Wayne Dyer, the American psychologist and author, (who happens to be visiting Sydney and Perth this month!), says that it's not our thoughts that create our lives, but our intentions. Intention is very powerful. This was brought home to me yet again this week by a client's experience. He's been trying to improve his social skills and widen his opportunities for meeting women with little success. I saw him some years ago and he decided recently to resume our sessions.
On the very day that he decided to himself he needed to do more to improve his chances and he made the appointment with me, he also attended a speed-dating event, which was very intimidating for him. But there, he met a nice woman and is following up with a date. This after many arid years of getting nowhere! His intention to change made all the difference. In one moment, in one thought, his life changed.
Is intention the same as a goal or plan? It's related, but not exactly the same. It runs deeper because it's the foundation beneath the goal. Success in every area of life depends on willpower and self belief. These create intention. Let's look at how intention can help us achieve more, be happier and live more positively.
I recently wrote in NOVA about transformation and I said it comes from self awareness and a true desire to empty out the old and embrace the new. If you intend this for yourself, it will happen. It's that simple.
Personally, I have been amazed at how easily I have brought my wishes into tangible reality just by expressing an inner intention. It doesn't work if you just think you'd like something. Wishful thinking will always remain just that. For dreams to come true, there has to be a certain amount of intensity, absolute belief, inner knowing.
I find it works almost without exception and instantly on small daily things, for instance, hearing from someone you're missing, getting new business when you decide you need to earn more, coming across an item of shopping by chance that you've been wanting for a long time. It's not coincidence if it happens continually and if it emanates from certainty. Yet, it cannot be controlled. If you try to manipulate events, that's not intention; it's control and that's a whole other thing.
Manifestation has a magical quality because it isn't rational, cannot be forced and is linked to serendipity. It happens automatically when you intend it and then simply let go. With bigger occurrences in life, it takes longer to happen, maybe even years but when it does, it's breathtaking and makes you shake your head in wonder.
After 25 years of counselling, I shouldn't be surprised any longer at the number of times I see living examples of manifested desires right before my eyes yet it's so astounding, I'm often still amazed and stunned. The very act of asking for help seems to cement the intention and set the wheels in motion. A new client will come in and tell me she hasn't talked to her mother for six years, only to return the next week, bursting out of her skin with excitement to report that her mother rang "out of the blue". A long term unemployed person will suddenly get a job interview and a shaky relationship will improve overnight with no particular intervention.
Walking in for counselling takes a lot of courage, but once that first encounter is faced, 50% of the job is already done because the intention for change is what brought the person in to seek help. It really works - in actual, practical terms.
It can happen in small trivial ways or in giant, life changing ways. I once manifested a house and the means to get it just by intending. It's worth relating the story because it's such a good example of what I've been talking about. I had been teaching in the country, came back to Perth and was renting a friend's house cheaply in a very expensive suburb. Walking along the river one day, I intended to myself, "I'll have a house here one day." I forgot all about it, but a short time after this, I came home to find a card on the front door from my friend who happened to be a real estate agent. On the back of the card was an address and a price. He knew I was looking to buy a place, but this place was way above what I could afford. Since returning to the city, I could only get a job in a school library which didn't pay much. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I went to see the house, fell in love and put an offer in without having one cent in deposit. The very next day, when I got to work, I was called into the principal's office to be told that one of the teachers in my subject area had left abruptly and asked if I would like the job! My pay jumped up five figures and I was able to get a loan to buy the house, one street from the river where I had walked and "intended" a home.
This very week, it happened for me again on a smaller scale - a business venture I've wanted to get into for literally years, which has involved researching, talking to various people, getting all the information I need.
I'm like that - a builder, into long-term gratification, persistent, but like all human beings, I get frustrated and discouraged at times, give up for a while then return to the task. But if the intention is strong enough, it manifests as if by itself when the time is right. This week, straight out of left field, a colleague I worked with for a few years emailed to ask if I want to get involved in precisely the business arrangement I've been checking out! Whether it works out in the end or not, I've already won.
Years ago, I decided I wanted to speak at psychic fairs. It seemed to be a random thought at the time, as I had no idea how to achieve this. I asked a friend who knew about these things, she made a few suggestions; I followed up and ended up doing a regular gig at a major fair for several years. You might wonder how that constitutes manifestation. It does because it began with a thought that had the strength of intention. One day when I was up on the stage spruiking to a huge crowd, I suddenly had the thought - how did all this happen from a fleeting wish? Clearly, it was much more than that. Sometimes, the more you try to force things to happen, the less likely they are to do so. Faith has to come into it as well and that means letting go and detaching from outcomes, a difficult feat in general for Westerners. I now live totally by this principle, but it's taken many years of de-cluttering and de-layering of old beliefs and conditioning.
This is one of the biggest issues I find my clients facing each day in therapy. First I had to find it in myself, then I had to live it and only then I could teach it. If I told you all the times I have skated on the thinnest ice only to be saved at the last minute, you'd be astounded, like the time I booked a removalist for two days after Christmas with no idea of a forwarding address, only to be offered a place on the 26th. Blind faith.
Surely that's what faith always has to be for it is believing without any proof, without knowing. The point, though, is that it's not in my nature to be a risk taker at all. I often joke that my work is my bungee jumping because that's where I take all my risks and have all my adventures. Sitting here writing this late at night by myself facing a computer screen wouldn't be most people's idea of adventure, but it's here that I set myself free, let my ideas soar and my creative forces flow. I'm unafraid. A blank page can be a terrifying thing and would totally immobilise if allowed. It takes faith to set off on a journey of words, but as with everything else in life, it's one step upon another, letting the road spin out in front of you without knowing the destination. What could be more adventurous? Creativity is the ultimate adventure.
A close friend of mine loves to travel, one of several, actually, but this particular one and I talk often about how we differ in this respect though we're so alike in other things. Finally, I asked her what she loves so much about it and she said it's learning about other cultures, places and people. I smiled because I finally saw a meeting point. For me, staying home and working is about learning too, only I do it in my head and she does it with geography. Like a surgeon cutting into a human heart, I feel the power of my own truth when I write.
There's no place for hesitation or doubt. So, yes, I can work without fear but when it comes to my personal life, I'm rather guarded and conservative. So to live with 100% trust has taken a lifetime of internal work. Never having had much stability in my life, I crave it, but faith requires a release of all props, securities and attachments; it's flying without a net. I'm jolly good at it now, but I'm blowed if I'll give up some addictions like my cuppa, my cat and my books.
Life can be pleasurable, sensual and even indulgent as long as we acknowledge that nothing is sure, safe or forever except our spiritual selves. Once upon a time, that thought would've struck terror in my heart; now I accept it just as a fact, neither appealing nor frightening.
With absolute trust, everything is possible. It's also necessary because not one of us knows when we get up in the morning if we will see our bed again at the end of the day. Just getting up and going out into the day is an act of faith. Life is a gift, not a promise. That's why it should be cherished and never squandered, abused or taken for granted. Without faith, nothing is possible, and certainly not intention. Intention requires faith and detachment. Expecting is okay, in fact, how can there be faith without expectation? Just don't let the expectation be desperate or demanding for that will cancel the faith and sour the intention.
Detachment is often misunderstood. It doesn't mean a lack of caring; it means not caring too much. It's an art that requires practice as it doesn't come naturally to most of us. It means learning healthy boundaries, letting go of co-dependence and embracing personal empowerment.
Intention, once recognised, should be then left to its own birthing. Let the outcome surprise you in its own time and its own way. A common mistake is to want to direct the manifestation of the wish and to get impatient at the amount of time it's taking to appear. The trick is to actually forget about it. Once a wish is wished, it's out there in the ether. It has to be yours, but not perhaps at a time of your choosing and there's no guessing how it will come. Listen for it, but not too intently; wait for it but with a peaceful heart; expect but not with impatience; be thankful ahead without seeing any evidence. Detach.
"If you realise that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to.
If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve."
Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher
One of the best ways to strengthen intentions is to affirm and saying affirmations helps us do that. Affirmations are simply firm statements of belief that are not yet reality, but believed to be. I work with them a lot and they seem to work best if used as part of a daily spiritual routine. At first they seem unbelievable, even ludicrous, for example, saying you're wealthy when you're struggling to buy food. But they work by changing your mind set, and reinforcing positive belief. They're very powerful when used correctly.
Sometimes, a new affirmation will manifest with startling swiftness, which means the groundwork has already been done for that improvement. Others can take long periods of persistence for results to appear. Many people give up after a while, declaring it a hopeless cause which means that affirmation will not work for them. If you work with affirmations, try not to look for success with them, but just say them with conviction day after day and let the magic of your intention come to fruition in its own time.
Timing is everything and again, requires trust. Letting go of timetables and schedules and deadlines is difficult in our society which is so geared to these things. Yet if you can learn to do it, not only will you alleviate a lot of stress in your life, but you'll garner much more satisfaction from your achievements. I guess it's the old "work smart, not hard" philosophy. Trust can be of God, of yourself, of the people around you, in your abilities or career, in money. Ultimately, it is believing in good, that life is essentially supportive and a joyful experience. Once you have that, the details don't matter nearly as much.
If intentions create our lives, as Wayne Dyer says, then we ought to intend the best for ourselves, shouldn't we? Do that and let the rest take care of itself. Intend joy and laughter and love. Make it good. Wish on a star, but with a heart already full of gratitude, not as an act of idle hope. Believe in intention and let it become reality for you.