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January 20, 2011 by Laura and Alison

Zen Affirmations – A New Look at Affirmations

As you may already know, positive affirmations are statements that when said repeatedly can be used to increase self-esteem or manifest goals. As someone who believes strongly in positive thinking, the concept of like attracts like, the power of intention, and the idea that our thoughts create our reality—the idea of affirmations always made sense to me. Yet, somehow the application didn’t always work. I often found that I would say the affirmation, but not really believe it. In fact, my true feelings and self-doubt just became more painfully, and glaringly obvious. I would say or write the affirmation, but underneath be doubting myself and, in my opinion, sending the doubtful energy out into the universe and ultimately negate what I was supposed to be affirming!

I now use what I like to call “Zen Affirmations.” I find that Zen Affirmations help me get to the genuine feeling, positive energy, and true intention behind the affirmation. In my experience, sending a feeling or intention out to the Universe is more powerful than saying words you do not quite believe.

Here is how to create a Zen Affirmation:

1. Make it short: Instead of a detailed over-thought sentence, make it brief. Two words are best; and are often the first words that come to mind.

2. Choose positively charged and emotional words: This will be personal to you, but use heartfelt words that are fun to say. For example, instead of the prosperity affirmation “I am open and ready to receive wealth and prosperity in my life” use the Zen affirmation “money magnet” (the double ‘m’ is fun to say and money is a charged word, as is magnet, no pun intended).

3. Make it extreme, yet believable: Instead of creating an affirmation that would simply improve a situation—make one that is the best possible outcome. For instance, if you are having a conflict with someone—rather than just going for experiencing harmony in the relationship, take it to the extreme and every time you think of that person, say “my hero.”

4. Use words you do not typically use: Make it a little outside the box—a stretch even. Using words you do not normally use will allow you to truly hear the words, rather than tune out and become numb to the meaning. But even though it is a stretch, it should still be crystal clear. When you say it, you should know exactly what you mean.

5. Cheesy is good: I have found that making it a little cheesy works because it brings a smile and lighthearted energy to the process. Typically, I find things manifest when I am less attached to outcomes and do not take things too seriously. A quirky, slightly humorous affirmation, will make you step outside yourself—making fun of yourself activates the witness/observer consciousness and the action of observing, leads to change.

Here are additional ways to use Zen affirmations:

1. Build Zen affirmations into your to-do list: Zen affirmations will transform your to-do list from a chore into one giant affirmation. For example, replace the action step, “learn how to use twitter” with “twitter master.” Substitute “clear clutter and organize” with “peaceful home and life.”

2. Tap into someone else consciousness: Pretend you are someone who has the quality or skill you desire. Think to yourself, “I am being so and so.” For example, when I want to be a Zen mommy I think “Be Susan” because my friend Susan is always so calm. If I want to be more upbeat and positive I think, “Be Mary Poppins.” The idea is that we are all one mind and one consciousness, therefore you can “borrow” someone else’s consciousness. In other words, if we are one—then if he has a quality in him, it is also in me.

3. Use your imagination and create a detailed, joyful fantasy: Daydream about a positive future fantasy. Make it a concrete vision; visualize where you are sitting, what you look like, who you are with, and how you are feeling. I like to think about where I will be next New Year’s Eve and imagine toasting all the wonderful things that happened in 2010. In my fantasy I say, “wow, can you believe what happened in 2010? Who would have thought that so much good could happen in one year!” I then go on to toast all the good things in detail.

4. Let the affirmation do the work: Sometimes a powerful affirmation is enough to create the energy we need to attract the positive outcome. Changing our language, thoughts, and feeling intention behind the words will get the unconscious and right brain working and things will line up with little effort.

5. Bring it into your everyday life: Particularly if you catch yourself doubting or having negative self-talk or thoughts—use the affirmations. Replace the negative thought with the affirmation. Almost like a mantra, sprinkle Zen affirmations throughout your day.

Above all, leave room for good things that you could not possibly have imagined to unfold. Surrender to Spirit, knowing that the Universe often has greater things in mind for us that we could not envision in our present circumstances. Create space for these possibilities by setting the intention, “this or something better for the highest good of all concerned.”

Photo Credit: Amy Rachlin

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