LIVING FROM INTENT
Physicist and spiritual teacher Peter Russell is reported to have once had a recording on his answering machine that said: "This is not an answering machine. It's a questioning machine. Who are you and what do you want?"
After a brief pause, his message continued: "In case you think these are trivial questions, most people come to earth and leave it again without answering either one."a
Who are you and want do you want? These are BIG questions, which we will explore this month in a BIG way. So what do I mean "in a BIG way?" Well, "who are you?" We could answer at the first level - name: Rev. Donna Jean Caldwell, occupation (I'm in my 4th career), age, favorite color, animal preference, etc. Not BIG enough!
We could answer the question "who are you?" in a spiritual way - God in expression. Not just a child of God - but an expression of God! Connected to all things - one with all! I don't want to say that answer isn't BIG enough, but I will say not comprehensive enough for our purposes this month.
Today and this month, I want us to explore who we are with the foundation that we are God in Expression and then say who are we AS God in expression in the world. I believe, at times (a lot of the time) we have a disconnect between who we know ourselves to be spiritually and who we show up as in the world. Do you see that in those around you? So that's what I mean by "who are you?" in a BIG way.
Now, to the next question: "What do I mean by 'what do you want?'" I don't mean just for yourself (for the relationship to occur or the house to sell), but for the family of humanity? A world that works for everyone where no one goes to bed hungry at night; where everyone has a bed; where species are not becoming extinct; where our environment is not being irrevocably depleted; where disease and poverty are eradicated.
See BIG questions! And those questions lay the groundwork for our BIG mission this month! Nothing less than global transformation!
Rabbi Harrold Kushner once said: "The ultimate goal is to transform the world into the kind of world God had in mind when he created it."b
Jiddu Krishnamurti, East Indian philosopher and recipient of the 1984 UN Peace Medal, once said: "What you are, the world is . . . without your transformation, there can be no transformation of the world."c And I will add, "With your transformation, world transformation must follow."
This month, we will explore BEING the transformation we desire to see in the world.
THE POWER OF INTENT
This morning, we set the tone for our month of global transformation by experiencing the power of intent - the power of deep intent.
Ernest Holmes in his New Thought Dictionary writes: ". . . We must have a clear idea of what quality we desire to have fulfilled in us, and by our intent, permit that quality to develop in us."d
Sir Isaac Newton was once asked:
"How did you become so great?"
"By intending my mind."e
We are going to intend our minds toward global transformation this morning.
Distinguish between "setting intention" (goals, objectives, plans, etc. - not that there's anything wrong with these) and "living from intent" - a predisposition to be a certain way. I was introduced to intent in this context by Rev. Deborah Johnson, minister of Inner Light Ministries in Santa Rosa, CA. And she gave this vivid example of the power of this kind of intent is.
"Intent to forgive example- Say you are having a birthday party for your four-year-old child and you invite 15 other four-year olds to attend the party. Don't you go into this experience with the knowledge that things might just get a bit unruly? That something will probably get spilled, something will surely get broken, someone will most likely get upset and somewhere a mess will be made. But that's OK with you; you know it's just what happens when 16 four-year-olds gather. And because you just expect it, you have set the intent to forgive anything that may happen before the party even begins."f
Bring that idea of living from a deep intent into the context of being an agent for global change: What if each one of us walked around with an "Intent to be a Beneficial Presence".
. . . As a member in our own families?
. . . As a member of this spiritual community?
. . . As a voting citizen of this country?
. . . As an inhabitant on planet earth?
If we had such an intent, we would go into each of these situations knowing that there are bound to be some four-year-olds in operation (who may actually be 40!) messing things up, doing things that we don't like, breaking things, stepping on our toes and the toes of others, etc., etc.
Yet if WE have an intent to be a beneficial presence going in, then we are already prepared to be the one to bring a calmness, to bring a sense of spirituality, to bring peace and harmony, to bring solution, to bring positive action, to bring unity to the situation! Can you feel into that idea? Breath it in!
Think about this: What if you are the first domino? What if, by your deep intent to be a Beneficial Presence on this planet, you are the first in a chain reaction for good!?
So I want to give you a couple of thoughts this morning on how you could live from this deep intent to be a beneficial presence, to be the first domino in a chain reaction for global transformation.
I want to share with you some profound and moving words. As I share them, find your work in them. Find what is yours to do and be.
"It would be wonderful indeed if a group of persons should arrive on earth who were for something and against nothing. This would be the summum bonumg of human organization, wouldn't it?
Find me one person who is for something and against nothing, who is redeemed enough not to condemn others out of the burden of his soul, and I will find another savior, another Jesus, and an exalted human being."h [Ernest Holmes in the "Sermon by the Sea"]
Find me one person who no longer has any fear of the universe, or of God, or of man, or of anything else, and you will have brought to me someone in whose presence we may sit, and fear shall vanish as clouds before the sunlight.
Find me someone who has given all that he has to love, without morbidity, and I will have found the lover of my soul...Why? Because he will have revealed to me the nature of God and proved to me the possibility of all human souls.
Find me one person who can get his own littleness out of the way and he shall reveal to me the immeasurable magnitude of the Universe in which I live.
Find me one person who knows how to talk to God, really, and I shall walk with him through the woods and everything that seems inanimate will respond - the leaves of the trees will clap their hands, the grass will grow soft under him.
Find me one person who communes with cause and effect, and . . . the evening star will sing to him and the darkness will turn to light. Through him, as the woman who touched the hem of the garment of Christ was healed, shall I be healed of all loneliness forever.
Find me someone whose song is really celestial, because it is the outburst of the cosmic urge to sing, and I shall hear the music of the spheres.
Find me one person who has so completely divorced from himself all arrogance, and you will have discovered for me an open pathway to the kingdom of God here and now.
What did you find for yourself in that?
Find me one person who is for something and against nothing, . . .
Find me one person who no longer has any fear of the universe, or of God, or of man, or of anything else . . .
Find me someone who has given all that he has to love . . .
Find me one person who can get his own littleness out of the way . . .
Find me one person who knows how to talk to God, really . . .
Find me one person who communes with cause and effect . . .
Find me someone whose song is really celestial, because it is the outburst of the cosmic urge to sing . . .
Find me one person who has so completely divorced from himself all arrogance . . .
Several years ago, His Holiness The Dalai Lama spoke to a group of authorities from religion, government, commerce, the arts, medicine and science, who had gathered to focus on the global challenges facing humanity in the 21st Century. His message was simple and clear:
"In order for humankind to face the challenges of the new millennium, there is a deep and profound need for spirituality in all walks of life. The idea of spirituality must be brought into a broader context -- a context that transcends all religious barriers, a context that allows us to see our unity, not our differences, and a context out of which a global ethic based on mutual respect and cooperation, not fear and competition, emerges."i
If we have the intent to be the beneficial presence, then we are an active vehicle for doing exactly what Ernest Holmes and His Holiness are talking about.
If we have an intent to be a beneficial presence in our world then we must quit just talking about this philosophy and begin to fully embody it.
We must begin living as if we believe that God, the Infinite Source of All Good, is at the center of our being. We must begin living as if we believe we are cosmically connected to one another and to all things. What would these ideas look like if they appeared in your life today?
Would it mean that you released prejudices and preconceived notions about those who look, speak and act differently from you?
Would it mean that you let go of harsh judgment and criticism of those who do not share your political or worldview?
Would it mean that you had empathy, rather than annoyance, for those whose consciousness places them on street corners asking for handouts?
Would it mean that you extended your blessing, rather than a curse, to those whom you believe hurt or wronged you (and, yes, that means even to those who cut you off in traffic)?
Would it mean that you would congratulate, rather than be envious of, a co-worker who received the promotion you so much desired?
Would it mean that you realized your connection to Mother Earth and began treating her with greater respect?
What would it mean to you? What would your life look like, what would your world look like if you set your deepest intent to be a beneficial presence?
I invite you to ponder these questions, realizing that this is the way -- the only way -- to effect global transformation. To paraphrase Mahatma Ghandi . . ."We must be the change we wish to see in the world."j
One last thing to think on and chew on from an unlikely source! This is from an article that appeared in the March 24, 2008, issue of Time Magazine entitled "Common Wealth" by Jeffrey Sachs. The subheading was entitled "The Power of One."
"Great social transformations -- the end of slavery, the women's and civil rights movements, the end of colonial rule, the birth of environmentalism -- all began with public awareness and engagement. Our political leaders followed rather than led. It was scientists, engineers, church-goers and young people who truly led the way. If as citizens we vote for war, then war it will be. If instead we support a global commitment to sustainable development, then our leaders will follow, and we will find a way to peace. . . .
Our generation's greatest challenges -- in environment, demography, poverty and global politics -- are also our most exciting opportunity. Ours is the generation that can end extreme poverty, turn the tide against climate change and head off a massive, thoughtless and irreversible extinction of other species. Ours is the generation that can, and must, solve the unresolved conundrum of combining economic well-being with environmental sustainability. We will need science, technology and professionalism, but most of all we will need to subdue our fears and cynicism. John F. Kennedy reminded us that peace will come by recognizing our common wealth. "If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."k
Let's affirm together: I live from my deepest intent to be a beneficial presence in the world.
bRabbi Harrold Kushner
dErnest Holmes New Thought Dictionary (p. 69)
eSir Isaac Newton
fRev. Deborah Johnson, minister of Inner Light Ministries in Santa Rosa, CA
gthe highest good, especially as the ultimate goal according to which values and priorities are established in an ethical system.
hErnest Holmes in the "Sermon by the Sea"
iHis Holiness The Dalai
kMarch 24, 2008, issue of Time Magazine entitled "Common Wealth" by Jeffrey Sachs (pg. 40). The subheading was entitled "The Power of One."