How to set an intention
This living of the contrast, which causes a focusing of desire, calls forth the Creative Energy of the Universe, and is, in fact, what causes all Life to evolve. –Esther and Jerry Hicks (The teachings of Abraham), in The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent
Perhaps, like this little lion, you’ve been experiencing a bit of contrast (that is, what you don’t want) in your life of late. In my world, that means it’s time to set an intention or two.
At least in the US, the Law of Attraction is widely accepted in the culture at large, no doubt thanks to The Secret. But exactly how to set intentions effectively is probably not as widely understood. This is what works for me …
- Start small. Before you start on the major issues of your life, it’s a good idea to start with something small and inconsequential first, to play with the process and see how it works. For example, “I’d love to see something today that makes me laugh.” Or, “I’d love for someone I don’t know to strike up an interesting conversation with me.”
- Be clear about what you want. What is a must-have? Nice-to-have? Not important at all? I like to state, in addition to what’s non-negotiable, what I’d like to have if I can.
- Write it down, read it over, mull over it for awhile. (It wouldn’t be a bad idea to set aside a journal specifically for this purpose.) What’s missing? What doesn’t feel quite right? If anything’s amiss, write another draft that feels right to you. Meditate, and look at what you’ve written again.
- Be positive. As you probably already know, the Law of Attraction literature says the Universe can’t hear “not” or “no.” I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but I do remember reading in Arielle Ford’s The Soulmate Secret the story of a woman who put on her list of soulmate qualities “Must not be Irish.” She met someone who matched the rest of her list quite remarkably. They’d introduced themselves using first names only, so some time went by before she discovered that his last name was something along the lines of O’Malley. When she explained that she had been trying to avoid Irish men because two previous men in her life had been part Irish, he quickly explained that the real problem had been that they weren’t 100% Irish! She decided not to hold it against him. I have nothing against the Irish (let’s hope not, as I’m part Irish myself), but maybe it is best to be positive. So instead of “Absolutely no smokers!!” you could say “Free of addictions” and “Willing to accommodate my preferences with regard to smoking.”
- Keep your intentions general. You don’t need to include the “answer” in your intention–that part is the Universe’s to take care of. For example, “I want Bobby McGee to finally wake up and see that I’m The One!” There are several problems with this. You may or may not be The One for Bobby, but even if you are, Bobby has a mind and will of his own that only he controls. Also, by the time you had Bobby in hand and he opened his mouth, you might find that he bored you to tears. Many men are better in your imagination than in reality–sad, but true. There’s also just one Bobby, but perhaps many men who otherwise are exactly what you want. So instead of stating specifics, it’s best to generally describe what you want. If you must include Bobby, I would suggest creating a list of what you want as usual, and then add, “And I’d love it if this person could be Bobby McGee!” A nice-to-have rather than a must-have.
- Imagine what it will feel like when your intention is fulfilled.
- Turn your intention over to the Creative Energy of the Universe for fulfillment.
- Refer back to your intention on a regular basis. Make reading it, reiterating it, and imagining it part of your daily spiritual practice.
- Ask for guidance about whether there’s anything you can do or need to do to help manifest your intention. It’s a common modern (and perhaps particularly American) belief that we must continually be striving for what we want. In my experience though, sometimes you need to be still, and sometimes you need to act. There’s a time for every purpose under heaven (Eccl. 3:1).
Here’s an example intention. This is my list of what I want in my next job:
- Fairly close to home–prefer about a 20-minute drive or less
- A great boss–understanding, appreciative, fair, reasonable, ethical, has integrity
- Flexible, pleasant work environment
- A positive company that’s doing well financially
- Reasonable, pleasant, supportive coworkers
- Generous pay and benefits that meet all my needs
- Challenging, interesting work that allows me to make a difference
- Low stress
- Full time
- Allows me to feel settled, and for my personal life and writing to flower
I ask that information about jobs that meet my criteria flow to me, and that that everyone at these companies smile on me, my resume, and my references.
One common misconception about setting intentions is that it’s not work. On the one hand, since you’re aligning yourself with the flow of the Universe, it’s very different from the salmon-swimming-upstream effect of a lot of striving. On the other hand, the commitment, faith, and focus associated with setting intentions are not exactly like falling off a log. I don’t really recommend making a list and putting it in your underwear drawer. I recommend keeping what you really want more top of mind.
You know that when you ask, it is always given; therefore, you have no desire to avoid contrast, because you understand the focusing power of contrast. –Esther and Jerry Hicks (The teachings of Abraham)
When you experience contrast–and you will–consider it an excellent opportunity to reiterate what you really want instead!
May your intentions and mine be fulfilled.
This post is illustrated with my SoulCollage card Compassion + The Lioness.