After doing this work for over 2 decades, I’ve noticed that after people join a program, about a third of the people will loose their mojo after a certain amount of time. This is normal, especially in online programs. Now, of the folks that choose to stay, some will plateau for a while (which is also expected and fine!) and some will keep unfolding and staying engaged in the process.
While there’s nothing wrong with a good plateau, and it’s a very natural part of growth, for the folks that tend to have a shorter plateau period I’ve noticed they are in touch with a kind of devotion – a deep intention or dedication to waking up, which energizes them and keeps them engaged in the work and committed.
Deep intention is about moving toward our deepest potential that is already there within us; manifesting the reason we are here in this life. It’s that deep longing – the call to adventure I’ve spoken about in past episodes.
One of the Jataka tales – mythical teaching stories of the many lives of the Buddha – tells of a “good merchant” living in Northern India. One afternoon while working, he sees a beautiful, luminous person walking across the town square.
The merchant had never seen someone radiate compassion in such a way, and instantly knew that he wanted to serve them and the path of compassion. So he prepares a tray of ripe fruit and tea to offer as nourishment and steps into the daylight toward the Luminous One.
Suddenly, daylight turns to darkness, a gash appears in the earth between him and the Luminous One, and he sees these horrifying demons. This is Mara, who tells him things like, “Go back; it’s too dangerous for you! This way is not for you. Go back to the life you know.”
And right as the merchant is about to give in to his fear and turn around, he remembers his longing for love and freedom – his devotion to waking up.
And that aspiration is stronger than any warning voice. So he focuses instead on that intention and continues to walk forward, one step at a time.
Eventually the demons disappear, the sun reappears, and the Earth comes together and heals. So the merchant finds himself, standing right in front of the Luminous One, full of aliveness and gratitude.
This great being embraces him, telling him, “Well done, bodhisattva. Walk on, through all the fears and pain in this life. Walk on, following your heart and trusting in the power of awareness. Walk on, one step at a time. And you will know a freedom and peace beyond all imagining.”
Like the merchant in this story, we will all face Mara, with all its egoic, fear-based intentions. And we will want to avoid the fear of failure or embarrassment. It happens every day to all of us. Yet, we can still remember our deep intention to help us through those challenging times.
We can check in this way on a regular basis by reviewing our day. We can remember the activities and choices we made. What we focused on. But we can also remember the mood behind it all – how were we feeling most of the time? Were we trying to escape from discomfort, or run from anxiety? Was presence and kindness present?
Now, our intentions are often mixed and swirled together. Sometimes we are in intention and fearful or in survival mode, and others when we are intentionally present.
So the challenge is really about being aware and present, because when we wake up, our intuition is more clear and can guide us.
The process we’re exploring, then, is how do we investigate so that we don’t get derailed by intentions we are unaware of?
It’s like an iceberg in the water: we may see the tip, but there are parts we don’t see. In fact, there may be more under the water than above it, right?
Above the water are the things wea re conscious of, and below the water are things we are unaware of.When we are suffering, it’s often a good time to become mindful of the things below our immediate awareness, because in moments of suffering, we can become aware that we are not getting something we need. Something below the surface is speaking to us.
When we act from fear (using that reptilian brain), we are often coming from below the water line. If we can become aware of that and become compassionate toward it, we can then ask ourselves, what’s my true intent? What really matters to me?
One method we can use to work with this is a reflective U-turn.
When we are in a moment where we feel triggered or reactive, we can look inside ourselves and ask, what’s going on with me, here? What are the unmet needs in myself right now that are driving my reaction? Is this fear-based? The focus is on us and not the other person.
Then we offer ourselves self-comapssion, because then next question in vulnerable. We then ask, “What is my heart’s intention? What is my deepest intention in this situation?
That deepest intention isn’t always easy to find or define. Sometimes when I ask for someone to reconnect with their intention during a program, they’ll say they couldn’t come up with anything. Or they’ll say something that is more superficial – I know it’s not their deepest intention.
So how can we know if we’re in touch with our deep intention?
There are 3 key elements to look for that I find helpful:
// It has to do with manifesting our deepest potential, our reason for being here.
// It is felt in our bodies -we have a felt sense of it..
// It can be experiences right in this moment (unlike a goal…like hiking the John Muir Trail can’t happen in this moment)
Once we define or realize that deep intention, we want to get really familiar and intimate with it. We want to become aware of every part of our being and how it responds to this deepest intention so that it can come through in a very conscious way.
What are the sensations in our body when we tap into this? What feelings arise? What thoughts fill our mind? And I encourage you to really take time and listen here, because we want to be able to recognize these signs up being connected to our deepest intention.
Our deepest intention plants the seeds for our future. How we choose to respond to what’s happening right now can change how we react and receive further down the line, and it’s impacted by our deep intention.
We can make that shift from a fear-based intention to what our deep heart-intention is. To be open and be here and be clear about what we’re truly longing for.
The more you awaken that longing, the more intimate you become with it and get to know it, then the more it has the power to carry you to a purposeful and meaningful life; the more it informs all the moments of your life, all your relationships. It becomes a compass of our daily life
As Hafez said, “For I have learned that every heart will get what it prays for most.”
You will learn:
// What deep intention is and how it differs from other types of intention
// 3 key elements of our deepest intentions
// How setting a deep intention can help us discover and manifest our purpose
// Ways to cultivate a relationship with our deep intentions
// The difference between manifestation, goals, and intention
// Some reflection exercises to help us use our deepest intentions in day-to-day life and challenges
// Episode 93: Wake the F*ck Up
// Check out my free 7-day Clarity + Courage Training to help you finally get clear about what you want and how to get it!
// If you’re new to the squad, grab the Rebel Buddhist Toolkit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll also get access to the Rebel Buddhist private group, and tune in every Wednesday as I go live with new inspiration and topics.
// Want something more self-paced with access to weekly group support? Check out Freedom School – the community for ALL things related to freedom, inside and out. Learn more at JoinFreedomSchool.com. I can’t wait to see you there!