Of all our relationships, the most fundamental one and yet the most neglected one is the relationship with our own dear selves. Without our even realizing it, we talk to ourselves often and, sadly, much of this self-talk is quite negative. We criticize ourselves for not being smart enough, quick enough, beautiful enough -- the list is long and hurtful. If we are serious about pursuing a relation with our sacred essence, it is helpful to become more aware of our own internal dialogue and practice "spiritual intervention" to transform our negative self-talk by addressing ourselves with affection and compassion.

One of the most effective ways of doing this is a simple practice called sacred naming. Choose your own term of endearment, something like "Sweetheart," "Dear One," "Brother [plus your name]" -for example, I say, "Brother Jamal"-or whatever feels genuine and evokes compassion for yourself. It may be a loving nickname used by a treasured grandparent or a favorite aunt. The key is to find a sacred name that brings up feelings of mercy and gentleness. Know that there is sacred beauty and power in being named with affection. If the naming is said in a tone of voice that emanates from the heart, it created a sacred vibration that leaves an indelible imprint on your soul.

Family members, friends, and congregants who perform this practice report several major shifts. The sharpness of the ego palpably begins to soften and the ego actually enjoys the moments of collaboration with the soul. Also, there is the added benefit that, with continuous practice, you will find yourself naturally naming others with kindness, and this often results in outer harmony and cooperation….

In the course of your daily life, continue to witness yourself. The moment you become aware that your internal dialogue is beating up on you, immediately intervene by addressing yourself with your sacred name and continue the conversation with the gentler energy that it evokes. Invariably, the direction and content of the negative inner conversations will change for the better.

Jamal Rahman in Finding Peace through Spiritual Practice by Don Mackenzie, Ted Falcon, Jamal Rahman