Abria Joseph: Removing Negative Self Talk at TEDxYouth@NIST (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Pranaforce Yoga founder, Abria Joseph’s TEDx Talk presentation: Removing Negative Self Talk at TEDxYouth@NIST conference. To learn more about the speaker, read the bio here.

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Abria Joseph – Founder, Pranaforce Yoga

[Music]

How many of you in this exact moment are thinking about your bills you have to pay, are thinking about the homework assignment you have to turn in, are thinking about what you look like and what you’re wearing? How’s my hair, by the way? OK.

No, but seriously, in this exact moment you weren’t thinking about the words that are in your head or the stories or the negative thoughts of fear that are happening, that haven’t yet happened. What had happened when you heard this instrument? What did you feel, what senses were engaged?

This particular instrument was created in the year 2000 in Switzerland, originally imported from the outer space — I don’t know how they got here. But it’s here, and the original name for it is called the hung. It’s a particular company from Switzerland and this one is not the original hung, it’s another builder — there’s builders all around the world. And the reason it’s called hung is because hung means hand — and hand — being that it’s made by hand, that it’s tuned by hand, and it’s played by hand.

So what I wanted to share with you is that this instrument has a voice, just like we all have a voice. And in that relationship between playing an instrument, we also have an instrument within us, and that’s our mind and our ability to acknowledge and notice what we’re thinking and how we react to the thoughts that are happening and streaming through us like Wi-Fi. It’s constant.

So I’m sitting here and thinking about my first time that I first experienced the handpan and it was while I was living in the Netherlands. And I was walking down the street and I heard this sound and it just pulled me literally like a rope, being towed all the way up from an anchor in the sea. I was drawn to this sound, this vibration. I sat there and in awe just watched — watched this person playing. And I thought about how much I wanted to experience that for myself. What was drawing me into this sound? Did you experience that at all? Did you feel connected to it?

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So the idea was, that happened for me too. And as I had searched and seek over the last few months, I have found one, for sale. They’re not an easy instrument to acquire and they’re expensive as well. So for me the first time I had experienced one, I figured I have to play this immediately in a yoga class. I don’t have time to practice. I don’t have time to practice, because if I sit there and try to practice, it could be weeks, months, years later before I actually play it in class. So I bought it — within the first week as soon as I was able to teach another class, I took it into class.

And you wouldn’t believe the stories that were going on in my head — people are going to think I suck; everyone’s going to know and the thing is, those were just stories, right, because they haven’t happened yet. But why do we seem to believe the stories that haven’t happened yet, because they’re not true; is that right?

What if your favorite song came on, you are with the group of people, some are friends, some are different people just out and about maybe in public, your favorite song, mind you; don’t be shy — your favorite song. The song comes on and you normally scream this song at the top of your lungs at home. But yet you’re just going like this: God, this is my favorite song. It’s my jam. But then suddenly you stop, because the voices in the head say, “Don’t do it. You’re going to look like an idiot.”

And here’s another example. What if you had — maybe you’re sitting in a class or you’re at the office or work and you’re asked the question — and there’s a group of people there — and you know the answer to that question. But yet you don’t raise your hand, because maybe that question, maybe the answer is not what you thought it was. Or maybe you actually know the question and you know the answer, and you don’t want other people to know what, gosh, the same person always answers the questions. Either way we’re in a conundrum. We’re stuck with battled in the mind.

So what I’m sharing with you is this took you out of your mind, did it not? Where did it bring you? Here, maybe here, something that you’ve never experienced before. How many people here have not seen this instrument, heard it live? OK, that’s everyone but the kids that we coached.

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So think of it like this. In my experience, if I were then to ask you: how many of you in the room would like to share their experience, stand up on the stage of what you felt from this instrument and being it played? How about you in the top with the long black hair? Oh, no, no, wait, how about you with the black shoes right around here? No, no, how about you here with the glasses? Wait a second. Did you just get nervous? I can’t even see anything right now.

So why did you feel like that? My words flowed over to you, you heard them, processed in the processor Pentium whatever it is now, and now you started to feel uncomfortable, maybe — maybe not. And in that I started to control a little bit, manipulate, shift your thought process, because you weren’t here, you were here; is that right? So if that’s true, and this instrument that plays music can be tuned, I started to realize and shift my ideas of how I would go through life and this is my idea. I believe passionately that we can shift the negative voices and stories that are going on in our minds into positive ones.

How do you do that? Well, there’s three main questions. The first question is: Is it the truth? Is whatever I’m sharing with someone or what you’re hearing from someone else that’s giving you feedback about your life true? You know a 100% that it’s true. First question.

Second question: Is it necessary? Is what I’m saying to myself in my head, is it necessary in the exact moment in what I’m doing with my life right then?

And the third question is: Does it improve upon the silence? This instrument is so powerful that it improved upon the silence of the room, you could feel it, you could see it. And then once you see and feel, you started to know.

So here I am and I’m thinking about the first time that I was going through my ideas in creating my lifestyle. I being very similar to the students at NIST was educated and around a lot of very creative people that influenced me in a positive way, which is just north of San Francisco and a city county called Marin, and growing up there, the people that I was around helped shift my mind to believe before I even knew it was possible.