How to Use Thoughts of Immortality to Awaken Your True Self
From the Wisdom Legacy of Paramahansa Yogananda
Paramahansa Yogananda wrote:
“If you tune in with the thought of God and hit the nail of delusion with the hammer of right thoughts of Truth, you can overcome delusion.
“Destroy all mortal thoughts by substituting a thought of immortality.”
The italicized passages in this compilation from Paramahansaji’s talks and writings are affirmations and soul perceptions—“thoughts of immortality”—that you can use for a greater awareness of the Eternal, Blissful Reality within yourself and pervading all creation.
“I am the Changeless, I am the Infinite. I am not a little mortal being with bones to break, a body that will perish. I am the deathless, changeless Infinite.”
If a drunken prince goes into the slums and, forgetting entirely his true identity, begins lamenting, “How poor I am,” his friends will laugh at him and say, “Wake up, and remember that you are a prince.” You have been likewise in a state of hallucination, thinking you are a helpless mortal, struggling and miserable. Every day you should sit quietly and affirm, with deep conviction:
“No birth, no death, no caste have I; father, mother, have I none. Blessed Spirit, I am He. I am the Infinite Happiness.”
If you again and again repeat these thoughts, day and night, you will eventually realize what you really are: an immortal soul.
Peel Away All Limiting Thoughts That Hide Your True Self
Isn’t it strange that you do not know who you are? that you do not know your own Self? You define yourself by so many different titles applicable to your body and mortal roles....You must peel off these titles from the soul.
“I think, but I am not the thought. I feel, but I am not the feeling. I will, but I am not the will.”
What is left? The you that knows you exist; the you that feels you exist—through the proof given by intuition, the soul’s unconditioned knowing of its own existence
Throughout the day, you are constantly working through the body, and so you become identified with it. But every night God removes from you that imprisoning delusion. Last night, in deep dreamless sleep, were you a woman or a man or an American or Hindu or rich or poor? No. You were pure Spirit....In the semi-superconscious freedom of deep sleep God takes away all your mortal titles and makes you feel that you are apart from the body and all its limitations—pure consciousness, resting in space. That vastness is your real Self.
Remind yourself of this truth each morning as you awaken:
“I am just coming from the inner perception of my Self. I am not the body. I am invisible. I am Joy. I am Light. I am Wisdom. I am Love. I dwell in the dream body through which I am dreaming this earth life; but I am ever eternal Spirit.”
Know Your Self as Inseparable From God
The highest wisdom is Self-realization—knowing the Self, the soul, as eternally inseparable from God....The One Being is at the innermost core of all that exists. “O Arjuna! I am the Self in the heart of all creatures: I am their Origin, Existence, and Finality.” (God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita X:20.)
All great teachers declare that within this body is the immortal soul, a spark of That which sustains all. He who knows his soul knows this truth:
“I am beyond everything finite....I am the stars, I am the waves, I am the Life of all; I am the laughter within all hearts, I am the smile on the faces of flowers and in each soul. I am the Wisdom and Power that sustain all creation.”
Think, Affirm, Realize Your Divine Nature
Destroy the wrong thought of ages—that we are frail human beings. We must think, meditate, affirm, believe, and realize daily that we are sons of God.
You may say, “That is only a thought.” Well, what is thought? Everything you see is the result of an idea....Invisible thought gives all things their reality. Therefore if you can control your thought processes, you can make anything visible; you can materialize it by the power of your concentration....
Learning to control your thoughts and interiorize your mind, by scientific guru-given techniques of meditation, you will gradually develop spiritually: your meditations will deepen and your invisible self, the soul-image of God within, will become real to you.
Think away the thoughts you want to destroy, by replacing them with constructive thoughts. This is the key to heaven; it is in your hands....
We are what we think we are....Change your consciousness from that of a mortal to a divine being.
“I am infinite. I am spaceless, I am tireless; I am beyond body, thought, and utterance; beyond all matter and mind. I am endless bliss.”
Constantly Impress the Mind With Divine Truth
Avoid any suggestion to the mind of human limitation: sickness, old age, death. Instead, constantly impress the mind with this truth:
“I am the Infinite that has become the body. The body as a manifestation of Spirit is the ever-perfect, ever-youthful Spirit.”
Refuse to be limited by thoughts of weakness or age. Who told you that you are old? You are not old. You, the soul, are eternally young. Impress that thought on your consciousness:
“I am the soul, a reflection of ever-youthful Spirit. I am vibrant with youth, with ambition, with power to succeed.”
Attune yourself to Cosmic Power, and whether you are working in a factory, or mixing with people in the business world, always affirm:
“Within me is the Infinite Creative Power. I shall not go to the grave without some accomplishments. I am a God-man, a rational creature. I am the power of Spirit, the dynamic Source of my soul. I shall create revelations in the world of business, in the world of thought, in the world of wisdom. I and my Father are One. I can create anything I desire, even as my creative Father.”
[The] SRF Lessons teach you how to contact Cosmic Life...the ocean of God’s cosmic energy. The greatest method is to tap that energy directly from the inner source and not through the artificial stimuli of medicines, emotion, and so on. Then you can say:
“Right beneath the flesh is a tremendous current. I forgot it, but now, by digging with the pickax of Self-realization, I have discovered that life force again....I am not the flesh. I am the charge of divine electricity that permeates this body.”
Your Soul Cannot Be Harmed by Trials
Know you are immortal—not to be crushed by mortal lessons, but to learn and manifest your immortality and smile. Say:
“I am immortal, sent to a mortal school to learn and regain my immortality. Though challenged by all the purifying fires of the earth, I am the soul and cannot be destroyed. Fire cannot burn me; water cannot wet me; breezes cannot wither me; atoms cannot shatter me; I am the immortal dreaming the lessons of immortality—not to be crushed, but to be entertained.”
You have played many roles through many incarnations. But they were all given to entertain you—not to frighten you. Your immortal soul cannot be touched. In the motion picture of life you may cry, you may laugh, you may play many parts; but inwardly you should ever say, “I am Spirit.” Great consolation comes from realization of that wisdom.
“I am the blessed child of sweet Immortality, sent here to play the drama of births and deaths, but always remembering my deathless Self.
“The Ocean of Spirit has become the little bubble of my soul. I am this bubble of life—one with the ocean of Cosmic Consciousness. I can never die. Whether floating in birth or disappearing in death, I am indestructible consciousness, protected in the bosom of Spirit’s immortality.”
Fear Nothing, for You Are a Child of God
When you close your eyes in meditation, you see the vastness of your consciousness—you see that you are in the center of eternity. Concentrate there; take a little time in the morning and the evening just to close your eyes and say:
“I am the Infinite; I am His child. The wave is a bulge of the ocean; my consciousness is a bulge of the great Cosmic Consciousness. I am afraid of nothing. I am Spirit.”
Always hold on to the consciousness of God’s underlying presence. Be of even mind, and say:
“I am fearless; I am made of the substance of God. I am a spark of the Fire of Spirit. I am an atom of the Cosmic Flame. I am a cell of the vast universal body of the Father. ‘I and my Father are One.’”
Be fearless in the consciousness:
“In life and death I am ever living in God.”
Day by day this consciousness will impinge on you when you practice the techniques. When you enter the deep interiorized calmness in meditation, you are free from the bondage of the body. Then what is death to you? Where is fear? Nothing has the power to make you afraid. That is the state you are seeking. Concentrate on Aum, merge with Aum in deep meditation; through realization of God’s immanence in Cosmic Vibration, you will “come unto the Father”—the Bliss-Consciousness of the infinite transcendent Absolute. You will say:
“I and my Bliss God are One. I have everything in this universe. Death, disease, doomsday, fires, nothing can take that Bliss away!”
You Are Spirit: Affirm Your Spiritual Qualities
Try to remember and concentrate on all the beautiful and positive qualities of your life, and do not affirm your deficiencies.
The aspiring yogi should always bear in mind, when he feels angry, “That is not me!” When his self possession is being overpowered by lust or greed, he should say to himself, “That is not me!” When hatred tries to obscure his real nature with a mask of ugly emotion, he should forcefully dissociate himself from it: “That is not me!” He learns to shut the doors of his consciousness against all undesirable visitors seeking lodging within. And whenever that devotee has been used or abused by others, and yet he feels within a stirring of the holy spirit of forgiveness and love, he can then affirm with conviction, “That is me! That is my real nature.”
Yoga meditation is the process of cultivating and stabilizing the awareness of one’s real nature, through definite spiritual and psychophysical methods and laws by which the narrow ego, the flawed hereditary human consciousness, is displaced by the consciousness of the soul.
Dear ones, let no one call you a sinner. You are sons of God, for He made you in His image....Say to yourself:
“No matter if my sins be as deep as the ocean and as high as the stars, still I am unconquered, because I am Spirit Itself.”
You Are Light, You Are Joy
Darkness may reign in a cave for thousands of years, but bring in the light, and the darkness vanishes as though it had never been. Similarly, no matter what your defects, they are yours no longer when you bring in the light of goodness. So great is the light of the soul that incarnations of evil cannot destroy it. But the self-created temporary darkness of evil makes the soul miserable, because you suffer in that darkness. You can drive it away by opening your spiritual eye in deep meditation, filling your consciousness with its all-revealing divine light.
No one else can save you. You are your own savior as soon as you realize:
“I am Light Itself. Darkness was never meant for me; it can never cover the light of my soul.”
Forget the nightmare of present limitations. Before sleep at night and on waking at dawn affirm:
“I am a son of God, even as Jesus and the Masters are. I shall not hide from Him behind the curtain of ignorance. I shall sparkle with wisdom, so that I may fully receive His all-perfect light through my ever-increasing spiritual transparency. Receiving His light fully, I shall know myself to be a son of God, which I always was, being made in His image.”
“I am the child of God evermore. My power is greater than all my tests. What wrong things I did in the past, I can now undo by good actions and meditation. I will destroy them. I am an immortal evermore.”
Meditate every night until you can banish all your mundane thoughts and desires....Stand aside from all your restless thoughts and feelings and sit in the temple of your soul, wherein the vast joy of God expands and engulfs this world, and you realize there is naught else but That. Then you will say:
“I am one with the eternal light of God, the eternal joy of Christ. All the waves of creation are tumbling within me. I have dissolved my body-wave in the ocean of Spirit. I am the ocean of Spirit. No longer am I the body. My spirit is sleeping in the stones. I am dreaming in the flowers, and I am singing in the birds. I am thinking in man, and in the superman I know that I am.”
In this state you realize that fire cannot destroy you; that earth and grass and sky are all your blood relations. Then like a spirit you walk on earth, no more afraid of the tumultuous waves of creation.
You Are Love
“My Heavenly Father is love, and I am made in His image. I am the sphere of love in which all planets, all stars, all beings, all creation are glimmering. I am the love that pervades the whole universe.”
When you experience that divine love, you will see no difference between flower and beast, between one human being and another. You will commune with all nature, and you will love equally all mankind. Beholding but one race—the children of God, your brothers and sisters in Him—you will say to yourself:
“God is my Father. I am part of His vast family of human beings. I love them, for they are all mine. I love, too, my brother sun and my sister moon, and all creatures my Father has created and in whom His life flows.”
“I welcome all races—the olive, the white, the dark, yellow, and red—to their home in my bosom to live with me as my brothers, earth-born of common parents, Adam and Eve, and Spirit-born of Father God.
“I embrace the earth, water, fire, air, ether as my blood relations—one common life roaming through my veins in every form that lives. I enfold all animals, plants, beloved atoms, and energies, in the temple of my life; for I am Love, I am life itself.”
“Thou Art That”
Jnana, or true knowledge, is the soul’s realization of “Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahma),” or “Tat tvam asi (Thou art That).” And when one sits erect in meditation posture and directs the pranic current to the Kutastha (between the eyebrows), that is true tapasya, spiritual austerity or practice that masters the divine power within.
When you go beyond the consciousness of this world, knowing that you are not the body or the mind, and yet aware as never before that you exist—that divine consciousness is what you are. You are That in which is rooted everything in the universe.
Shatter the frames of limitations, which separate your soul from Spirit.
“Am I the ocean? It is too small,
A dream dewdrop on the azure blades of space.
Am I the sky? It is too small,
A lake in the bosom of eternity.
Am I eternity? It is too small,
Framed in a name.
In the vast region of namelessness I love to dwell,
Beyond limits of dreams, names, conceptions.
I am what I am always —
In the ever-present past,
In the ever-present future,
In the ever-present now.”
- Scientific Healing Affirmations by Paramahansa Yogananda
- Metaphysical Meditations by Paramahansa Yogananda
- “The Invisible Man” in Man’s Eternal Quest by Paramahansa Yogananda
- “Remolding Your Life” in Journey to Self-realization by Paramahansa Yogananda
- “The Mind: Repository of Infinite Power” in The Divine Romance by Paramahansa Yogananda