Is the relationship between intention and attention circular?
It’s the age-old question, “Which came first… intention or attention?”
The old verities, “Intention drives attention,” and, “Power flows where attention goes,” speak volumes about the power of intention as it relates to attention.
Intention – a purpose or attitude toward the effect of one’s actions or conduct; a determination to satisfy need.
Attention – the faculty of mind engaged in support to satisfy intention’s need to manifest through action.
A need identifies a lack of something I value. Fulfilling a need restores my sense of wholeness to the value of my identity… at least temporarily. My intentions hold the fear that drives my needs. My attention holds the survival motivation for resolution and fulfillment for my needs.
Who I am equates to the value of my needs and their fulfillment.
Needs + Fulfillment = Who I am
Because I don’t understand myself fully, I incorrectly assign my attention to satisfy a need of which I am unaware – causing me to experience unforeseen consequences that I defend: “I didn’t create that!” and “I didn’t intend for that to happen!” …usually followed by blame.
I have four kinds of intentions that need to be satisfied for me to exist. Each assigns attention to serve the need of intention.
- Mind – thought – attention to reason and justice.
- Body – physical – attention to form and function.
- Emotions – feelings – attention to sentience.
- Identity – who I am – attention to purpose.
I give value to and defend that which defends me.
I complete the energy exchange in each of the categories by giving back what I believe I’ve received. For example, in the mind category, I thank my mind by encouraging similar thoughts. In the body category, I thank my body by taking care of it.
What might happen were I to question the values held by my intentions?
When I question the value in my intention, I am measuring the value of its impact on the four categories. I reassign that value through attention. I get responses from all four of my intention categories – from thought, where reason gives meaning to what I am, to my feelings and purpose for who I am.
Through attention, I make real and necessary my intentions. When I know the value of my needs, I can change the way I have served them, and serve them in a new way – with love rather than fear. To get started, I might ask some questions.
- What is my real intention?
- How am I expressing it?
- Why do I value it?
- Who‘s really in charge here?