" . . . evidence suggests that you will be a more effective "intender" if you believe in the process, learn how to focus, quiet your mind, and connect to the object of your intention. . " Lynne McTaggart
It is time to get serious and take our Intention Circles to a new level. Every week we have several people in each circle who report that their intention from the last week was realized.
It is my intention that everyone who attends a circle have their intention realized. Or at least significant movement toward it. Each week. Without exception!
So I thought it might be a good idea for some review. I published a version of this in June, and think it's worth having another look at. It's helpful even if you are not attending circles.
And if you are, I hope it will inspire you to make a new commitment to your own intention, and to being in service to others' intentions.
Taken from the closing chapters in “The Power of Eight: Harnessing the Miraculous Energies of a Small Group to Heal Others, Your Life, and the World,” she lists steps for group intention.1 But first, we need a working definition of intention.
Citing Intentions and Intentionality: Foundations of Social Cognition, by Bertram Malle, McTaggart wrote, “A textbook definition of intention characterizes it as ‘a purposeful plan to perform an action, which will lead to a desired outcome,’ unlike a desire, which means simply focusing on an outcome, without a purposeful plan of how to achieve it. An intention was directed at the intender’s own actions; it required some sort of reasoning; it required a commitment to do the intended deed. Intention implied purposefulness: an understanding of a plan of action and a planned satisfactory result.”2
Using that definition and refining her Intention Experiments, she discovered that groups of eight people intending for wellness or change in unison could make a difference in things; many things from plants to people’s health.
As an introduction to the steps, she writes: “Although the power of intention is such that any sort of focus may have some effect, the scientific evidence suggests that you will be a more effective ‘intender‘ if you believe in the process, learn how to focus, quiet your mind, connect with the object of your intention, visualize the outcome, mentally rehearse and let go, trusting the process.”3
These, then, are her steps for an effective intention (or group prayer, if you will), which by the way, does not have to be done together in a room or sanctuary. Virtual groups working together at the same time, according to McTaggart, work just as well as those sitting together.
1. Make an Intention Space
Select a space that is just right for you. McTaggart reported that there have been several scientific studies that suggest that “intention works faster and better if you use the same intention space each time.” I have chosen my den where I can see the image of those I am intending for on my computer screen while it plays meditation music. But wherever you choose, make it a place that feels comfortable for you, a place where you or “your group can sit quietly and meditate.”
2. Focus Your Mind
Come into your body, checking in with your individual senses. Sit in a comfortable position in a chair. Breathe slowly and rhythmically in through the nose and out through the mouth. Think what does the present moment look like? Sound like? Taste like? Feel like? Smell like?
Mctaggart suggests this can be done by practicing “focusing on your five senses while involved in everyday activities. You can practice turning off the constant inner chatter of your mind and concentrate on your sensory experiences while engaging in everyday activities like eating your cornflakes, waiting in line, putting on your coat, or even walking to work …’come into your body’ and check in with your individual senses. In time you will be able to attend in your intention group with peak intensity. “
3. Make a Connection
This should be an “empathetic connection” heart to heart with the person you are intending for. When it is not a person think about the cause you want to improve and how it will benefit humankind. If it is an object, think of how it connects to you, life and the universe.
McTaggart expalins, “Touch, or even focus, on the heart or compassionate feelings for the other is a powerful means of causing a ‘hyperbrain‘ between people. If you’re intending for a member of your group, first form an empathetic connection with him or her by spending a few moments exchanging some personal information about each of you, or even an object or photograph. Hold his or her hands for a deeper connection or spend a little time meditating together.”
4. Be Compassionate
Move yourself toward a state of universal compassion. Remind God or the universe that you need to be well and free from suffering. Be thankful for the kindness and love you receive in life, from your loved ones and from others. Ask that they all be well and free from suffering, even those you are not fond of.
She gives these tips to “encourage a sense of universal compassion during your Power of Eight group: • “Focus your attention to your heart, as though you are sending light to it. Observe the light spreading from your heart to the rest of your body. Send a loving thought to yourself, such as ‘May I be well and free from suffering.’ • Then as you breathe out, “imagine a white light radiating outward from your heart. As you do, think: ‘I appreciate the kindnesses and love of all living creatures. May all others be well.’
“As Buddhist [monks] recommend, first think of all those you love, then your good friends. Move on to acquaintances and finally to those people you actively dislike. For each stage, think: ‘May they be well and free from suffering.’”
5. Ask for the Exact Outcome You Want
At this point, it is time to ask for what you would like have changed; make it very specific and directed—”the more detailed, the better. If you are trying to heal the fourth finger of your left hand” she recommends, then “specify that finger and, if possible, the problem with it.”
You need to ” state your entire intention and include what it is you would like to” to see changed. Use the questions from a reporter’s checklist to answer who, what, where, when, why and how.
She suggests that you might also make a drawing of the outcome, post it on a note, or even make a collage from pictures. Then put that somewhere prominent that you will see often.
Then she challenged, “don’t be shy about announcing your intention openly” by making “a vow, out loud to your group, that you will do everything in your power to make this intention a reality.” McTaggart explained that many of her “masterclass members say, having to make a public commitment ‘to the universe’ …forces them to keep working harder on their intentions and follow through.” However, it cannot be something general, say like you are trying to improve your career and want more money. Specifics like this are important: • “If you need more people to sign up for a program of yours, specify how many. • “If something isn’t working for you in your work life, work out what it is. The people? The marketing of something? Your role? Tease out the issue and focus on intending for that to change. • “If you want a particular job, write down a full and detailed job spec. • “If your income isn’t steady, ask for a very specific job or situation that is likely to offer you a steady flow of money. • “If you want to meet a special other, describe him or her in detail. Draw a mental and physical picture.”
6. Mentally Rehearse
After sending the intention, live with it. Try “to visualize the outcome you desire with all your five senses.” She recommends making a mental picture for the outcome. Imagine your new house, your better job, the improved relationship you want, a healthy body, or whole mind. “Imagine yourself (or the target of your intention) engaging in whatever new aspect of life you wish to create.”
Go beyond your own visual gifts. She says that “some of us are kinesthetic, and have an acute sense of feel; others are auditory and think in sounds. Your mental rehearsal will depend on which senses are most developed in your brain.”
7. Believe in the Process
Again, McTaggart, challenged: “Don’t allow your rational mind to tell you that the intentions won’t work. Keep firmly fixed in your mind the desired outcome and do not allow yourself to think of failure. In some studies of intention, the power of belief enabled people to carry out extreme acts.”
Have faith that this will work, because it does. I know that personally and from experience.
8. Time It Right
Do all you can to make this time right. You need to feel happy and well in every way to make this work best. If you are not on your game, join in anyway, because, as she recorded. “It’s not always possible to wait; sometimes you need the intentions to make you feel better. But if you have the choice—wait until you are on top of your game.”
9. Move Aside
During the group’s combined effort, relax your sense of self and put this into God’s or the universe’s hands. Your request will be heard and it will move you toward the desired outcome.
She closed with this, “After framing your intention, state it clearly and then let it go. Don’t think of the outcome. This power does not originate with you—you are just the vehicle for it.”
If you're interested in exercising the power of intention more effectively in your life I invite you to take some time and go over each of these steps. If you would like to practice focusing your mind, quieting it, or any other aspect of it, just let me know and I'm happy to meet with you for a few minutes before the beginning of a circle.
Circles are now being held on Sundays at 6:30 in Maui Meadows, Thursdays at 5:30 in Haiku, and beginning November 12, on Tuesdays at 1 in the afternoon in Pukalani. Feel free to email me for more information.
With love as my intention,