“Self-talk” (the things that we say to ourselves or that automatically surface from our unconscious mind) leads us to joy and happiness or separation and pain. Self-talk pushes us to act in many different and important ways.
I see this with my granddaughters all the time. When one of the twins is picking on the other twin and says something critical of the other, it creates a dramatic “tornado” of destruction in the room.
One would say to the other, “You don’t know how to do that right.” Or “Grow up!” The other would immediately be offended and a fight would flare up.
One day, I said to the one being critical, “Life is really joyous; life is joyous and happy; life is wonderful!” I said this over and over again while looking right at her. I told her to say that to herself. Reluctantly, she did and very soon a smile came on her face and she completely forgot about her sister’s previous action. She went back to eating her breakfast with a smile on her face.
I asked one of the girls a number of times during that morning to say something else to herself and to direct her self-talk specifically at whatever triggered the negativity that in turn led to the beginning of another verbal fight. For instance, I asked her to say to herself, “My sister didn’t understand.” Or, “When my sister yells at me, it’s like a warm breeze moving past me.” Or “I enjoy my sister’s singing and laughing.” Or “I love my sister.” Each time her demeanor and actions dramatically changed. Happiness and joy started to pervade their relationship and the house that morning.
Self-talk is very powerful and makes us act in ways we often don’t want.
I had been asking the twins to do what the Yoga Sutras call the practice of “pratipaksha bhavana.” “Pratipaksha bhavana” is the practice of “doing the opposite of what you are doing” so that the desired result happens. They want happiness and joy, so they needed to think accepting, loving, and happiness thoughts, which made them not be critical of the other.
Negative self-talk (sometimes coming from deep unconscious thought patterns) has painful, destructive consequences and produces negative actions and words from our mouths. These often drive us to sickness, sadness and relationship problems, like with my granddaughters.
Therefore, we need to change the deeply-rooted unconscious “samskaras” (thought patterns). We need to know deeply that we are loved by God and, as the Catholic mystic, Julian of Norwich, says, “All will be well.”
This is the truth, according to the Yoga Sutras. This is the highest knowledge, “sri vidya.” When we say things like,
I feel no animosity towards anyone or anything that happens to me. (Yoga Sutra 2:35)
I think and speak the positive truth constantly. (Yoga Sutra 2:36)
I take nothing in word, thought, or deed that belongs to another. (Yoga Sutra 2:37)
I am in total control of my sensual desires and diminish their power over me. (Yoga Sutra 2:38)
I detach myself completely from clinging to my possessions. (Yoga Sutra 2:39),
we will experience incredible consequences, according to the Yoga Sutras. Each of these affirmations will bear powerful fruit. Each, if diligently and consistently spoken to ourselves, will produce actions that will free us from all the restrictions that hold us in our world of pain and misery.
May we begin to speak differently to ourselves in this New Year. Happy New Year!