By Steven Halpern
Long before 'intention' became a popular meme, I had learned about, and validated in my own life, the power of positive affirmations.
Like many who grew up in the 1960s, I was not aware that I had been 'using' affirmations for years already. The problem was, however, that these were mostly the negative affirmations and subconscious programming I got from my family, and peers in high school.
Over the last 40 years, I continued to rediscover new applications for this wonderful and free psychotechnology. (Of course, I will also confess to almost yearly rediscoveries of things I forgot, or didn't use.)
This past holiday season, I spent more time than in most years in refocusing intention in a number of areas of my life. Perhaps you did the same?
Affirmations vs. Resolutions
As I detailed in last month's column, the big news in this Decade of The Brain is that cutting- edge research on the power of intention and conscious communication with our own mind, body, and spirit is available to the public, rather than being locked in academic journals read by a very small audience.
For me, the larger perspective of the information put forth in The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles, by Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., and Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being, by Deepak Chopra, M.D., and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., should be of interest to us all. It validates the effectiveness of affirmations, self-talk, and 'in-house' communication.
How you structure and script your positive statements of how you want to orchestrate your reality is also vitally important. For instance, if you write: "I will be more creative in 2016," your subconscious mind, and your innate intelligence at the gene level, hear this as ''sometime in the future…but not now." That is like movable goal posts; you never actually ARE more creative, in the Now, in the present.
That is also the problem with making resolutions. The language is typically not scripted in a way that brings the results you want.
Like relaxation, creativity only happens in the present moment.
That's also why affirmations are more effective if spoken, thought, or even listened to in a mindful state of awareness; which brings up the obvious next question: How do you optimize your brain/mind/consciousness to receive this positive input?
One of my favorite answers has always been: “Listening to brain balancing, mindful meditation music in which affirmations are included in the music itself.”
It's a form of effortless multi-tasking: the beautiful music is highly pleasurable to listen to, which results in higher levels of oxytocin and other endorphins (the feel-good neuro-hormones our bodies make), as well as getting you in the right state of mind that heightens your receptivity to the affirmations.
In fact, I got a head start on this process, as I also highlighted in my recent columns in which I shared some of the current projects I'm working on. Some are already available exclusively from my website: StevenHalpern.com, in MP3 digital download format. The release schedule of CDs has to go through levels of distributors in order to become available on Amazon and iTunes, which explains the delay for physical product.
Audible vs. Subliminal Affirmations
One of the most common questions I'm asked is, "Which is better?"
The answer I give is: They are both good. Why limit yourself to just one? The advantage of subliminal technology to communicate with your subconscious mind is that your “conscious mind” does not interfere. It does not respond by negating the affirmation.
For instance, many people hear that small voice in their head that says, "No, you're not," or “No, you can't." That is so often the “voice” of a parent or peer that you've internalized, and accept as true, even though it is not.
Perhaps the most common question I'm asked is, "Does it make a difference whether the affirmations are scripted in the first person or the second person, i.e., ‘I am relaxed,’ vs. ‘You are relaxed?’”
I've written about this extensively elsewhere. To summarize: When you are speaking your own affirmations in your own voice, as I suggest later in this column, of course you should only use the first person.
Over the past 35 years, my real-world research, and the feedback of many listeners, is that both are viable. More significant variables are the quality of the music that the messages are embedded in.
My friend, Dr. Eldon Taylor, is one of the most prolific authors and authorities on mental programming and self communication. His books really clarify what is going on here. His latest, Gotcha!: The Subordination of Free Will; would be an excellent place to start.
How Can You Tell if it’s Working?
Some subjects and outcomes are easy. If you fall asleep by the third song of an album intended to help you fall asleep, like Sleep Soundly, or SleepScape Delta, the recording is working!
If you are finally able to clear out three file cabinets and two bookcases that have been on your to-do list for over a year, I'd say the program is working.
That's my experience so far in listening to my latest project, Clutter Busting at the Speed of Sound. It is available immediately, exclusively at StevenHalpern.com/clutterbusting
Could it be a placebo effect? Of course that's a possibility.
I'm a practical guy; I care about results. Does it matter to me whether it's a placebo, or totally due to my recording? No!
When I first met Dr. Andrew Weil at a mutual friend's Thanksgiving dinner in Big Sur in 1979, he was the first medical doctor to promote the study of what is called “the placebo effect.” To recap: In many research studies, test subjects are given a sugar pill rather than the experimental medicine or drug.
In many cases, the placebo pill does almost as well as the new drug.
That means it is the power of that person's belief system that is creating the effect.
I always loved that concept, even before I knew what placebo meant. Back in college, living on tuition scholarships and gigs with my band, I was already conducting my own experiments: whereas my friends might smoke a joint in one sitting, I was able to make it last almost a month!
Not only was this a very economical approach, it saved my lungs a lot of irritation.
When it comes to audio affirmations, there is a third level of empowerment that I include in my Next-Gen Brain Balancing series of recordings, in addition to the music itself (composed in a coherent state of mindfulness), and the affirmations. You can read about it on the liner notes of each album.
Making Your Own Affirmation Recording in 2016
It's easier than ever to do a simple version. Simply play any track from virtually any of my albums on your stereo system or computer speakers, and call yourself on your cellphone. Speak your message (affirmations) with the music in the background.
You can adjust the volume of the music and your voice simply by moving closer to the speakers, or further from your phone.
You can start with just three affirmations. Total time of recording: ONE minute.
Which affirmations to use? That's up to you. Let me know how that works for you.
ARETHA FRANKLIN – Transcendent Performance at the Kennedy Center Honors
One of the best-ever performances ever shown on TV occurred on December 29th at the annual Kennedy Center Honors. Carole King was being honored, and every singer was great. When Aretha Franklin walked on stage to sing (“You make me feel like) A Natural Woman," the energy in the room was electric.
You could see—and feel—Carol's total surprise and delight. The cutaways to audience members showed how emotionally they were touched, too. I dare say many a tear was shed in living rooms around the country, as it was in my home.
When Aretha sat down at the piano and began to sing, I could tell magic was in the air. Midway through, she got up from the piano, and her singing reached new heights of ecstasy.
Then…when she dropped her long fur coat to the floor, everyone in the audience could feel the Spirit in the air. The gospel choir joined in, and we witnessed the unquestionable power of sound to take us into higher states of consciousness.
I would love to hear from those of you who see auras to know what you saw at that moment. I would also bet that the national KDE (Kundalini Rising Effect) hit a new mark.
I've written about this phenomenon in the context of cross-cultural studies in music and higher consciousness, referencing the ethno-musicology research of authorities like Dr. Morton Marks.
If you missed the live broadcast, or want to relive it, here's the link: youtube.com/watch?v=0Ca5Xd_usG8.
Until next time,
Steven Halpern is a Grammy® award nominated recording artist celebrating his 40th anniversary as "the most trusted name in sound healing." His latest releases are Mindful Piano, and Among Friends: 1975-2015 A 40 Year Retrospective.