I have been struggling with the whole concept of intention setting for a while now. Actually, to be completely truthful, when I first set out on this “awakening” journey (not that I knew that’s what I was up to when I started, mind you), I didn’t even really understand what they (the mentors, the books, the friends) were talking about. And then when I finally got a vague understanding of the concept, I began fighting with it.
This idea that we set intentions for where we want to be in the future, and that will guide us there — It’s magic; it’s the universe at work, etc. I do believe it’s magic and that it’s the universe at work, and yet, I still fought it. I’ve watched it work for others, in fact, people have written books about it, gotten rich teaching and preaching about it, and still I fought.
I entered a program that was mostly geared towards the teachings of Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”, and Wallace Wattles, “The Science of Getting Rich.” There you set goals, you wrote them down, in the present tense, and you read them every day. I was in that program for a year and a half and I never once created my own goal. And the mentors would argue, rightly, that that would be why I didn’t achieve any goals.
Here’s my issue with this. My understanding of this whole awakening process is that we’re making it all up, which is where the intention setting comes in, and that there is a divine pattern at play as well. And I am far more interested in seeing what the divine pattern is all about. I know what my own tiny little mind can conjure, but what about all of us? Working together (even when it looks like we’re working against each other). What are we creating?
On the other hand, the things that I did receive from that program I never could have imagined from where I started. Of the many things that I received, I have a circle of friends from that program with whom I am still in weekly contact. The depth of connection and love that exists between the four of us is unparalleled in my life. I didn’t know to ask for that. But I got it.
As I’ve been bumbling along, moving from group to group, learning more about the things that interest and delight me, I came to realize that I do have an intention. But it is not your typical intention. And I suppose that shouldn’t come as a surprise to me, since I love coloring outside the lines, playing outside the box.
I discovered this on accident at a workshop I was attending late this summer. I was sitting in a circle of what I think of as deep divers, people who want to dive deep into the pool to learn about life, the universe and everything. I was last in line as folks were saying their intentions for the workshop out loud. When the initial announcement came that we were to speak our intentions aloud, I inwardly groaned.
“Not again, I have to make up some new intention that will please the others, but which will have no meaning for me.”
Just hearing that thought in my head made me shudder. Partly because I knew I was going to have to create an intention, but mostly because I hadn’t realize just how at odds with the concept I was.
And then, as I was listening to what others were saying, a Hafiz poem kept bubbling up to the surface. I was listening to the energies of the people, which is usually what I do (so, if you’re talking to me and I don’t quite remember all of the content of the story you just told me, but I do still feel like I’m completely present with you, it’s because I’m doing that, I’m listening to the energies.) When it came around to my turn, I burst out laughing and said.
“Here is my intention. A poem, by the Sufi master, Hafiz.
God and I are becoming like two giant fat people, living in a tiny boat.
Bumping into each other and laughing!”
That was my first glimpse at the intention that has guided my entire life so far. Earlier in my life, I was definitely getting the ‘bumping into each other’ part right, but I was not laughing very often yet, because I was still taking it all so seriously. Even now, there are certain people who, when I bump into them, I’m not laughing yet. But they’re at my learning edge. How can I learn to bump into them and laugh?
So, this is my intention. To become, with God, like two giant fat people, living in a tiny boat. Bumping into each other and laughing.
What if that’s all it is? To learn how to bump into each other and laugh. Can you imagine a world where we moved around like that? I’m giggling at the thought of bumping into each other in airports and groceries stores and laughing. Belly bucking with delight. Trusting that there is enough for everyone. Enough tomatoes, enough love, enough energy, enough. More than enough love for everyone from everyone. In all our various facets of being. The ways of being that I understand and the ways of being that I don’t. Am I willing to play with laughing when I’m scared, when I’m angry, when I’m sad? Not an ‘on top of’ laughter, but genuinely playing with my perspective enough to see what’s funny about what I’m angry or sad or scared about.
In this moment, I am willing. And when I hit those stuck places, with the people I struggle to laugh with, then I’ll play with my stuckness until I feel things loosen and the giggle start to bubble up. I commit to myself, to playing and laughing with situations and people that I find “not funny.” And to continue to laugh uproariously at all the things that I easily find funny.
Wanna play with me?