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This is also a very simple yet powerful technique. If required, it can be used in conjunction with desensitization.

The power of suggestion is well known. It is so powerful that many people autosuggest themselves into illnesses. In other words, they think that they will suffer from an illness and in time they do suffer. People are continually autosuggesting themselves into negative situations. They feel inferior and eventually they act and project themselves as being inferior. On the other hand, some people think that they are superior and so their whole being and attitude towards life is pervaded with a feeling of superiority. Each ofthese states is as bad as the other, but they do illustrate the power of suggestion. Another person desires very much to pass an examination; he creates an autosuggestion and it is more than probable that he will pass. It depends on the depth of the autosuggestion; a shallow, half-hearted suggestion is unlikely to bring results, but a strong autosuggestion that penetrates the depths of the mind, will bring results without doubt. Autosuggestion is the driving force behind our actions in life, and by this we include suggestion from other people and the environment for these in turn are translated into autosuggestion. That is, in life we are continually receiving suggestions from our surroundings and other people and in turn transmitting our own suggestions. This in turn, if powerful enough and motivating enough, is transformed into autosuggestions. Take an example: a person meets another person who impresses him very much. If this impression is very deep (we would say suggestion) then that individual develops an autosuggestion to aspire to be like the person he met. Another person sees a beautiful garden, and if his nature is such, this suggestion will transform into autosuggestion to create his own garden to the same degree of beauty. The examples are endless. Our aim is to clearly and briefly convince you of the power of autosuggestion.

Autosuggestion is a powerful tool for eradicating and neutralizing mental problems. Let us take an example by considering a person who is scared of the dark. Since we spend much of our lives in the dark, and in fact it is impossible to totally avoid the dark, this fear or phobia will cause the individual a lot of mental distress. His mind will be in a continual state of tension and trepidation, consciously and subconsciously for he will always anticipate the next time he will be plunged into the infernal blackness. The original cause of the problem lies in the subconscious and must be recognized and eliminated eventually by meditational practices. Autosuggestion, however, is a valuable tool in helping him to come to terms with his fear at the present time. The person must first of all think and convince himself of the fact that this fear is really ridiculous. Though it causes emotional tension, as a factor in itself, it is essentially absurd. Initially this is only on an intellectual level, but the suggestion will eventually infiltrate into the deeper realms of the mind. Realize that the environment is no different whether it is light or dark. Consider that most people are not afraid of the dark, so why should I have this fear? And so on. Remember this is only on an intellectual level, but the autosuggestion will help you very much to remove the phobia.

Autosuggestion can be applied to all types of consciously known problems. It is especially effective if applied during states of relaxation in the same way that we described desen-sitization. Therefore, autosuggestion is ideally practised after your yoga program or any method of systematic relaxation. You can also use autosuggestion before and after sleep. It is during times of relaxation that the mind is receptive to suggestion. Repeat the autosuggestion, perhaps in the example we have given: 'I am not afraid of the dark', with intensity for a few minutes or so. This will help bring about the required change. If done with little feeling or belief, or half-heartedly then it will fail to bring about the required results.

As we have already pointed out, the real problem lies buried deep in the recesses of the subconscious mind. In the case of fear of the dark, you may have had an unfortunate experience when you were very young. Perhaps you were locked in a small, dark cupboard when you were three years old. Whatever the cause of your phobia it lies in your mind. The best way to remove the phobia is to find the root and exhaust it through meditational practices. Of this there is no doubt. But autosuggestion is a useful and effective aid in initially overcoming the problem and should be used as much as possible. By injecting a new attitude into the mind concerning the object of fear, the old negative, crippling attitude is neutralized and rendered ineffective, inactive and powerless.

You can use autosuggestion to help combat all types ofphobias, fears, complexes, conflicts, etc., once they are known.

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