Many authors have written that what you focus your attention on becomes more apparent in your life. And what you set your intention upon refines the focus of your energy of attention in a very precise manner. What is the difference? Well, it often depends on you and your perspective and how you move through your own life.
Discoveries in quantum physics teach us that we cannot always differentiate the observer from that which is being observed. And therefore, because the observer is usually placing attention on something that she wants, the attention that is being placed upon something is often coming from a sense of “lack.” The observer is observing something she is lacking instead of that which she desires. Thus, what we place our attention on often becomes a focus on that which we don’t have instead of that which we desire. In other words, if I want to “be love,” I tend to focus my attention on the areas of my life where love does not exist. I tend to focus on where I am not being loving (e.g., not feeling love, expressing love, receiving or giving love), rather than focusing my attention on being love. In focusing my attention on the absence of love, my attention is perpetuating more absence of love rather than creating more presence of love.
In addition, focusing our attention on something, such as love or the absence of love, becomes primarily a cognitive process. What I mean by this is that I analyze and interpret the heck out of everything I experience. As a college professor, I am simply conditioned to do that. I ask questions such as “Am I experiencing love now? Is this love? Am I being love or being selfish? Oh no, how do I know the difference? Oh no, I’ll never be love if I don’t’ know the difference. I wonder what the difference is. Hmmm…what is the difference?” And on and on it goes. In this cognitive processing, it becomes more and more apparent that I am moving farther and farther away from simply being love, feeling love, and expressing love because I am so busy analyzing where love is or is not present in my life. In this manner, I have made love a cognitive process exercise only. All that moves me farther away from simply being love.
Setting the intention to be love, however, is – in its essence – inviting in source energy to manifest itself as love in my life. Furthermore, when I set the intention to be love at the start of my 30-minute morning meditation and my 30-minute evening meditation, and then “let the intention go” shortly after beginning my meditation while continuing to choose – in each moment – to “let it go” as I move through my day, I am allowing the seen and unseen energies that are at work in the universe to “do their thing.” In inviting in the source energy to move in my life and in the lives of others in the best way that it sees fit, I stop focusing my attention on analyzing what is love and what is loving in exchange for experiencing each moment as love, regardless of what happens. In setting the intention to be love, my focus is on present moment awareness to experience life and therefore love as it is in that moment. I move away from manipulating everything and everyone and I move away from over analyzing everything and everyone.
To summarize, setting the intention to be love can involve something like that which follows:
- In answer to the question, “What do I want for myself that also serves the greater good?” Respond, if you feel it is genuine and authentic to do so, “I want to be love.”
- Begin your meditation practice, your prayer time, your devotion time, or your moment of silence with the answer to the question, “What do I want for myself that also serves the greater good?” Set that which you want as your intention. For example, I set the intention. “I want to be love.”
- Let go of the intention early on during your meditation time, prayer time, devotion time, or moment of silence, trusting that the source energy that resides within you and everyone and within every life force around you will work together to bring you your intention.
- Following the end of your meditation time (prayer, devotion, or moment of silence), move throughout your day mindful of each choice you make. When feeling as if you need to manipulate something in order to get what you want, stop yourself, breathe deeply, return to your intention, and then release it again inviting in the wisdom of the unseen energy. Then do whatever feels most natural and whatever you feel serves your intention and the greater good in the best way possible given your menu of choices in the moment.
- Repeat process each morning and evening of every day with lighthearted laughter and joy. (Adding laughter and joy to this process is similar to adding icing on the cake. I don’t know about you, but I eat cake so that I can have the icing.)
Does that all sound easier than you thought it could possibly be? If so, it is because it is. My challenge however, is reconditioning myself from over-planning and over-analyzing toward making moment-by-moment choices that are informed by the collective wisdom that we know and sense from having experienced silence.
Marilee J. Bresciani, Ph.D., is a professor of higher education and the Founder of Rushing to Yoga Foundation. Her now more than 24 years of professional work has been committed to changing the way that America talks about quality of higher education. In order to keep from going crazy about trying to get the American public to care about what students are actually learning and how they are developing, rather than other indicators that have nothing to do with that, she has engaged in yoga, meditation, and self-referral. Marilee’s mantra is “I teach what I need to learn.”