Basic SkillsFebruary 18, 2009
It is remarkable to consider how poorly our culture supports living a healthy and happy life. It is full of things to enhance the ego drama, eat poorly, and suffer. Why have we built such a monster? Very simply, our culture is a reflection of those within it.
But really, it’s more a boogy man than a monster. It’s an illusory effect and has no real bearing on our happiness unless we engage it. More remarkable, the difference between living in hell and living in heaven is fairly small. As we change internally, the environment changes with us. The world is as you are.
While surrender may be the magic for spiritual progress, the world requires an additional step. If we surrender to the world we are surrendering to illusion. If we wait for the world to bring us our wishes, we will wait a long time.
The key trick is intention or focused attention. Everything you experience is intended. EVERYTHING. The wind, the blades of grass under your feet… The world arises from consciousness. What causes it to arise? Intention. There is no mistake or accidents.
Now, intention can seem to arise in an number of ways.
We can intend something, consciously or not, with our attention, thoughts and feelings. Indeed, most people are constantly unintentionally intending by telling their stories over and over. ‘He is always angry.’ ‘I keep getting sick.’ ‘I always have lousy bosses.’ And thus, we affirm our pain.
So often, we can find it hardest to get out of a rut because we have so many thwarting beliefs. We can also cancel an intention with “if” statements, like “if it doesn’t work out, then…”, thus giving our intention to something else. This is not to say you shouldn’t have a Plan B. Only that we not use it to cancel the primary intent.
Note that this is not about content, it’s about where your attention is. Content is consequence only by attention. If we have a bad dream and let it go, it remains a bad dream. If we have a bad dream and hold to to it, invest in it, we can help it become real.
We can also experience past intentions, what some call karma or fate. Old intentions whose response finally rises to the surface. And we experience the intentions of others around us, what we call our culture and environment.
Making sense of that sea of intention is muddied by the idea we are separate. You are intending and I am intending and Aunt May is intending and the postman is… More deeply, only cosmic existence is intending. Consciousness is one and all arises from the One. We are simply the vehicles of expression of intention.
The thought “I am intending” arises because we experience ourselves as intending. And it’s true. But we mistake this “I” for the personal “I” due to identification. Caught in the illusion of a me, we mis-credit the experience. This is the ironic part – by misunderstanding who intends, we misunderstand the process.
Our body-minds are like mirrors of consciousness. The question is then – how clean is your mirror? How well do you reflect the whole? Do you fight or resist what arises? Think you may be introducing some distortion to the flow of intention? The key question – are you suffering or are you happy all the time? Are you intending hell or heaven?
Of course, there is no blame in these statements. Blame is the ego mind making it wrong. Remember – there are no mistakes. It takes time for each of us to see through our stories and begin to make better vehicles. To step out of the drama and into the light.
Looking to our culture is clearly not the solution to our woes. One cannot solve a problem by fighting its effects. But if we understand what’s actually going on, we can work with rather than against it.
- a clear, uncluttered intention. The deeper you connect when you intend, the better.
I don’t mean identify, just experience. Identification holds it.
- allow it. Let it progress in whatever way it does. Get out of the way. Let it go.
- take whatever steps are required to keep it moving. If things come up, don’t invest in them as obstacles. Just see them as steps, even if unexpected. Act.
- allow it to complete.
For example, this month I’m moving. I decided on the area I wanted to be in, then the building. A nice place, central, with a unique history. But when it was time to move, there was no vacancies. No matter – I looked around the area to confirm the intention but did not invest in another place. Other places made it clear I had the right choice. I spoke with friends about it – especially someone I know who lives there. They got back to me with an unadvertised vacancy. I was the only applicant. No problems, just steps.
This is illustrated in another way by the second Narnia film, when Aslan asks Lucy why they didn’t come sooner. Rather than going to him (acting) they had waited for him to come to them (inertia). The better stories are full of wisdom. (laughs)
[Addendum: the importance of the emotional energy you bring in Energizing Cooperation ]