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The Correct Use of Affirmations

AN AFFIRMATION, in the sense psychologists and healers employ the term, is a
statement of a condition given to the individual by himself or by another, in the
manner deemed best suited to reach his unconscious mind and through suggestion
bring its realization. That is, an affirmation is a suggestion that a certain condition is a

The Correct Use of AffirmationsIf the individual repeats to himself in a positive manner, “I am in perfect health,” this
may bring to the attention of the unconscious mind the image of perfect health and
divert enough energy to the realization of the image that the thought-cell
composition and thought-cell organization within the astral body are markedly

The predisposition to a particular disease is due to the energy of thought-cells that
have entered into relations with other thought-cells in a discordant manner. As such
relations are mapped in the birth chart by the prominence and aspects of the planets,
the predisposition to any complaint, including not merely diseases of the body but
also of finances, domestic relations, honor, etc., can be ascertained by a statistical
study of the birth-charts of those having suffered from such difficulties. Such
statistical studies have been made of 160 diseases of the body and are set forth in
Course 16. The various C. of L. Astrological Reports make statistical studies of other
conditions and of such diseases as have not been considered in Course 16, Stellar

If the affirmation succeeds in gaining sufficient attention and energy from the
unconscious mind to alter the composition or arrangement of the thought-cells
responsible for the disease, whether it is a disease of the body or of some other
department of life, the fortune in that respect will be altered. If it succeeds in
changing the thought organization into such as normally expresses health, the
disease will vanish.

But whether, and to what extent the repetition of the assertion, “I am in perfect
health,” will do this depends upon a number of factors; chief of which is the manner
that the thought groups in the unconscious mind already have been Conditioned.

To a person whose birth-chart has a strong and afflicted Saturn, indicating a tendency
to be suspicious and to look for ulterior motives; this suggestion of health may
merely the more strongly draw the attention of the unconscious mind to the illness.
When the unconscious receives the suggestion, it may connect up with the thought
that if there were no illness there would be no call for an attempt to cure it. That is,
Association of ideas may lead to an image in the unconscious mind the very opposite
of the one intended by the affirmation. Or it may inject the image that the individual
really has no such power to heal himself as the attempt implies. This second tends to
attract attention and to weaken the power of the suggestion.

To the man who habitually is a coward, the affirmation, –I am brave– may merely
draw the attention of the unconscious mind the more strongly to his fear. Or if the
man is a typically Mars character, who reacts customarily with initiative and
courage, the affirmation, “I am afraid” may be so strongly opposed by the thought
groups that commonly determine his actions that the attention of the unconscious
mind is drawn more strongly to his courage.

When the unconscious mind, because of the manner in which its thought groups have
previously been conditioned, directs its attention more or less to a different thought
than the one that is afforded by the suggestion, that image is called an
Autosuggestion. That is, an Autosuggestion is a suggestion furnished by the
unconscious mind.

Action is Always Toward the Image Receiving Attention

–It can not too often be emphasized that the function of attention is to direct the
desire energies toward, and not away from, the object of attention. That is, the
unconscious mind throughout its biologic past has been Conditioning its
thought-cells and thought organizations to mobilize their desire energies and direct
them toward the object or condition held before the attention. The image or thought
reaching them has come to exercise the function of a command. Therefore, it is not
the suggestion given which releases and directs desire energies. It is the image or
thought which is actually present.

Negative Desires

–When the image presented to the unconscious mind is such as to release energies in
the direction the opposite of that which is the intention of objective consciousness It
gives rise to a negative desire. It is called negative in the sense that an alternating
electric current moves in one direction as a positive impulse and in the opposite
direction as a negative impulse. That is, a negative desire is a desire straining to find
release in a direction opposed to that of the objective intention.


–As an illustration of how Autosuggestion may, and often does, give rise to
negative desires, consider that, in so far as sense of balance is concerned, it is no more
difficult to walk a twelve-inch steel girder when it is 100 feet from the ground with
nothing but air on either side than it is to walk the same girder when it rests firmly on
the earth. A person who cannot walk such a girder while it is on the ground is unusual;
yet the structural worker who walks it thus when high above the earth has ability so
uncommon as to be a newsreel subject.

While it rests upon the ground the person does not receive strong autosuggestions.
But place it 100 feet in the air, and the thought comes into the mind of the
consequences of a fall. This connects up with the Safety Urges in the astral body, and
with those powerful desires of the Hereditary Drive for Self Preservation.

The structural steel worker and the steeple jack have so conditioned themselves as to
keep their minds on the actions necessary to safety. They do not let the thought of
falling come before their attention. But those not having this special training in
keeping their thoughts on what they are doing and what they are going to do, let the
image of the consequence of falling enter their minds The autosuggestion of some
persons when on a high place is so strong that they feel the impulse to cast themselves
off. In others the autosuggestion of falling in conflict with the suggestion of not
falling is an emergency situation the emotion of which releases adrenaline into the
blood stream, mobilizing it for flight, and giving rise to giddiness.

To the extent the autosuggestion holds before the attention of the unconscious mind
the image of falling is there a tendency to fall, because action is in the direction in
which the desire energy is released, and desire energy is released in the direction of
the image of falling. As the objective intention is not to fall, the energy thus tending
to cause a fall is called Negative Desire.


–Self-consciousness, as it is called, is always due to a Negative Desire that arises
from autosuggestion. In this case, however, the thought-group in the unconscious
mind tapped to furnish the energy leading to confusion is not that of the Safety Urges,
but relates to the Drive for Significance.

The self-conscious individual has within his unconscious such strong desires to
appear to advantage before others that the thought of committing any little blunder is
very painful. Often he is overconditioned so that he magnifies the importance of the
effect of his actions. His Drive for Significance having been thwarted in some
respects has accumulated unexpressed desires that have exaggerated, through excess
energy, all matters relating to them. To him a little blunder in public seems as great a
disaster as does the plunging from a cliff of one who greatly fears a fall. To make
himself ridiculous is more than he can bear.

When he is called upon to give a little public speech, let us say, his conscious desire is
to stand out as a superior being. It may be all well enough for others to exhibit
imperfection, but to keep his own sense of unusual importance in the scheme of
things, it is imperative that he make an exceptional impression of superiority. And
the very excess of his demands increases the autosuggestion that he will not be able to
meet these self-imposed requirements.

Previous frustrations of the Drive for Significance may have developed an Inferiority
Complex. But at least they offer the autosuggestion that his actions will not be up to
his own expectations. Thus is his attention drawn to other things than what he is
trying to do. He thinks of his audience. This detracts from the clearness of his
thought, because attention can be given to only a limited area at one time. Feeling a
lack of clearness, due to the distraction of his thoughts by other subjects, he wonders
what the audience thinks of him. This connects up with the fear of appearing
ridiculous, which brings to his attention the image or thought of his failure.

Faced with the possibility of failure in a matter which means so much to him creates
an emergency. An emergency is met by a release of desire energy sufficiently intense
to be termed an emotion. The emotion, in turn, releases chemical messengers, or
hormones, from his ductless glands into the blood stream. These mobilize the body to
meet the emergency. Blood rushes to his face, and he flushes, or it rushes under the
influence of the new chemicals to certain organs and thus away from his face, and he
grows pale. The stress on his nerves, carrying the etheric currents to which have been
imparted the energy of emergency desires, is too great for control and he trembles,
perhaps his knees shake. And his awareness that he is not behaving according to the
superior standard he has set for himself still further draws his attention to the image
of blunders and failure. These images then divert the desire energies into activities
that are their fulfillment.

Bashfulness With the Opposite Sex

–Of course any special desires that have been overconditioned through having
excessive emotional energy imparted to them, may afford autosuggestions that give
rise to Negative Desires. But the three Hereditary Drives, because they have acquired
so much energy, are the ones which more commonly cause difficulty in this respect.
As already we have considered examples of the effect of Negative Desires due to
autosuggestions afforded by the Drive for Self Preservation and the Drive for
Significance, let us now take an example due to the autosuggestions of the Drive For
Race Preservation.

People who are not unusually modest, shy, backward or timid with their own sex,
sometimes exhibit a decided and painful bashfulness in the presence of the opposite
sex. In particular such persons are unable to deport themselves in an admirable
manner when in the presence of the one person toward whom their affections are

Such an individual has an overwhelming desire to appear to the best advantage
before his loved one. It is of tremendous importance that he make a fine impression,
and that he should do just the right thing to win the object of his choice. His desires to
thus deport himself are so intense that he cannot bear the thought of failure. The
image of his beloved is, of course, brought into association with the Hereditary Drive
for Race Preservation.

Most children have had the feeling of shame associated with reproduction and the
opposite sex. They have been shamed out of doing things, or even of making
inquiries about things, relating to sex. And many of them have thus become
abnormally conditioned in reference to all actions that through association connect
up with the reproductive desires, even in their finer and nobler expressions. To the
extent, therefore, that their thoughts associate an individual with these irrepressible
desires, the early conditioning by shame, frustration, or other emotion leads quickly
to the thought of further failure. The presence of the love object, in most life forms,
constitutes an emergency. Therefore, emotions run high, with the result that new
chemicals are placed in the blood by the endocrine glands. This increases the
circulation, and blood rushing to the face causes blushing.

Yet the individual may not be able to force himself to speak to the object of his
affection, or if he does so he may stammer and make puerile remarks instead of the
witty sayings he has rehearsed. He may appear awkward, or commit blunders that are
quite foreign to his ordinary pattern of behavior. All are familiar, through the comic
strips and the movies at least, with the performance of the bashful lover.

The cause of his backward or otherwise extraordinary behavior is due to a
conditioning in the past which has associated the intense Drive for Race Preservation
with images which are quite different from the actions his objective consciousness
intends. If the character of his behavior were a matter of no great concern to him there
would be weak Negative Desires. But their importance is so great that they suggest
the possibility and consequence of failure. It is these energetic images which intrude
and warp the actions into their realization.

How a Complex is Formed

–The psychologists call any group of ideas that belong together and have the same
emotive tone a complex. That is, a complex is a group of thought structures within the
astral body so conditioned that their desire energies tend to release in a common
direction. Thus a “football fan” may have a “football complex.” But usually the word
is applied to a system of ideas that have an unusually high emotional content; those
that have in some manner become overconditioned and thus, because of the
tremendous desire energy they contain, are dominating in their influence.

Such complexes are mentioned here because suggestion often has played so
important a part in their formation, and because they in turn have such a power to
determine whether or not a suggestion or affirmation will release energies in the
direction intended, or in the direction of Negative Desires.

Some people have a complex in reference to a certain political idea. They have
thought so intensely about the injustice of certain economic conditions, or about
what seems to them the foolishness of some economic measure, that they have
endowed this idea with a vast amount of energy. The more they discuss it and talk
about it, the more feeling energy do they contribute to the desires associated with the
idea. If in their various discussions with others they are strongly opposed, in the
effort to overcome this opposition they develop strong emotions, such as that of
anger. Thus, as the result of keeping the matter before their minds and repeatedly
charging it with emotion, it accumulates so much energy that whenever the complex
is tapped the behavior is somewhat abnormal.

Most of us are acquainted with the individual to whom we can talk about everything
else, but in whose presence it is unwise to mention some one subject. In the presence
of this individual if religion, or socialism, or political graft, or the indecency of
present-day movies, or the horrors of war, or some special subject is mentioned, he
becomes so highly excited that his speech and conduct are exaggerated. He may be
well enough balanced on other subjects, but so much energy has been built into the
thought organization within his astral body associated with this idea, that when
anything touching it is brought to his attention giving these over energized desires
opportunity to express, they are powerful enough to brush aside reason and judgment
and habitual moderation. His friends caution others against releasing the complex by
mentioning that he is touchy about such and such a subject.

Most of us are more or less touchy in reference to some things. And this means that in
the conditioning of the past more energy has been added to certain thought groups in
our astral bodies than their importance warrants. When something associated with
one of these overconditioned thought groups is brought to the attention, this releases
their desire energies, which are strong enough to make us feel, and perhaps act, out of
proportion to what the situation normally requires.

These complexes which are repressed, that is, so strongly opposed by other desires as
to prohibit their expression in a recognizable form, are the ones that cause the most
difficulty. Their desires dammed up and crowded back are the source of a perpetual
conflict. And this conflict continues to add feeling energy to them. Objective
consciousness attributes the feeling to other causes, because it will not admit that the
desires thus repressed even exist.

People, for instance, who are touchy about the indecency of others, show by this very
overconditioning of the idea of modesty, that there are primitive desires within
themselves in a state of repression. If no such struggle were within their unconscious
minds there would be only a normal interest in the modesty or immodesty of others.

Reformer complexes, or “messiah” complexes are the “projection” to the outside
world of conflicts within the unconscious mind. The individual’s Drive for
Significance does not permit him to recognize he has desires which are not in
conformity to the moral code which his objective mind has accepted. The struggle
within himself gives him the feeling that something is radically wrong and needs remedying.
The repressed complex struggling to find some outlet for its energy, finally does so
through the avenue of endeavoring to correct the ills of the sin-infested world. And
because the energy is associated through the struggle with a particular type of sin,
that is the one to which the reformation is chiefly directed.

Something after the same manner are persecution complexes formed. The individual
develops a war within himself which he projects to the outside world. Or, he may
have developed so strong a sense of Significance that the suggestion is frequently
given to his unconscious mind that he is quite a superior person. When he fails, or
when misfortune befalls, instead of perceiving its true source of origin, which is his
own character, he can not admit that he in any way could be to blame. When his
employer discharges him, the true cause being blocked from his consciousness, he
concludes It was brought about by an enemy.

Because it is noticed that he is so suspicious, and tends to accuse others for his
troubles, he finds it still more difficult to make the headway he believes so superior a
person deserves. More and more he blames other people for his real and imaginary
misfortunes, and thus develops the persecution complex in which he believes there is
a conspiracy against him. Should this complex develop far enough to cause him to
take action to destroy some supposed enemy he thus becomes a danger to society.

Inferiority Complex

–The unconscious mind, and quite rightly, refuses to consider itself as of no
significance. Every person has the wish and the will to be superior in some respect.
As a matter of fact, each soul is struggling to develop those qualities which will
enable it to fill in the blue print of its ego, and thus occupy a position in cosmic work
that no other soul could so successfully occupy.

Therefore no matter how inferior an individual may appear to others, nevertheless in
some manner he ever seeks to establish his superiority. He may satisfy this feeling of
superiority through the facing of obstacles and overcoming them. Or if he can not
overcome his obstacles he may at least find a feeling of superiority in some activity
which is beneficial to himself and to society. On the other hand, instead of facing his
obstacles, he may run away from them, and gain the feeling of superiority through
various venues of evasion, such as day dreaming, nervous breakdown, dementia
praecox, or some form of behavior which is inimical both to himself and to society.

All children have this desire for superiority. Yet they are surrounded by grown
people who can do things quite beyond their power. Significance is usually measured
in terms of human comparisons; and thus a child may get the suggestion that in most
abilities he is quite inferior. A youngster who is brought up in the company of
brothers and sisters who, because they are older, can do everything better than he can,
may also thus get the suggestion that in all ordinary accomplishments he is
handicapped by lack of ability. Especially if he is constantly reprimanded for not
doing better.

Or he may get the suggestion of inferiority through the social station, lack of money,
or peculiarities of his family. Children who are ridiculed by their schoolmates
because their clothing is shabby, or who are shamed because of the eccentricity of a
parent, or who constantly are scolded by their elders, sometimes permit these
suggestions to build into their unconscious minds an unreasonable feeling of
inferiority where ordinary undertakings are concerned.

Then again, when there is some organic defect, such as poor sight, tendency to
illness, a crippled limb, or even when there is no real defect but the parents are over
solicitous and cause the child to feel he is not fitted to do the things other children do,
this may offer suggestions which accepted by the unconscious mind build up a
feeling of inferiority in regard to all normal activities.

It is not whether the child is really inferior or superior that gives force to the
suggestion. It is what his unconscious mind accepts as a measure of his own abilities.
If he feels that he is handicapped in his efforts to express superior qualities, this
constitutes a suggestion. Yet whether that suggestion is accepted and to what extent,
is determined by the previous conditioning of the Drive for Significance; that is, by
the thought structure relations mapped in the birth chart. Two children, although both
are conditioned by their environment, when brought up under exactly the same
circumstances, may develop opposite trends because one accepts the suggestions
from without, and the other opposes to them autosuggestions of great intensity.

Any one of a wide variety of circumstances may be responsible for building into the
unconscious mind an inferiority complex. The unconscious mind will not accept the
idea that it is really inferior, yet these suggestions force home the conviction that in
reference to ordinary activities it is sadly handicapped. Every experience in which
the individual is made to feel–irrespective of the merits of his actions–that he has
not done as well as is expected of him adds the emotional energy of disappointment
to the thought group. Whenever he thinks of his handicap, real or imaginary, his
sense of frustration adds more emotional energy to the thought organization related
to the Drive for Significance.

The very fact that the Drive for Significance is repressed in its normal channels of
expression by the thought group built into the unconscious mind through suggestions
arising out of past experiences, tends to cause its desire energy to gain a very high
state of tension. We say the individual is thus overconditioned in all matters relating
to the unconscious feeling of superiority.

In the same manner that the man on a precipice who too strongly desires safety, being
overconditioned where safety on high places is concerned, feels the impulse to throw
himself off, so the individual who is overconditioned where Superiority is concerned
is confronted by the images of what he has come to believe are his defects. Because of
the over intensity of his desire to be superior, he tends to set too high a standard for
himself. So much energy has accumulated behind the Drive for Significance that
even a trivial injury to self esteem is too painful even to contemplate.

Thus the person with an inferiority complex has built up, as opposed to, and in the
conflict with, the suggestion of inferiority, an image of so great Superiority that it
may be quite beyond any human realization. Some of the most successful people, the
energy for whose high accomplishment was derived from the effort to
COMPENSATE for an inferiority complex, have continued to feel dissatisfied and
that in spite of what the world said. they had done far less than they should. That is,
the image of Superiority in their unconscious minds had been given so much energy
that its satisfaction called for a degree of achievement quite unattainable to mortals.

The individual with an inferiority complex thus has two things to contend with. His
unconscious mind, through conflict with the suggestions of inferiority, has
over-energized the thought of superiority, so that he can not bear to think of himself
making tiny little mistake such as normal people do. He feels that he should be so
Superior that anything he does is absolutely perfect. Lacking any small degree of
perfection would bring him great pain.

Yet the images of inferiority in certain respects have also, through the power of
suggestion, become slightly energized. His objective mind has difficulties or
handicaps over whatever it is that has given him the inferiority complex. Therefore,
when he thinks of attempting something, these images are presented to his attention,
and the energy of the whole Drive for Significance is diverted into them. He feels the
need so strongly of being Superior to others yet these images of inferiority,
reinforced with emotion, come before his attention. He not only dreads to attempt
things that otherwise would offer no difficulties, for fear of exhibiting some small
imperfection; but should he gain the courage to make an attempt, the images of
failure are so strong as to attract his attention. His inferiority complex thus energizes
Negative Desires that cause him to blunder.

Superiority Complex

–The strength of a complex depends upon the amount of desire energy it contains.
Any complex, therefore, which can drain into its reservoir the energy of one of the
three Hereditary Drives has possibilities of exerting a tremendous pressure upon the
thoughts and actions. Also, any particular desire, through gaining sufficient
emotional energy from experience or suggestion can become overconditioned. By
overconditioned is meant that it has desire energy stored up in it under too great
tension to favor normal thinking and efficient action.

As all persons inherently have the desire to be superior in some respect, it often
requires no great amount of erroneous conditioning to store energy in the thought
group having to do with Superiority under enough tension that its release leads to
abnormal behavior. We have just discussed the common methods by which an
individual acquires an inferiority complex He has an inferiority complex because the
thought group relating to Superiority has an overbalancing supply of desire energy.

Likewise, an individual only acquires a superiority complex when this same group of
thoughts relating to Superiority gain an overbalancing supply of desire energy.

How, you may well ask, can one person have an inferiority complex from an
overconditioning of the Superiority thought-cells, and another person have a
superiority complex when these same Superiority thought-cells are overconditioned?

The answer is simple enough. When the Negative Desires direct the attention to the
images of inferiority, the energy is drained into those images. But when the attention
is directed to images that have been formed by the feeling of exaggerated importance
in regard to all the individual does, he thinks and acts as if he were quite superior to
other mortals.

The suggestions he has had in childhood have not been such as to oppose images of
lack of ability or handicap. They have been such as to cause him to believe that
anything he says or does is a little more perfect than what anyone else says or does.
Perhaps his fond parents, or relatives, have started early to applaud each thing he did
or said, always telling others in his presence how unusually bright he was. His
attention was so often directed to his extraordinary abilities, and he gained so much
emotional satisfaction from the constant applause that it built an unusual amount of
energy into the Drive for Significance. And at the same time he received strong and
powerful suggestions that his behavior was superior in all respects.

The later experiences of his life, which indicate to other people that he has no
remarkable abilities, are powerless to displace these early images of his superior
abilities. When he fails, the fact that he has failed makes little impress on his
consciousness. He is always ready and eager to undertake responsibilities, even
when he is unfitted to handle them. Even his commonplace sayings he considers to be
exceptionally brilliant, and any little responsibility he shoulders he feels that in its
performance he has accomplished something of importance.

An individual with a superiority complex has so much energy associated with the
thoughts of his own Superiority that it gives dominating power to any thoughts and
images into which that energy flows. And he has had the idea of his own perfection so
thoroughly built into his unconscious mind that any thought relative to Superiority
immediately directs the attention of the unconscious mind to these images of his
unusual importance.He may thus go through life, always seeking applause, always “playing to the
grandstand,” coming into prominence as frequently as possible in the belief he is a
very superior individual. He is not a good team worker, because he feels the urge so
strongly to demonstrate his unusual talents, and usually also he works for praise and
glory rather than to help the common cause along; because he has been conditioned
to take delight in the praise of his cleverness and talent.

If, however, the person with a superiority complex finds too great a difficulty in
adjusting himself to the failures, he may, as already explained, develop a persecution
complex. One thing he will not do, he will not admit he is to blame for failure. Thus in
seeking some seemingly reasonable cause he may consider that the world treats him
unjustly. Otherwise he would gain the things his superior talents deserve.


–As the energy of the three Hereditary Drives can not successfully be repressed, nor
can that of any other highly energized desire, when one channel is blocked the energy
seeks and finds some substitute outlet. Thus a desire that is blocked in one channel of
expression is said to Compensate by expressing through the substitute channel.

Those people, for instance, who did we not look deeper we might believe to have a
superiority complex, often are driven to the actions we observe in the effort to
COMPENSATE for an inferiority complex.

The individual with a real superiority complex does not brag nor pose. He knows his
actions are perfect, and need no exaggeration to impress people. But the individual
with an inferiority complex feels the need of impressing others because he is so
uncertain of himself. When he tells a story, he always makes himself the hero.
Feeling himself to be inferior, he tries to overcome his imaginary handicap by living
in a world of make-believe. In his stories, in his boasting, and in his strutting
assurance, he is playing a part, presenting himself to the world as he would like to be.
But, because so much energy is dammed up behind the desire to be important, in this
compensating outlet, he tends to overdo the part.

Bullying those who are weaker does not arise from a superiority complex, but as a
Compensation for the feeling of inferiority. The youngster or adult who resorts to
such practices feels the need of proving to himself that he is not so powerless as the
inferiority complex makes him seem.

Even the dynamic “go-getter” who makes the sale when others fail, and who gets
more work accomplished than his fellows, is Compensating for a feeling of
inferiority. He has to do more than others to prove to himself he is not the weakling he
feels himself to be. His assurance is mostly “front.” Yet the suggestions of inferiority
that have lodged in his unconscious mind, while strong enough to make him feel
inferior, are not strong enough to dominate his attention.

In spite of the fact that they have overconditioned the desires relating to Superiority,
giving them terrific driving power, he is able to keep before his mind the images of
the things he wants to do. His desires thus release in the direction of these and are not
switched over to Negative images. Thus all the energy of the complex is directed, in
spite of recurrent inferiority feelings, into channels of real accomplishment. The
tremendous energy many unusually successful men are able to devote to their work is
often derived from the effort to COMPENSATE for a feeling of inferiority. One,
off-hand, could mention a dozen such outstanding American characters.

But as an instance from olden times think of Demosthenes. Compensating
for an impediment of speech; placing pebbles in his mouth and declaiming against
the surf that roared in from the sea, and becoming the greatest orator of ancient

Affirmation Should Keep the Attention on the Image of That To Be Accomplished

–As it is always the image before the attention of the unconscious mind that receives
the major portion of the desires energy released at that time, the most essential factor
in the successful application of suggestion is that the image of that which is to be
accomplished should be the center of attention. Then, to give the image strength for
accomplishment, it should be linked up with as powerful desire energies as possible.
Those of the three Hereditary Drives serve this purpose admirably.

The negative form of an affirmation should never be used. If you offer the
affirmation, “I am not ill,” it draws the attention of the unconscious mind to the
thought of illness, and gives the illness more energy. If in the effort to overcome the
tobacco habit you use the affirmation, “I no longer crave tobacco,” it will almost
invariably increase the craving, for whatever energy the suggestion releases is
directed into the thought of tobacco craving. If you offer the affirmation, “I am not
afraid,” it brings before the attention of the unconscious mind the image of fear, and
drains into it, through association, the energy of the Drive for Self Preservation.

Were it not for the variations in the thought organizations of different people that
causes the same thought or image coming in as a suggestion to connect up with
thought groups previously in the unconscious mind, the correct application of
affirmations would require only that the suggestion be given in terms that would
portray what is to be accomplished, and that it should be given positively at a time
when the objective mind is inactive, and thus not setting up counter images. But the
matter is not so simple as this, because the same suggestion offered to one person
connects up with desire energies and images that have been conditioned in one way,
yet when offered to another person connects up with desire energies and images
which are conditioned to release energies in the opposite direction.

One person repeating the affirmation, I am well, just before going to sleep and just at
the moment of awakening, while in the border state between sleep and waking, may
be greatly benefited. Another person doing the same thing may find that the illness is
growing worse. When the thought, “I am well,” is brought to the attention of his
unconscious mind, it immediately connects up with the images of the illness. These
autosuggestions, being stronger than the suggestions coming in, then draw the
attention of the unconscious mind to themselves. The releases, thus are in the
direction of illness, instead of in the direction of health.

Yet through a study of this second person’s birthchart, or through finding out in some
other manner how he has been conditioned in reference to certain strong releases of
desire energy, it is possible to devise a form of affirmation which will not set up
counter autosuggestions. If his Religious urges, for instance, have been such as to
cause him to have a belief in the power and beneficence of Deity, the affirmation may
be so used as to make such energies available. Many people whose unconscious
minds immediately oppose to the thought of them healing themselves the
autosuggestion that they will remain ill in spite of any effort of their own,
nevertheless have a strong belief that God has the power to heal.

To the confirmed atheist, the affirmation, God is love; God is everywhere; God’s
love has the power to heal; God gives me perfect health; I am getting well,” would be
opposed by the autosuggestion that God has no existence, therefore, I will remain ill.
But to one whose religious training has given his unconscious–in spite of what his
objective mind thinks about the matter–a belief in God’s power, the suggestion that
through God’s love and power the health is improving is apt to offer no counter

And right here a word should be said about the much abused idea of faith. In the
matter of suggestion and affirmation it is not what the objective mind believes that is
important; only what strong images are in the unconscious mind. If the disbelief in
the objective mind is strong enough and repeated enough to build a counter image in
the unconscious mind, so that the counter image gets the unconscious attention
instead of the image suggested, the suggestion will merely draw more energy into
this opposite image and cause what it represents to work out more fully. Yet
thousands of people are healed of various complaints who are decidedly skeptical in
their objective minds as to the possibilities of such methods.

Religious belief is one of the strongest organizations in the unconscious mind that
can readily be used to get the attention and energy for suggested thoughts, because
most children have accepted the power and beneficence of Deity. Even though in
adult life they have no belief in such powers, yet the suggestion that the
difficulty–physical, financial, or whatnot–is being corrected through the
intervention of God’s power, connects up with the Religious Urge thought
organization in their astral body as it was conditioned in childhood. Their later
beliefs have not had emotional energy enough to recondition this early-formed
organization. Therefore, the unconscious mind offers no opposite autosuggestions,
and the image is brought to its attention in just the form stated in the affirmation.

Detecting Possible Autosuggestions

–One method of discerning what probable autosuggestions will develop from using
a given affirmation is to employ the method of Free Association. That is, while in a
relaxed state of mind, such as is most favorable to receiving such a suggestion, state
the affirmation once, just as it is intended to use it, and then let the mind drift. If the
word strength, for instance, is the essential thought in the affirmation, note what
associations this word has when permitted to follow the line of free association. If,
when it is thus used, images arise in the mind in which one has used strength In the
past successfully to overcome obstacles, or to accomplish some desired purpose, the
word strength may very well be included in the affirmation. But if images arise in
which lack of strength brought disaster, or in which lack of strength in some manner
brought a disagreeable experience, that word had better be discarded, and another
word sought.

Some people are so negative–as shown by the negative planets prominent in their
birth-charts–that almost any suggestion offered in a very positive manner to them
by another person is brought before, and held tenaciously by, their unconscious
minds. But other people are so positive–as shown by the positive planets prominent
in their birth-charts–that suggestions offered by others tend to develop
autosuggestion images of much power. And these tendencies of the individual to
react in a particular way because of basic temperament–that is, the birth
organization of the thought structures in his astral body–must be taken into
consideration in the application of suggestion and affirmation.

Yet by a study of this birth organization of the thought-cells and thought structures,
and by testing out through the method of free association, the tendency toward
certain forms of autosuggestion can be ascertained. Then such words, or such
methods can be avoided as tend to release energy in the direction of Negative
Desires; and affirmations can be devised such that their associations in the
unconscious mind will connect them up with powerful desires already here, directing
all into the desired channel.

How much is accomplished by the affirmations or other suggestions is determined by
the amount of desire energy they can enlist through their associations and the
attention given them by the unconscious mind. The direction in which these energies
will work depends not necessarily upon the thoughts suggested, but upon the
thoughts and images to which the unconscious mind has its attention directed.

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