Basic Skills

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 ]

Last Updated on April 8, 2014 by

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.


  1. Kaushik

    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. Pingback: Cool Media to Inspire Your Practice & Your Life « meeting myself on the mat, every day, in search of love, truth & beauty…. will you join me?

  3. Nancee

    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.


  4. Pingback: Energizing Cooperation « In 2 Deep

  5. Pingback: Moving « In 2 Deep

  6. Pingback: Deepest Release « In 2 Deep

  7. Pingback: Secrets of Success, Part 2 « In 2 Deep

  8. Pingback: Create Your Reality, Now | In 2 Deep

  9. Jesper

    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.

    1. 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.

      1. Jesper

        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)

        1. 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.

  10. Pete

    So as we release and purify personal drives and desires, we become more clear and therefore more powerful in our ability to manifest our intentions. Our intentions become less personal and more universal at the same time. So intention and surrender start to merge, surrender to the divine will becomes the intention. Or we intend what is best for the whole.

    In your example, are you creating the outcome of the place you were going to live, or was that just the process of what would always have come to be? Did your intention create the outcome of an apartment that you wanted, or was it an inevitability of your state of being?

    1. Hi Pete
      You’ve found an old article. 🙂
      Right – more powerful and more universal. Our intention becomes Divine intention, although there are always some shadows to resolve.
      In the example, there was a need and an intention that made sense for me. But there was no attachment to a specific result. Just see what unfolds and pay attention to feeling. What feels right.
      The intention helped bring the result. But also not being attached allows it to unfold as it will. And acting on the intention to create opportunities. Without action on the intention (no force), nothing may happen as there is no movement. The support of the environment may depend on the energy of action.
      Most magic of all is when you just have the thought and it shows up. “i could use a sled” and then someone offers you one. But that’s when there are no obstacles at all.
      I’ve had a lot more experience of this since. Sometimes, there is a call to wait, and then the resistance falls or a better offer arises. I was just offered a very large discount because i paused on a decision. No intention involved – just going with the feeling. And I find myself doing things that were never part of any plan. But they just arise and feel right, so I step forward and watch it flower.
      Some things have an inevitability but there is a lot of flexibility in the process. We can make it mostly smooth or a holy horror, depending on how we are with it 😉
      I’ve seen many examples both ways including in my own life. It’s quite valuable to learn this stuff. It makes a huge difference in ease, in finances, in all areas of life. We may have to learn a bit of patience and trust as things happen when they need to happen and not sooner. But as we get used to results, it becomes a surprise when something isn’t smooth…

  11. Daniel

    Hi David!

    How do I know that I am on track?

    My (ex) partner recently broke up with me. I saw that I brought many problems into the relationship, like trust issues, controlling behaviors, anxiety, neediness.
    In retrospect it was much better than in my previous relationships, the responses to certain triggers where much less strong than before. But even when I knew it’s just my mind making up story’s, I often couldn’t let it be.

    I know the breakup was the right decision, even if it felt bad.
    I know that I have to heal in order to become a better partner. It also showed me, where I still struggle to let go.

    Today I sat with the intention to heal, to become a better partner, because I know that a healthy relationship can only work if I let go of these things.
    To let me and my ex partner have some time to reflect on the relationship.
    There is also the intention to get back to her, but I know that I have to accept her decision, even if we won’t be together again.
    I trust the universe and I feel really good and clear now.

    How do I know if this is not just the ego thinking, you will heal, and than you will be back together? Like making up another story?

    How do I know when an intention comes from source and not from the ego?

    All the best

    1. Hi Daniel
      Broadly, you know you’re on track through natures support. There’s an article on that linked at the bottom of this one.

      However, major karmic events like a relationship breakup will obscure this as it will stir up what is unresolved in us. When a lot of processing is going on, it’s harder to see what is unfolding.

      I’m no relationship expert but the experience here has been that when the karma that brought you together completes, the relationship dissolves. If we cooperate with the process, it can be relatively smooth. If we don’t, much rougher. It’s never easy but when life has a new chapter, it has to close the old.

      I would not recommend holding out hope of a return. That expectation can get in the way of processing the loss and healing. If someone is motivated enough to end a relationship, they’d not be inclined to step back in. Especially if the karma is done for them. What brought you together is likely done. Not to mention the “problems” you list are not things we resolve in a week or 2.

      But this isn’t a bad thing, just the end of a chapter. I’ve found that completing the past sets the stage for even better.

      Yes, relationships can be great mirrors for what is unresolved in us. But it takes two to tango. They wouldn’t have been drawn into the relationship if there wasn’t something for them too.

      That you recognize the stuff is a huge step in itself. Such things are very common in our society. Healing is usually a gradual process. We’ve often been carrying this stuff for a very long time. Be patient with yourself and know there is light at the other end of the tunnel.

      Mind will often try to second-guess itself, ego always looking for an angle to control. So if you see second-guessing, fear, doubt, etc, you know that’s mind & ego.

      It takes great clarity of the intellect to recognize where an impulse is coming from. That often doesn’t arise until close to awakening. Usually, we recognize after the fact. But that you see your dynamics is a huge step. Many are oblivious. Just try to avoid self-recrimination and blame. You’re not a victim. You’re just finishing one grade and preparing for the next.

      Blessings on your transition.

  12. Daniel

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. This really helps.
    Yes it’s hard, but I try to just allow all the thoughts and feelings to come up and experience them. I see now clearly that resistance to life is what makes us suffer, because ultimately I cannot change the situation.
    I just have trust, that this is what is needed to progress on my journey to awakening and that everything happens as it should be. It showed me clearly that I have no control over life, really a humbling experience.
    Yes and I let go of blame, because if I could have done it different, I would have done it different.

    1. Yes, you as a person have no control. But your deeper nature is what is supporting all of it. Clearly, it’s working in your best interests, even if that’s not apparent to the person. By deeply allowing, I have learned to trust far more. And of course, it’s easier to see in retrospect. 🙂

      Good insights. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest