“All that counts in life is intention.” Andrea Bocelli
When I first saw this week’s topic I was a little worried about what I would do, since ‘having the intention to raise my consciousness’ is, basically, how this whole project began. I didn’t want to skip it, though, because I promised myself that I would stick to the list (Project Guideline #7), but I also didn’t want to rehash everything I said in my first post. I realized, then, that maybe I could still have an intention this week, it would just have to be about something else. But what? My intention to raise my consciousness (i.e this project) took a whole year to turn into something…I needed one that could happen in a week! Plus, whatever it was should have a specific outcome, so that the result would be very clear. I also thought it might be a good idea, if possible, to try it more than once, to really put the theory to a test.
Growing up, an intention to me was something that was either good or bad. To have the intention to do something simply meant following up a thought with some sort of action. Sometimes it worked out, and sometimes, well, despite the best of intentions, it just didn’t. For instance, I always had a good intention to do well in math, but no matter how hard I tried, I just always seemed to fall a little bit short. My father was not very sympathetic, despite my insistence that I really had intended to do better that semester. I guess he was more of a visual guy, so the grade on the report card was proof enough to him that my intention, however good it may have been, just wasn’t quite enough.
So when I came upon the book, The Power of Intention, by Dr. Wayne Dyer, a few years ago, I was intrigued by the idea of intention as a force of nature. A lot of what he wrote about made sense to me, especially his theory that “our intentions create our reality.” When you think about it, there’s just not too much in the world that didn’t begin with an intention. Whether it’s the chair I’m sitting on, the house I live in, the car I drive, my husband, myself, our children…everything is the result of someone’s intention to create it. I had also read somewhere that the best way to influence your day-to-day reality is to spend a little time just after you wake up, when you are in-between sleep and total wakefulness, and picture in your head the way that you ‘intend’ your day to go. The theory is that once your mind has experienced the day the way you want it to be, then the chances are better that you will actually have that experience. If I had only known all of this when I was in school!
So anyway, last Sunday morning I set the intention that I would see my favorite hockey team, the NY Rangers, win their playoff game that afternoon. I realize that setting an intention for something so totally out of my realm of influence might seem a bit egotistical, but I decided that because I was focusing on my experience watching the game, that it was ok. And I imagine there are a few people who might be scratching their heads, wondering why I would pick something as trivial as a hockey game to set my intention on. Believe me, I totally understand that in the big scheme of things this is pretty inconsequential. But as my family and friends know, I just really, really love the NY Rangers…it’s as simple, and as ludicrous, as that. And since it was a really important game (the Rangers were down 2 games to none against the Washington Capitals), I figured there was nothing to lose by trying.
Anyway, as soon as I woke up, I pictured the team gathering in the middle of the rink and raising their sticks to the fans, a tradition when they win on home ice. I imagined how excited and happy I would feel when they won, and how much I absolutely love to watch them play. Finally, I pictured my husband and friends high-fiving each other when the game was over. And, even though I spent most of the game with my head buried in a pillow because it was so close, the ending turned out exactly like I’d pictured it – the Rangers won! I was so excited, and it even crossed my mind that maybe I had come up with the secret to winning that ever-so-elusive Stanley Cup…what if every fan woke up the day of a game and ‘intended’ to watch the Rangers win? They would be unbeatable!
Unfortunately, however, my theory was shattered a couple of days later when they lost the next game in double overtime, despite the fact that I had pictured everything exactly the same as before. I was disappointed, of course, but realistic enough to know that, alas, the Ranger’s fate could not possibly rest solely in my hands. The experience did make me wonder, though, what exactly makes an intention powerful enough to become a reality. On his cd, Speaking the Lost Language of God, Gregg Braden talks a lot about the connection that exists between our thoughts (or intentions), and our feelings and emotions. As I understand it, and please bear with me as I try to sort this out in my head, when we have a thought, we immediately attach an emotion to it (i.e. love or fear), and the result is a feeling we have, either good or bad. So a thought that elicits a positive emotion will result in a positive feeling, and then our reality will mirror that back to us. If a thought elicits a negative emotion, either consciously or unconsciously, then chances are we are going to feel badly, and that will be what we experience. Luckily though, as human beings, we all have the unique ability to consciously change how we feel about something, so it is ultimately within our power to control what we experience. According to Braden; “In every moment, of every day, we either make a life-affirming choice, or a life-denying choice in the way we respond to the world.” I guess the key is to try to be more aware of how we are feeling in any given situation, and then make the choice to feel good.
The thing for me, however, is that sometimes I’m just not aware that a negative emotion may be influencing my thoughts. It could be that there’s a negative belief so deeply ingrained in my subconscious that I don’t know it’s there, or it could be that I am just too busy wallowing in my unhappiness to notice anything. But whatever the reason may be, if I’m not aware of the negative emotion, I can’t change it to something more positive…a kind of catch-22. That could explain why things didn’t work out for me watching the Rangers in the second game – because even though my intention was positive (to watch the Rangers win), and the emotion elicited from that thought was also positive (love for Rangers), I’m wondering if, even though I thought I believed it could happen, that maybe deep down inside I just wasn’t so sure. And then the resulting feeling, although I thought it felt good on the outside, was actually based on doubt from the inside, so my experience watching the game was not what I had intended. Of course, it could have just been because the other team was better!
So, it seems to me, that if our intentions do in fact create our reality, as Dr. Dyer claims, and if I, as a human being, am consciously able choose how I feel about my intentions, as Braden asserts, then I guess I really have more control over my life than I ever thought. I might not be able to change the outcome of a hockey game, but I will take comfort in the fact that I am able to choose how I feel, every moment of every day. And as ancient wisdom reminds us…as within, so without.