Growing Is a Conscious Choice

The first thing I learned from my teacher, Rudi, is that we are in this world to grow. That is really the only reason we are here. Any other activity that we are engaged in is an unconscious expression of our creative energy, which is responding to the limitation of our circumstances, not the potential that is invested in us.

I talk sometimes about the disappointments of our ancestors. You may or may not believe me, but my own personal experience is that 99% of what each of us do in this world–99% of our longings and our desires and our efforts–is really a reaction to an empty space inside us. That space is empty because our parents could not fill it. They could not fill it because they had a similar empty space that could not be filled by their parents, and so on down the line. This isn’t anyone’s fault. This is the human condition.

Rudy at work

Awakening our creative energy changes our understanding of ourselves and our experience. It allows us to find within ourselves, anytime we consciously engage it, a sweetness and a richness that is forever within us. That sweetness and richness, once awakened and cultivated, becomes a power that uplifts and transforms our understanding of ourselves and the experience that we have of our life.

It is our wish to grow that we consciously engage and take ever more deeply inside us. By doing this, we rewire our whole nervous system and the mechanism that is beaming out to the universe. I bring this up because the idea of making a statement to the universe seems to be a popular notion. If we’re going to make a statement, we should state that we want to grow. This wish to grow is an open statement that we make. Any other statement that we make to the universe—“give me money, give me fame, give me whatever, give me this, give me that, give me, give me”–is really coming from the same empty space as the disappointment of our ancestors. It is not coming from a place that is connected to the fullness of our spiritual potential, which is the only part of us that can actually reach out and engage the universe. If the ultimate reality is joy, then it is only from that joy within ourselves that we can connect to and communicate with the ultimate reality. Everything else is tension, and it will be heard on a lesser frequency.

This wish to grow, the understanding that we are in this world to grow, is consciously cultivated. It makes us perfectly clear about the fact that we are in this world to grow, which transforms our whole life into a conscious endeavor. That doesn’t make it easy. It doesn’t make it free of challenges. It makes it an endless opportunity for learning and for expansion, and endless opportunity for fulfillment on a deeper and deeper level, until there is no tension to be dissolved and we are nothing but pure joy.

Cultivating an Intention

I’ve talked about the importance of intention and how powerful it can be. It is only powerful when you cultivate it. If you keep it on the shelf in your refrigerator, it’s completely useless. Think about what it means to cultivate intention. My advice is to make it as big as possible. Have a strong, clear, big intention for yourself. In strategic planning terms, have a big hairy goal. Be visionary.

After you’ve got an idea of what your intention is, don’t hold it too tightly, because your intention is going to evolve. It WILL evolve, if you work it. That’s good.

To cultivate your intention, sit someplace comfortable, relax your body, and then take your attention into your heart and state your intention. State it with conviction. Your heart is going to say back to you something like “No way.” You can expect the ego to give you every kind of lame excuse, rejection or wimpy acquiescence there is. All of these demonstrate resistance to the intention that lives within you. Everybody has it. Don’t feel bad about it. It’s just the way we are.

State your intention, and whatever the response, take a breath, relax again, and state your intention again with conviction. Keep doing that. Relax, try to feel yourself go deeper and say it again, until you feel that the intention has reached the bottom of you. You want it to go as deeply into you as it can go. When you have reached the bottom, you heart will be open and the statement of your intention with conviction will be a source of tremendous joy to you. You’ll feel “Yes! That’s right! This is it!”

When you have reached that depth of contact with yourself and clarity about your conviction, you will find that it is not difficult to express this conviction in the world. It does take work. Everything takes work, but it’s not hard. It’s not suffering. It’s a work that is permeated with joy and that tends to express itself in elegant ways.

Intention Is the Foundation of Our Spiritual Life

Our intention is the foundation of our spiritual life. When we have an intention that we hold in our heart and live from every day, we are focused and we have the capacity and potential to succeed in our lives. Without an intention, we are ungrounded, unfocused, and consumed by the tensions and pressures that we encounter.

There are layers and levels of intention. Some of you might think, “Okay, now I need to have an intention and I’d better think one up.” That’s great, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you found it difficult to hold to after a while. In developing an intention, you don’t want to think one up, but rather to come into contact with and be aware of the bigger intention that your life has for itself–an intention that’s bigger than your mind and bigger than your ego and comes from a profoundly deep place with you. It may take you a while to get in touch with this place.

The most important thing about intention is that it should come from a place within you that is true and enduring, so that the recognition of your intention will sustain you through all of the different seasons of your life. There will be some rich and full and vital and vibrant times in your life, and there will be some cold, hard, challenging times. Having an awareness of the intention that your life has for itself will allow you, in all the seasons of your life, to appreciate the unity and perfection of your life as it is unfolding.

If your intention comes from a deep place, you will be sustained by its truth and its power. You will develop a capacity for discrimination that allows you to navigate the short term challenges of  daily life in a way that is completely in harmony with the long term, larger challenges. You will be able to find in your days and your months and your years and in your seasons and cycles an integration that is continuously nourishing, even when it is frustrating.