With all the buzz about Intention-Manifestation right now, many of us are trying to make its principles an active part of our lives. For many of us, however, it is becoming just another frustration. While our friends are manifesting their greatest desires, we’re still stuck visualizing ourselves with millions of dollars and then sitting down, dejected, to discover that our checking account is overdrawn . . . again.
What is the key to applying Intention-Manifestation to our lives? How can we recognize what is blocking us? And does this have anything to do with non-dualism?
If you’ve experimented with Intention-Manifestation, you know that the basic premise is that your thoughts and emotions will affect how your life ‘manifests’ for you. At first, we might think it’s only a matter of wishing for the things we want. But soon we get the sneaking suspicion that many of our thoughts and emotions are working against our desires. For instance, I might desperately want a brand new house in the Caribbean, but even though I visualize it every night, I’m also worried about it whenever I visualize it. I’m a little afraid of Mexican laws, and don’t think I could ever afford something like that, and I’m afraid that my friends would only hang out with me because of my house on the ocean . . .
In other words, when we direct energies toward our goal, the energies are muddied by nagging fears, uncertainties, and self-doubt. What we need is a clear and vivid intention that is in harmony with the goals we’re trying to achieve.
The end result is that I-M can become a game of trying to control our thoughts and emotions. For some people, this can create a fear of negative thoughts and emotions, and because that fear is itself a negative emotion, we set up a downward spiral of fear-based thinking.
If we’ve paid careful attention, we’ve seen that I-M gets us into the same problem that all dualistic-based models get us into. It gets us into the problem of trying to negotiate the relationship between myself and the rest of the world. I-M may give me some great tools for negotiating, but when I fail to use those tools correctly, I’m going to have even more reason to think of myself as being ‘messed up’ and incapable of living life in a positive manner.
You could think of this as the Law of Inverse Proportions as it relates to self-development. The better the spiritual or emotional tools I’m given to live life positively, the more I can feel bad about myself when I mess things up. After all, if the tool is that good, then what does that say about me if I can’t even use it effectively?
What Is Blocking Us?
The problem with trying to control our thoughts is that most of us find it pretty difficult. The mind can often seem like a wild pony, running off in every direction without much concern for the greater good.
Even if we remove all the mysticism from I-M, it still makes sense that if I’m applying 100% of my mental, emotional, and physical energies to a project, I’ll probably succeed. I-M can seem pretty common-sense if viewed in this way. For instance, if I want to make a million dollars, and I start committing focused intention to that goal every day, I’m naturally going to start getting some ideas for how to make that happen. New ways to achieve my million-dollar goal will naturally manifest, since everything from my conversations to my life decisions will all be pointing me in that direction. My focused confidence will affect everyone around me, and my chances of achieving my goal will increase.
However, if I’m giving out wishy-washy intentions and my confidence is weak, you can imagine the results.
Our block, then, isn’t that the universe won’t manifest for us. Our block is that we’re not in control of our thinking. And the more we try to control our thinking, the more we run head-first into the Law of Inverse Proportions and end up convincing ourselves, more and more, that we are at the mercy of our moods, emotions, fears, and stray thoughts.
How Does I-M Work with Non-Dualism?
The beauty of I-M is that it asks us to be aware of our thoughts and emotions. If we can give up trying to control our thoughts and emotions, and just learn to watch them, something magical will happen.
Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? It can be an exasperating experience, and sometimes it can seem like there is a cd player in our head, repeating the song over and over. No matter how hard we try to turn it off, it just keeps coming back.
The reason for this is that we’re not in touch with the way our minds work. In essence, we’re defeating our own efforts. Every time we try not to think of the song, we’re effectively thinking of the song. So our effort to prevent a mental behavior is often the very energy that is creating that mental behavior. These efforts can be very subtle, but the more time you spend in awareness of your mind-states, the more evident they will become.
What’s the answer? There is a way to stop thinking of a song. Instantly. And that is simply to look at it, directly. When you notice that a song is playing in your head, stop, and pay all your attention to the song. The song evaporates. This is a curious thing about the human mind, but if you try it, you’ll find that it’s true. It works with frustration, anger, stress, or any of our various mind-states. If you turn your full attention to the actual feeling (as opposed to the various fears, thoughts, and mental meanderings you usually equate with the feeling), the feeling will evaporate.
Take stress. If we’re feeling stressed, the stress will evaporate instantly if we simply look, directly, at the feeling of stress itself. In the case of stress, you’ll find that the feeling is very small and not very powerful – it often has a weak physical sensation, and not much else we can pin down.
However, we might insist that the feeling of stress is very powerful, permeating our entire bodies and minds. But this isn’t the stress itself. This is the wild pony-ride created by the stress. Our usual method is to deal with the pony ride (ie. try to figure out how to deal with all our life problems that are ‘giving’ us stress). But the real solution is to get off the pony.
In the same way, a feeling of anger can feel overwhelming, but if we pay attention to the root of the feeling itself, anger is just a tightness in our chest, and that’s all.
Awareness is the magic that allows us to see the world as it’s actually manifesting, right Now. If we are constantly aware of our mind-state, we will directly experience every perception, emotion, and activity of our minds. There will be no time or energy for our minds to build up complex labyrinths of connected thoughts and emotions that convince us that our minds are in control of us.
Of course, we can run into the Law of Inverse Proportions here, as well, because we can make awareness into our new tool. Now we can fail to be aware, and create negative feelings because of that!
If you look carefully at this point, you’ll see the true key to breaking free of the Law of Inverse Proportions. The key is that if we make an effort to achieve anything, we set ourselves up for failure. Sometimes we will succeed, and sometimes we will fail. We might think that this is just how life works, but it’s not. It is actually possible to never fail.
To never fail, we simply need Awareness. It sounds passive, but it’s not. Awareness is no effort. But we can’t think of this as the opposite of effort! It’s something else entirely. The opposite of effort (laziness, or passivity), is actually a subtle brand of effort, which requires us to apply energies toward our own particular (in this case, lazy or passive) self-concept. No-effort is everything that happens — including your own actions — when you cease trying to force what comes naturally.
Truly having no effort is the most active thing you can do with your life. By having no effort (and thus allowing your Awareness to be fully present and cognizant of the situation unfolding in your Now), you find yourself fully able to interact with the actual situations you’re experiencing.
Awareness works all on its own. You can’t force yourself to be more aware of the world than you are if you just let Awareness work through you. All you can do is to focus your awareness on a certain object, thus limiting its ability to perceive the whole situation. And usually, the ‘objects’ we’re focusing on are our fears, insecurities, and frustrations – which guarantees that we’re totally unaware of the actual Now.
But even no effort can be made into another goal at which we can fail. Therein lies the toughest thing about Awareness. It is the one thing in the world which actually requires no effort to achieve, and our one block is that we insist on applying effort toward it.
Awareness, then, allows us to experience all the fruits of I-M without the frustration of trying to control our mind-state. Awareness, that paradoxical state of passive activeness, is the ultimate manifestation-force in the universe. Undistracted by the wild pony ride, we are fully able to see and interact with Now – the only moment that ever is.