Intention and Integrity

“You are not a walking mistake
You are not a problem to be solved.” (Adya Shanti)

I remember one session of ‘The Gift of Presence’ where we were exploring intention, and how it really works. I asked the participants to spend some time contemplating what their deepest and strongest intentions were. One woman in the course called me during the week to ask me more about it; so I encouraged her to throw caution to the winds and really see what was going on with intention in her life. She returned the following week with the brightness people carry when they have discovered something for themselves. “It’s so simple,” she told us. You can talk all you like about your grand intentions, but if you want to see what they really are, just watch what you actually do from morning “till night. Everything else is just fantasy.”

I was quite moved by her integrity and clarity. In that moment the full power of what it means to take real responsibility for my life came home to me. Andrew Harvey has a lovely way of talking about this. He says that when we are born, our divine Mother writes a letter in our heart, and tells us what we came here for. She whispers to us in this letter what is the truest and fullest expression of our being. Each one of us needs to find that letter and open it.

What is the letter your Mother has written in your heart? Have you opened it yet? I have a lot of clients who come to me wanting to know what their letter is all about. No-one can open that letter except for you. It is for your eyes only! But you can begin to ask, listen deeply and ask again, waiting to see what arises from within you.

Once you discover what really matters to you, what is the most important thing, your whole relationship to life changes. There’s an exercise I’ve done many times with students and clients. Ask yourself this:

Is it the events and circumstances of life that create my inner experience, or is it the other way around? Is my inner world really where the source of my power resides?

What I’ve noticed is that when anyone asks themselves this question with a clear intent, they realize that our inner world comes first-we are not the victim of our circumstances. The truth of this just reveals itself each time.

And yet we don’t always take in right away how far-reaching the implications of this are. To really embrace this truth carries us into a whole new way of living.

Imagine if you were the Dalai Lama when the Chinese invaded Tibet. There is an entire room at the United Nations, full of the telegrams that he sent to the countries of our world, asking for help.  No-one responded. The world left the Dalai Lama and his people to deal with the Chinese by themselves. How easy it would be to collapse into anger, depression and bitterness, watching your beloved people suffering, helpless and forced into mass exile. The Dalai Lama did not respond that way. Which is not to say that he didn’t suffer heartbreak and despair. Taking full responsibility for our life has nothing to do with denying our humanity. When we are open and present, we feel even more, but we encounter these feelings directly, without blame or guilt.

I asked someone about the Dalai Lama’s courage and grace recently and they said, “Well, he’s made of different stuff.” “No,” I said, “he’s made of the same stuff we all are-the stuff of our true nature, who we are at the core. The difference is that he has been able to recognize that, and remain true to it.” All of us will suffer loss in our lives, it’s something we can count on. When we are aligned with our deepest intention, we find “we can say good-bye to what is leaving us, and open our arms to the great unknown which always follows.” (Roger Housden)

Try this.

In my coaching sessions and classes on integrity and intention I often use a simple exercise: make no excuses about anything for a month. If you’re late for an appointment, don’t explain why, just say, “Sorry, I’m late.” If you forget something, don’t talk about how busy your day was, or how many demands you’re dealing with, just say “I’m sorry, I forgot it.” It’s very interesting to watch how the simple refusal to make any excuses realigns the whole energy of our being. Sometimes the smallest things can catalyze profound shifts in our lives.

Resources in relation to this topic;

  • The Awakening West’ by Lynn Marie Lumiere-the interview with Satyam Nadeen
  • Adya
  • The Corporate Mystic,’ and ‘Conscious Living’ by Gay Hendricks
  • ten poems to set you free’ by Roger Housden

with love