When we recognize the sacred “I Am” presence, we acknowledge ourselves as an active aspect of the divine creator. Any word or thought we place after “I Am” is powerful; the phrase we utter can build or destroy, and we must be conscious of how we direct our energy. This is the reason we feel our heart or stomach sink when we say things such as, “I am not beautiful” — and, likewise, the reason we feel so much joy when we honestly say things like “I am a great friend”. If you knew that you could begin to change your life by changing your words and thoughts about yourself, would you do it?
It isn’t always as easy as it sounds, because we often stumble due to the habits and conditioning enforced by our mind and environment. Longer-term conditioning is more difficult to alter. If you have been telling yourself for seven years that you are unworthy of love because you believe you are the reason your marriage did not work out, it might take much more conscious attention, self-respect, and love for yourself to help you change the way you communicate who you are than just saying “I am enough” every few days, when you remember to do so. Positive affirmations and intentions are two different things.
A positive affirmation may help plant seeds, but it can easily be uprooted — or even blasted, in some cases — by the mind. You see, the mind works in cycles. It catches hold of an idea or a thought and repeats it ad infinitum. More often than not, these such ideas are negative ones because of the mind’s tendency to judge and compare. When we try to change the mind by using faculties of the mind, such as by thinking about what “I Am”, it does not work because the mind can easily revert to its conditioned behavior. That is why in order to fully understand and actualize the power of “I Am” it must be felt from the heart, without the mind.
Now, I am sure you are probably thinking, “Well, that sounds great, but what does that mean, and how do we do it?” The answer lies in the experience of the present moment, alone. The “now moment”, as it is often referred to, is very simple; it is only our minds which make time seem so complex. Have you ever found yourself lying awake at night, trying to sleep, but you can’t seem to stop thinking about a memory from years ago that made you really embarrassed? Or have you ever received an injury or had a chronic pain, and rather than feeling the full intensity of that pain your mind began to relay to the images or story of what caused the pain? The mind lives only ever in the future or the past, surfacing memories or projecting dreams. It can be a useful tool for retrospection and planning, sure, but it does not actually serve us to do things like accept, honor, or love ourselves or others. Rather, these are functions of the heart, which is our closest human link to God.
Because the mental has reigned in authority for so long on earth, we are often more inclined to follow our head over our heart. We have many opportunities presenting themselves now to do otherwise, due to the shifts in consciousness we are beginning to experience as a collective race. One way we can help ourselves to individually reconnect to the authority of the heart through the present moment is by practicing meditation. This is no secret or new discovery; meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. But it is now that it is resurfacing in the consciousness of the collective and spreading across areas of the world that have forgotten it or were previously unaware.
In my lived experience as a student and teacher of the Integrative Amrit Method of Yoga Nidra™, I have learned to more effortlessly bring my awareness to my heart and create from a place of joy with the power of the “I Am” intention. You see, in yoga nidra you are guided through a series of structured awareness techniques that induce particular brainwave states, or states of consciousness. As you participate in these breathing and awareness techniques, your consciousness shifts into such a deep state that you are no longer aware of or receptive to your thoughts. This is what we commonly refer to as “going below the mind” and living in the now moment. It is from this state of consciousness that we “plant the seeds” of intention, because your mind is not present to interfere. As yoga nidra is practiced over time, your subconscious begins to act upon your intentions and you may more freely create from the space of your heart. This is what makes intentions effective and why positive affirmations are not.
To learn more about the Integrative Amrit Method of Yoga Nidra™, visit my website at https://lightlifted.com/services/yoga-nidra, check out the Amrit Yoga Institute at https://amrityoga.org/yoga-nidra, and read Yoga Nidra: The Art of Transformational Sleep, by Kamini Desai, PhD (illustrated by me).