää kaikkea kuuluu Samoin ajatus maailmasta peilinä ja oman itsen näkeminen peilistä tietyn kaltaisena erilaisella kehityksen vaiheessa. Peilivertausta onkin käytetty Platonin jälkeen myös psykoanalyyttisessä, lapsuuden kehitykseen viittaavassa mielessä (muistaakseni Julia Kristeva) ja varmaan muutenkin. Carl Jungin arkkityypeistä löytyy Varjon käsite ja kristillisessä mytologissa on vastaavasti esim. Saatana, buddhalaisuudessa Mara, jotka ovat myös eräänlaisia jungilaisia Varjon arkkityyppejä, oman itsemme pimeitä puolia, jota häpeämme. Tässäpä tätä buddhalaisuutta esittelin tuon integraalisen filosofian ja näkemyksen vastapainoksi. Aika kiivaan kriittistä keskustelua, sanoisin tuosta Wilberiä koskevasta ajatuksenvaihdosta. Kriittisyys on ihan ok, mutta vaikea asia elegantisti ja fiksusti toteuttaa, tiedetään…

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