Why Should We Say Affirmations in the Present Tense


What is the reason behind saying affirmations in the present tense, that is to say you already have wealth even if you are materially poor, or if you want good friends to affirm you already have it? it appears contradictory? is it because you are affirming from a "spiritual" level instead of one’s limited "egoic" material level where clearly there may appear to be a lack, so you are affirming from your higher "soul" nature where you are complete in everything?

—SS, United States


Dear SS,

It is important to say affirmations in the present tense because we are tuning into our consciousness as a soul where we are complete, just as you say. Our soul is an individualized expression of God. What God has, we have. It is at our egoic level of consciousness where we see separation and lack. Affirmation, like all spiritual practices, must emphasize union, removing the veils that seem to separate us. It requires that we access that level of our consciousness, superconsciousness, that attunes with our soul nature and with God.

Swami Kriyananda relates a story in his autobiography, The New Path, of a time when he was sitting with several monks having a spiritual discussion with Yogananda and this topic was touched on.

‘But Sir,’ he (a monk) objected, ‘if I said I was free, I wouldn’t really be free, would I?’

‘Oh, yes! (replied Yogananda) That is, you would be if you said it in the consciousness of freedom. But you’ve answered your own question: You’ve said, ‘I wouldn’t be.’ The trouble is, the mind is already poisoned by the very delusions it is trying to dispel; it lacks force.’

Master (Yogananda) went on to tell a story to illustrate his point. ‘A man who was being troubled by a demon searched the scriptures for a way to dispose of the evil entity. Finding the remedy, he recited certain words over a handful of powder, which he then threw onto the demon. “It won’t work!” the demon laughed. “Before you said your incantations over the powder, I got into it myself! How, then, could it affect me?” The mind, you see, is like that powder already infected with the very demon of ignorance it is trying to dispel.’

This story illustrates that the devotee’s mind must be attuned to the positive truth of the affirmation for it to have spiritual power. Choose an affirmation which you feel deeply attuned to in your expanded uplifted heart center. Feelings both positive and negative reside in the heart as well as your mind. Saying an affirmation just because it seems like a good idea without the longing of the heart will usually yield weak results. The affirmation should have a ring of truth in your consciousness such that you can say it without injecting seeds of doubt.

Once you have chosen your affirmation, practice it regularly, daily, several times per day with much concentration and energy. Good times to practice affirmations are when waking up, as you pass from the subconscious, the superconscious and into waking consciousness — and similarly when going to sleep.

Repeat the affirmation aloud to penetrate it into the conscious mind, in a whisper to penetrate it in the subconscious mind, and then silently concentrating at the point between the eyebrows to penetrate it in the superconscious mind.

It is also helpful to practice the affirmation silently at the end of a period of meditation. You can even practice your affirmation while walking or doing some routine repetitive activities. When you take the affirmation into all levels of your consciousness, you engage the strengths of each level to help you make the change you seek.

Many blessings on your affirmation practice,
Nayaswami Mukti