While my friend discussed his so-called “midlife crisis” with me a few years ago, he shocked me with a confession about the nature of his life.
“This isn’t me. This isn’t who I really am,” he said.
I was stunned by what he said. It was a perfect match for the most common phrase I heard while covering federal District Court procedures as a beat reporter for local newspapers. Those precise words were most often spoken by defendants pleading for leniency during sentencing hearings. I immediately understood his problem.
He spent the previous hour talking about how he progressed from high school graduation forward. His choices mostly consisted of immediately available happenstance opportunities that suited short-term objectives. The entire string of events was transactional.
He needed a car, so he took this job. He wanted to get married, so he agreed to live in that neighborhood. When the kids came, he needed a real career, and the local insurance company was hiring. The list went on just like that. All were fulfillment of an immediate need with no input on his part.
He never took a strategic perspective about anything until he was closing in on his 45th birthday. Now he felt trapped by his own life and didn’t want to live that way any longer.
A Crisis or an Opportunity?
Many reading the above account would agree the situation is aptly named a mid-life crisis, and a bad one at that. I might have called it that too, but I knew my judgement of the situation would add no benefit. It only provides more discouragement when it’s already in high supply.
The point of the story is my friend was finally taking a strategic perspective. While the current situation may not be ideal, it’s nevertheless an opportunity. He was finally in a psychological position where he was willing to create a future from a strategic viewpoint on his own terms. That’s admirable courage – not a crisis. Setting intentions in advance is precisely as admirable.
Benefits of Intention Setting
Setting intentions is a conscious decision to get ahead of daily life. It puts an end to random events controlling your mindset and options. Intentions are your choices for life’s direction. It’s a way to avoid costly and regrettable choices while improving the direction of life events.
With time, you’ll soon gain the capacity to ignore any situation or event in life that’s not included among your intentions. Your emotion energy field will stabilize as a result. Calm and repose is a secondary benefit of living life with purpose.
Decision Making: Decisive and resolute action is much easier with a clear set of intentions. Most do it all the time without realizing it. The purchase of a new vehicle is a common example of setting intentions prior to making a commitment.
It’s not sufficient to enter the expansive car market with the intent to buy the “best affordable car.” Best car by whose definition? It must be your definition. How do you intend to use the vehicle in daily life? Your priorities must become paramount and non-negotiable in your mind. Keep shopping until your needs are all met. The more often that’s done, the more often you’ll quickly find exactly what you desire.
Gain Control: Intention setting is placing yourself and your requirements squarely in the center of your universe. Think about it – who else is better qualified for that sacred space? This isn’t being selfish about everything; you still accommodate others to the extent possible outside of a few key areas that affect you most. Assuming you enjoy living in a clean home, you’ll still have to take the garbage out. If taking the garbage out is truly objectionable, make a clean home your intention. You’ll find the trip to the trashcan magically becomes much easier. That’s the advantage of a strategic viewpoint.
Flexibility: Intentions are completely flexible. They can be set for anything ranging from your entire lifestyle down to the outcome of an important meeting. They can even be used for the events of an afternoon drive.
The key to setting good intentions is to follow two simple rules:
- Intentions can only be set for you and by you. Never make an intention that’s coercive or impinges on another person’s divine right to make their own choices.
- Intentions must be broad enough to accommodate others in group situations. If you make an intention to get a specific raise during a job performance appraisal, then your intention is to be persuasive and charming enough to make a strong case for the raise. Practice the meeting in your mind a few times. Contemplate possible reluctance in advance and how to address it.
The focus for intentions is always on you. How will you find the car that meets your needs? How will you convince others of your merit to get the raise?
Intention setting is about what you expect life to present you and how you will interact with your world. It doesn’t work with exact precision all the time, but it does get most of it correct. I’ve used it to buy the specific car I wanted and even to find parking spaces in crowded parts of town. It’s important to prepare two areas of our brain first: the reticular activating system and the subconscious.
The process of imprinting intentions on the mind requires solemn commitment. Think of it as your own private church service for your most important desires. It’s not wishful thinking. It’s committed thinking to change how your mind engages with the daily events of life.
There are three energy domains involved for setting intentions: Brain/Mind, Heart and Consciousness. These three domains are exceptionally powerful, and together they form a dynamic link with Universal Consciousness. Take great care and have absolute purpose during implementation.
Any lack of reverence or seriousness will fail. The energy domains involved are never fooled. Every thought you’ve ever had has been recorded within the Universal Consciousness with the help of your three energy domains. They’ve been backstage at the puppet show since you drew your first breath and know everything – including how sincere you are at every moment.
The two most active elements of the brain/mind for intentions are the reticular activating system and the subconscious. Their roles are outlined below:
- Reticular Activating System (RAS) consists of a mass of neurons located in the brainstem extending from the pons to the midbrain. Those neurons go on to stimulate the thalamus and the cortex related to sensory stimuli. The RAS is the gatekeeper to consciousness.
In any moment, we are surrounded by a minimum of two million bits of data, however the brain can only process about 150 – 200 bits per second. The RAS screens out information that isn’t relevant. Relevancy is determined by the subconscious and the conscious. Intention setting is the process of imprinting your ideals on the brain as being relevant. Until then, you may be looking directly at a desired opportunity and never see it, because it doesn’t rise to the level of conscious awareness.
- The Subconscious was mostly formed by the age of seven and stores an automatic set of routines we use for most of our lives. Accessing and writing information to the subconscious is most often accomplished when brainwaves are in the theta state of 4 – 8 Hz. Theta waves are most common during early stages of sleep and waking known as hypnagogic stages, and a time when the RAS is also active. Theta waves also dominate during moments of calm and inner reflection or hypnosis.
Achieving the correct state of mind is not difficult with practice. In fact, it may be sufficient to simply repeat intentions in the mind while falling off to sleep nightly. The next challenge is to state your intentions in the language the brain and subconscious understand and accept.
Intentions should be written to include the following elements where appropriate:
- Start each intention statement with the words, “I am … “ This restricts the intention to yourself and places the intention solidly in the present moment. The subconscious does not recognize past or future; it is timeless.
- Use only positive terms for the intention, i.e., no negating words such as not, don’t or can’t. This process links to Universal Consciousness, and everything is possible for that consciousness. It is unlimited and does not understand limiting words.
- Use only words expressing present-tense possession, e.g., have, offer, make, provide, etc. Words indicating a present-tense sense of lack, such as want, will, can, soon, etc., are to be excluded.
- Seal each intention with a statement of faith that the intention is already accomplished. “So it must be. So it is now,” is a good example.
You may want to start off with modest intentions regarding relatively unimportant issues at the beginning to gain confidence in the process. Monitoring your thoughts during the day is of supreme importance. If you spend 10 minutes setting your intentions, but then worry for the next five hours about the same topic area, which do you think you’ll get? The one you think most about.
Remember the last time you lost your keys? You probably ran around the house a dozen times with the predominant thought, “I lost my keys.” Guess what? Your RAS and consciousness agreed with you. It wasn’t until you calmed down, took a few deep breaths, and searched again with a still mind that you found the keys in a spot you already searched many times. You couldn’t see the keys because your RAS thought you wanted it that way. Your predominate thought was about loss!
This is the most difficult thing about setting intentions: make sure you don’t negate them with contradictory thoughts during the day. When an intention topic area pops up in your mind, calm yourself with some deep breaths, and repeat the original intention with the sealing phrase. Then turn your thoughts elsewhere. Turn to a funny thought never fails to make you smile or laugh instead.
Add Energy to Your Intentions
You are an energy being in an energy universe. Take a moment to perceive the honor and importance of that fact. Every human being has the power to shape their energy expressions and send them out into a universal ocean of energy. Even better, the universe is remarkably responsive to concentrated energy expressions.
Religions have known about the responsiveness of the universe forever. Cave paintings are likely the first intentions ever set, because those hunters knew if they set their intentions on the pictured animals, those species were more likely to show up during the hunt. This is a very old human skill indeed, but now we have greater understanding of the energy underlying the linkage.
The Answer is One is entirely about the energy domains controlled by the human being; it is not religious. However, the concepts in the book may be used to augment any religion or even in place of a religion. It’s entirely up to the reader, because the content is not biased for or against any religious practice, doctrine or tradition. It’s almost entirely science.
Upon studying more than 50 of the world’s 4,300 religious traditions, the similarities among them became readily apparent. The correspondence was unmistakable both in terms of the core beliefs and the ceremonial practices. The latter were particularly noteworthy.
The ceremonial practices had a distinct set of commonalities that fell into five categories:
- A dedicated space often regarded as sacred or holy
- Relaxation of the body and mind
- Repetition to improve acceptance in the subconscious
- Addition of energy sources in the form of music, vocal prayer, song, or the use of a resonant bell to complement or augment internal energy activity
- Use of iconography to focus brain energy and attention upon while in prayer
The Answer is One is not a religious text. But religious ceremonies are unequivocally energy exercises. The addition of sound in particular is fundamental to raising energy in all energy domains including the heart domain. Indeed, the combination of the above practices could easily induce a mild hypnagogic state in practitioners.
Hypnagogia is not well understood at present, however it has been noted since the time of Aristotle. It is associated with increased suggestibility, daydreaming, problem solving, increased empathy, meditation and creativity. Writers, scientists and inventors have often associated the mental state with breakthrough inventions and creations of all kinds ranging from the discovery of the circular shape of the benzene molecule to the invention of the sewing machine. Song writers and composers have claimed the mental state produced entire operas and hit songs.
What can you accomplish with an intention ceremony? That’s the exciting adventure you’re about to discover. Every human brain, heart and consciousness domain is equal to every other person’s domains. The only difference is how well they’re harnessed and how long they’re exercised.
Your First Intention Ceremony
This is an exciting moment. You’re about to learn how to take control of your own powers for the first time. They’ve always been there, and they always will be there. They patiently await your attention, dedication and influence.
The truth is that once you start practicing consistent intention ceremonies, you’ll realize how familiar they are to you. That’s because you’ve done it before but didn’t appreciate what you were doing.
The steps outlined below are yours. Do with them and modify them as you wish. Do it for 10 minutes a day or two hours a day as you see fit. Just make sure to give them enough practice time to make it natural for you. That’s the only requirement.
Dedicate a Space: The best dedicated space is one where you won’t be interrupted and can accessed in the early morning or last thing at night. You should be entirely comfortable in the space, and if it contains meaningful iconography, it will help.
Relax the Body and Mind: Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet flat on the floor or anywhere you can maintain an erect posture with no effort. Focus your attention (not your eyes) on your breath and heart area as you breathe slowly and deeply. Repeat the word “relax” with every slow exhale. Take inventory of your body from the head down, or the other way, and consciously feel each area relax in succession. If thoughts enter your mind, just let them pass without notice.
Repeat Each Intention Three Times on the exhale of your breath. Emphasize different aspects of each repetition until it feels entirely natural and accepted. Don’t seal the intention until it feels natural. As you seal the intention, focus on your heart area and pretend the exhale comes from there. Feel the happiness the intention will bring as you do so.
Music: The use of music is almost universal in religion ceremonies for a reason. Play relaxing music without lyrics that help to soothe your mind and relax your body.
Iconography: Use a meaningful icon to focus your eyes upon that will help your body and mind relax. The video posted below is an excellent alternative that offers soothing music and a changing kaleidoscope image. People who experience hypnagogia often report seeing a kaleidoscope in their minds. The rhythmic visual image will be helpful for attaining a theta brain wave pattern.
Below are three “starter” intentions, each with a sealing phrase:
- I am healing my body completely every time I relax or sleep. So it must be. So it is now.
- I am finding new opportunities every day. So it must be. So it is now.
- I am learning faster and more completely than ever. So it must be. So it is now.
This has been a long article, but I know it will help anyone dedicated enough to persevere and make their own intention ceremony. Feel free to ask questions in the comment section below, or just let us know how you’re doing with your intentions.