The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

The essence of intention

In the past, I’ve heard people look down on intentions. But looking back, I think that what these people rejected was the way intentions sometimes served as an excuse. Having good intentions is not a sufficient excuse for things going wrong.

Nevertheless, the essence of an intention is that there is no certainty that it will succeed. Developing an intention builds on the idea that the outcome may not be what is hoped for and acknowledges it while pursuing a specific outcome.

It’s the integration of possibilities into one’s project that makes intentions so useful. The brain is aware of all the possibilities and can then focus on the intention.

As one practices using intentions, they develop a clarity that supports the intention. However, what is being trained is the preparation that comes before the execution and leads into it. The intention has more of an emergent nature.

Golf allows for a useful analogy.

The driving range and practice area allow for training a variety of shots. The more one practices, the more one’s intention develops. As the details of the intention become visible, they help see how close the result was to the intention itself. And, as one becomes aware of the shot one created, the details of the execution contribute to becoming aware of the connection between the result and the execution. When the setting is about training a skill, there is less at stake and it is easier to focus on what happened and compare it with what was intended.

When one moves on to play on the course, the setting changes. It isn’t about practicing anymore but about playing. For those identifying themselves with the results, it can be a situation in which it becomes difficult to trust one’s intention. The result moves into the foreground and it suddenly seems that something is at stake. That something is an element of one’s identity.

It’s a choice to attach one’s identity to a result or to let that attachment go.

Being able to have an intention instead of expecting a result is a good start.


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