The Seven A’s of Healing Part 7: Affirmation
In the last part of my series about the Seven A’s of Healing, based on Dr. Gabor Mate’s excellent book, When The Body Says No: Exploring The Stress-Disease Connection, I’ll explore affirmation, a perfect way to wrap things up.
Affirmation is something I really love, believe and do every day, pretty much constantly. To affirm means to make a positive statement, or moving toward something of value to us.
For example, you can affirm your faith, spiritual practices and values. Your life is a living affirmation.
Here’s the key thing: Are you conscious of what you’re affirming? Or, is it unconscious and are you actually affirming and spending money on the things that are ultimately eating away at your chance of living your dream and accomplishing your goals and objectives every day?
Affirmation as healing
Dr. Mate says there’s two ways of affirming that are essential for healing. One is to affirm your “self,” the self which is “I as an individual.” You are a point of consciousness in the universal mind, the divine mind or in life itself.
Then, he refers to the universe, and I will talk more about these in more depth in my vlog, but here I’m using a Jungian concept, the Self (with a capital s), which simply means to affirm everything that allows your “self” to exist.
This process begins with knowing your dream. The Grand Canyon test I shared with you last time is a great way to get clarity about your dream for your day, your week, your month, your year.
Having a dream means you are putting potential in tension. You’re taking something that’s everywhere and nowhere at once and activating the laws of the universe which are symbolized in the tai chi symbol. You’re putting it in tension. That’s what causes spirit to flow.
Basically, everything in the universe is energy and information. When energy flows in a direction, you have spirit which is potential downloading itself into action, perception or realization as a tangible experience. And there is a perpetual transformation process because every act of creativity inspires some kind of change and gives us some opportunity to learn, live, love and grow.
So, our first affirmation is to clearly state our dream, affirm it out loud and really get behind it. Eat, sleep, breathe and shit it (because what comes out reflects what went in).
Our values and instincts matter
The dreams we believe in must also be supported by our values, a critical point I discuss in How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy! In essence, our values are an affirmation.
Dr. Mate makes references to values in his book multiple times. Values are your codes of conduct that define what is happy-making for you. What are you willing to do? When are you going to do it?
Your values about movement, what are you going to do to keep yourself healthy and fit, and how much movement and what type of movement are all based on your dream. In other words, how you move your body, your emotions and your mind all represent affirmations of your dream.
When you have your dream and values in place, you’re moving into process each day, from the moment you wake up until you’re in deep dreamless sleep. It’s just not conscious…
Actually, this process goes much, much deeper than you can imagine, down to your basic instincts which are woven into the very structure of your nervous system and reach down into every single cell in your body.
One of those instincts is breathing. You’d think most people would have that pretty much wired, but fear, anxiety, self-judgment, trauma, poor exercise habits (doing too much abdominal exercise and not enough abdominal stretching or extension conditioning) and other things can disrupt your breathing.
For example, if you’re ruminating on your problems all the time and focusing on what you don’t want — one of the prime causes of addiction — you can get so caught up in your own secret story that you stop breathing or start hyperventilating. So, your first instinct is breathing.
Another instinct that very few people talk about (although Carl Jung and Amit Goswami have) is creativity. If you’re not creating what you want, it’s fairly safe to say you’re probably creating what you don’t want unless you’re consciously doing something as a means to getting to the next point in your destination of your stated journey or dream.
Values are very, very important because they help us know when to say yes or no, but instincts are even deeper than values. Instincts really allow us to meet our core needs.
If you don’t have love, breath, food or shelter and you don’t have the ability to defecate or urinate effectively for any reason, then you’re in a crisis.
At that point, values become secondary because you go into survival mode. When people are in survival mode, they tend to reach for things that medicate their pain. Unfortunately, that is the door to a lot of addictions.
There is no perfect
This is a good place to stop and let you watch the entirety of my vlog to absorb the rest of my message, specifically about the cycle of affirmation.
Before I go, however, I want to leave you with this thought…
Going through the process of clarifying your values, honoring your instincts and engaging in the process of producing and living your dream doesn’t mean life is going to be perfect all the time.
It doesn’t mean that you’ll always have money in the bank or your relationships are going to be smooth and easy. This is how the Great Spirit in all of us works. It loves all of this. This is how the Great Spirit evolves. When you evolve, the universe evolves. If the universe evolves, then God’s evolving.
Some people have a hard time with this concept. Then again, a lot of people find thinking too hard to truly engage in it so they just rearrange their prejudices which, unfortunately, is what many of us call religion by a different name today.
It’s not really based on deep affirmation, worship or awareness. It’s really just regurgitating what somebody else said or read out of a book and believing it’s true even when it’s causing a lot of pain.
Having a spiritual life means connecting with something greater than ourselves.
Dr. Mate suggests that we affirm ourselves and then we affirm ourselves as part of the universe. The Self in Jungian psychology means that which we’re connected to.
Every plant in the garden is connected to the earth in the garden. It’s connected to the water in the garden. It’s connected to the sunshine. It’s connected to the moon. It’s connected to the air. So there’s examples of the Self. The plant cannot grow without earth, water, fire, air, space and warmth.
As human beings, we’re connected to a family or a gene line. Often, we’re connected to a community, society or culture, but we’re all connected to the world.
Affirming the Self is realizing that you’re part of something much bigger than your individual I, but your individual I is an inherent component of the we and all.
Thanks for joining me on this journey of discovery into the Seven A’s of Healing, with the help of Dr. Gabor Mate.
If you’ve been wanting to catch up with on this series, all you have to do is hit the links below and they will take you where you want to go.
- Part 1: Acceptance
- Part 2: Awareness
- Part 3: Anger
- Part 4: Autonomy
- Part 5: Attachment
- Part 6: Assertion
Love and chi,