Basic Skills

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.

The process:
– 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 ]

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15 Responses to Basic Skills

  1. Kaushik says:

    Hi Davidya,
    Good explanation. Attention is spotlight of Awareness, and intention is the direction of the spotlight…but it always comes back to the truth that the mind must be quiet enough so that we can directly experience the truth about intention and attention. As I release, I find that many desires/intentions vanish. What doesn’t vanish is the strong intention to be natural, joyful being. What you say about karma (perhaps its more samskara) is true; with release, older stuff comes up and sometimes we don’t know its older stuff, as it comes up as irritation and confusion. Interesting stuff…

  2. Davidya says:

    Well put, Kaushik. Nothing more I can add.

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  4. Nancee says:

    Hi David,

    I really enjoyed this post… well I enjoy all your posts but I happen to be working through the concept of intention a bit more lately.

    I’m watching some interesting shifts taking place in my life as a result.

    All the best with the move.


  5. Davidya says:

    Thanks again, Nancee
    I plan a small addendum. I realized there’s an important step missing.

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  11. Jesper says:

    This article reminds me a lot of Jeddah Mali. If I understand her correctly, she considers karma as habitual patterns of intention. Therefore, it shouldn’t be necessary to experience or live through the “bad karma” of the past, if one was able to hold a steady intention of say love at all time.

    Are you of the same understanding or do you consider karma to be something you have to “empty out”?

    Hope it makes sense.

    • Davidya says:

      Hi Jesper
      I looked at her site some after her BAT interview.
      In the Vedic tradition, karma has 2 aspects – Vasanas and Sanskaras. One is indeed the habitual patterns that may no longer be serving us. The other is the unresolved desires. These have a close relationship with attachment.

      We can also see karma as the residues of unresolved or undigested experiences, leading to those patterns and desires unrelated to the present.

      To complete them means to resolve the energy that drives the desires and habits. We can do that by having new experiences come up and resolve them. Or we can do that energetically – resolving the impulses as they come and clearing the backlog. Then we don’t have to live them out.

      However, the second does require we be conscious of the energy and able to resolve it. The big stuff often comes with a shadow or blind spot that leads us right into it.

      But even there, if we are relatively unattached, it will simply arise, be seen and resolve. No drama required.

      Holding a steady intention of love or similar is only possible if you have an open heart. And even then, you have to focus on tasks to get things done. Making a mood of feeling love is just making a mood. It has no value and can actually create new attachments and habits.

      I suppose I see it is as something to “empty out” but that there are various ways to resolve it other than living it out. A really big one is simply waking up. That has the tendency to roast vast quantities of our old karma. But it may not seem like it as it can bring what is unresolved to the surface a lot more as we now have an open space for it to be seen in. That does settle over time though.

      • Jesper says:

        Hi David

        Thank you for the answer. I have leaned toward emptying out too, nut I have always wondered about it. Especially since you talk about culturing gratitude.
        How does this relate to culturing gratitude? I thought it was the same – practicing gratefulness a little every until it becomes more dominant and automatic in us.

        (I know I’m bombarding you a bit with questions at the moment, so please just take your time)

        • Davidya says:

          Hi Jesper
          For myself, gratitude helped culture a happy openness or OKness. This helped facilitate several spontaneous release events where a great deal of forgiveness arose. That let go of some rather large and some small burdens.

          And that cleared the way for the awakening.

          So gratitude and similar are about being OK with what is. And that helps us unload or empty out. Then the space is there for peace.

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