21 October 2011

Uncertainty Part II: On Intent

El Volcán Arenal de Costa Rica. Junio 2008.
I believe that the very first seeds of this post nestled in my mind in August 2010, while I was traveling in Australia. Those first seedlings sounded more like, "never expect anyone else to be your trail guide," so what you read here has evolved from that. Also, Part I is definitely worth a read first--particularly a scan of the Life Actualization Hierarchy.

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First off, I'd like to convey a concept that's been crystallizing for some time: Field of Intent. To understand it, break it down component-wise.

What is Intent? To me, it's a a mixture of two concepts: Focus (deliberate attention) and motivation (reasons for doing), which both affect the outcome of your actions. Intent, then, is focused motivation, or maybe motivated focus.

Looking East at the gathering marine layer, near West Camino
Cielo and The Playground. Santa Barbara, June 18, 2011.
Think about this. Let's say you are focused on saving a baby from a burning building, with a motivation to achieve recognition and hero-dom from your deed. You save the baby, but in this case, your hedonistic motivation undermines your strong focus, morally marring your intent. Now, instead, let's say you focus on saving the same baby because it will save a life, or reunite a family, or simply because it's the right thing to do. You've now saved the baby out of love, or hope perhaps, and your intent is powerful and positive.

What do I mean by Field? It's a triple entendre. In one sense, a "field" is a physically partitioned space (such as a soccer field), but it is also a subject matter (such as the field of Chemistry, or another field of study), and it is further a way of storing and projecting energy (as in a magnetic field). This triple threat is the construct that conveys your intent to other people.
On the trail to Cathedral Peak,
Santa Barbara, April 23, 2011.
So, then, Field of Intent (FI) is the physical space, emotional energy, and subject matter of your focused motivation. It's how you project yourself into and onto the world. It's what you say, but it's also how you say it, and when you say it, and who you say it to. Through your inflection, body language, timing, and audience, other people directly perceive your FI. They can tell whether you're being hedonistic, or loving, or whatever. They can tell when you're lying, and so can your parents. Other people can tell that you saved the baby for recognition or for love.

Now, after realizing that every single action you take projects you onto the world, you may ponder some questions. "Who am I affecting with this action?" or, "What subject am I presently putting energy into?" or, "Am I approaching this positively or negatively?" or even "Am I sitting with good posture?"  Do you like what you're projecting? Do you like that other people can perceive it? Every moment--every NOW--counts. Revel in it.

My claim. Your FI attracts other compatible fields of intent. By this, I DO NOT MEAN to echo the proverbial "what you project into the world comes back to you." In fact, I disagree with that. Rather, I'm saying that your FI draws in other intent (foci and motivations) that are compatible with yours. But Beware! "Compatible" does not imply "positive." This could be an antagonistic compatibility, and it could also be an augmentative compatibility. (Aside: in my opinion, it also doesn't have to be a human-human intermeshing of intent ... but I'll let you decide if you also believe there are other entities floating around with intent. See my previous post if you want some dark-demon antagonism). Regardless, you have the power to control the composition of your FI. That is, you have the power to control what aspect of yourself brings other people to you. If you don't like what you're surrounded with, change yourself (by changing your Field of Intent).

My Mindset: Yes, do what you love, but to get there, first you have to love what you do, all the time. Focus on this; be motivated by this. Then, as with all paths you are here on earth to walk, only you can make the effort.

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I direct your attention to the top two tiers (Hope, Enlightenment) of the Life Actualization Hierarchy. I duly neglected these tiers in Part I of this post, partly for space, and partly because I just didn't know what to say. These are some big topics. Gotta let things ferment sometimes.

In these top tiers, I attempt to convey (by flow chart) that experiencing and sharing Love is what ultimately propels you from Hope (confident wishfulness) into Enlightenment (which seems to be one of the highest purposes of life). But what is Love? Where does it come from? Where do we find it? I think Field of Intent can help elaborate, so I'll speak from my experience.

Sunset beach bonfire below the Ellwood bluffs. May 14, 2011.
A while back now, I fell in love with a girl. I mean really hard, really fast, for real, for the first time. Whoosh! Exhilarating. Blinding. Surprising. Wonderful. Unrequited. (She didn't want me back.) So, instead of that, a whole slew of reaffirmations fell into my lap. Here are some:

You might have some conception of what you find attractive, but you cannot know right now what you will fall in love with. Attraction is not a choice, but it is one early step towards love. Because of this, it is better to focus your intent away from "finding attraction" or "finding love" and focus it towards another goal, such as working smart, or creating passion, or making friends, or maybe getting really good at the guitar. Such a goal can be as simple as going for a run (I recommend without headphones), or as complex as defining your life's work, or saying "How's your day going?" to a stranger for no reason other than friendliness. For good results, these require strong positive intent (focus and motivation). What do you care about? What do you make time for on a daily basis? What are you building passion for? Figure it out. If you are building a passion for napping, and you don't like it, then stop. Then, when your focus and motivation are strong enough in such pursuits, you will achieve something that surprises you. There is no replacement for hard work. Then, at the same time you're working hard (lo-and-behold!) the universe will conspire in your favor, and your field of intent will bring compatible people to you--collaborators, muses, lovers, mentors, whatever. As far as love goes, you will meet someone you're compatible with on a deep, intent level. That is, they will be compatible with your field of intent. My advice? Rather than ask "Where do we find Love?" perhaps realize that Love will change your ideals when IT finds YOU.

Sunset over Goleta, CA. July 31, 2011.
I believe this is how enlightenment works, too. It's experiential, but your experiences are guided by your Field of Intent in a divine feedback loop. If you put powerful, positive intent into what you do, you will enjoy what you will do. Make sense? Here's an idea I really enjoy thinking about: When you experience Love, it gets stored in your subconscious mind, which is your body. Your body recalls all the pains and textures and flavors and wounds and emotions and infinite things you have experienced. Each of these is stored in a tiny pocket of your self, whence you may retrieve them from time to time. The body recalls, too, all of the Faith, Gratitude, Pleasure, Luck, Fear, and other driving forces of transformation that you have experienced. Each of these is driven by your Field of Intent, and each contributes to your ultimate actualization.

Often, for me, more questions arise with the realizations, so I'll leave you with a final item to ponder: What is the source of your intent? Where does it come from?