Our blogs exploring the quality of “intention”

intention

The mind in the heart

Of course we’ve all heard of putting our foot in our mouth but I wonder if we have ever pondered the idea of the mind in the heart? Most of us will be very aware of the power of persistence, determination and will when seeking to get things done. And yet there is another way which one might almost describe as alchemical. It’s the power that comes when we imbue our dreams and aspirations with a higher purpose outcome filled with love.

This alchemical process has its greatest power when we are able to align our ‘thoughts’ or intention with the love that is in our hearts. In those moments in meditation, mindfulness or reflection when we are truly able to feel the flow between our mind and our sense of higher love, something magical happens. We start to sense that there is more power being brought to bear, that the resources available to us grow, that the path becomes perhaps more open or easier to navigate. The heart has its own intelligence that we need to access just as the mind has its own heart…if we look for it.

It is this quality of intention that our world needs now – in organisational leadership, in politics, in social activism, in religious leadership. In fact, in leadership full stop.

And if it all feels a bit too lofty let us recall that in all probability, most of our best and most impactful decisions are made and actions taken, when we are able to combine the head with the heart in the right measure. The scale of opportunity (and threat) facing humanity now calls for every leader to access this reservoir of heartful, intelligent intention toward the greater good in every moment of every day.

Lorraine Flower

intention

Cultivating a new field

“The control and power to construct or destroy is within you – choose wisely.” Sepideh Irvani

What are you thinking right now? Is it a thought that lifts or one that lowers?  Every day our minds are a mass of thoughts…some tiny and seemingly inconsequential, others more substantial.  Some are fleeting, scudding through like fluffy clouds.  Others may hang around longer, mushrooming with positivity or not.  And each, whatever their longevity and scale, has the power to create or destroy. For us and the world around us.

Choosing our thoughts wisely is a deep responsibility we carry, a privilege of our humanness. In every moment we need to be more present, more engaged with those thoughts, elevating them out of gloom. Catching and reframing where we need to. Then sending them out into the ether infused with love and light.

In doing so we’re helping cultivate a universal field that will embrace and help change our troubled world for the better.  That has to be work worth doing.

So, what are you thinking right now?

Trudy Worth 

intention

How powerful are you?

”A good intention clothes itself with power.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I firmly believe that most people are not motivated to harm others or create mayhem in the world. For sure there are some who have badly and at times catastrophically lost their way and others who have had some bad luck and who have become deeply selfish. But for the most part I choose to believe that the world is full of people with an essentially good heart.

However, there is a big step between a passive avoidance of harm and an active intention to ‘do no harm’. Establishing such an intention and ‘clothing it with power’ as Emerson describes would be huge. If each one of us was able to live each day without harming others or the planet imagine the transformation we would see and feel.

Moving from passivity to clear intention requires us to become aware – aware of our thoughts, our actions and the world around us. Aware of the impact we have and the habits we have cultivated or more likely, fallen into. Aware of the needs and life realities of others and examining our own talents and abilities to see how and where we can make a difference to them.

When I think of intention at its most powerful level I think of the idea of ‘greater good’, which for me means a deep-seated commitment to playing my part in making the world around me and the quality of life experience I and others enjoy, just a bit better each day. A quality of life experience based on more love, compassion and kindness imbued with intention, such that these qualities become a powerful force for action.

Personally, I know I fail on my intention most days. There are always ways in which I could be more loving, more compassionate and kinder…and yet for me the power that Emerson speaks of lies also in our self-awareness and from there, our ability and determination to recommit to the intention day in day out. To never allow the failure to become the reason to stop our intention to be better and to help create a better world.

Lorraine Flower

intention

One less plastic bottle in the sea

Every day new headlines can suggest the efforts of each of us to do the right thing, to do our bit, to make a difference are somewhat, if not utterly, futile.  The nature of the news itself, more often than not, is profoundly depressing.  Of course bad news sells though that’s surprising when we consider that good moods and positivity spread faster from person to person than bad.

Our recent headlines have included those highlighting our efforts at recycling as pointless and that much of the material we diligently separate from the waste stream for recycling ends up in landfill which rather negates the effort.

Whether this is true or not I find myself unwilling to change the new habit I’ve formed – recycling all that I can.  I hold the belief that each of us has to do our own bit however small that may be. If my efforts mean one less plastic bottle in the sea, or the earth, one less fellow creature harmed it is worth the effort.

Underpinning the recycling habit is intention to make a difference.  A recognition that every action, whatever the scale, matters and that a positive orientation in the actions of each of us adds up to something significant, powerful and contributing to the greater good.

Of course habits around recycling are a mere fragment of the bigger picture but if we apply the same positive intention, consciously, to all that we do – our thoughts and words as well as actions – imagine the difference that could make.

Constant examination of our choices and reflection on the resulting actions and impacts are a vital part of the practice to ensure we are nurturing our intention in the right way and to the right end. It’s not an easy endeavour but it truly matters if we are to create a more positive future for our world.

Trudy Worth 

intention

Cause or effect?

I heard the song ‘Chain reaction’ by Diana Ross on the radio the other day and it strikes me that the world feels a lot like that these days…a series of chain reactions. With 24/7 images, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and the like, and the constant stream of sound bite news it’s very easy to focus on the effects in our world. To see the consequences of human action or inaction. Whether it’s the global news or more locally within our families, we often get drawn into the immediate moment, especially of course in crises but also in the everyday to-ing and fro-ing of life.

The transitory, fast paced nature of the world we ‘inhabit’ and/or have created, doesn’t require us to dwell too long on anything – in fact the opposite. There’s always something different or new coming along which could mean that we are tempted not to consider our collective actions too deeply.

And yet if we recall the basic laws of physics and those ‘chain reactions’, every action causes a reaction. Cause leads to effect. So if we took a little time to contemplate the intention behind our actions we might create different and better impacts.

If we were to pause, reflect and connect inwards more often, we could examine the factors underpinning our actions. Asking ourselves questions such as ‘what’s the scope of my responsibility in the situation?’ Or ‘who or what does this action serve?’ And, it’s often easier to relate this type of question to the big ticket items or situations which may have more substantial outcomes depending on the choices we make.

But what about the more subtle and less obvious situations? Like what we are thinking in every moment. You know, when you are walking along and mulling your thoughts, turning over issues, events and so on. The power of the intention underpinning those thoughts and the degree to which they are informed by a loving, heartfelt energy will determine the effect or outcome both in the immediate sense of the specific issue/situation, and in the broader sense of the amount of ‘thought-led energy pollution’ we put out there.

Maybe it’s time to set ourselves a higher ecology goal that includes ‘lifting up’ the quality of thought-life that we all lead, and asking ourselves whether we are holding the highest possible intention at all times so that we contribute to a better quality effect in and on the world.

Lorraine Flower

intention

‘Intention is the core of all conscious life. Conscious intention colours and moves everything.’  Hsing Yun

Success, achievement, positive outcomes may occasionally just happen, seemingly the result of happenstance.  More likely though – and if we reflect deeply enough – they’re the result of an intention well-set, the seed form of that we wish to create and, ideally, connected to a commitment toward the greater good.

Setting the right intention, shaping the seed, requires preparation.  I know from my own experience that the time and attention I bring to shaping my intentions determines the quality of the outcome.  Where I am less clear such as forming a generalised let this be a good day with little real thought behind it the outcome may or may not be what I intended.

Yet where I have prepared, bringing my full attention to the moment, perhaps through meditative or mindful application, the intentional seed I release into the universe consciously is clear and pure and goes without strings or caveats.  The outcome usually has a clear relationship with my intention and where it doesn’t I am trusting that what transpires is exactly what is needed.

As leaders we have a responsibility to prepare our intentions consciously and with care if we are to contribute to the greater good that we seek in the world.  It is a reminder that I’m taking to heart and into my daily practice.

Trudy Worth

intention

Everything that happens in the Universe starts with intention – Deepak Chopra

The law of cause and effect is essential to contemplate in the context of Deepak Chopra’s quote… we are both the cause and the effect within our Universe and we can only assure beautiful outcomes if we are disciplined in our understanding of how our intention and consequent action, in other words how we live our lives, impacts our world.

Exploring the meaning of ‘intention’ in the context of how we live our lives conjures a number of different interpretations. Some write about it in the sense of ‘being good’ and seeking to do no harm. Others focus on the discipline that’s needed to enact the purity of intention and create new habits of thought and behaviour. Still others, the relative value of intention over action, in other words purity of intention counteracts any mishap in the actual follow through into action.

For me, all of these hold some value and yet still don’t quite get there in terms of my experience of the fullness of intention. When we are fully harnessing the power of intention we are achieving an alignment of magical proportions – aligning the purity of love, the purposefulness of pure thought and the discipline and strength of impersonal will. In other words we have set aside our personality needs or responses and gathered our inner resources into a place of coalition and launched them into the ‘world’ with the focus and direction of an archer’s arrow.

This level of coalition can feel somewhat easier to grasp (though not necessarily easy to implement) on the big things – like launching a new project or addressing a specific aspect of our habits or personality. Holding a powerful and conscious image of the purpose and potential outcomes of a project is big enough to register into our consciousness and therefore we potentially harness our intention more successfully.

And, like all things in the world of human evolution though, we are seeking to maintain clarity of intention in every aspect of livingness, and I personally find that a much bigger leap. So often we speak about having good self-awareness but in the case of maintaining a dynamic relationship with the impact we bring about, we need also a dynamic level of self-awareness – continuous and in the moment. Whether it’s how we drive our car, relate to our colleagues, interact with fellow humans on the street or our relationship with the ecosystem in which we live.

Lorraine Flower

intention

I have, I confess, come late to the idea and practice of gardening.  The garden I have created is all about structure and order and has relied heavily on the advice and practical assistance of those more proficient in the green finger department than me (not difficult).  Yet they’ve also worked under the rules that none of the plants chosen should grow in an unruly fashion.

It will be increasingly clear by now that I really do know nothing about gardening…plants do not grow to order and to a shape, height and uniformity prescribed. All we can do is sow the seeds with love, provide food and water imbued with positive energy, allow a magical process to unfold, wait patiently and watchfully for those first tender shoots and then nurture and appreciate what comes.

And so it is with intentions. When we’re trying to bring about change for the greater good intentions consciously formed and positively energised are vital. We can’t really call on the power of the Universe if we aren’t clear about what we’re asking for.  So as gardeners/leaders we must prepare the ground, tilling the soil in ourselves and shaping the seeds so they have the best chance to take root through our meditative or other reflective practice.

Then we must continue to shower positive energy on those intentions whilst holding them lightly, devoid of rigid plans or outcomes that must look exactly like this or that so we don’t stifle the magical creative process.  In fact too much focus on exactly what we want takes us into the space of scarcity and fear – that space where we tend to attract exactly what we don’t want largely because we were focusing on what could go wrong rather than right.

Letting go to let come is an important part of manifesting our intentions, as I have learned not just in my physical garden but in the garden of my soul. So let us plant our intentional seeds and when the green shoots appear, as they will, recognise their beauty and that we’ve been sent what we need.

Trudy Worth

intention

The power of intention – holding the long view

Recently I had occasion to reflect on an intention that I set 7 years ago in 2010. I attended an international spiritual conference in Umbria in Italy. I had attended the same conference the year before for the first time in St Albans in the UK and would go on to attend it in Denmark in 2011 and for subsequent years in different parts of the world.

However in coming to Umbria in 2010 something happened which had nothing to do with the main conference. The conference was held at a centre in Umbria that was the home of a very significant spiritual community that struck a deep resonance with my soul. Suffice to say it’s not a typical spiritual community. During my time at the conference I set a clear intention that I would not only come back to the community, but that I would somehow also find a way to know more about it and become part of it. Seven years later, I am an active member and come here regularly to participate in various spiritual activities.

In reflecting on the past 7 years in this context I realised a number of things about the power of setting intentions. Firstly, although my active willpower and strategising set a number of ‘plans’ in motion to enable me to explore how I might become more closely aligned with a community where everything is in Italian and I speak no Italian, the reality of how I come to be an active member looks very different to those original plans – not least of which it took far longer to get things mobilised than I imagined.

Secondly, whatever I thought or constructed in my mind about the purpose of connecting more closely with the community, the real purpose was something that only my soul really knew and understood and that has been revealed to me slowly over the past 7 years. And thirdly, although undoubtedly willpower has a lot to do with intention on one level, being flexible, open to intuition and willing to go beyond the personality interpretation of motives and outcomes, plays a big part in enabling the real intention to be revealed to us.

Having clear and ethical intentions is something I consider to be a cornerstone of leadership – being committed to doing our best for the greater good. Setting clear intentions is equally vital when it comes to manifesting outcomes. Trusting that our soul or higher wisdom knows more about our intentions than we do requires us to stay focused and purposeful but unattached to the specifics of how those intentions will come to pass and indeed how long they may take.

Lorraine Flower