C2 Autosuggestion Technique – punishment method for personality improvement
C2 Autosuggestion technique – a punishment method for personality improvement

1. Introduction to the C2 Autosuggestion technique

Can we change our Basic Nature or Personality ?

You may have heard of the age-old expression “a leopard never changes its spots”. It is often used to express the idea that people cannot change their basic personalities, habits, innate nature, etc. However, overcoming personality defects in our character is a key requirement that helps to facilitate spiritual growth. But then again if our basic personalities are set in stone, then how can we overcome our personality defects?

Sometimes people resort to self-help books and individual/group therapy sessions with professionals. Sometimes these methods work and sometimes they don’t. Why is this so? One foundational aspect of our personalities that most people and even most professionals in the field of psychology or psychiatry do not know is that it is not purely psychological and that our personality is actually shaped over many lifetimes. Through spiritual research, we have found that our personalities stem from the impressions in our subconscious minds. To overcome these deep-rooted impressions, spiritual energy is needed along with psychological efforts. In our series of articles on the Personality Defect Removal (PDR) Process, we have described how to reduce, and eventually eliminate personality defects by taking A, B, and C1 type Autosuggestions. This self-hypnosis technique is a psycho-spiritual technique that targets and facilitates change in the subconscious mind.

At a practical level, it may be people’s experience that some of their personality traits like anger, insecurity and addictions are quite difficult to overcome despite making the best efforts. In medical practice, if a doctor finds that a certain drug that he has prescribed for a patient is not working, he usually changes the medication. In the same manner, in certain stubborn cases (of personality defects), when we have tried different Autosuggestion techniques and continue to find it difficult to overcome a negative trait, we can consider using the C2 Autosuggestion technique.

Before beginning this article, to improve your understanding, we recommend that you read the following introductory articles on the Personality Defect Removal (PDR) process :

2. An overview of the C2 Autosuggestion technique

The C2 Autosuggestion technique (also known as the punishment or aversion technique) is a ‘last-resort’ method to be employed when other Autosuggestion techniques (A and B types) have failed to bring results. The technique involves taking a specially tailored Autosuggestion, as well as a punishment at the physical or psychological level to condition the mind to dislike and eventually avoid undesirable or unacceptable actions or behaviour.

Any punishment is an undesirable or unpleasant outcome for an individual or group, meted out by an authority or by oneself, as a response to wrong behaviour. Punishments act as a deterrent to a particular undesirable or unacceptable action or behaviour. It helps in :

  • Reformation – to reform an individual
  • Deterrence – to prevent the repetition of an undesirable behaviour

The punishment method is used for creating an impression on the mind that a particular thought, emotion or action is wrong, and if repeated, will cause pain or suffering, and not happiness. When the mind receives a painful stimulus in response to a wrong thought, emotion or reaction, it understands that if it performs that action or has the reaction again, it will receive pain. As a result, the mind refrains from repeating it.

3. Which personality defects can the C2 Autosuggestion technique be used for ?

The C2 Autosuggestion technique can be used to eliminate a wide variety of stubborn personality defects, such as being addicted to smoking or drinking, bad habits such as nail-biting, stammering, obsessive-compulsive disorder, indecisiveness, feelings of inferiority, worrying, suspiciousness and depressive thoughts. It is also useful for overcoming hallucinations, delusions and suicidal thoughts.

The C2 Technique is especially useful to overcome personality defects such as addictions where the mind engages in a pleasurable or immersive experience. So, punishing the mind helps to snap out of that pleasure-seeking tendency of the mind (which is obsessive and causes harm to one). For example, if one’s mind seeks pleasure in daydreaming, then many hours can get wasted. But the pinching technique or the C2 AS helps to snap one out of daydreaming.

For more information, please read our article  – How to give an Autosuggestion ?

4. Why does the C2 Autosuggestion technique involve an Autosuggestion along with a punishment ?

Correcting a child's behaviour

To understand why taking a punishment is necessary for the C2 Autosuggestion technique, we can consider the example of a misbehaving child. When a child acts badly, the parent may initially try to correct the child’s behaviour by providing a gentle explanation of why it should not be done. However, if the negative behaviour persists, parents will usually resort to some form of punishment. This is because punishment gives the child’s mind the message that if he/she repeats a wrong behaviour, he/she will have to endure pain or an unpleasant outcome. As the mind focuses on seeking pleasure, not pain, punishment will more effectively deter the child’s mind from repeating the incorrect behaviour.

In the case of adults, the same holds true. Though we may believe that punishments only work for children, they are also effective for adults. There are many examples of adult punishments in day-to-day life, such as fines for speeding and penalties for arriving late at work. Often the fear of punishment controls the mind and prevents incorrect behaviour as no one likes being punished. The mind tends to reject punishment or is fearful of it.  Sometimes people think that by using their willpower they can punish themselves for incorrect behaviour. However, when the time actually comes to punish oneself, the “pleasure-seeking” mind will invariably give a number of excuses to escape the punishment. Also, just punishing one’s mind may not have the desired effect as the mind is not clear about why it is being punished. This is why the PDR technique suggests taking an Autosuggestion along with some punishment to bring clarity to the mind about which incorrect behaviour it is being punished for and hence the behaviour is avoided. C2 Autosuggestions help condition our minds to accept the punishment and then correct one’s behaviour.

5. How to know when to select the C2 Autosuggestion technique ?

In the PDR process, we give ourselves positive Autosuggestions (A, B, and C1 types) to neutralise the incorrect impulses from our subconscious minds. In most cases, taking A, B or C1 types of Autosuggestions is sufficient for one’s mind to accept and change its incorrect behaviour. However, if we see no change in an incorrect thought, action or reaction even after diligently taking Autosuggestions for about 3-4 weeks, then we can use the C2 technique or the punishment method.

In the box below, we have provided an example of when to use a C2 Autosuggestion technique :

Roberto is always overly critical of his colleague Peter. He is aware of this personality defect and has tried to reduce it unsuccessfully by taking A and B type Autosuggestions for two months. However, the defect is not reducing as significantly as Roberto would like it to. Roberto’s defect of criticising Peter is causing him stress and has caused him problems at work with other colleagues as they see him (Roberto) in a poor light.
As Roberto has already tried taking A and B type Autosuggestions for more than 3-4 weeks, he can apply the C2 Autosuggestion technique to overcome this personality defect more quickly with the help of punishment.

6. How to frame C2 Autosuggestions ?

The format for framing a C2 Autosuggestion is as follows :

Format 1 : [Incorrect action, thought, emotion or reaction] + [Creating awareness] + [Punishment] + [Correct perspective]

Or

Format  2  : [Incorrect thought, emotion, action or reaction] + [Correct perspective] + [Punishment]

In the PDR process, one can select different / multiple personality defects to work on at a given time for which A, B or C types of Autosuggestions can be taken. One point to remember is that when selecting a set of Autosuggestions, only one C2 AS should be taken at a time. This means that C2 Autosuggestions should be given for only one defect at a given point in time. For the rest of the selected defects, A or B types of Autosuggestions can be given. This is because the mind essentially does not like punishment and can rebel against it. As a result, taking more than one C2 Autosuggestion at a time will not be effective in helping us overcome the selected defects.

6.1 Examples of C2 Autosuggestions related to OCD

Given below are examples of using a C2 AS for overcoming obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

A. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) related to frequent washing of one’s hands

 

  • Whenever I feel like repeatedly washing my hands, I will become aware of it and pinch myself hard.
  • Whenever I feel like repeatedly washing my hands, I will become aware of it and pinch myself hard. I will realise that I have already washed them carefully.

 

 

B. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) of worrying about forgetting to lock one’s room

 

  • Whenever I repeatedly have the thought that I have not locked my room, I will become aware of it and pinch myself hard.
  • Whenever I repeatedly have the thought that I have not locked my room, I will become aware of it and pinch myself hard. I will realise that this is an obsessive doubt in my minds.

 

C. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) of worrying about saving one’s file on the computer

 

  • Whenever I repeatedly have the thought that I have not saved my file, I will become aware of it and pinch myself hard.
  • Whenever I repeatedly have the thought that I have not saved my file, I will become aware of it and pinch myself hard. I will realise that I clearly remember having done so.

 

D. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) of wanting someone’s affection

 

  • Whenever I think that Sebastian loves me, despite being told repeatedly by him that this is not true, I will become aware of it and pinch myself hard.
  • Whenever I think that Sebastian loves me, despite being told repeatedly by him that this is not true, I will become aware of it and pinch myself hard. I will realise that harbouring this delusion will prevent me from getting on with my life.

 

6.2 Other examples of C2 Autosuggestions

The following are some examples of C2 Autosuggestions for different personality defects.

A. Overcritical

 

Mistake / Shortcoming Roberto is overly critical of his colleague Peter at weekly staff meetings. He is aware of this personality defect and has tried to reduce it by taking A type Autosuggestions for 2 months. However, the defect is not reducing as significantly as Roberto would like it to.
Format for Autosuggestion Incorrect action, thought, emotion or reaction + creating awareness + punishment + correct perspective
Autosuggestion Whenever I am about to criticise Peter at the weekly staff meeting, I will pinch myself and stop that thought at once / focus on the proceedings / focus on a pleasant experience of the day.

B. Envy

Mistake / Shortcoming Jennifer is envious of her friend Mary’s expensive clothes and jewellery. Jennifer has tried to reduce her feelings of envy towards Mary by taking A2 autosuggestions. However, she continues to feel envy toward her friend.
Format for Autosuggestion Incorrect action, thought, emotion or reaction + creating awareness + punishment + correct perspective
Autosuggestion Whenever I get envious seeing Mary dressed in a beautiful gown with diamond jewellery, I will tighten my dress belt, stop the thought, thank God for all the gifts He has given me and appreciate her beauty.

C. Negative thinking and Pessimism

Mistake / Shortcoming Lukas has been a pessimist since his teenage years and keeps having the thought, ‘This is too hard for me’. Because of this, he often feels miserable and depressed. Lukas has tried taking an A1 autosuggestion for two months. However, he is not seeing any change in his thought process because the defect of pessimism is so deep-rooted in him.
Format for Autosuggestion Incorrect action, thought, emotion or reaction + creating awareness + punishment + correct perspective
Autosuggestion Whenever I start to get the pessimistic thought that this is too hard for me, I will immediately pull the rubber band on my wrist, stop the thought at once, and replace it with the positive thought that this is new, I am learning and with time I will be able to do it well.

Whenever I start to get the pessimistic thought that this is too hard for me, I will immediately pull the rubber band on my wrist, and further take help to get to the root of my pessimism.

D. Forgetfulness

Mistake / Shortcoming Melissa keeps forgetting to take her house keys with her when she leaves for the office. As a result, she wastes a lot of time going back home to retrieve her keys. Melissa has tried taking A1 autosuggestions for forgetfulness for some weeks, however, the mistake still occurs very often.
Format for Autosuggestion Incorrect action, thought, emotion, or reaction + creating awareness + punishment + correct perspective
Autosuggestion Whenever I become aware that I have forgotten my house keys when leaving the house, I will not drink my morning cup of tea the next morning until I put those keys into my purse.

Whenever I repeatedly forget my house keys when leaving the house, I will realise that I need to deprive myself of something enjoyable to condition the mind, hence I will give up having my morning cup of tea till I regularly remember to take my keys.

E. Laziness

Mistake / Shortcoming Georgio is consistently lazy to cook dinner, and wastes money ordering unhealthy fast food. Georgio has been taking an A1 Autosuggestion for the defect of laziness for some weeks, however, he is still routinely lazy.
Format for Autosuggestion Incorrect action, thought, emotion, or reaction + creating awareness + punishment + correct perspective
Autosuggestion Whenever I realize that I have not cooked dinner due to laziness, I will cook dinner instead of watching my favourite TV program.

Whenever I repeatedly order food from outside because I feel lazy to cook dinner, I will deprive myself of watching my favourite TV program till I have cooked the dinner.

F. Indecisiveness

Mistake / Shortcoming Edgar is indecisive and takes a long time to make even a simple decision. His inability to make decisions has caused him and his family many problems. Edgar has tried taking an A1 Autosuggestion for indecisiveness for 5 weeks. However, the defect still continues to manifest strongly.
Format for Autosuggestion Incorrect action, thought, emotion or reaction + creating awareness + punishment + correct perspective
Autosuggestion Whenever Anna (my wife) tells me that I have not been decisive, I will accept it and not eat chocolate until I am able to take prompt decisions.

Whenever I realise that once again my family has had to bear the brunt of my indecisiveness, I will avoid eating chocolate for a week and take help to get to the root of my indecisiveness.

6.3 Examples of C2 Autosuggestions for overcoming addictions

The following are some examples of C2 Autosuggestions for addictions :

A. Nicotine dependence or addiction to smoking

Mistake / Shortcoming Luisa has been smoking for over 20 years. She has been making efforts to quit by taking A1 Autosuggestions, however, it has been over a month and her cigarette consumption has only slightly reduced.
Format for Autosuggestion Incorrect action, thought, emotion or reaction + creating awareness + punishment + correct perspective
Autosuggestion Every time I feel like smoking a cigarette, I will remind myself that if I smoke, it could lead to lung cancer and death, and I will pinch myself hard.

B. Alcohol dependence or Alcohol addiction

Mistake / Shortcoming Frank has an addiction to alcohol. After reading the SSRF website, Frank began chanting the protective chant of Shri Gurudev Datta to overcome his addiction. He also took an A1 Autosuggestion for 2 months. Both of these efforts helped reduce his cravings to some extent. But to overcome his addiction completely Frank felt that it may be helpful to take a C2 Autosuggestion as the liking for alcohol is deeply rooted in his subconscious mind.
Format for Autosuggestion Incorrect action, thought, emotion or reaction + creating awareness + punishment + correct perspective
Autosuggestion Whenever I get the urge to drink a glass of alcohol, I will tell myself how it will ruin my life and health completely. Hence, I will pinch myself hard.

C. Addicted to social media

Mistake / Shortcoming Melody spends several hours a day on social media. Although Melody knows that it is a waste of time and that it causes her mind to become disturbed and restless, she cannot stop doing it. Melody has taken an A1 Autosuggestion for addiction to social media for one month. However, she saw little progress in the reduction of the defect.
Format for Autosuggestion Incorrect action, thought, emotion or reaction + creating awareness + punishment + correct perspective
Autosuggestion Whenever I am about to waste time on social media, I will pull the rubber band on my wrist hard as a reminder that this is a waste of time and it should not be done.

Whenever I am about to access social media, I will pull the rubber band on my wrist hard as a reminder that this leaves me mentally disturbed and is a waste of time.

D. Gambling Addiction

Mistake / Shortcoming Raphael has a deep-rooted addiction to gambling that he is ashamed of. He has tried taking an A1 Autosuggestion for several weeks, however, he still associates gambling with pleasure.
Format for Autosuggestion Incorrect action, thought, emotion or reaction + creating awareness + punishment + correct perspective
Autosuggestion Whenever I start to feel like gambling online, I will pinch myself hard and remind myself that gambling is a wrong action that will hurt me financially.

7. Points to remember when taking C2 Autosuggestions

  • The C2 Autosuggestion you are taking should be taken at least five times a day in order to be effective.
  • It can be given by going into a trance or by using chanting and prayer to achieve a state of relaxation. (Refer to the article on How to give an Autosuggestion for detailed instructions).
  • When framing the C2 type Autosuggestion, you can choose a form of punishment that you feel would be most effective in deterring you from repeating a negative behaviour.
  • Examples of possible punishments include :
      • Pinching oneself for 30 seconds to 1 minute when the defect or ego manifests
      • Tying a rubber band around the wrist and flicking it to cause pain when the defect or ego manifests
      • Foregoing a meal, dessert or favourite food
      • Doing chores for others
      • Doing pushups or other physical exercises
      • Foregoing an activity that one finds pleasurable (e.g., watching TV, browsing one’s social media stream)
  • The punishment mentioned in the Autosuggestion must also be taken as soon as possible, every time after the specific wrong behaviour occurs.

8. Is taking an atonement for my personality defect the same as taking a punishment?

Although it may seem that atonements and punishments are synonymous, there is some distinction in the thought process and purpose behind taking then them. This is even though the activity taken for atonement or punishment may be the same.

Punishments are measures taken against the mind to help reinforce that a particular mistake should not have been made. They are best taken as part of our vyashti spiritual practice (spiritual practice undertaken for one’s own personal growth) for the specific personality defect or ego manifestation that we are working to reduce.

For example : If John is working on the personality defect of anger and gets very angry about something, he can skip a meal as a punishment. If he gets only moderately angry, he can punish himself by taking fewer food items for his next meal.

Atonements are measures that we take to make up for a mistake that causes a negative impact on our spiritual practice. They are taken more often in the case of samashti mistakes (mistakes made whilst offering service to spread Spirituality and which have an adverse impact on others).

While punishments work at the psychological level and condition the mind not to perform an incorrect action or reaction, atonements are a form of spiritual practice that goes far deeper. By taking atonements out of true remorse for our incorrect thoughts, actions or reactions, we partially nullify the demerits that we incurred for our incorrect behaviour. We also inculcate values, as the taking of atonements increases our awareness of our personality defects and ego manifestations. The grace of God is activated by sincere atonement and the desire not to repeat the same mistake, which helps us to go to the root cause and eliminate the personality defect that caused the wrong behaviour in the first place.

Some examples of atonements are as follows :

  • If Andrew speaks angrily to another seeker, he can take up the seeker’s satseva (service to the Absolute Truth) of sweeping the ashram hall to make up for the impact of his mistake on the other seeker. He could also do another seva for them or a personal task if they are open to this.
  • If Carol makes a mistake in a spiritual publication that has gone out as a newsletter, she can atone by sacrificing her personal time and instead use that time for extra samashti seva (service to the Absolute Truth).

Other possible atonements include :

  • Not eating food that you like for some time
  • Eating something that you do not like for a week
  • Skipping a meal or one’s favourite food for a few days
  • Eating half a meal (e.g., if you usually eat 4 slices of bread, eat 2 instead)
  • Performing activities which you do not like (e.g., ironing, doing the dishes, cleaning the washroom, organising cupboards)
  • Avoid talking unless it is urgent or necessary. (This can be taken for defects such as speaking unnecessarily, criticising others, ridiculing other others, inflated ego, etc.)
  • Waking up early in the morning if you do not like to
  • Paying for any financial loss incurred as a result of your mistake
  • Taking up new responsibilities apart from the ones you currently have and fulfilling them diligently

The atonement that one takes should be commensurate to the loss/extent of problems incurred by one’s mistake. The severity of the atonement should depend on the severity of the mistake (i.e., mild, medium or severe). Atonements also help from a karmic perspective. If atonement is not taken for a mistake that has been committed, one would need to undergo the repercussions of the mistake in this or future births, as per the Law of Karma.

Notes

  • We can also take atonements for vyashti (individual) mistakes, like getting angry.
  • We should only use the same atonement or punishment when a particular personality defect or ego manifests.

For example : If Rebecca is skipping meals as a punishment for anger, she should not skip meals as a punishment or atonement for any other defect or ego to avoid confusing the mind.

9. Conclusion

The C2 Autosuggestion Technique is a powerful tool that can help us to eliminate stubborn personality defects and ego manifestations in cases where other efforts did not bring sufficient results. For further guidance on using this and other Autosuggestion techniques, we invite you to attend SSRF’s free weekly online spiritual meetings. At the meetings, we will help you better understand the PDR process and assist you in correctly formulating personalised Autosuggestions for your particular situation.

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