Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Weighing of the Heart....or...How Not to Get Eaten by Ammit

The Weighing of the Heart
"Forgiveness and love, cannot be earned, deserved, bought, sold, won, or forced. They are a gift and should never be taken for granted or expected. Only accepted."

-Hussein Nishah


The "Weighing of the Heart" ritual seen in the Book of Coming forth by Day is, for me, like most spiritual teachings, reflective of something deeper than a plain reading would otherwise indicate. On it's face, the Weighing of the Heart appears to be simple "be good or get punished" morality teaching not unlike the Annihilationist view of Hell espoused by some members of the Christian faith. Sure, it's more merciful than the eternal torment motif presented by traditional Christian theology, but it's still a simplistic "be good, get rewarded" "be bad, get punished" morality the likes of which I, admittedly have little time for. Like most sacred concepts, I think that the key to the reality beyond the metaphor is to be found, not in a simplistic "be good and don't do bad things" morality (which is inarguably a wise manner in which to comport one's self), but in a deeper reading of what the *Weighing of the Heart actually implies.

How does one, even metaphorically, place one's heart and it's burdens against a feather and expect it to weight less? It seems impossible because, on its face, it is. But, like most moral dictates reflective of spiritual mastery, the imagery, the metaphor, is extreme so as to make a stark point. Not unlike Christ's command that those who would choose to follow him  must (according to Luke 14:26) hate their families and even their lives in order to be his disciple, the imagery of the weighing of the heart poses a difficult or even impossible dilemma for the soul about to face judgment.

 The heart's weight is, mythically, judged against the 42 Negative Confessions, which are a set of precepts in alignment with Ma'at who is both the goddess of Divine Law and the personification of that Law. Upon reading the Negative Confessions, the reader, if honest, will certainly come to the inescapable conclusion that Ammit awaits and his or her soul is doomed to be devoured by the great beast. The challenge of the Negative Confessions is that it is effectively, in my opinion (and experience of Divinity), impossible to have failed to violate any number of Divine Principles over the course of one's lifetime (many times). The 42 Negative Confessions are a blind, or in other words, a smokescreen through which the uninitiated cannot see. A literal approach to the Weighing of the Soul leads to a decidedly fatalistic conclusion because all humans stumble, fall and fail from time to time. It's part and parcel of the human condition. Fortunately, the 42 Negative Confessions are a symbol that point the way to the truth. When the wise present an impossibility (a hyperbolic spiritual teaching in this case) it is in order to cause the initiate to look at the problem from different perspective. No spiritual challenge is insurmountable because such challenges are corrective, educational or initiatory in nature and not sadistic or punitive.

In the case of the Weighing of the Heart and the 42 Negative Confessions, one cannot get around the law, one must transcend it, finding the law behind the written law.

The fact is that we will all do things, even unintentionally, that are ethically/morally questionable at best or cruel and destructive at worst. Such unintentional "sins" against ourselves, others and the gods are unavoidable, though such missteps should sharply diminish in frequency as one gains wisdom. To have a heavy heart, a heart heavier than a feather,  is to bear, unto one's death, the guilt of unforgiven regret. This is the weight of one's sins. Not that we won't feel regret, we will from time to time, but we needn't be crushed under it's weight and we certainly do not need to carry until our last breath.

How then  do we transcend the guilt fed by regret and cause our heart to be weightless?

One lifts the burdens from one's heart through forgiveness, authentic self-forgiveness. Many methods of forgiveness of self and others have been proposed and, depending on the individual, they can work, however, the type of forgiveness I am going to propose dovetails with the bigger picture of the soul's evolution.

To forgive in such a way as to have a heart lighter than a feather is to do more than try to let go of the pain and emotional charge of one's regrets, but to instead see the necessary letting go as a side effect of a fundamental shift in consciousness. I am referring to a shift in consciousness that allows one to see the thread of one's life from a broader perspective, a perspective more akin to that of one's HGA, Higher Self, or the gods themselves. This is the perspective of clarity and wisdom undimmed by the ignorance of the ego-self, through its selfishness and thoughtlessness, that sinned against the gods and one's fellow man in the first place. The key is getting off the game board entirely.

Albert Einstein once said, "“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them," and he is correct. One's paradigm must shift so as to become more expansive, to see more broadly than we have before. The most elegant way, the way most attuned to our evolution as magicians, mystics and the wise is to actively and dedicatedly commit to our spiritual growth. The change in perspective I'm referring to is the natural outgrowth, the reward if you will, of fundamentally transforming the way in in which you view both yourself and life in general.

Seeking the face of the Divine whether one calls this the quest for god-realization, self-realization, enlightenment, nirvikalpa samadhi, apotheosis, becoming one of the ancestors, etc. is the method by which one develops the necessary lightness of heart the gods require. Consciously attending to one's spiritual evolution through practices in tune with your personal path, practices such as meditation, qigong, yoga, theurgic ritual, devotional rites, or those means that most suit you is the key to the door that grants access to the understanding of  the law at work behind the 42 Negative Confessions. With this attainment, you may see yourself as the gods see you, the being that wears the face you wore before incarnation, the being whose essence never left their side and who is essentially of one substance with them.

For those that fail to achieve the necessary lightness of heart, being found wanting by the gods, the slavering jaws of Ammit await. Ammit's jaws are not the end, they do however represent the catabolic spiritual process by which the personality is scrubbed from the soul in question, leaving in it's place only forgetfulness, basic patterns of consciousness and, usually, mere echoes (at most) of one's prior existence before being "eaten." Thus is the soul again set to reincarnate into the physical world with all of its learnings and lessons. This is the death offered by Ammit, the annihilation of the personality you know, in this incarnation, as you. For most, this is a terrifying proposition.

The continuation of the personality intact, enlightened, and knowingly part of a far greater whole is true immortality beyond the Wheel of Return This is the gift of the heart which is lighter than a feather. Each of us, metaphorically speaking, has been devoured by Ammit over and over again lifetime after lifetime and most of us will be devoured again. However, those of us who choose to cultivate the awareness that will allow us to stand tall amongst the Shining Ones in the Hall of Osiris will see and know ourselves as they know us.....

As Divine.



(* Note that what is contained herein is a modern Pagan theological perspective on the Weighing of the Heart, the Laws of Ma'at, the 42 Negative Confessions and what they represent. This is not an attempt to recreate ancient Egyptian models of thought and no claim is made to that effect by the author. This article is the result of the author's personal gnosis, study and understanding and is not for those of a reconstructionist mindset.)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Antinomianism in Modern Pagan Witchcraft Part 1 (The Witch's Antinomian Aesthetic)

“Never the spirit was born;
the spirit shall cease to be never;
Never was time it was not;
End and Beginning are dreams!
Birth-less and deathless and
changeless remaineth the spirit forever.
Death hath not touched it all,
dead though the house of it seems!”
- Sir Edwin Arnold


A lot of Pagans love the darkly mysterious paraphernalia, imagery and settings of what I'll call the "Witch's Antinomian Aesthetic." (just Witch's Aesthetic from here on in) Who isn't drawn to that which represents mystery, antiquity, substance, and power? Animal bones or horns on the altar, half-melted candles on authentic appearing human skulls (imagery that represent mortality and the world of spirits), shadowy d├ęcor as often as not bathed in the smoke of burning incense, old leather-bound grimoires, fearful (to non-witches anyway) images of gods like Hekate, Cernunnos, Morrigan, colors such as black and red (death and blood, shadows and passion/power), ravens (Pagans seem to love ravens about as much as we love wolves), the moon (naturally), and night in general are part and parcel of the Witch's Aesthetic.

I admit it, I love this stuff. Sure, it can be kitschy if overdone, but I love the aesthetic and find it more compelling than other potential aesthetic sensibilities. For me, as an issue of personal taste, the Witch's Aesthetic is simply more appealing than, for example, a New Age aesthetic with its bright, sunny, rainbow-kissed sensibility. However, because I have great respect for the power of symbol and metaphor, especially in a psycho-spiritual/magickal context, I don't casually embrace the Witch's Aesthetic in either my life or my practice. In my experience, to surround one's self with symbols not invested with purpose is to diminish their potency should one choose to eventually use them with purpose. In other words, anything of the Witch's Aesthetic that is on my altar or in my personal space is always placed there with a full awareness of its purpose and meaning. Even I feel it looks "cool" and witchy, those qualities are far and away of less importance than the deep meaning of the object(s) in question.

It cannot come as a surprise that the Witch's Aesthetic embraces a "darker" sensibility when one considers the fact that witchcraft is essentially an antinomian path. There is an inherent rebellious spirit within the essence of witchcraft, even if that rebellion is, for many, unspoken, unrealized and largely unfocused. To be a witch is to firstly, embrace and reclaim terms (witch and witchcraft) that have, historically speaking, been defined as that which is inherently malevolent. Secondly, to be a witch is to, by varying degrees, stand outside of Western culture and the normative spiritual and religious dynamics of that culture and to be, at least internally, perpetually "other" outside of the Pagan/Witchcraft community.

Whether consciously or unconsciously, the Witch's Aesthetic embraces what I would term "Sacred Darkness." Sacred Darkness is the holy ground where much of what is fundamental, sacred, and powerful in the human experience has been relegated . Within this Sacred Darkness are all of those things our ever-increasingly post-Christian society still, as a matter of course, rejects due to effect of the stranglehold moral dualism has had on the Western psyche for nearly 2000 years. Christianity, as practiced by the masses (ie. exoterically), is a moralistic, solar faith. All that is sinful, according to exoteric Christianity, has been relegated to the shadows. Much of that which is most powerful in the human experience, that which can be overwhelming, transformative, and dangerous, such as, for example, the natural process of death, has been made to seem an aberration not of this world. Death itself has been sealed away into the Sacred Darkness, demonized and turned into the work of The Enemy to be defeated once and for all when Jesus returns in glory to judge the living and the dead.

Can it be any surprise that death, darkness and the seemingly macabre play a role in the Witch's Aesthetic?

That which is culturally repressed will eventually find voice and the Witch's Aesthetic provides one such voice to a greater or lesser extent. To a greater extent when the aesthetic is consciously adopted to knowingly express/reflect the repressed realities in the context of one's spiritual path and to a lesser extent when one is merely the unconscious voice of Western Society's collective neurosis.

To consciously choose one's aesthetic and approach is to be empowered and powerful, while to serve as the unwitting voice of the damaged Western Psyche is to be disempowered no matter how "Darkly Powerful" one believes one appears. To be unconscious is, in my opinion, to reflect a kind of angst ridden spiritual adolescence, a rebel without a cause, or as it has been termed, "Dark Fluffy."

To be continued....



Sunday, June 29, 2014

Thoughts on Magick, Mysticsm and Their Meeting in the Place of Devotion

Altar of Devotion By Rassouli
"O Love, O pure deep Love, be here, be now,
Be all – worlds dissolve into your
stainless endless radiance,
Frail living leaves burn with your brighter
than cold stares –
Make me your servant, your breath, your core."

-Rumi


Though it is often packaged as such in books geared to both a New Age and Pagan audience, spirituality is not merely an assortment of self-help concepts, processes and techniques presented in a flowery, mysterious, or inspiring manner (depending on the audience in question) and dressed up in mythic drag (being granted gravitas via a sense antiquity), true spirituality is instead about service to something higher than one's ego-self. In its healthiest manifestations, spiritual practice can, and often does, bring about profound and healing changes in both body and mind via the power of changed perception, healthier patterns of thought, diminished stress, the release of psychic baggage and an overall health promoting attitudinal adjustment.

The known beneficial effects of spiritual practice are most notable for those who, against the prevailing point of view of pop-spirituality, choose to ignore, consciously set aside, and temporarily forget these benefits when stepping in front of the altar. Seeing the healing, comforting, uplifting, and beneficial qualities of one's spiritual practice as primary, as opposed to as the side-effects of proper practice, is to place the cart firmly before the horse. To approach one's spiritual practice from a place of "lust for results" as opposed to a place of mystical relationship is to cause one's self long-term suffering in the form of wordless emptiness, an endless grasping and hunger for the shiny and the novel, and an endless seeking but never finding. The real secret is to approach one's spiritual practice from a place of self-less-ness or true self abnegation (ie. surrender). In doing so, the benefits of spiritual practice more easily manifest.

Paradoxically, by removing one's self from the equation via an attitude of self-forgetting when performing one's spiritual practices, one is immediately placed in a state of greater alignment, and therefore communion, with one's greater Self (Higher Self, HGA, Atman, Osiris, Christ, Isis, Horus, The Beloved, etc.) which is the very same Self partaken of by all things. As it has been said, "you must lose yourself in order to find your Self."

Not surprisingly, a magician may find himself initially recoiling from the idea of surrender. Early on, we learn that to be a magician is to be powerful and empowered. We learn to exert our intention and manifest our desires via the techniques of magick. Surrender is for the weak (ie. the religious). In some contexts this attitude would be correct. However, in this case, such an attitude toward the concept of surrender is wrong-headed and limiting. In the context of magickally sound devotional spirituality, self-abnegation can be seen as an act great power and will. It is no small thing, via an act of magickal will, to push aside the grasping selfishness of the ego so as to make room for the manifestation, within the magician, of his or her higher nature. To approach the concept surrender from the place of realizing that the "Will of the Gods" is none other than one's "True Will", the Will that transcends the ephemeral, is wisdom not weakness.

The realigning of attitude achieved through proper spiritual practice is something that is most vividly seen in the act of making non-reciprocal devotional offerings to one's God(s). The act of giving via taking one's time choosing and obtaining the appropriate offering(s), the implied power dynamic of the "lesser" offering service or gifts to the "greater" out of love, with no thought of personal gain, the act of unbesmirched self-offering, pushes the ego directly off the game board thereby leaving room for the reflection of that which is being served to expand within the magician. This happens naturally and effortlessly. If it is forced, devotion fails, becoming an act of ego-service as opposed to an edifying spiritual act.

Devotional practice is not about slavish obeisance to a power or powers beyond one's self, but is instead about alignment, the alignment of the Microcosm with the Macrocosm. The power of alignment, of aligning the self with the Divine, the self with the Self, naturally brings about a state of harmony and balance. As dissonance becomes resonance one experiences greater psychological wholeness, spiritual elevation and the healing of psychic complexes buried deep within the subconscious mind. Harmony and balance, the alchemy that takes place as the microcosm is consciously aligned to the Macrocosm creates emotional, psychological and spiritual health.

Acts of spiritual devotion are, via the attitude of consciously choosing to give of one's self, one's energy and one's intention, magickal in nature. Acts of spiritual devotion are also, via the kenotic nature of true devotional practice, acts of mysticism. The magick, through intent, action and conscious choice, makes room in the practitioner's consciousness for the work of the mystic, via kenosis, which invites (not commands) the effects of the unforced, natural Grace (the freely offered gift of the gods). In time, the Grace bestowed by proper alignment allows the self to realize the Self, the mortal to immanentize the Divine.

Thus are magick and mysticism made one in love.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The "New Atheism"

Atheism has come into its own over the last few years primarily, it seems, as a reaction to American Fundamentalist Christianity. Led by the "Four Horsemen" (pictured left) this "New Atheism" has grown in popularity.

However, like nearly anything else, for me, the novelty has worn off. The truth is that, I have grown quite weary of the New Atheists despite the joy I find in watching them intellectually rend the most superficial and farcical aspects of religion....of which there are, admittedly, a great many.

Over the years of reading their books and watching innumerable debates in which members of the Four Horsemen (as they are collectively referred to) tear down the most preposterous ...arguments for the existence of God I have come to notice a pattern. I have come to notice that the New Atheists are at their best when they are able to intellectually overwhelm the shoddy arguments of simplistic religious fundamentalists. Their weakness is however, where religious thought is concerned, that they never really wade out, intellectually speaking, past the shallow end of the pool. The deepest understanding of God challenged by the New Atheists is...perhaps...the bad argumentation of the oft quoted C.S. Lewis...and that's only because he has the cache of being a British Intellectual of sorts. Lewis did go to Oxford after all. Lewis' arguments for belief in God are still, in my opinion, weak and full of inconsistencies. That anyone still refers to Lewis' Trilemma, his "Liar, Lunatic or Lord" argument still leaves me scratching my head.

None of these professional critics of religion...and that is what they have become...reflect on deeper or esoteric spiritual thought. Through their good arguments against bad religion, countless people reject the possibility that we are more than delusional meat sacks who erroneously believe there is more to reality than that which can be measured and quantified.

When the New Atheists, as a whole, have the courage to look at the God of Meister Eckhart, Thomas Merton, Ramakrishna, Rumi, Plotinus, Jewish Kabbalists or sophisticated polytheistic religious thinkers, I'll have greater respect for their rather extreme anti-theist arguments. I won't agree with them, but I'll have greater respect for their absolutist points of view. The New Atheists will never tackle the issue of a more sophisticated conception of the Divine because one has to study for years....as well as practice certain disciplines...in order to experience the "God(s)" of the mystics. The New Atheists and their devotees seem painfully unaware that there are many sophisticated and nuanced experiences and understandings of what most in the West call "God."

It's far easier to poke fun at the God of Christian Sunday School than it is to look deeper. To be fair to the New Atheists, there is a great deal to make fun of. What the New Atheists...and their nearly cultic following does well is provide a needed counterbalance to the tide of know-nothing, dumb, fundamentalistic religiosity that is growing more and more common in the U.S. For that, I salute them.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Affirmations, Speaking to Your Subconscious Mind

(What follows is a subchapter of a book I was writing when I was around 23 years old. This was initially written for a New Age as opposed to Pagan audience and the presentation reflects that reality. Though my current style of writing is arguably more sophisticated and my point of view no longer New Age, the information herein is still valid even now, 19 years later)

"A powerful agent is the right word. Whenever we come upon one of those intensely right words...the resulting effect is physical as well as spiritual, and electrically prompt."
‑Mark Twain




Affirmation has often been considered one of the centerpieces of spiritual/emotional change, especially during the heyday of the New Age movement. Though the practice of affirmation can be invaluable in regards to any growth process, it can only be considered an adjunct to inner work, not a replacement for it.

Affirmation, at its best, is literally the construction of thought. I call affirmation the construction of thought because in essence that's what it is. When creating affirmation, you are setting the tone for your thought patterns. In so doing, you are acting in a fully responsible manner in regards to your mental self.

By using affirmation, you are able to consciously silence the voice of your own inner critic, the part of you who is constantly negative and judgmental. This critic, actually your ego, has in its interest your failure because in that way it will be vindicated, "I told you so, see that's how the world really is".  
Using affirmation allows you to rewrite the subconscious scripts of your reactions. Instead of being at the mercy of past influences, you decide what you wish to think, and when you wish to think it. This ultimate level of responsibility will, with time and intention, afford you the ability to form entirely new positive belief structures. By creating new belief structures you will be able to experience life on more loving, more spiritual and more abundant terms. 

At its worst, affirmation is denial and self‑deception. I say this because the use of affirmation is questionable without first changing the subconscious patterns which so greatly impact our lives. Using affirmation without changing the beliefs, releasing the constricting emotions and ending the twisted desires that form the faulty perceptions through which you see the world, is equivalent to using chewing gum to patch a crack in the Hoover Dam.

Two influences, our beliefs and our emotions, are the final arbiter of our thought processes and this is a truth that cannot be circumvented by any amount of positive thinking. 

Early on, when I first started to study alternative forms of spirituality and holistic practices, I quickly started to work with affirmation. Up to that point I had read many accounts of those who had transformed their entire lives via positive thinking. Wow, I thought, if someone could seemingly cure themselves of life a life threatening illness, imagine what I could do, with my comparatively small problems. I was very enthusiastic, because I saw these practices as exactly what I was looking for. 

My greatest concerns ranged from getting girls to notice me to stopping the incessant taunting of my peers. These, besides my interests in metaphysical pursuits, were my greatest considerations at the time, as befitting a fourteen year old. 

In earnest, I began composing affirmations. I committed myself to allowing only positive thoughts and feelings. I continued with some fortitude for nearly a year, at which time I, thinking back now, must have seemed either extremely self‑righteous or saintly pious. 

I avoided everything I considered, in my very inexperienced perceptions, to by non‑spiritual. Anything from profanity to disobeying the teacher was to be stringently avoided for fear that one misstep would doom the process. In other words, I became an extremely repressed adolescent who felt nothing near the cosmic love I was promised. 

All through this period, I continued to compose affirmations and keep a "positive" outlook, at least on the exterior. To the outside world, I must have seemed like the most well adjusted adolescent in all the Wyoming Valley. I seemed kind, always turned the other cheek and respected authority. When I sought to make friends, I always searched among the underdogs and outcasts who weren't "cool" enough to enjoy the company of most others. I guess that I felt that it was my duty to befriend the unbefriendable.

Internally, I was being ripped to shreds. In order to only think positive thoughts, I swallowed all of my anger, hurt, fear and disappointment. In public, and also in private, I was completely inauthentic. Not only was I wearing a false face towards those around me, I was denying the truths of how I felt even to myself. I felt that if I faltered and allowed a "negative" thought to enter my mind, or felt a "negative" feeling, all would be lost. Eventually, any gesture of kindness that I would make would be an act of duty, not an act of love. Because of my repression and denial, my spirituality became a mask as well, a mask I would wear so that I could at least seem like a spiritual person. 

In all fairness, I can't say that such denial and self‑deception was recommended in the books that touted the value of affirmation. But sadly these books usually failed to include information on the necessity of releasing limiting beliefs and emotions.

Now seeing my life honestly for what it was at the time. I see that I allowed myself to be mistreated by my peers and turned all the darkness that rose up within me onto myself. Finally, erroneously believing that affirmation didn't work, I turned my back on the whole concept of positively impacting my reality through thought. 

Years passed before I learned the truth that affirmation does work, but it doesn't work alone. Affirmation, in order to produce permanent change, must be used in conjunction with the appropriate inner work. This cannot be overemphasized.

The most important concept to consider when using affirmation in the process of Reimagining, is that you are the source of all changes in your life and that your life experience is a mirror image of your inner reality. 

Any affirmations you may use to institute changes outside yourself, from your relations with friends or family, to increased financial abundance, or even to bring you a new job, are actually serving to align your inner world to the harmonious flow of the universe. 

I think it was the author Emmet Fox who said that no one has ever gained what wasn't already theirs by way of their consciousness, it is because of this that their is no way to manipulate others or your life through any process of growth and change.


Creating Affirmations
 
For something so powerful, affirmations are extremely easy and fun to create. By giving yourself the time and effort required to learn this valuable technique, you are acting as a conscious and responsible person who is functioning out of self‑love .


The Ground Rules:
 
1.  Write it down.
2.  Be as positive as possible.
3.  Keep it short.
4.  Keep it very specific.
5.  Let it speak to you.
6.  State it in the present tense.
7.  Use "I" instead of "you".
8.  Make sure that you, not others, are the focus.
9.  When creating a new belief, use an affirmation similar to the belief to be replaced.
10.  Begin to think in affirmation.


These Ground Rules are the fundamentals for successfully working with affirmations. Slight deviation won't necessary doom your efforts to failure, but may make your affirmations less effective.


1. It is very important to write down all affirmations you wish to use with any consistency. The act of writing seems to make the affirmation more real and less ethereal. Writing also helps you to remember your affirmations. Because your subconscious accepts the repetitive, it is important to always read or repeat the affirmations as you first created them, unless they no longer speak to you.

This is most important when you have created an affirmation to counteract a specific belief. When working with a positive belief that you've used to replace a limiting belief, such as during the Halls of Belief meditation, you must read or repeat the new belief exactly as you wrote it during the meditation.

When you write your affirmations, don't do it by wrote, instead really feel the letters of the words as you do. Feel and mentally repeat the affirmation as you pen it. In this way you are convincing your subconscious that you are serious and intent upon the work you are doing.

2. Being as positive as possible means that you use only supportive words when creating affirmations, words that accentuate the not only the possible, but the probable. The following words should be permanently removed from your mental repertoire.


Can't               Never             Should             Try

Perhaps           Maybe            Hurt                Angry

 
The subconscious mind has a propensity to focus on any negative words you may use, so it is important that these and other limiting words be excluded from any affirmation that you create.

Being as positive as possible also requires that you have some indication of the vocabulary of success. The vocabulary of success includes those words that are positive, uplifting, inspiring and even dramatic. A short list of these words follow:


Gorgeous        Energized       Unstoppable   Awesome

Captivating    Joyous            Loving            Extraordinary

Superb            Driven            Monumental   Brilliant

Vibrant           Phenomenal    Courageous    Blessed

Excellent        Spectacular     Fantastic         Wonder

 
These words and others like them will, should they be included in your affirmations, serve to motivate and revitalize both your conscious and subconscious minds.

Keeping your affirmations as positive as possible means that you focus on what you do want instead of what you don't. For example, instead of saying "I am no longer judgmental of myself or others", say instead "I am a loving and spiritual person who looks with acceptance upon myself and others ". 

 
3. It is important to keep your affirmations as short as possible while still conveying the fullness of the idea you wish to express. A good rule of thumb is this, if you find that your affirmation has become quite a long run on sentence, it's too long.

The shorter and more concise the affirmation, the more psychological and emotional impact it's going to have. The longer the affirmation, the more difficult it will be for you to remember it without varying its content.

 
4. When creating an affirmation, in order to work, it must be specific. It should only express one idea at a time. Save multiple affirmations for multiple affirmations. The subconscious enjoys simplicity. Straightforward, direct statements containing the essence of one idea are far more likely to be accepted than long, grandiose pronouncements expressing several ideas at once

 
5. For an affirmation to have the desired impact, it must capture you. You must feel the power of the words being conveyed. It must be able to draw up in you an emotional response such as love, joy, acceptance, confidence, hope, etc...

Concepts are driven into the subconscious via currents of emotion, repetition, or both. Because you want the affirmation to override your preexisting programming, you are advised to "feel" the impact of the words you use in your affirmations. Otherwise, it may take your subconscious mind a very long time to accept what you are trying to make it believe.


6. The subconscious mind works to achieve whatever is currently in its programming to the letter. This means that if you place your affirmations in the future tense with words or phrases like "one day" and "soon", your dreams will always be in the future tense. Your dreams will not manifest in the now if your subconscious always sees them as being manifest someday.

For example, instead of "Soon the job of my dreams is going to come to me." try "The job of my dreams is mine in accordance with the truth of my being."

Some people can become timid at the idea of phrasing their affirmations in the present tense, perhaps because they think it’s hubris or for fear that affirmation doesn't work and they'll prove it to themselves. By phrasing their affirmations in the future, the latter type of person never really put their affirmations or themselves to the test, the test involves risk and without risk their can be no success. 

7. When communicating with the subconscious whether via affirmation or the direct changing of belief, use "I" instead of "you". This is important because your subconscious mind accepts all concepts introduced to it verbatim. The use of "I" makes certain that your subconscious understands that the affirmation is concerning you and not another. This establishes you as the focus of all your positive efforts.


8. The outer reality you experience is a manifestation of your inner reality. This, one of the most basic metaphysical truths, also applies when you are working with affirmation. Concentrate on creating changes in your own beliefs and perceptions, not in the actions or behavior of others, this is what will bring about the changes you desire into your life. 

Writing affirmations, along with all inner work, is rightfully practiced in order to bring you closer to the truth of your own spiritual nature. The outward effects which occur because of that work, the success, love, abundance and joy are simply manifestations of your true spiritual birthright.

For example, Sarah has a terrible marriage, one marked by constant bickering and emotional abuse. Instead of looking at what this relationship reflects within herself, she decides to use her belief, intention, choice, and affirmation to change his spouse. In this case not only will his attempts very likely fail, she will be acting out of his own sense of powerlessness. 

She will essentially be telling his own subconscious mind that her spouse is responsible for her experience of the relationship. By reinforcing her victimhood, she is strengthening any beliefs she may possess regarding her personal weakness and causing the further entrenchment of her own negative patterns.

Should you attempt to use affirmation, or other processes, to bring change in others, you are acting out of accord with natural law. By doing this you are betraying your own lack of faith in the truth that you create your own reality by your own beliefs, choices, intentions and desires. You will be only more deeply entrenching your own weakness.


9. It is important, when replacing an old belief with a new, to construct the new belief with the same syntax as the old belief. As I have stated before, the subconscious thrives on similarity, and this practice allows it to accept the new belief more rapidly because it phonetically appears similar to the old. This process is enabling you to, in effect, superimpose a new believe over an old.

For example, if you find that you carry the belief, "My life is so difficult.", change it into, "My life is full of pleasure". You'll notice, the new belief has the same number of syllables as the old, and because of this the subconscious will be more likely to accept the new belief as true.This concept is most important when changing old limiting beliefs; it can be useful to remember it when crafting affirmations to support a new belief. Though it isn't entirely necessary, it can prove helpful for you to give all related affirmations the same syntax structure as the new empowering belief you wish to instill.
 
 
10.  Allow yourself to calmly focus on your affirmations throughout the day, and allow yourself to feel the positive emotions that will spontaneously bubble up from within you. 
 
Make your affirmations the mainstay of your thoughts, let them come to you while you work, play, or just daydream. The more reinforcement you give the positive changes you wish to make, the more likely they are to become permanent.
 
 
Sample Affirmations:  Here is a collection of affirmations I have created regarding a  number of life issues.  These can serve as inspiration for you when you create your own.
 

Love

 
I love myself  more and more every day.
Love comes easily and effortlessly to me.
I allow the power of love into my life.
The abundant power of love transforms me.
I embrace myself and my life with love.
My love for myself allows my life to be filled with miracles.
Every day in every way I allow more and more love into my life.
I surrender myself to the power of love.
I allow the love of my Higher Self to transform my life.
I express the love within me to all the world.
I am an example of the power and beauty of love.
I give and receive love easily.
I am an expression of divine love.
I live in the transcendent power of love.
 
 
Relationships
 
I am vulnerable with those I trust.
I allow myself to be moved by the care and love of others.
I attract the right love relationship into my life now.
My relationships are filled with the wonder and magic of love.
I allow others to reflect to me the beauty of who I am.
All my relationships are built upon the courage of intimacy and trust.
The truth of my spirituality is reflected in my relationships.
I allow the power of love to be evident between (Insert name) and I.
 
 

Health

 
I am filled with energy, enthusiasm and vibrant good health.
I release any constricting emotions and fill my heart with love.
Love is the power of miracles and I allow my health to be miraculous.
My body, mind, emotions and spirit are aligned in the power of love.
I trust myself to create my own optimum health.
Health and vibrant energy are mine.
Every day in every way I become more and more healthy.
I willingly learn the lessons of my body, mind, emotions and spirit
I accept and release the lessons of my health and watch it improve every day.
 
 

Spirituality

 
I accept the will of God into my life.
Every day in every way I come closer to the love of my Higher Self.
I allow myself to reflect the light and love that is God.
I learn from my mistakes and surrender the lessons to God.
I allow divine love and forgiveness to enter my life.
I allow myself to reflect the love of God to all those in my life.
My life reflects the beauty and transformative power of God.
My spirituality is reflected in all I do.
 
 

Abundance

 
The universe is a place of limitless opportunity and abundance.
I allow myself to claim the abundance that is my birthright.
I allow my successes to reflect the truth of my inner nature.
I can have it all.
I trust in my higher self to grant me my desires of abundance.
The world is a place of love and abundance.
My success is determined by my heart, not by what I am told.
I can be successful and spiritual at the same time.
I give thanks to the divine for the incredible abundance in my life.
I step out of the word I know and claim the abundance that is mine.
As a spiritual person I am willing to meet the obligation of my success.
I not only create success, but the results of my success.

Shakti Gawain, author of the bestselling book "Creative Visualization" recommends that you use references to some spiritual source when creating your affirmations because it imbues them with spiritual power.  I am in agreement, as long as your personal concept of divinity supports your empowerment.  Affirmations are not prayer, nor are they meant to be.  In creating affirmations you are taking responsibility for yourself, in this case taking responsibility may require that you uncover what deeply held beliefs you may carry regarding your personal perception of the Divine Source. 

Deep down, if you believe that the Creator is angry, vengeful, jealous, etc..., it is extremely unlikely that you will get the same results with your God centered affirmations as the person who believes that S/He is Love, Light, Happiness and Joy.

In this case I recommend that you change your beliefs about God, then, and only then, should you include any references to divinity in your affirmation work.  This will not only give you a more real perception of the divine, it will allow your affirmations to work even more magically and more powerfully than they otherwise would. 

In some of the above examples, there are affirmations, outside the category of Spirituality, with references to the Divine.  Use these as springboards from which to create your own spiritually centered affirmations.