In the spiritual world, it is the intention that gives the value to the action itself; intention is followed by action. Judaism focuses on one’s deeds and consequences while Christianity delves into intention, the motivation behind the act. As Jesus said: "Out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile" (Matt. 15:19, 20)
In Islam, intention is viewed as the pillar of worship and the foundation of action. One can spoil the most sacred act if one simply had mixed intentions behind it. On the other hand, a simple act can gain value on account of the good intentions behind it, thereby manifesting the healing power of intention.
Intention is action in Buddhism; it first arises as a thought, and then it generates action. Buddhists call it right intention or right thought, and they divided it into three categories: the intention of renunciation, the intention of goodwill, and the intention of harmlessness.
We all agree on the power of intention in leading a righteous life. It is both a choice and a decision that has the potential to manifest what we want out of life. In that context, the New Age crowd goes even further by claiming that we create our destiny, and that our intentions are the very foundation of the creative process we are living. Their belief is that “like attracts like” AKA the Law of Attraction, in which we draw to ourselves what we think, reminiscent of the positive thinking movement. New Age draws from many sources, especially the Eastern-influenced metaphysical philosophies and spiritualities.
I am not comfortable with the New Agers’ statements about intention because I feel something is missing…something that feels compassionate, comforting to my pain and what happened to me as a victim. It is true that the more aware I become, the more I see how involved I am in the way that my life unfolds, but there are still many variables that are unknown to me, and thus they are outside of my consciousness. It actually almost feels reproachful to read or be told that the only reason I am running into problems is simply because I’m not thinking positively. That is not to say there is no truth in the spiritual belief that we create our life through our real intent, but I simply do not care for the tone behind the New Age message. Loving spiritual messages are meant to nourish our soul, and it should feel so inside of us.
It has been my personal experience that the healing power of intention can and will manifest what I want as long as I am both taking responsibility for how I feel and think in the present, while I remain focused on my healing intent, in this case.
The quality of our intentions
“What is the quality of your intent?
Certain people have a way of saying things that shake us at the core. Even when the words do not seem harsh or offensive, the impact is shattering. What we could be experiencing is the intent behind the words. When we intend to do good, we do. When we intend to do harm, it happens. What each of us must come to realize is that our intent always comes through. We cannot sugarcoat the feelings in our heart of hearts. The emotion is the energy that motivates. We cannot ignore what we really want to create. We should be honest and do it the way we feel it. What we owe to ourselves and everyone around is to examine the reasons of our true intent. My intent will be evident in the results.” Thurgood Marshall
I had had another big fight with my partner, and we ended up sleeping in different rooms. My night was hellish, and most of my morning was spent cursing him, raging and crying all over the house about my relationship and how victimized I felt by him. Around noon, I started to feel lighter. I had released in a conscious way my negativity around our fight, and out of nowhere, the following words came out of my mouth: “I want to get along with Joe.” I felt that intent right in my heart as I declared it out loud.
My reactionary pattern in fights with men in my life has generally been to hold on to my position if I felt I was right, unless or until they crawled back in begging for forgiveness! In other words, for the longest time, I could not get beyond the fact that when I was right or felt I was right, I was not going to make peace first even if my heart really wanted it. This pattern stemmed for having been wronged and oppressed by my father in my childhood.
Back to the fight with Joe...Later on that day, I was to find out that he had been miserable up to noon, and then he started to feel better “out of nowhere” for the rest of the day, and came home with treats for us. The human body is a living antenna; intentions can be felt remotely. Moreover, it is through such simple everyday life examples that I can see both how I co-create my life to a certain extent, and the quality of the consequences when I make choices connected to the Life Force, that is the Loving co-creating energy in our world.
The healing power of intention is not always obvious in the short-term because it takes a steadfast focus and a willingness to change, in order to transform what is thought and energy into matter. What is continual is the willful intention to do right, and what changes or rather what adapts to each context in the here and now is our understanding of what is right. Yes, our definition of what is right can shift depending on the physical context we are presented with. What’s more, there is a spectrum of quality with intentions: being intent on acquiring millions of dollars is not going to have much, if any, healing power of intention.
In her book series entitled “The Intention Experiment”, Lynne McTaggart explains that our goals need to be generous and humane for the intention experiment to work. Her books are a thorough scientific exploration into manifesting intentions, and particularly the growing fields of quantum physics and energy healing. It has already been proven that the gaze of the observer does affect the flux of energy of the receiver or what is being stared at, be it a human being or an element such as water.
Dr. Masaru Emoto conducted several experiments on water to see if prayer or intention could affect the water, and the film-documentary “WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW?!” made his research world-famous. Among his controversial findings was that water, an elemental energy, responded to focused positive intentions by creating beautiful and complex crystal patterns while the water that received negative thoughts was not only polluted but it shaped incomplete forms and asymmetrical patterns with dull colors. If nothing else, it is food for thought, especially given that our bodies are made of a little more than 70% of water!
One does not need a doctorate or scientific experiments to prove that we are in a living energy world. I planted flowers in a little garden I had while in Marseilles (France), and I enjoyed myself while planting them. I took care of them, watered them with love, and I played beautiful music, from classical to world music---heavy metal is to be avoided! They grew much faster than they were supposed to, and received a lot of attention from my neighbors because each one of them was so gorgeous and vibrant. I lived in a beautiful neighborhood of Marseilles, named Roucas Blanc, known for its flowers of all colors of the rainbow.
I have stopped counting the number of times that my healing intent materialized results while the other intentions did not. They were not necessarily cruel intentions, but they simply were not concerned with what was right and loving for myself, and the ones I love. They were more oriented towards my performance outside in the world, what I wanted to project, how I wanted to be seen, and other hollow ambitions.
You decide your destiny with your living inner intent first…
“Intent is not a thought, or an object, or a wish. Intent is what can make a man succeed when his thoughts tell him that he is defeated. It operates in spite of the warrior’s indulgence. Intent is what makes him invulnerable. Intent is what sends a shaman through a wall, through space, to infinity.”
To truly be able to put into practice the healing power of intention, we must open ourselves to the idea that any time, in any space we have more than one destiny line in front of us. I will write at length about predestiny and freewill in another article, but for now suffice to say that our life shifts each and every time we make a choice, from the seemingly insignificant to the more important decisions. And what is a decision or a choice, but an intention?
“It was not my destiny to die there,” the Shuar Special Forces soldier told me after a harrowing account of how he had saved his captain’s life. The Shuars, like other Amazonian tribes, believe in destiny foretold by nature, and to that effect they commune with plants’ consciousness through their practice of shamanism to get visions of what will be. That soldier had seen the future through a shamanic ceremony, and he was intent on dying the way the vision had showed him.
In Mel Gibson’s film “Apocalypto”, the central character Jaguar Paw is about to be sacrificed to the Sun God when he gets the inner knowing and vision that his time has not come yet, and he voices his intent out-loud that it is not his destiny to die here. A solar eclipse follows and Jaguar Paw does not get sacrificed.
I was filming a documentary of mine in the Amazon jungle when we ended up getting kidnapped by a small group of Shuars. The story is long and complicated as to how we got into that situation, but the point is that despite their having made threats to us I knew this was not my hour. I had not seen a future vision of my life, but rather I had been nourishing my inner intent and will to live healthily and happily. I voiced it clearly to my film crew right there and then, with every conscious fiber of my being, in body and soul, that it was not my destiny to leave my head in the jungle even as we were dealing with the famous headshrinkers’ tribe!
Directing our own life consciously is certainly a work-in-progress, but it is truly empowering and it brings real results. Indeed, the healing power of intention has worked for me when I am fully present in mind, body and soul with my Self in the present. It is a bit like the riddle a Catholic hermit once shared with me when I was living as a hermit in the Acadian forest of New Brunswick.
Imagine a horse carriage where you can see the conductor, sitting outside the carriage, and holding the reins to the horses, and the passenger inside the carriage. Who decides of the destination?
Is it the conductor or the passenger?
It is the passenger: he tells the conductor where to go. It is the intention that drives the performance. If we don’t know where we’re going, what our real intent is in other words, we may want to do good in our mind, but in effect our intention will be disconnected or detached from our body and energy.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions
Intention is now. When I first started to want consciousness and understand my Self beyond my worldly ambitions at the time, I remember reading that a firm healing intention would be sufficient to “guarantee” that I would heal and keep healing. I couldn’t make sense of such a belief, that an intention alone could be powerful enough to sustain my evolution. Yet, over the years, between the struggles and the good times, I felt more than once the strong desire to proclaim my intention to self-heal. I constantly renewed and renew my commitment, my engagement to my healing process, thereby empowering with my energy and my real intent my commitment to heal; my healing intent is almost tangible in such situations.
I remember reading an interview about a singer from Quebec, Mitsou, who revealed that she was going around telling everyone she met that she was a singer, two years before she actually became one. That is the power of intention. Then, there is the other side of the coin…
I interviewed John Perkins, who wrote the best-seller “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”, and I asked him point-blank how he had been able to ignore the horrible consequences on the people of the policies he was shoving down the throat of the poor countries of the Third World in the name of the US government. He responded, visibly uncomfortable, that on paper the numbers, the statistics looked good. In other words, he was only present in his head, his body, emotions and heart were not involved. This is the big difference with intention…. The healing power of intention will work when one is fully present, in body and soul; we are not computers after all.
The late historian Howard Zinn, in a conversation with Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy at the Riverside Church in New York City was candidly speaking about his work as a bombardier during WWII. He shared with all of us that pressing a button to drop bombs from a plane separated him from his act, and from the war, in a way that was not healthy. We are living on a physical plane, and if we do not feel in our heart and body the activities we’re involved in, these activities, as well-meaning as they are meant to be, will not manifest good results.
The saying the road to hell is paved with good intentions is truer today than it ever was as technological advances in weapons have made it so that we can do great harm without being physically present or even involved. We can kill people on one side of the world from the other side, without seeing, hearing or feeling them. This idea is not new…
The Native Americans would only hunt the meat they needed, and they used every piece of the animal. Today, we buy our meats at grocery stores; the animals are fed with hormones and antibiotics and killed in slaughterhouses often under unspeakably cruel conditions, but we get to feel “good” about ourselves because the meat is packaged under plastic, clean-looking and we did not do the actual killing, although we do participate in its slaughter. We are living in the age of denial.
Personally, I am more inclined towards the practice of intent in shamanism, because it is more concrete to me, and it includes all of me. My thoughts, my emotions and my body have to be present, communing with nature or the backdrop of shamanic healing. Intention is first and foremost a resolve in the heart. If you want it deep in your heart, and you have your intention aligned in that same place, that is when you can change your reality, literally.
Express your intentions powerfully
I met Haggar Gibran in Ecuador where we hung out a bit; he was then putting the final touches to his book, “The Return of The Prophet”, following in his great uncle Kahlil Gibran’s footsteps who wrote the brilliant spiritual classic “The Prophet.” Haggar sent me an article, more like a poem, entitled “To the Masters of Our Destiny” and I found inspiring his words to express one’s power of intention.
“Every time we say “I” we assume our place on our soul’s journey; we choose how mediocre or magnificent we are. Who could we be if each time we said “I” we climbed a step higher up the sacred mountain?
I can improve the way I perceive things.
I can elevate my thinking.
I can uplift my attitude.
I can make the best out of the worst that life offers.
I can grow in the most challenging situations.
I can appreciate it all, I can be grateful for it all;
I can perceive beyond all doubt.
I have the courage to love through all fears.
I am the light unto my world.
Yes, I am an indomitable spirit and I, like the sky, have no limits.”