Effective Affirmation Therapy
Theory Behind Using Questions for More Effective Affirmation
These writings provide advanced considerations in the use of affirmations for self-applied personal growth therapy. The first section is on the principles, how and why they work. The second -- "Quest 'n Soul You Shen -- Question & Solution Exercises" -- provides sample Positive Response Questions ("PRQ's"). I will later make reference to some essays that provide more fundamental concepts as well as elaborations into other related areas.
The *Question* is the basis for one of my core sets of tools, for myself, for clients, and as used in visual affirmations. Possibly due to my reading John Simone's quote, "The key to wisdom is knowing all the right questions." Possibly due to some study of materials from the Rosicrucians (back in the 70's), about various famous inventors and scientists who would, vexed with a problem situation, propose a question to themselves, then go into alpha state, wherein they would receive insights and solutions, etc. Directing questions to "the back of one's mind" is how it is sometimes phrased.
Affirmations can be quite valuable for directing ones mind in the directions one chooses to go. There are, unfortunately, a lot of myths and misconceptions about the use and benefits of affirmations. Less than effective use of this tool arises primarily out of unrealistic expectations -- as in when we believe that a few simple repetitions are going to stand up to years of believing in and responding to totally different messages. And how about when the events around us are signaling to us that the affirmation needs modification, and we haven't been prepared or trained for recognizing the signals, let alone for updating the affirmation(s).
Let me clarify that:
I believe it is important for teachings about affirmation usage to have suitable explanation for, and responses to, sudden difficulties when they happens to someone who has faithfully been doing their affirmations and positive attitude homework. Otherwise it can be very disillusioning. Some teachers do respond more knowledgeably. For example, June Miller, in her essay, "Positive Thinking Explained," gives a valuable technique for advantageously employing (cause and effect) dynamics, those that may otherwise attract very hard learning opportunities, otherwise perhaps experienced as tragedies, or at least as tests and trials. I'll mention Douglas Block's contribution shortly.
I like to call the more gestalt approach used here (at this site) "Gestalt Positivism", because it doesn't deny the value, certainly not the reality, of "the feeling stuff" or chronic pain. While at the same time it helps build depth, overall context, and therefore stability as well as appropriate regard for effective (and long term) life plan development. Whether toward improving one's habits, attitudes, vocational goal accomplishment, or health, freedom from pain, clarity of mind, etc. You may notice that many of the samples in the next section are about dealing with ones own processes in self-regard, dealing with emotions, other self-development, and even designing and using affirmations.
One of the most interesting cause and effect dynamics in the use of affirmations is what I'll call "Shadow Teasing" or "Depth-Charging". This is the reaction born out of one's "Shadow" self - the old and/or repressed beliefs, reacting to the affirmed beliefs, and striving to maintain the territorial power hold of the old beliefs, by proving to you "What really is -- because it always has been -- so it always will be!" As Douglas Block says in "Affirmations: Using Affirmations to Uncover and Transform," when you affirm, "I am the greatest," up may come the reaction, "I'm afraid you're not." Unfortunately, we don't always notice the Shadow's response, and if it has any strength, it may maneuver to attempt restoration of the old order.
The Shadow attempts to attract or help you create situations in reaction to your affirmation, sabotaging your plans. We "depth-charge", but if we don't meet the submarine with our reality check, the submarine torpedoes us. But this is all part of the testing and the learning of personal growth, of dropping old patterns - it takes time. And utilizing a more complete knowledge of affirmation therapy can help to minimize the hard lessons, or at least prepare us for some of them that can't be prevented.
This is where the use of questions come in. The Q&S Technique does not confront the shadow so directly. No confrontation, no "charging". It accomplishes the objectives of affirmations; in fact, it can employ them. It starts off with an acknowledgment-preamble (such as on the "Quest..Shen" exercise sheet) and then is followed by questions. These are designed in such a way that the Universal Body-Mind can only respond by producing "positive" answers and solutions (or none at all) -- internally as well as externally (manifested into reality).
IMPORTANT: The question technique is BEST used with the previously referred to knowledge and techniques. One of the advantages of the question technique is that it can be used by the worry-occupied mental type of personality with wonderful results: Just by using that (excess) mental energy to flood the mental computer with "positive response questions" (PRQ's).
Quick Tips for designing "Positive Response Questions" (PRQ's):
Use PRESENT tense and no negatives ("no, w/o, not" or contractions). Use "...I am..." or "...am I..." in as many of your Q's as possible. Use follow-up Q's such as, "How enjoyable does this feel?" "What does this look like?" "How very often am I enjoying this?". SEE (with your imagination) and/or FEEL (with your emotional self) the desired picture(s) and feeling(s) as you are verbalizing out-loud the Q's.
Do NOT try to mentally answer the Q's after you ask them. Allow time for your Universal Body Mind to present the solutions in the form that it designs for you, when it knows you are most ready to use them. Use your "issues" (and related hopes, desires, and fears, etc.) to design affirmations, and use the affirmations to design the PRQ's. EG: From "I fear balloons," to "I am calm and creative in the presence of balloons," to "How enjoyably calm (and perhaps even inspired) can I be in the presence of balloons?" (if you'll pardon the pun: the word "inspired" comes from "filled with air"! ;-)
Another accelerator phrase to consider adding to the PRQ is, "...very well, Thank you." OK, for example, when talking to the muscles I might say, "How are we enjoying taking the next step toward your realization of optimal performance and well-being in accordance with Divine Order and Timing very well, Thank you." The "very well" part is added as if one with the main part of the PRQ -- as in "how *very well* are we doing this". Then the "thank you" part is added to thank the Higher Self or Higher Power (etc.) for facilitating the "answering" or solution manifesting process, as well as "the kids", the "celldren", for rejoining in the teamwork again. (Although *these* kids actually have just been doing what we told them on some level a long time ago in response to some event or situation, and it was the attitudes of mind that since then created whatever degree of loss of teamwork that occurred).
Please see the Related References Section for accessing the articles referred to above, "Positive Thinking Explained," by June Miller, and "Affirmations: Using Affirmations to Uncover and Transform," by Douglus Block. Including "Attainment and Achievement -- The Alignment of Beliefs, Desires, and Needs," with related basic and advanced aspects elaborated by the author. These do not explain the use of questions but do well at providing clarity in the effective use of affirmations. All of these essays and many more are available (w/o charge) by email via email@example.com (please type "permit2chris" in body of email)
Chris Pringer ©April '93
Sample Positive Response Questions (PRQ's) following the quote section
[Ideals-Related essays: "More On 'Ideals'" & "Idealism & the Concept of Perfection" (including "Unconditional Love") at the page, "Compassion, Healing, and The Practitioner -- and Detouring 'Burn-out'"]
"Quest 'n Soul You Shen -- Question & Solution Exercises"
A Couple for assisting in a (Buddhist-styled) the "Dis-Identification" Process:
* How joyfully am I realizing that I am the peace and clarity and awareness that allows me to acknowledge that I have a body, but That I Am beyond the body, that I have emotions, but That I Am beyond the emotions, that I have an intellect with thoughts and beliefs, but That I Am beyond the intellect, its thoughts and beliefs, that I have roles and aspects of personality, but That I Am beyond the roles and aspects, That I Am beyond the my body-mind (physical, emotional, and mental) Complex, and That I Am the Center of Consciousness, and from this centered point of awareness I may choose to acknowledge and continuously perceive my co-creatorship with All That Is? And how joyfully through this acknowledgement and perception may I now choose to disengage the power of all false or otherwise inappropriate beliefs, patterns, and associations from ever again creating into my Life/Manifestation? ANSWERS ARE FACILITATED -- Thank you, God!
* How joyfully am I realizing my capacity and choices to utilize all of my past to observe from my highest center of awareness, the pains or elations that may be perceived by my body-mind complex, and from this point of awareness, deal lovingly and justly with these dynamics as a channel of the Highest Loving Will That I Am, and do so on a regular basis without judgment, denial or projection of any "negative" aspects that I may have created in and for the learning process of my Being. ANSWERS ARE FACILITATED -- Thank you, God!
"PiVortexSpheres Lt on ChaliCell Garden Tapestry IV"
The image at right one of a set of from the "Multi3D Chalice" & "Chali-Cell" themes over backgrounds that combines two older themes, including the original Chalice drawing (pen & ink, colored pencils, scanned). It is a scaled down sample of the framed image at my gallery at Artist Websites of Fine Art America. There, you can choose artwork to look at in large view, in your choice of frames, matting, paper, and/or other mountings or greeting cards that are available, and the site will display it in that setting.