Positive self affirmations are the most powerful way of creating the healthy habit formations you want in your life.
The positive self affirmations associated with this exercise are intended to become a daily habit just like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. Of course, this is not as daunting as it may sound... This exercise is adapted from a practice from "step one" in the book "Initiation Into Hermetics" by Franz Bardon. In the book, the exercise is called creating a "Soul Mirror" because it is a way of getting an accurate and complete look at your inner negative and positive personality traits. The intent of this mind exercise is to begin changing or "transmuting" all your mental, emotional, spiritual and even physical "negative" flaws into balanced and positive personality traits.
This practice is not something you do here and there when you feel like it. Daily consistency is the key with positive self affirmations. If you adopt the healthy habits you set for yourself outlined in the exercise below then you will begin to see profound changes in your way of "being in the world" (and this will take no more than 5-10 minutes a day). Once you have this first taste of having control over and ability to change yourself, you won't even be able to stop yourself from following this simple routine since the benefits are so rewarding and empowering.
After you have your "positive self affirmations" chart completed, you will find, like I already mentioned, that the exercise is very simple and takes no more than 5-10 minutes a day. On an annual or biannual basis (or even quarterly basis) you will need to spend a little more time reviewing your chart and making updates. The chart of your negative and positive personality traits is the so called "mirror" which allows you to see in plain view what you have chosen to rank as "dis-eased" personality traits or flaws that require you to change bad habits. Creating this chart is also like a large goal which you are striving to attain at some point down the road (without being attached to the outcome of course). Your goals for change will inevitably alter as you move down this path, which is fine. This will usually be due to an increased ability of being brutally honest with yourself.
With the soul mirror mind exercises you will have the choice of following either a Chinese system, a Classical system or a Yogic system of classification.
The original exercise in the book by Franz Bardon only illustrates the Classical elemental system for use simply because that's the only one he was familiar with. The reason I have given you these choices is because students of varying systems will do better with a system that is already a part of their practice. For instance, a yogi or yogini will naturally do better in creating their list of positive affirmations if they use the chakra (Yogic) system for creating their Soul Mirror and a Tai-Chi practitioner will do better if he uses the Chinese system of the five elements. Furthermore the Classical four elements plus one (akasha, a.k.a. void or ether) is better suited for practitioners of western herbalism, esotericism (witchcraft, magick etc) or japanese martial arts such as ninjitsu.
Whatever classification you choose to use, it is best that you decide to stick with just that one system. For the sake of anyone not involved in any other discipline, just pick a system you feel drawn to, or go with the original classical system that Bardon taught. Different systems will be slightly contradictory if you try to use more than one due to the varying energetic qualities and number of "elements" therein. So choose consciously with sustainability and continued use in mind. If you do choose to switch your positive self affirmations chart at any point, you will need to re-categorize all your various attributes which will be quite tedious.
I won't go into great detail about each system since you can easily research that from other resources on the web or in books. I will give you some examples using the system I am most familiar and comfortable with. You will be sorting your various negative and positive character traits into the different categories according to which energy they most closely resemble. For example, if you are someone who is hot tempered, this would fit under the wood element of the Chinese elemental system, yet it would fall under the fire element of the Classical elemental system. I will give more examples after I outline the different systems you can use below.
Chinese: The Chinese elemental system is composed of Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood. This is used in Chinese medicine and herbalism as well as many Chinese martial arts. Each element corresponds to a pair of organs which also makes this system great for dealing with physical diseases or issues that need healing.
Classical: The Classical elemental system is composed of Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether. The first four all "originate" from Ether which differs from the Chinese system which has five separate and distinct elements. Franz Bardon instructs the student to sort all of their negative traits in to the first four categories and to reserve the category of Ether as a "miscellaneous" category for characteristics that don't seem to fit anywhere else (or that could potentially fit into any category).
Yogic: The yogic or chakra system is composed of root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, brow and crown chakras. The Classical elements actually fit into the chakra system except that there are an additional two chakras (brow and crown) that are said to be "beyond the elements". There are other qualities about the chakras that make it quite a different system to use than the Classical elemental system, yet many of the same classifications will be the same.
To create your chart of positive self affirmations for the Soul Mirror exercise you will need:
~standard lined paper (or anything for taking notes down by hand, preferably not on a computer)
~a pencil so that you can erase and make changes easily
~a ruler to make the page neat and tidy looking (might as well start a new healthy habit formation right here!)
~Begin by labeling the top of each page with your elemental or energetic attributes. For example, if you're using the the Chinese elemental system you will have five pages as a result.
~Then divide each page in half down the centre (below the level of the titles).
~At the top of the first column write the label "Positive Personality Traits" (or any synonym of your desire) on all five pages.
~At the top of the second column write the label "Dis-eased Personality Traits" (or any synonym of your desire) on all five pages.
~Using a separate blank page on its side so that the longer side is horizontal, write out all 5-7 of your attributes again, but leave an equal distance between them. Along the shorter vertical side of the page you will write out in roman numerals I, II, III (1, 2, 3) as well as the word "total". You will leave equal distance between all of these as well. You can now draw lines between each word or number to the opposite side of the page to create a grid of boxes. Each element should have four boxes above it (or below it, it doesn't matter).
You are now ready to begin the process of creating your Soul Mirror to change bad habits!
Over the next week or two, you will begin to add to each page (out of all the pages designated to a single energy) every single disfunction you can come up with about yourself. You have to be ruthless here. Using a keen eye of self observation and judgement, you must acknowledge every flaw and every undesirable trait you can muster up.
This is a pretty intense process, and through these two weeks you'll want to be kind and not too hard on yourself in other aspects of your life (actually you should never be hard on yourself about anything!). Many people might think this is a bad thing to do because it is "focusing on the negative". This isn't a problem however because this is a one time process. If you have an old house full of junk that you want to turn into a fully transformed, renovated and beautiful new home, you have to first take inventory and remove all the junk, dirt and undesirable furnishings before you can even repaint the walls.
You must first have knowledge of dis-eased blocks or "habit formations" before you are able to use specific positive self affirmations geared towards dissolving or transmuting those blocks into positive personality traits. This is perfectly healthy and anyone who is afraid to look at their "dark" side is merely suppressing it (on the other end of the scale you have people who dwell in their "darkness" and this is just as unbalancing as not acknowledging it at all). Once you've brought "light" to your negative characteristics, you'll find it very easy to change bad habits through focusing in on all of its opposite positive personality traits. This prevents the suppression of these negative traits. When compiling your first list of negative habit formations, you need to keep the following things in mind:
~Strive for a list of 100 traits at the absolute minimum. 150 is ideal.
~As you come up with each trait, plug it into the correct elemental energy category that it falls under.
~When you come up with a flaw, sit with it for a moment to really feel which elemental energy category it falls under. Doing this in a meditative state makes this easier.
~Make them as specific as possible such as instead of writing "easily angered", try "angered by authority figures" or "easily angered while driving". You will get more opportunities to change bad habits as well as avoid sidestepping a personality flaw from being too vague while defining it.
~Include everything from emotional/personality flaws to physical habits (like biting your nails and avoiding exercise).
~Phrase everything in your "dis-eased" column as "I", "I have" or "I am" etc, but don't write that, for example (I am) addicted to junk food.
~Do this process from a "neutral detached observer" type of perspective so as to not get upset with yourself when you realize how much negativity is in your life that you weren't fully aware of.
~Do this whole process over no more than a week or two so as to not develop a habit of self criticism. After you are finished don't add any more negative traits to the list, unless it is a major one that had completely slipped your mind. The self criticism should stop after you have finished the "dis-eased mirror". Once or twice a year when you update your list, you can add a few more if you think it's necessary.
~Be totally honest with yourself! So much so that you will absolutely have to keep this list of affirmations hidden away in a notebook (which is why I recommend not typing it up on a computer). I guarantee that even the best of us have deep dark secrets hidden away. This will begin healing them.
~It doesn't matter if there are more dis-eased traits under one elemental category and few in another. This just indicates more of an imbalance in the one category that you will work on correcting once you begin practicing your positive self affirmations daily.
Here is a brief example of several negative traits falling under the Chinese five elemental categories (these are not my traits btw, hahaha!):
Fire: Highly critical of others, Gossip behind peoples backs, Hateful, Rarely smile, Cruel
Earth: Overweight, Addicted to junk/unhealthy food, Apathetic/lazy, Disorganized, Give up easily, Poor hygiene
Metal: Depressed too often, Still in grief years later, Don't stand up for myself, Skin problems, A victim in life
Water: Paranoid, Easily stressed. High anxiety, Regular dental problems, Perverse sexual urges
Wood: Bite my nails, Road rage, Drink too much alcohol, Vain, Watch too much T.V./computer, Addicted to fatty foods
Now you will fill in the "Positive Personality Traits" column.
This column is going to be the side you look at the most. You will create positive self affirmations from looking at these characteristics. To change bad habits into positive personality traits, all you need to do is overwhelm your consciousness with its polar opposite positive characteristic. For example, if you have "(I) frequently bite my nails" in your dis-eased list of affirmations chart, then the opposite characteristic would be "(I) only use nail clippers to cut my nails" or even "(I) avoid biting my nails" (don't use negatives like "don't", "quit" or "not" as the subconscious isn't able to recognize them).
Write out your list of positive affirmations next to each of the dis-eased traits. This part of the exercise is much more liberating! Here are some things to keep in mind when creating these positive self affirmations:
~Don't use negatives of words, such as "don't", "quit", "not" or "non-"
~Instead try to find its opposite (ex. "easily angered by coworkers" would = "calm in the face of stress from coworkers")
~If there is no opposite, use the word "free" or "avoid" as an absolute last resort (ex. "a chronic smoker" would = "free from the urge to smoke" or "(I) avoid smoking at all costs")
~Keep these positive self affirmations short (and don't write down "I", "I am" or "I have" before every trait, you can mentally add that on when looking at your chart later on)
~Think of the simplest way to word your positive personality traits so that's it's not too confusing for your subconscious mind to understand.
~Come up with one of you positive self affirmations for every dis-eased trait in every elemental category. Write it opposite the negative trait it corresponds too.
~Avoid repeating the same opposite trait for different words (ex. using "calm" for both "easily angered" and "easily frustrated")
~One word trait opposites are best (ex. "calm", "forgiving", "compassionate" etc), but not if they're not specific enough.
For the final step on your list of affirmations you need to rate each negative habit formation for how often it occurs in your life.
Begin by going through your list of dis-eased traits and rate each one with a roman numeral. Place an "I" (1) beside the traits that happen often, a "II" (2) beside the traits that happen sometimes and a "III" (3) beside the traits that happen once and awhile. The reason for putting roman numerals beside these habit formations is so that when you begin to conquer it with positive self affirmations, you can simply add a line to it indicating that it is happening less frequently then it was when you first created the chart.
Then flip to the extra page you made with the grid on it. Fill it out so that you know the number of dis-eased traits in each elemental category that fall into each level of "frequency of occurrence" (the level of how often the trait happens in your life). By giving each level a different value, you can then total each elemental column to come up with a total value of which elemental category needs the most work with positive self affirmations.
Give everything in the horizontal column "I" (1) a value of three, everything in column "II" a value of two and everything in column "III" a value of one. This is because a dis-eased trait that happens more frequently in your life is obviously more important to take care of then one that happens infrequently. Add up each elemental column which will give you a total that can be compared to the other elements. Your element with the highest rating might not be the element with the most number of dis-eased traits.
To change bad habits requires you to begin a daily practice of using positive self affirmations.
The simplest way to do this is buy or make a rosary (string beads or tie knots into some string, you'll only need 20-40 beads or knots) and recite your positive self affirmations twice a day. I recommend doing it right when you wake up and right as you're going to bed. These two times are when you're in a very relaxed state of consciousness which makes it easier to imprint these different affirmations into your subconscious mind. You could instead decide to do these after a meditation practice or any other activity that leaves you in a slower brain wave state (like after a yoga routine or a nap in the middle of the day).
If for example you are working to create a new habit formation such as "I read books for relaxation" whenever you get the urge to "watch T.V.", what will happen is that if you have put lots of energy into your positive self affirmations, they act much in the same way as willpower. So if you typically cave in and plop yourself in front of the T.V. all night, after having done some positive self affirmations for a number of days, you will find that when you go to sit down and have that momentary "I should really do something more valuable with my time" thought, instead of it being a little voice in the back of your head that your T.V. addiction smothers, the voice will become more prominent and persistent (if you truly wish to make the change). This could be thought of as being like your conscience speaking to you. It will have more power than before since you've boosted it with so many positive self affirmations over a couple of days.
Think of your willpower as being a battery pack. The average person's "will batteries" are dead all the time and they drift along succumbing to life's unhealthy indulgences. If you fill your "will battery" up with positive self affirmations, then when the time is right, you unleash that power to empower yourself to make the right choice. Each time you make the right choice, it gets easier and easier since you are developing good habits.
Here are some things to keep in mind when doing your positive self affirmations as a daily practice:
~Keep the number of times you repeat your positive self affirmations low (I say mine 18 times or if it's just a few words then I will do 36 repetitions maximum) which prevents your mind from becoming bored with it.
~Every time you say it, have 100% focus on imagining that the affirmation is already real in the present moment. You must put all your focus into imagining this so intensely so as to "trick" your subconscious mind into thinking this is already happening. Use as many senses as possible, with emphasis on seeing and feeling that you've already succeeded in breaking the habit and are now experiencing your new positive personality traits.
~Work with one, or at the very most two, positive self affirmations at a time. This is so you don't overload your subconscious mind with too many requests.
~Work with each of your positive self affirmations for a minimum of 24 days. Psychologists tell us that it takes a minimum of 21 days for a new habit to form, so do a little more than the 21 days, even if it feels like you've already "got it". The worst that could happen is that you only fortify a habit deeper into your subconscious mind and make it more difficult to ever fall back into your "old ways".
~Say the affirmations (out-loud or in your head) with passion. That means using tonality with your voice (or you internal voice). Instead of a drab monotone voice, emphasize different words. You will find it easier to focus on the feeling of the positive affirmation this way as well.
~To change bad habits, along with repeating your different daily affirmations, you have to take an active role in your life. Positive self affirmations build up your willpower, but you are the one that has to make the change. It'll just be less of a struggle if you've done the necessary work. This means you actually have to want to change, not secretly hope for someone or something else to do it for you.
~Think about your current positive self affirmations that you're working with throughout the day. Just let them pop up as a reminder to avoid doing something or to act a certain way. This will further "impregnate" your subconscious mind with the intent for creating positive personality traits.
The best way to begin working with your list of affirmations is to look at your totals on your grid.
From there you're going to want to first achieve balance between every element. So you want to work on the elements with the highest scores and bring them all down to the level of your element with the lowest score. After you have done this (it will probably take at least a year... possibly more) you can then begin to work on reducing all the scores to zero. You'll want to keep the elements relatively balanced while you work on this too, alternating between them so that none of them are ever much lower than the others.
Once you've completely finished and integrated your entire list of positive self affirmations, you will probably have had plenty of opportunities to realize other dis-eased traits that you could have added to the list of affirmations. This really is a never ending, life time process. Some people might say "what's the point of doing this if I'll never finish it?", but what they don't realize is that it's not about finishing your list of affirmations, but rather what this practice does for helping create positive personality traits within yourself.
If you're not already keeping a journal for your meditation or other internal practices, then keeping one is a good way of tracking when you started new positive self affirmations and when you've completed the 24 days (or you can simply mark it down on a calendar). There are also a number of other ways you can work with your list of affirmations along with the daily positive self affirmations. These additional options are great for helping you change bad habits that are particularly stubborn or chronic:
~EFT (emotional freedom technique, search for it online to find free instructions)
~Meditate on the healthy habit formation and see your self doing it (different from using the positive self affirmations that you repeat over and over)
~Leave notes with your positive self affirmations to yourself in strategic places around the house and work space (ex. bathroom mirror, at your desk, on the wall that you face towards, desktop background image, screen-saver... etc)
~Therapies that work on the emotional or mental level to help you change bad habits that are particularly stubborn (reiki, EFT practitioner, counseling, talk therapy, acupuncture etc.)
~Use your intent to "imbue" something with your different affirmations. When doing a breathing exercise for example, you could imagine that the air you are breathing in has the quality of "calmness" or you could imbue your food with this quality as a prayer before your meals, etc. This is another opportunity to reminding yourself of the positive self affirmations you're currently working with.
This exercise is not intended to be a substitution for medical or psychiatric help.
~"Initiation Into Hermetics" by Franz Bardon (Merkur Publishing, 2001)
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