Intention and Fulfillment

No matter how determined the baby is, it won’t derive nourishment from sucking its thumb. No matter how determined an intention may be, it can’t fulfill a want without an appropriate action.

My Intention turns What into Why

You may believe you know what you want and how to get it. Yet, when frustrations come, you may not know to ask why you didn’t get what you wanted. Once I establish routine patterns of thoughts and actions, questioning them becomes difficult. We may live with routine frustration and failure, never knowing why we hurt or how we lost our sense of purpose. Our behaviors tell more about us than our thoughts and feelings. Yet, once acceptance of failure and frustration have been implemented there seems no need to question them – “It simply is what it is.”

There is always an intention with every action, though you may not be aware of it. The results of your intentions and actions is feedback to your understanding.

Sometimes I interpret feedback as frustration. Yet, frustration and failure need not be the focus. Understanding your intentions helps you accept accountability for them. Meditate on these four questions to illuminate your hidden intentions:

  • What do I need and deny in this experience?
  • How does this experience illustrate that need and denial?
  • Why do I need and deny this?
  • Who am I because of my need and denial?

The answers to why we think, feel, and do as we do may stem from one cause, one specific intention. Knowing that cause is the smoking gun of opportunity, which offers us power over frustration and failure! Intentions may be a natural characteristic of life, yet, their fulfillment requires a clearer understanding of them.

When I question why I believe I am who I am, I reveal my intention, and the frustration and failure I felt transforms into –

I love who I am.

How I Morph a Want into a Need Feed

And what I can do about it!

“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful…” (Eric Thomas – AKA ET The Hip Hop Preacher)

This new age saying is nothing new. It expresses the concept that we must fight to accomplish anything of value. That value determines the worth of people, things, thoughts, and behaviors. That success for one means defeat for another. Success and failure are measured in terms of value. To be of value, one must succeed. These concepts live within the First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble awareness.

I have values. I value my own opinion and those of certain others who agree with me. Certain activities carry value for me. I use value to assist me in judging, comparing, balancing, and separating. I even use value to evaluate values. Everything in my world has a value to me – usually experienced in terms of importance.

The value of a perception of threat must rise to a certain level of importance to me before I invest in defense. That threshold allows me to prioritize my thoughts and behaviors, saving precious life force energy. After all, defense is a feed, a draw on life force energy. So, the fewer times I have to call upon defense, the more energy I have available for useful (to me) work.

While appearing to provide value, defense diminishes the resources required to satisfy the need for which it was invoked. Therefore, I tend to have few needs compared to wants. And needs tend to elicit far more value than wants. Unless, that is, I transform a lower-value want into a higher-value need.

When want-fulfillment becomes more important than the lives and properties of those involved, a want transforms into a need and a feed is born! That feed includes the want-turned-need and its satisfaction through forced attainment and contrived justification. A value-elevated want can justify the feed that justifies a need and the actions taken to satisfy it.

Turning a Want into a Need Feed

I’ve expressed personal worth in terms of comparative value – “You’re a better man than I am.” I may define strength of will as a comparable value as well – “You’re so much stronger than I am.” When these values climb to need levels, I hear things like, “You’re the best man for the job!” and, “You’re the strongest person I know!” These are setups for need feeds!

By assigning value, I can morph a non-physical want into a physical quest for survival. The higher the value I assign to a want, the more specific the object of my desire must be. That “must be” is how I turn a want into a need.

In elevating a want into a need, I simplify my choices – by narrowing acceptable outcomes. Needs tend to narrow choices to one – simple. Wants tend to allow more options. For example, “I want a drink” allows many forms of satisfaction, “Yeah, a coke will do.” “I need a drink” means only whiskey will do. Simple non-choice default, the implication of which is, “I can’t live without it” – thus, the need feed!

Although elevating a want to need status can energize my mind and heart into working together to provide the value I seek in satisfaction, my mind and heart will feel the result of a need feed.

When turning a want into a need, I might ask myself how important are the specifics of each answer:

What do I want? (the objective)
How do I get it? (the strategy)
Why do I need it? (the want-need switch)
Who am I that needs this? (my self-image in this case)

How might I recover the energy of a want-turned-need?

I like to listen for the words, “need”, “must”, “can’t”, “have to”, “only”, and “should” to help me identify my need feeds. When I hear one, I think to myself, “What do I actually need in this situation?” and notice how this changes the energy of my situation.

How Fear Feeds on Attention

Inside my First and Second degree bubble, everything lives by satisfying needs. An unsatisfied need can trigger a sense of suffering, which can present as fear. The more attention I pay to a need, the more energy I invest in its satisfaction because I fear suffering.

Could fear be the result of imagining what might happen if a need isn’t satisfied? In this way, could fear feed on my attention? Might I create a feed situation when what I give attention to turns into an unsatisfied need? Could I be causing my own suffering?

My fear-need process seems to be a circular awareness path in which I:

  1. …sense an unsatisfied need and then –>
  2. fear suffering because of it and then –>
  3. pay attention to the fear and so –>
  4. take ineffective action that falls short of satisfaction and –>
  5. pay some emotional energy and–>
  6. return awareness back to item 1 above…

Unfulfilled needs lead to fear of suffering that leads to unfulfilled needs that lead to more fear. Note how often I pay in the cycle above. Pay, pay, pay – feed, feed, feed. Out of control – it’s a fear feeding frenzy!

Perhaps fear is like a parasite, feeding on its host’s energy through attention. Could fear prize attention as its reward? As I seek to satisfy my need to avoid suffering, might I draw more suffering by attending to the demands of fear? Am I evolving according to the fears I attend to most?

How does fear feed on attention?

Perhaps an analogy might assist in the understanding how fear feeds on attention.

Fire fighters pull up to a burning building. A window in an adjacent building reflects the raging fire. The fire chief erroneously points his crew’s hose at the reflection rather than at the burning building. Obviously, the water poured on the window fails to extinguish the fire. Despite the amount of water the fire fighters apply to the window, the fire continues to grow. The greater the fire grows, the greater the image in the window and the more the fire fighters’ attention to it.

The fire fighters are doing what they know is the right thing to do even though their efforts are ineffective. Until the chief questions their actions, he may not recognize the error. A very wet window and a very burned-down building will be the result.

Fighting Ghosts

How many times have I done what I knew would work and felt the sting of frustration when it didn’t?!! Maybe I was hosing down a window – a reflection. Perhaps my fear is a reflection that draws my precious attention away from effective action. The image of what I feared sucked my energy away from taking effective action on the object of that fear.

How do I beat my fears? One, perhaps useful, way is to recognize them for what they are: ghosts, figments of imagination, reflections. Unreal. No matter what I fear, that fear is a ghost – not the object it reflects. No amount of attention poured on the fear window will put out the fire it reflects.

Like the fire chief who directs his forces at the window while the building burns down, I can continue to attend to my fears as I have – enjoying a fullness of frustration. Or I might reconsider by recognizing the ghost for what it is – a reflection – and asking, “What else?”

  • What unfulfilled need does this fear reflect to me?
  • How do I feel about that need? (particularly, where and how in my body do I feel it?)
  • Why is my attention drawn to this need (and not another)?
  • Who has the power of intention to redirect their attention? (I do!)

Apollo’s Admonition, Watson’s Seeing, and Holmes’ Observation (pt 1)

Sherlock Holmes and James Watson captured the imagination of generations of mystery story readers – including me. I love mysteries. And love solving them. Mystery stories speak to the part of us that wants to know, “What’s going on?” To that question, my life represents the ultimate mystery to be solved. So, I turn to those I view as smarter than me – Holmes and Watson – to help me solve the mystery of my life.

“The game is afoot.”

A great mystery story begins simple – Holmes encounters a potential client who hires him to investigate something. In the process of investigation, Holmes and Watson uncover clues, evaluate evidence, interpret data, make hypotheses, and test theories. In the end, it’s usually Watson who triggers Holmes into making the “aha” that solves the case. Can I use their example to solve the mystery of me?

Let’s Start With Apollo

Inscribed in the forecourt of Apollo’s Temple at Delphi, the ancient Greek aphorism, “Gnothi Seauton” (know thyself), applies to me today. How can I ever expect to know truth until I know myself?!!

Within the sanctuary of Apollo’s Temple, the Oracle would pronounce, foresee, and challenge seekers from all walks of life. Apollo’s admonition was not new to anyone then or now – it is the basic credo of all philosophy and the essence of the Aha Zone.

“When you understand yourself, you’ll understand the laws you’ve subjected yourself to.” (Carol, Perspectrum)

Conversely, when you understand the laws you’ve subjected yourself to, you’ll understand yourself.

About Law

Life is how order emerges from entropy. According to the Second Law of thermodynamics, entropy is always working against order. Wherever order exists, laws define and govern its form and function – structure. Let’s consider four types of law governing each of us within the First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble of awareness.

  1. Universal – the structure of order regulates forces that define┬áCause and Effect. Universal Law defines WHAT CAN BE as a scope of perceptual limitation within wholeness. WHAT IS represents its current condition as I perceive it. Baseline of self-knowing.
  2. Societal – a system of man-made rules that regulate the actions of its members based on reward and punishment. Laws are about rules concerning mutual interests, agreements and interpretations. Regulation by social acceptance.
  3. Interpersonal – a system of rules for personal relationships – agreement based on emotional connection, mutual interests and approval. Regulation by emotional reward and punishment.
  4. Personal – a system of rules based on personal boundaries, where needs dictate a person’s actions, attitudes and values in relation to and separate from those of others. In this case, law is about personal protection and need satisfaction – regulation by wish and manipulation.

I suffer to the degree I misunderstand, work to impose my personal law on, or disregard other types of law.

How might I use law to fulfill Apollo’s admonition?

When I notice I’m suffering, I can investigate the mystery Holmes-style by recognizing that some aspect of me has misunderstood, imposed its will on, or disregarded law. Another part has come to the Oracle within me to ask for assistance in solving the mystery of me. The game of resistance is afoot.

To “get to the bottom of this,” I first set an intention to know my SELF. I then get quiet and focus inward to ask three questions:

  1. What’s happening in my life right now? (What is afoot?)
  2. How do I feel about that?
  3. Why do I feel that way?

…which help me develop the fourth question that I present when I imagine approaching my inner sanctuary where the Oracle, my law-interpreter, resides:

4. Who am I?

This last question is THE essential question Apollo required of his Delphi temple visitors. All of these questions are about my relationship to my perception of natural and man-made laws. By answering the questions above in their order, I might get a glimpse of the elusive “Self” I’ve heard so much about.

Next time, we’ll look into how Holmes’ observation of Watson may help me fulfill Apollo’s admonition to “know thyself.”

A Catalyst Reveals Hidden Treasures

A catalyst is a triggering agent that provokes action and choice. In a reactive universe, every action provokes another action and another choice. Relationships provoke change that is essential to experience. A Third Degree of Illumination question appears as a catalyst that provokes a choice and yet does not affect the question that prompted it.

The Catalyst Opportunity

Relationships carry intentions and resistance to change. The choices we make are the beginning of change. Choosing the same thing is not choice, rather, it is resistance to change, a validation of a previous choice. My relationships offer many opportunities for me to confront my resistance. Those opportunities often appear as conflicting thoughts that elicit questions that act as catalysts for change.

I can challenge resistance thoughts with alternative thoughts. In my inner-most personal relationships, those alternative thoughts are ever-present, an invitation to reconsider and choose again. A catalyst may require only a minute degree of leverage in the form of a question like, “Is that true?” to move the mind past the tipping point.

This type of catalyst is a question that reveals hidden intentions behind resistance. Light shone in the darkness acts as a catalyst that reveals what was in the dark. By questioning my resistance, I shine the light of conscious awareness on it, illuminating that which I’ve concealed from myself. I can shift my awareness from competition and defense to choice and accountability.

Revealing Hidden Treasures

I question my established beliefs by challenging present defenses. The more entrenched my beliefs, the greater the need for defense. The more I invest in defense the less creative energy I have available to me. I can use questions to reassign that investment. At some point, my investment in awakening will pass the tipping point to AHA! That’s when I’ll be faced with the ultimate choice – move ahead to complete personal accounting or fall back into defense. It’s a tipping point, after all.

Mindfulness means questioning my thoughts. Continuing to believe what I used to think vital simply allows my accountability to step aside while a misunderstanding takes charge. I can question that misstep and offer myself the choice again.

Any question can be used as a catalyst, yet certain kinds of questions lead to certain kinds of conscious awareness. Here are some questions I’ve used to provoke a 3rd Degree awareness – choice, in which 4th Degree accountability is an option.

From Conflict to Awareness – Choose!

Get quiet. Pick a recent conflict in which you continue to defend a side. Ask:

  1. What awareness am I resisting? (maybe the other side of the issue?)
  2. How am I resisting it? (my defense)
  3. Why am I resisting it? (my payoff for defense)
  4. Who am I resisting? (the one capable of resolving the issue)

Continue asking these questions until the answer to every question is a variation of “Who I am!” – the ONE dreaming this dream. BTW, I AM the treasure I seek.