Someone recently asked me if I have ever felt doubts about “staying the path” and keeping up with a particular spiritual practice. My answer was, “no, I have a strong experience of soul direction in my life that keeps me from derailing at any given time.” My experience has been that as soon as I began to have opportunities for growth and development of consciousness present in my life, I have said, “yes!” and was grateful for it! I’ve spent a number of years driving around in the ditch, in my life, but it was never because I knew there was an easier way. As soon as I recognized what was being offered, I was blessed to say, “yes!” to it.
What Can Stop us from Saying, “Yes!”
I also went on to comment that whenever one begins a spiritual practice, whether it be yoga, meditation or chanting etc, resistance to it naturally arises. It’s part of the process. Most people are unfamiliar with this process and assume that the practice is at fault.
Honing in on Intention
Early on in my journey, I learned to ask the Universe/One Spirit/Source etc, on a daily basis, “What do I need most to work on today? Or what most needs attention in my life today?” Then I would chant the mantra, “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” (I bow to infinite consciousness and the transparent teacher or guide within) three times, and then be still and listen until an awareness of what that was would arise. Based on what arose, maybe it was an emotion I was struggling with, perhaps it was a belief or thought form or some sort of physical tension or some kind of interaction with another that felt like a struggle, I would then set an intention around that.
Surrendering, Opening and Responding
Through that consistent daily practice of surrendering, opening and responding, I believe I have developed a relationship with my soul, and what it is, that is “trying” to unfold and happen in my life, by being able to follow that thread through the act of surrendering, asking, opening and responding to what arises as feedback.
Opposition to Proposition
Some of the struggles people can have with this process is first recognizing that there is opposition to every proposition. This is called resistance. When this happens what is happening within a person is that an intention is set (the proposition) and anything within the psyche of that person that is out of alignment with the intention, begins to arise to be processed and/or matured into a more beneficial state. Having the awareness to recognize when one is in the grip of resistance becomes empowering, because sometimes if we simply just touch upon it with our awareness it naturally begins to unravel. It’s a first step.
Strong on the Doing, a Little Light on the Being
Another struggle I’ve witnessed is being strong in the “doing phase”, but more limited in the “being phase”. It requires the ability to “be,” to receive an awareness or intuition. It is an opening and receptive phase of being. When the two come into a balanced relationship, and begin to work together, a flow in one’s life begins. My teacher has described it as “following the Hukam of your soul”, in other words, following the call of one’s soul or the thread of destiny running throughout one’s life. Everyone’s soul has “intent”. At some point we stop forming intentions and we begin following intent. It’s a Divine flow.
The Development of “Being”
The ability to “be” is born early on in our development. As new born babies, our only job is to be, and to be unconditionally loved for our being-ness. When we don’t receive these kinds of messages and permissions during that phase (for whatever reason), our ability to “be” can become wounded. So healing one’s ability to be, can become really important within the process of working with intention successfully.
Recognizing what is Coming at You
Yet another struggle can be a lack of awareness of what is coming back to you in response to your intention. It’s important to have this awareness, as what comes back, is often the next clue to how your intention needs to morph or shift, in order to open to what’s trying to come into your life. This is necessary to being able to follow the thread.
I often tell students, if you ask, there will always be a response. And it will come to you in a way that you can recognize it. You may be able to simply ask a question and hear an answer, or you may have to have your eyes wide open in your environment, noticing what the feedback is saying. Sometimes it comes through things people say to you. Especially pay attention if you’ve heard the same thing, or something similar, in a short period of time! Notice billboards, magazine ads, e-mail subject lines etc etc. The Universe is in constant contact with us. Information is constantly flowing in response to the intentions we set. Our ability to see and compute it can require tweaking.
Resistance to What Comes
Another struggle can be “not accepting” what feedback comes to you, so an inability to work with it then. One might reject the feedback if it sets off their defense mechanism? Most unconscious material, as it arises, will set off the defense mechanism to some degree. That tends to be the nature of what we “disown” and lives in our subconscious. Our defense mechanisms are often immature, in that they are originally formed in childhood, before we have the full capacity of logical thinking ingrained. What we unconsciously fear, may have very little bearing in the here and now as an adult, but the “child-like thinking” that has formed the defense response, hasn’t “heard the news yet!” We can grow that up and mature it, through a number of therapeutic and personal growth processes.
Living a life of intention, on purpose, can be an empowering experience. We become the conscious co-creators of our lives. It’s one of our human capacities. We are creative beings at the heart of it. What wonders might we create together?? Exciting times!
A Personal Example of Intention Unfolding
I had an experience around this time last year. I had begun recording my newest CD, “Merged” and I was feeling somewhat unskilled and unworthy, in the whole process of it. Lots of unconscious material was arising for me to look at. So the new recording, would be the intention or proposition phase, and the feelings that arose in response, would be the resistance or opposition phase. I mulled over this for a few weeks, thinking for the first time in 10 years of my musical journey, perhaps Yogi Bhajan had it wrong? Perhaps my destiny is not, “Sat Sangeet” (True Divine Music). I was contemplating, giving up on music. I was doubting whether 10 years was a good, “college try”, and whether there was value in my musical creativity and promoting of chant events in Calgary?
Setting the Intention
I recalled something my teacher had told us that Yogi Bhajan had said, “God can’t fail a teacher.” So it was the day of the Deva Premal Concert last year, and I said, “God, if I am to stay this path, give me a sign.” That evening I attended the concert on my own, as my friends were unable to attend that evening. In a room of one thousand people, I ended up being seated beside someone that I knew who had had a strong vision of a business, and then had decided to set it aside after a lot of effort being put into it, because it didn’t seem to have “any legs,” to stand on, mirroring to me some of what I felt around my own musical business and concert promotion endeavours.
Receiving a Response
The lights went down and the singing began and I sung along, noticing a lot of people around me weren’t singing, so my voice was well heard? I chalked it up to maybe it was their first time at a chant concert, not knowing the words, or not sure whether they are to sing or not? When the lights went up at the intermission, the young woman on the other side of me turned and said to me, “you have a beautiful voice. I wish I could sing like you!” The moment she said it, I “felt/knew”, it was the response to the sign I had asked for. Asked and received. At this point I still have all the muck of emotion and belief to wade through, but I know to stay the path, something is trying to happen and unfold.
I’ve Been “Deva Premalled!”
I also had an encounter the next day at the workshop with Deva Premal, where upon finding out about the work I have been doing to promote chant concerts in Calgary over the last 10 years, she thanked me profusely for it, and then gave me a hug that went on forever. I tried ending after about 20 seconds and she pulled me back in, saying, “no, it’s not done yet.” And she hugged me and hugged me. I joked afterwards to my friends that I had been, “Deva Premalled!” But also interesting, how that was obviously a turning point for me, where momentum began moving in the direction of all the intention I had set over the years, for promoting chanting events in Calgary, because here I am a year later, having been asked to promote her concert, and that opportunity came to me through earlier promotional work I had done for GuruGanesha , years ago, while touring with Snatam through Calgary.
Taking the Long View
The answers always come, sometimes there is a long range plan at play and it takes years, or lifetimes, to clearly see these responses come back to one. This is where the ability to follow the thread that presents itself is key.
May we all be blessed to follow the thread of our destiny in our lives.
Do you have questions about intention and following the thread? Ask me your questions on facebook!