Most people find that they cannot deal with negative emotions effectively. Negative emotions are usually vented, suppressed, rationalized, analyzed, but usually never dealt with. Likewise, most people find that they cannot cultivate positive emotions that they desire, such as love, warmth, kindness, and so on. However, I have observed that all people perform several universal actions that can be performed not only physically, but mentally as well. In fact, it is possible and more beneficial to perform these actions mentally and physically at the same time. Intentions on the mental level directly produce mental and emotional effects, and physical effects are not very strong; intentions on the physical level produce physical effects, and mental effects are not very strong; intentions on both levels are more effective, and as the mind and body effect each other, such intentions will work much more effectively that intentions on the mind or body alone.
Additionally, these actions are not limited to what people usually use them for. For example, one of the universal actions is the intent to refuse. Usually, this action is performed to refuse gifts, offers, or suggestions. However, any negative emotion or physical posture or ailment can be refused. Refusal of fear, for instance, makes one highly resistant to fear. Refusal of anger makes one resistant to anger. You will notice that the refusal of different negative emotions and different negative postures and diseases produces different physical and mental effects. Another example of this is that the intent to embrace, or to hug, is universally used among all people. Usually, this intention is used to express love. However, any positive emotion, posture or even positive physical attribute, such as a healthy heart, healthy lungs, etc., can be embraced. For example, we have all heard the phrase that it is good to "embrace positive change." Well, it IS possible, literally, to embrace positive change, or any desired emotion. Kindness, love, calmness, and any other positive emotion can be embraced.
Perhaps most importantly, it is possible to perform many different intentions at the same time. For instance, it is possible to refuse fear and embrace courage at the same time, and that combination of intentions is an excellent way to make one courageous, because fear is the opposite of courage, and resistance to fear will act as a catalyst to the cultivation of courage. However, multiple intentions do not have to be used in this way. For example, someone may want to embrace love and calmness at the same time. Although they do not directly act as catalysts to one another, they nevertheless may both be required by an individual.
Additionally, this document is only a guide. If you experience any problems with these intentions, then certainly it is better not to do them. Also, you can use the intentions listed below not only in the ways that are described in this document, but in any other way you like (except negatively; this is described below). You can, and should, experiment with these intentions until you find intentions that are useful and effective for you.
Lastly, it is important not to misuse intentions. For example, it is never beneficial to refuse love, embrace hate, receive anger, and so on. Intentions are powerful tools, and should never be misused to harm oneself or others.
I have discovered several universal intentions that all people do. Although there are certainly more, I have found that these specific intentions can be performed by anybody, are familiar to everyone, and are easy to learn.
II. How Intentions Affect Our Lives
We all know what it’s like to be happy, and we all know what it’s like to be angry. We all know someone who usually harbors good intentions and tries to help people, and we all know someone who habitually hurts others, and perhaps even enjoys it. However, what most people haven’t realized is that intentions manifest everywhere in our lives – our relationships, our hobbies, and even our dreams. There exists no moment in life, no thought or emotion that is devoid of intention. Intentions are at the basis of all actions.
For example, we all know that murder is a horrible crime, and that those affected by it are traumatized beyond words. However, when somebody does something evil, it manifests directly in their body. Here’s an experiment: pretend you’re about to go into the kitchen, grab hold of a kitchen knife, and pretend you’re about to kill someone with it. Visualize plunging that knife into the person, pretend you’re actually killing him. What happens to your body and mind? Your posture becomes hunched and twisted, hard and constricted, and your mind also becomes hardened, cut off, constricted, and malevolent. In particular, you’ll notice that as you pretend to be about to kill someone, you lose all sense of connectedness and empathy with the environment and all sense of love and kindness. So you can see that negative intentions always precede negative actions.
Here’s a second exercise: pretend you’re about to see the person you love the most. Pretend you’re about to give that person a huge hug, and that you’re about to do something with that friend that you both enjoy very much. What happens to your body and mind this time? Your posture becomes more expanded, soft, relaxed and yet energetic in an effortless way, and your mental state becomes kinder, calmer, and more expansive. Also, you have a greater sense of connectedness with the environment as well as a feeling of love in your heart. Here too you can see that friendship isn’t simply a mental construct or some kind of figure of speech; it is totally rooted in how we feel and think and is reflected in our posture and muscle tone as well.
When you learn to consciously control your intentions, you learn to consciously decide how you’d like to live your life. Although psychologists and psychiatrists may tell us that we have no control over our emotions, that we’re as helpless as dust blown about by hurricane-force winds, this is simply untrue. However, those self-help authors that claim to subscribe to this view, like Dr. Phil for example, give people no method by which they can actually work with their emotions; too often, they simply harshly criticize people or give them “advice” lacking both in sincerity and substance, like “Be patient! A little patience never hurt anyone!.” But as you have probably experienced, such “advice” is cruel, because it leaves you with no way to go about changing your life, and is also usually given with anger, bitterness, or hypocrisy. This, in turn, makes people bitter and jaded about healing, probably the worst outcome of all.
This guide aims to change all of this. The healing methods in this guide do not tell you that you have to be a better person, or that you need to change who you are, or that you need to realize something that you haven’t already realized. The truth is that you don’t need to be better, and never did; you were simply never instructed on what you can actually do to improve the quality of your life. There is no requirement that you adhere to a particular philosophy, nor a demand that you have accomplished certain things. This guide is about the practical applications of intentions and how they can be used to heal people and strengthen them. It is a step out of the realm of ideas and into the realm of practical action.
III. Universal Intentions
I first began to experiment with intentions because I found that, although I wanted to, I simply could not do my uncle’s intentional techniques. I desperately wanted to be able to do them, but I always got tense and failed utterly when I tried to do them. I talked to other people who had similar experiences when they tried to work with intentions, and realized I was not alone; they to found that although they knew exactly what they had to do when working with intentions, for some reason they just couldn’t do what they wanted no matter how hard they tried. After a couple years of frustration due to the fact that I could only work with intentions if I was instructed by somebody else, I became determined to find a way to do intentions – despite the fact that I couldn’t do them!
One day, I realized that there actually was one intention that I habitually and naturally did, that didn’t backfire on me and make me feel tense: the intent to embrace, or hug. I realized that I not only used this intention physically, but mentally as well – whenever I hugged somebody, I also created a mental state of love within myself mentally. I set about working with the intent to embrace in a number of ways, discovered that I could do more than simply intend to embrace; I could embrace love, compassion, my mother’s love, calmness, or whatever I chose to embrace! I could even go so far as to embrace calmness rooted in my father’s love, or embrace the ability to be physically agile and quick. The intent to embrace thus turned out to have literally an infinite number of potential uses! However, I was far from satisfied, because the intent to embrace is fundamentally a “soft” intention, and didn’t allow me to fully feel like I could resist negative emotions and nip them in the bud when they bubbled up in me.
I was therefore determined to find as many intentions that anyone could do. I thought of a few more intentions that I naturally did: the intent to refuse, the intent to request, and a few more. I then worked with these intentions for a few more months, and discovered that, like the intent to embrace, they too had a potentially infinite number of uses as well! I remembered that I had once taken an acting class in which I was taught that there were nine “universal actions”: the intent to embrace, refuse, give, receive, request, eat, eliminate (I’ll describe exactly what this intention is later), bow, and sleep. Lo and behold, these “universal actions” matched my “universal intentions” exactly.
I experimented with many people with these nine intentions, and found that every single person I instructed could do them naturally. On the other hand, only a very few people, such as my uncle and my aunt, were able to effectively use other intentions besides the nine universal intentions; most people, myself included, experienced strain and tension whenever we attempted to work with other intentions, and simply weren’t able to use them effectively. I estimate, from my research, that perhaps 1-2% of the population are able to naturally do intentions other than the nine universal intentions; while this is certainly sad and unfortunate, I have found that the nine universal intentions are more than adequate to deal with any emotional problem or situation. Here are the nine universal intentions which everybody, even people like me, can do:
Refusal: This intention is easily recognized. Have you ever refused a gift, an offer, or a suggestion? You can refuse whatever you want. Intend to refuse fear both mentally and physically. What happens when you refuse fear? Your shoulders go back, your chest goes forward, and your head becomes poised, and you feel, and are, highly resistant to fear. Now, refuse anger. What happens when you refuse anger? You feel your body pleasantly drop and relax, and you feel highly resistant to anger. Any negative emotion, posture, or even physical ailment can be refused. Physical ailments probably won't go away if refused, but refusal of physical ailments does help mobilize the body to fight the ailment more effectively. Remember that refusal gives you the power to say no to whatever troubles you, and is therefore the most important intention in your arsenal.
The Intent To Embrace: Have you ever hugged someone? It need not be a person; it could be an animal, a teddy bear, or even a tree! If you have, then you know what this intention is already. Any positive emotion, posture, or physical quality, like a healthy heart, can be embraced. Intend to embrace courage mentally and physically. What happens? Your hips powerfully roll forward, the back of your neck straightens, and your head rolls forward, and you feel powerful and unstoppable! Now, embrace calmness mentally and physically. Your face will become stable and unshakeable, your whole body will relax, and you will breathe more slowly and smoothly. The power to embrace allows you to cultivate any positive emotion, posture or physical quality you wish, which gives you the power to feel whatever you want to feel, whenever you want to feel it. If you always wanted to feel more love, more calmness, more energy, then you can feel those wonderful sensations with this intention.
The Intent To Receive: Have you ever received a gift, a letter, or even a household object from somebody else? If so, then you have experienced the intent to receive. You can receive whatever you want with intention. What happens when you mentally and physically intend to receive warm sympathy from all your loved ones, relatives and friends? You feel taken care of. What happens when you receive compassion both mentally and physically? You feel softer inside, more in touch with your emotions, and you feel free to feel those emotions without any shame. This intention is a powerful tool to heal one's troubled past, as you can intend to receive any positive emotion from anybody, and you will then literally receive that emotional nourishment that you have wanted for so long! This intention is not only to heal emotion wounds, however, and can be used to fortify and strengthen one's mind and body. You can receive more joy, more compassion, more of any positive emotion, physical posture, or positive physical quality that you want.
The Intent To Give: Have you ever given a gift or a tip at a restaurant? If so, then you have already performed this intention. When you give, your awareness expands to include the person that receives your gift. What happens when you intend to give love to somebody, both mentally and physically? You feel more maternal, you feel that you care for the person you give love to like a mother. What happens when you give warm sympathy to somebody, both mentally and physically? You pay full and undivided attention to the person you give warm sympathy to. The intention to give expands one's heart and mind to include others, and therefore makes one feel more connected, less isolated, and more part of life. One needs to both give and receive to feel fully connected, however, and it is good to use both intentions at once, as they balance one another.
The Intent To Request: Have you ever ordered a meal at a restaurant, or asked somebody for directions or money? If so, then you have already performed this intention. The intention to request does not directly yield that which is request, but is useful in that it makes us more comfortable in asking for what we need and in speaking our mind. What happens when you request compassion, both mentally and physically? You feel like you can tell people that you deserve what is good, that you can convince them, through ethical persuasion, that you deserve what is good. Experiment with this intention, because although I have discovered this particular use, I'm sure there are many others.
The Intent To Eat: Yes, the intent to eat. It might sound farfetched that such a basic, earthy intention can be used in so many different ways, but it is actually possible to use this intention to generate any desired emotional state. The intent to eat is not only physical, but mental as well. It is the intent to consume, to take in that which we need. To see this for yourself, intend to eat love, both physically and mentally. You will fell your chest muscles soften and your heart expand, and you will feel tenderness in your face, and you will feel like you are almost drinking emotional nourishment from an infinite bottle. Just as the intent to request results in being comfortable speaking one's mind and asking for whatever you want, the intent to eat produces a general emotion of being cared for and nourished. And that is neither surprising nor a coincidence - after all, it is the intention to eat.
The Intent To Eliminate: This intention is the intention that we use to go to the bathroom. I am well aware that this intention calls forth repulsive imagery in the mind, but if you explore this intention, it is not necessarily about bathroom functions. Elimination, in a positive sense, also happens emotionally and psychosomatically; for instance, when you dream, you eliminate stress from your body and mind. Now, physically and mentally, intend to eliminate sadness, just like you wanted to mentally “go use the restroom” and discharge all that mental sadness. You will feel any residual sadness drain from your emotional body (your mind), and you will feel protected. More specifically, you will feel purified after this intention, and it is no coincidence that bodily elimination has exactly the same purpose.
The Intent To Bow: Have you ever gone onstage and taken a bow? Have you ever bowed your head to somebody out of respect? If so, then you have already done this intention! Bowing is basically the intent to revere something, to acknowledge it’s greatness, so let’s call it the intent to revere for the time being (due to the limitations of the English language). Now, close your eyes and physically and mentally intend to revere love. What happens to your body and mind? You feel a kind of loving poise in your hands, arms, stomach and throat, and feel lovingly humble and speechless with awe of the greatness of others; there shouldn’t be any discomfort or self-hate, just a feeling that you see the goodness and greatness in others.
When we bow or revere positive qualities, we allow ourselves to see those qualities in others, which in turn uplifts our minds and hearts. Additionally, bowing before someone is in many cultures considered an effective way to apologize to others; for instance, if somebody had seriously wronged you but then humbly bowed before you in apology, wouldn’t that soften your heart or heal your anger at least a little? In Eastern cultures, it is also customary to bow to people as a way to show respect, so you can see that the intention to bow has many uses indeed!
The Intent To Sleep: This intention is obvious, but it is good to acknowledge it as a conscious intention that everybody does. It is the basis of all of these intentions, because sleep gives us the rejuvenation and energy necessary to ensure maximum effect from our intentions, and also allows us to do them for longer periods of time. A healthy diet, regular exercise, avoidance of alcohol, tobacco or drugs are of course necessary to ensure that these intentions have their desired effects. It is obvious that a person high on LSD can't possibly benefit from these mental exercises; his mind is far too agitated.
These intentions can be used for many different purposes. When under pressure, these intentions can be used to create mental clarity, fearlessness, and focus. These intentions can be used to go deeply into positive emotional and physical states in order to promote healing, and can be done for many minutes, even hours. These intentions can be used for experimental purposes as well, to answer questions one may have, like "What effect does it have to receive groundedness?" You can use these intentions to find out.
IV. Common Misconceptions
Most people, due to images fed to them by the media, my television and movies, and by the upbringing, harbor misconceptions about the nature of certain positive and negative intentions. We are, for example, constantly bombarded with images that depict anger and brutality as strength in television shows and movies where there is violence or combat, and that true power cannot be felt at the same time as love; we are told that altruism, the positive intent to focus on helping another even if it brings danger to ourselves, must carry the denial of genuine, positive concern for ourselves. Likewise, we are shown that forgiveness is merely the repression of our own unhealed pain, a kind of abandonment of awareness and a denial of our true feelings, like when somebody says, in a depressed and lethargic voice “Yeah, it’s okay, don’t worry about it”. The number of misconceptions we have been raised with is far too numerous to cover in a single book, or even in several books, but I will clear up some of the most important and fundamental misconceptions most of us have in this chapter. Here are some of the major misconceptions in the world today:
Power: This is, by far, the most widespread and deeply rooted misconception in the world today. Just for a moment, close your eyes and embrace the kind of “power” shown on television and in the movies, and let your body really get into it. What happens to your mind and mind when you do this? Your chest and jaw harden and become rigid and you feel angry, aggressive and belligerent. Now, keeping that intent to be “powerful”, try to stretch out your arms and legs; you’ll probably find that you’re a lot less flexible in this state of “power”. Now, keeping that intent to be “powerful”, think of the person, place or thing that you love the most. You’ll probably notice that your “power” melted away quite a bit, and was replaced by love. But how powerful is “power” that doesn’t let you move properly, doesn’t let you love, and doesn’t let you connect with the world around you? The answer is that such “power” is actually just brutality and tension, only destructiveness and rigidity. So what is real power?
To begin to understand what real power is, think of real power not as something that inhibits love, but something that makes you invincible, something that simply gives you the ability to withstand negativity and remain unharmed without being tense, brutal, or angry. Close your eyes and intend to embrace invincibility and invulnerability, and hold that intention for a couple minutes. What happens? You feel firmness in your belly and in your arms, and your posture will become naturally more erect and firm without any added tension, and you feel truly invincible! Now, at the same time you intend to embrace invincibility, embrace unconditional love, and hold those intentions for a couple minutes with your eyes closed. You’ll experience both invincibility and love at the same time, and not lose either of them! For most people, this is a truly unique experience, something they have never experienced in their whole life, but this experience can give you faith and understanding that it is possible to be powerful and loving at the same time, despite what television and movies may tell us.
Righteousness: This is another major misconception in modern society today, as we are never shown true righteousness, but the “righteousness” of judges condemning people to death, of people killing and butchering one another in the name of some cause, and of people arrogantly trying to force their way of life upon others.
For a moment, close your eyes and embrace the kind of “righteousness” depicted on television and in the movies, and let your body and mind really get into it. What happens to your body and mind when you do this? Your shoulders and neck become very tense, and you lose all sense of compassion and empathy as well. Now, as you continue to embrace this kind of “righteousness”, intend to embrace compassion and freedom from judgment; you’ll find that both of these intentions cancel one another out and interfere with one another. The kind of “righteousness” you just embraced is clearly in opposition to love, compassion and empathy, and is incredibly destructive, so what constitutes true righteousness?
To begin to understand what true righteousness is, think of righteousness not as something that causes us to hate, or condemn, or judge, or lose compassion for others or ourselves, but simply as the will to do the right thing in each situation, whether that be comfort a person in pain, or perform CPR on somebody who has had a heart attack, or fight somebody to protect others if necessary, or give money or other aid to somebody desperately in need. Now, close your eyes and intend to embrace the will to do whatever is right in all circumstances. What happens in your body and mind when you do that? Your posture becomes naturally erect and upright, particularly your spine, and your whole body lengthens and becomes taller, and you now feel naturally inclined to do what is right! Righteousness is therefore intimately tied in with natural and tension-free lengthening and uprightness of the spine and the whole body.
Now, close your eyes and intend to embrace true righteousness, the will to do what is right in all circumstances, and compassion at the same time. How do you feel? You feel both upright and compassionate at the same time, a novel experience for most people. So you can see that righteousness does not stamp out compassion or love, but complements and enhances them instead.
Righteousness is also basically the same thing as morality, justice, honor, and uprightness, so whenever you want to be honorable, or moral, or just, or anything that is similar to righteousness, you can embrace true righteousness, as described in this chapter, to cultivate these positive qualities in your mind.
Respectfulness: Oftentimes, when we were young, we were angrily and sternly told to “respect our elders” or “be polite to the guests”, or told to “have good manners”. However, we usually felt fearful and hurt when we were told to do these things, and felt as though we had to walk on eggshells whenever we were around the people we were supposed to “respect” or be “polite” towards. These painful experiences were not accidental – we truly were made to be afraid in order to be “respectful” and “polite”.
Now, close your eyes and embrace the kind of “politeness” you were told to have as a child for a few moments; let your body and mind really get into it. What happens to your body and mind when you do this? Your breathing becomes shallow and constricted, and you hold tension in your chest and shoulders. These physical symptoms are indicative of fear, specifically fear of punishment, so you can see that the kind of “politeness” you were told to have is actually very destructive, a powerful form of fear and tension.
So what constitutes genuine respectfulness? Respectfulness is the acknowledgment of boundaries, the validation of their feelings and experiences, and the acknowledgment of ourselves and others as inherently good and worthy beings. Logically, if you see yourself and others as good and worthy beings, and acknowledge your own boundaries as well as the boundaries of others, you will naturally be inclined to be respectful towards yourself and others.
Now, close your eyes and intend to embrace the acknowledgment of personal boundaries, not boundaries that separate people from one another, but simply the fact that people are individuals and that their experiences are both valid and important, and also embrace the concept that we as well as others are inherently good and worthwhile beings. What happens in your body and mind when you do this? You become aware of your own boundaries as well as the boundaries of others in a genuinely respectful manner, and become reverent of both yourself and others. So you can see that genuine respectfulness stems from awareness of personal boundaries in a sensitive and tension-free manner, as well as the awareness of the inherent goodness and worth of all beings and all life, and can never stem from fear of punishment or other negative consequences.
Discipline: This is another huge misconception in the world today. Usually, we think of discipline as something to be dreaded, as something so horribly unpleasant and painful that we’d rather simply avoid thinking about it at all. Both at school and at home, discipline is seen as a harsh, nose-to-the-grindstone mentality devoid of joy, spontaneity, happiness and lightheartedness, something that, when you have too much of it, destroys your capacity for sensitivity, creativity and openness. However, what is truly disciplined about an attitude that destroys joy, or happiness, or creativity? Obviously, when you think about it, true discipline must be able to enhance rather than destroy these qualities, because true discipline should be able to function in a manner that can enhance and strengthen any positive quality; when you think about it, that is the whole point of discipline: to be able to do anything, no matter what, and channel your energy into any positive quality you desire.
For a moment, close your eyes and intend to embrace the kind of “discipline” you were taught as a child – the nose-to-the-grindstone kind of discipline. What happens to your body and mind when you do that? Your body, particularly the muscles in your arms and solar plexus, contract and become tense, your awareness shrinks and becomes more rigid, and you feel trapped, tense, impinged upon and stressed. You can easily see now that such a mind-body state is destructive, and is counterproductive to all activities as well.
So what is genuine discipline? If you consider that discipline is supposed to make you capable of effective action even in difficult or painful circumstances, then that is exactly what true discipline must be. Now, close your eyes and embrace the ability to maintain awareness and act effectively despite pain, distraction, or difficult circumstances. What happens in your body and mind when you do that? The muscles in your lower abdomen and sphincter become firm and resistant to negativity, and your whole body and mind becomes firm and focused, a completely different mind-body state than the stressful, rigid, contracted mind-body state you were told was discipline when you were young.
Apology: Most of us think of apology as something that is inherently painful, difficult, and stressful, a kind of self-punishment that we would much rather not have to do. We think of it as a humiliating admission of our own awfulness, as if we were to say “Something is inherently wrong with me and I deserve to be hated and rejected.” But if you think about it, how does self-hatred heal either ourselves or those we wish to apologize to? What does self-punishment do to solve the problems that caused us to want to apologize in the first place? Obviously, something is very wrong with our conception of true apology.
To discover what true apology is, we need to first think of what apology is supposed to do. Apology, ideally, is supposed to be a kind of sensitivity to the suffering of others and heartfelt remorse at our negative actions, not because we hate ourselves, but because we feel compassion and empathy for those we have harmed. It is a similar feeling to what happens when one has been emotionally numb and regains one’s emotional sensitivity and awareness and experiences emotional pain, not because one is creating further pain within oneself, but because the pain was already there and one has simply become aware of it, just as if one had shut one’s eyes while a fire was burning all around them and then opened them and seen the fire which already had been burning. For a moment, close your eyes and intend to embrace compassion for someone you have hurt, not rooted to self-hatred but rooted in self-love, in the recognition that compassion for the suffering of those we have hurt actually heals us and is something that is good for us. Embrace the feeling that you see this person not as someone else, but as yourself, and wish to alleviate their suffering out of compassion for both yourself and the person you have hurt. What happens to your body and mind when you do this? Your awareness, particularly in your heart, expands compassionately to include this person, and you have a desire to heal their pain. Moreover, you feel closer are more connected to this person, and really begin to sense your very own self within him, and thus find it much easier to truly wish to heal his or her pain. Note, however, that there is no self-flagellation or self-hatred in this feeling, only an authentic desire to heal the suffering of the person you have harmed. So you can see that apology is about healing ourselves and others, not about feeling awful about ourselves or dwelling on our past mistakes.
There are literally hundreds of these types of misconceptions in the world today, enough to write a very large book about, and the number of misconceptions in modern society currently seems to be on the increase. So how do you go about identifying and freeing yourself from all the misconceptions you are bombarded with on a daily basis? The first way to identify whether a certain concept, or intention, is negative, is to ask yourself these question: does this intention or emotion produce emotional and physical tension, constriction, contraction, agitation, collapse, or confusion? Or does it produce expansiveness, flexibility, softness, firmness, clarity, or calmness? Experiment with the intention you want to know more about until you can determine whether it is positive or negative. Once you have determined whether the intention is positive or negative, you can either practice the intention if it happens to be positive, or refuse that same emotion the intention creates if it intention turns out to be negative. As you experiment with intentions, it also helps to simultaneous embrace both intuitiveness, positive sensitivity, and clarity to help you clearly perceive whether an intention is positive or negative. A calm, quiet environment is also conducive to such experimentation as well, as freedom from distractions will allow you to effortlessly focus on perceiving the nature of the intentions you’re experimenting with.
IV. Aspects Of Intention
I've discovered that there's a lot more to intentions than I previously thought. I experimented with intentions for a few months until I was certain that there are actually several separate aspects to each intention, just like there are many different sides of a cube or a prism. All of these aspects are unified in that they all go together in every intention, but it is a good idea to go over these specific aspects anyway, because if we understand all the aspects to intention, we have much more control over our intentions and can use them more precisely and more efficiently. Here are the aspects of intention (that I have discovered so far):
1.) Intentional "Form": This concept is very difficult to understand, but I somewhat covered it in my previous post. Intentional form is the base intention - for instance, the intent to give, or receive, or refuse, or embrace. For instance, consider the fact that you could give somebody anything - a bird, a shoe, a coin, whatever you want to give them - but all of these actions use the same intentional form or base intention - the intent to give. Now, let's translate this into mental intentions - you could choose to give somebody love, warm sympathy, calmness, or whatever you wish. Despite the fact that these are all different emotions you can give, the intentional form is the same: to give. It has a distinct feel of offering, regardless of what you choose to offer. It is not too difficult to see how this principle applies to the intent to give, but it is more difficult to understand how it applies to many intentions. Take, for instance, the intent to refuse. Most people think of refusal as necessarily angry and rigid, but this is absolutely not the case. Imagine this: somebody chooses to refuse anger that is in his mind in order to quell it and get rid of it; effectively, his intention could be said to be an antidote to anger. Now, intend to refuse anger, not angrily, but to simply refuse anger with the understanding that this will make you coolheaded, the opposite of hostile and angry. Intend to refuse anger both physically and mentally. What happens? Your shoulders drop and you experience a pleasant sinking sensation, and truly feel coolheaded! Now, to see how the same intent, the intent to refuse, can be used in a different way, intend to refuse fear, both mentally and physically. What happens? Your spine lengthens and becomes taller, your head becomes poised and slightly tilted upwards with firmness, and your whole body and mind feel firm and fearless. Now you can see that those two different intentions, despite having the same base intent (to refuse), have very different effects indeed!
2.) Intentional "Essence": To begin to understand this principle, think back to the fact that you can give somebody whatever you wish - a coin, a dog, a peanut, whatever. Despite the fact that the action of giving somebody a coin, a dog or a peanut uses the same basic intent, the intent to give, the actions themselves are completely different because of WHAT you decided to give them. Mental intentions work the same way; for instance, the intent to give yourself love and the intent to give yourself compassion are completely different, and have different effects. The same is true of other intentions, although in many cases it is harder to visualize how this principle works with them. Take, for instance, the intent to embrace. Normally, we think of the intent to embrace as only an expression of love, but this is actually not the case. Have you ever read somewhere that society needs to "embrace the spirit of kindness" or "embrace positive change"? From these examples it is clear that the intent to embrace can be used to embrace ANY kind of emotion and draw it nearer and dearer to us - in other words the intend to embrace makes us more like what we choose to embrace. Now, intend to embrace compassion, mentally and physically. How do you feel? You feel a kind of pure gentleness wash over you - that's the best description I can come up with. Now, intend to embrace groundedness. What happens? You feel much more solid, and immovable in a positive sense. So as you can see, the intent to embrace has completely different effects depending on what you choose to embrace. The same is true for all other intentions.
3.) Object: This aspect of intention is also somewhat difficult to understand. Imagine for a moment that you had a weapon from the distant future that could target any object in the universe - not by shooting, but by mere intention. Imagine that you could have the weapon, say, blow up a planet a trillion light years from your location, or cause a supernova on the other side of the universe. Intentions function exactly like this. For instance, an example of this principle that is easy to understand is the intention to give. You can give, for instance, a present to somebody in Japan or even to yourself! So too, you can give love to yourself, to your mother who is 2000 miles away, or to any person, place or object whose existance you are aware of. This principle applies to all other intentions as well. For instance, if you wanted to refuse fear, you could refuse fear in your self, or you could refuse fear in another person in Japan. If you were aware of a person's existance on the other side of the universe, you could refuse fear in that person as well! I absolutely know intentions work this way because my uncle as well as my mom's friend have done intentional healing on me from great distances, even as far as Ohio (where my uncle lives) to New Jersey (where I live). Intentions, in other words, can have any target whatsoever; they are nonlocal, and can be used anywhere.
4.) Origin: This concept is very easy to understand when applied to the physical body. For instance, you could use your right hand to give a flower to anyone or anything – the origin of that action is your right hand in all cases, regardless of the object of that intention. Similarly, you could give your friend that same flower with your right hand, left hand, or any part of your body you can move, and in this case, despite the fact that the object of your intention remains the same in each case, the origin of your intention is different in each case. Now, intend to embrace compassion with your heart, and make the object of your intention your belly. You should feel compassion flow to your belly, and also feel that you used your heart to generate this intention. Now, intend to give compassion to your heart using your belly. How do you feel? Your heart feels more compassionate in this case, despite the fact that you used your belly to generate this intention.
Practically speaking, it is good to use various parts of your mental, emotional and physical bodies to generate, or be the origin, of your intentions, because doing so trains those parts of you to not merely receive positive energy, but to also actively generate positive energy as well. It’s just like weightlifting: you train your mental and emotional “muscle” to be stronger and conditioned in positive ways. For example, if you feel that you habitually hold your neck tense, it is good to use your intentions to relax your neck using your neck itself; this way, you not only relax your neck, but actively train your neck to act in a relaxed manner itself.
5.) Level: Intentions can work on many different levels, either alone or simultaneously. For example, we can intend to give ourselves love on the mental level, on the physical level, or on both simultaneously. We can also more specifically intend on different levels of the body and/or mind: you can work with intentions on the level of the ego, the level of emotional perception, the level of sensory perception, the deep muscles in the body, the energy channels in the body, etc. This aspect of intention is extremely important when one wants to use intentions to heal, because, just like a doctor that treats a specific part of the body, it allows us to heal more efficiently and rapidly and not waste our energy on different levels or locations in the body and mind that aren't as critical as others.
6.) Strength: This factor is very easy to understand when you think of lifting weights. For example, somebody may be able to carry a light weight for a very long period of time, whereas they would be able to carry a much heavier weight for a much shorter duration. Similarly, with intentions, you can comfortably do an intention at moderate strength for an extended period of time, or you can give it your all and generate a much more powerful intention for perhaps a few seconds, if you really strain. Unless it’s a pressure situation and you need to generate an extremely powerful emotion right away, it’s best to do intentions at a moderate and gentle strength and not to push too hard. Like all things, if you push too hard in your intentions, you will burn yourself out and perhaps even stress yourself out. Use only so much strength in your intentions that you will still be able to do your intentions for at least a few minutes at a time. Just take it easy and don’t push too hard.
7.) Purpose: This factor isn't actually associated with actual intentions or actions, but constitutes why we intend and act. For example, the intent to be creative and mentally flexible when you design nuclear weapons really isn't the intention to be creative and flexible: underneath it all, the intent is to destroy. So this factor consitutes the ethical basis for intentions, and keeps us grounded with the knowledge that not only intentions but what we use our intentions FOR is equally important. You have to get both aspects right to be positive and effective.
8.) Time: This factor is fairly obvious, but it should be included anyway. You can do your intentions any time you want for however long you want.
V. The Levels At Which Intentions Work
Intentions, as I have stated before, operate at every level of the personality, mind and body. Just as the body’s many different systems, i.e., the limbic system, circulatory system, central nervous system and so forth always operate at the same time, yet can operate in vastly different ways at the same time, the same is true of intentions. Our ego (self-sense), mind, senses and body all are constantly under the influence of intentions. Though there are probably more, here are the levels which I have discovered so far:
1.) The Ego. Most people nowadays associate ego with many negative characteristics: selfishness, monstrousness, callousness, narcissism, and so forth. But the ego is actually the core of who we are: it is, to put it bluntly, what makes us us. All intentions, perceptions and emotions begin at the level of the ego; we say “I am angry,” “I am sad,” and so forth. The sense of ego always precedes all other emotions and perceptions we may have. Therefore, the ego is by far the most important aspect of ourselves to work with, because it is our core and our foundation.
In truth, it is not an expansive or strong ego that is the basis for negative behavior, but a weak ego. A person that needs to bully and abuse others to have a sense of power and control in his life, logically, does not have a strong sense of self; the dependence on brutality and abusiveness and the kind of twisted feedback that one is “strong” is actually indicative of a very weak ego. A person who is secure in himself does not require feedback from others to determine how he feels about himself; a person with a less strong sense of self might require positive feedback from the outside in order to feel at ease with himself; most of us fall into this category. The weakest type of person needs others to be terrified or harmed by him in order to feel “secure” and “powerful”, though the kind of “self-sense” gained from such action is actually just a rigid, childish form of weakness – in other words, these negative behaviors cannot possibly enrich those who engage in them, because they are, fundamentally, negative intentions – they affect those who harbor them first before they can be used to harm anyone else.
So you can see it is of the greatest importance to work with the ego with our intentions. Now, close your eyes and intend to give your ego love and firmness; do this intention for about five minutes, and let yourself just experience it without a break. How do you feel? You should feel much stronger, much firmer, much less vulnerable to criticism or other negative external influences, and above all, you should feel more secure and peaceful. If your ego is happy (in other words, if your inner core is happy), your mind and even your body are far more likely to be happy as well.
2.) The Mind. The mind is an aspect of ourselves most people in modern society tend to have heard much about. It is seen like a kind of organ which is very delicate and impressionable, subject to all kinds of negative external influences and, ultimately, impossible to control.
However, as I have stated in the first chapter “Universal Intentions” you can see that you do indeed have control over your mind in terms of the kind of intentions you choose to use, and also in terms of other health-related factors, like proper sleep, diet, and so forth. It is true that our minds can indeed be damaged by negative experiences, but fortunately we are also able to consciously, intentionally influence our minds as well. What is very sad is that most people are unaware they have such power, but if you have read this article, then you are one of those who know that you can consciously influence your mind.
Just as the ego is our core, the mind is the next layer in the progression from our core to the environment. We use it to feel, think, and generally experience life emotionally; it is literally our emotional eyes and ears which we use to experience life. As the ego is the author or initiator of actions, as well as our sense of self, the mind is one of the receptacles that stores and digests impressions and experiences. However, we can consciously use intentions that influence how the mind develops and changes, and how it digests experiences. Intend for a few minutes to give your mind invincibility, the ability to be absolutely impervious to negative experiences. How do you feel? You should feel much more invulnerable and firm. So you can see that despite the fact that the mind is impressionable, we can work to make it so strong that external influences no longer have sway over us.
3.) The Senses. The senses are responsible for physical perception – our physical senses, like smell, taste and touch. The senses are not specifically designed to generate emotion, but they too play a part in the intentional process – they are instrumental in the psychosomatic process. For instance, if you have a nervous tick or a sensation of psychosomatic discomfort, like restless legs, or, in particular, oversensitivity or dullness of the senses, as in the case with many people who are on the autistic spectrum (like me), then working with the senses can be extremely beneficial. Keep your eyes open and intend to give your sense of vision love for a minute; don’t think too much, just do it and see what happens. You should feel much more at ease, and should also experience visual sensations as non-threatening and even nurturing. So you can see that the physical sense organs, and the ease or lack thereof of how they function, contributes greatly to your overall feeling of comfort or lack thereof.
4.) The Body. This is the most obvious aspect of ourselves, and is just as crucial to our well being as scientists would have us believe. If you read the first chapter “Universal Intentions” you have already experienced how intentions can be used to shape the body, but it’s good to do it again to see once more how this happens. Close your eyes and intent to physically refuse fear; your posture should grow tall, your head slightly tilted back with fearlessness, and you should physically feel more firm and fearless. In extremely pressured situations or in situations that demand quick action, it’s best to work with the body, because unlike the ego, mind or senses, it is very solid, easy to observe, and can be used to ground yourself in stressful situations.
VI. Qualities Of Intentions
Although the second chapter of this article explained “Intentional Essence” as the key to what kind of emotion we intend, this concept needs further explanation. There are many different qualities of energy – some are very destructive and low-quality, which are the weakest forms of energy, and some are extremely nurturing or resilient – higher forms of energy. You can actually divide intentions and emotions into four different categories in this way.
1.) Negative Intentions: Everybody is all too familiar with these; anger, envy, fear, sadness, and all other negative emotions belong here. Negative intentions and emotions fundamentally share one quality: they destroy the mind and body. For example, sadness makes the mind and body weak; anxiety makes the mind and body tense, constricted and agitated; dullness shuts down the body and mind. Negative intentions thus manifest as tension, weakness, imbalance, hardness, smallness, and dullness. These sensations are not merely mental – they can be observed in the body when they are occurring as well. Think back to the exercise when you picked up a kitchen knife and pretended you were about to kill someone with it, and remember how your body became tense, twisted and hard. Whenever you experience a negative emotion, simply intend to refuse the negative emotion you are experiencing and intend to embrace or receive the opposite positive emotion. In this way, you can effectively work with negative emotions and sensations as they arise in your body and mind.
2.) Positive Intentions: Most of us have experienced at least some variety of positive emotions, like love, joy, calmness, satisfaction, fulfillment, and so on. Like negative intentions, positive intentions all share one fundamental trait: they heal, strengthen and nourish the mind and body. For example, love makes us soft and nurturing; firmness makes us impervious to negativity, both from within and from the environment; joy enlivens us and opens up our minds and bodies. Positive intentions may manifest as openness, clarity, liveliness, softness, firmness, calmness, balance, expansiveness, and connectedness, and as with negative intentions, positive intentions are not merely mental, but physical as well. Think back to the exercise in which you thought of the person you love the most, and how your whole body expanded and relaxed when you thought of him or her. To consciously cultivate a positive emotion, simply intend to embrace or receive that positive emotion and intend to refuse the opposite negative emotion. In this way, you can consciously control your mind and body and choose to experience any positive emotion you desire.
3.) Perfect Intentions: This concept is initially very difficult to understand. To begin to understand what perfect intentions are, imagine an emotion so pure that it is both impervious to negative influences and is completely satisfying and not lacking in any way. Well, it is possible to work with such perfect emotions! Perfect emotions manifest in the body as all positive qualities rolled into one – a sense of sublime satisfaction, calmness and contentment where you no longer feel you are lacking anything. Close your eyes and intend to give yourself perfect love – love that is everlasting, invincible, and could satisfy you forever. Your posture should become tall yet utterly relaxed, expansive yet totally self-controlled – the combination of all the positive qualities you can imagine. However, you should also feel a sense of sublime love that is rooted in this perfect state. Now, close your eyes and intend to embrace perfect calmness. How do you feel? You feel the same absolute satisfaction as you felt when you gave yourself perfect love, yet at the same time you feel a kind of calmness that is rooted in that same perfection. However, when working with intentions like the intent to refuse or eliminate, instead of working with perfectly positive emotions, work instead with absolutely negative emotions. For instance, if you wanted to refuse anger, instead of refusing ordinary anger, you would refuse anger that is absolute in its negativity, [anger that could not be uplifted no matter how much positive emotional energy it was exposed to] I’m not sure what it would mean to uplift anger. The logic behind this is the same logic used in math: negative times negative equals positive, and in this case, one of those negative numbers is absolute negativity. Now, close your eyes and intend to refuse absolute fear. How do you feel? You should feel a positive resistance to fear that brings you to a state of complete satisfaction, just as embracing perfect love did. So you can see that perfect intentions are all alike in that they all yield a perfected state of being, and yet different nonetheless, just as if you had a perfect diamond that changed color depending upon the angle you looked at it. Working with perfect intentions is far superior to ordinary positive intentions, for perfect intentions leave nothing to be desired, and produce much stronger results.
4.) Infinite Intentions: This is perhaps the most difficult concept to understand in this entire book, but when you understand how to work with infinite intentions, you will never want to work with any other type of intention. Imagine a kind of emotion that isn’t simply perfect and absolutely satisfying, but infinite in its quality, intensity and quantity – absolutely infinite in every way possible. Infinite intentions yield a mind-body state that can only be described as infinite being – that is, infinite calmness, infinite connectedness with everything, and in particular, the expansion of your sense of self to include literally everything. Have you ever experienced such an intention? Though this doesn’t mean you will become aware of everything out there, it does mean you will feel connected to everything you can see or think of. Above all, in the deepest and most powerful way possible, infinite intentions yield the feeling that one is “ok,” not as in neutrality or even perfect satisfaction, but more like one is infinitely at peace. Now, close your eyes, and intend to embrace infinite love – a love of infinite quality, quantity and intensity. Do this for a few minutes and really let the intention deeply affect your mind and body. How do you feel? You should feel a kind of profound love so sublime it couldn’t possibly be any better, as well as infinite peace and connectedness to everything you can see, hear, smell, think of, or otherwise experience. You should feel, above all, at home. So you can see that working with infinite intentions is the best of all, and generates emotions and experiences that are so profound that everything else we have experienced simply pales in comparison to them.