Set An Intention

We know that the mask of the unconscious is not rigid—it reflects the face we turn towards it. Hostility lends it a threatening aspect, friendliness softens its features. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 29

Set An Intention. Easier said than done.

This is especially true during the highly anticipated month of January. We plan, we dream, we sign up for gym memberships we know we will never use! It is kicked off with lofty and truly innocent do-gooder intentions of weight-loss, kindness, and career success. However, year after year, January dolefully ends with the shameful quixotic morning-after feeling of self-imposed amnesia to all the dreams now broken. We crawl to our cubicle hoping no one sees our Venti coffee after two weeks of braggart level confidence, “Some people do ‘Dry January’, I’m doing coffee-less January!”. Our intention seemed so simple. We speak inside our head, ‘A child could do it. But why couldn’t I?”

And thus begins our minds ability to rationalize any number of excuses and reasons as to the answer of WHY? We have been trained through media, family, socializing, nationality, race, and religion to believe that our mind is linear. That in order to have followed through on our January intention we would gain success and reach our goal by following a very circumspect ambition and taking well known routes to our finality of accomplishment. Unwittingly, our dedication will be fraught with failure after failure. How is this so?

Our clarity to answer the WHY; why the failure, why is a linear path not a path to success, why can’t I succeed in my wishful earnest goals, is answered at the beginning of our path.

Many sadhakas (spiritual practitioners) will start their sadhanas (spiritual practice) with subconscious and conscious preconceptions about what a follower on a path of sadhanas is all about. The reality, pain, and difficulty in starting this path are contradictory to our highly-held preconceived ideas about this practice. The typical struggle begins with how the sadhaka reconciles the irritable shocks and unexpected realities on this path. Most often, around mid-January, we see the neophytes backtrack to their former existence. The judgement along the path causes deep primal wounds to reappear, the sadhaka feels gullible to this pain and misery and although it slows one down, it is a necessary limp to overcome. We can find comfort in the many who have lost muster and belief in the sadhanas and the realm it opened to their hearts. The sheer power of spiritual life can make one feel ill. Only through intensely following through on the sadhanas and through this initial disappointment can one progress. Set your intention and find a practice that supports this.

The sadhanas can be any simple daily spiritual practice. Be prepared to dive into your sadhanas by letting go of your pre-conceived judgements and linear thinking. Allow it to free form into whatever it shows you. Only an openness is necessary to begin this journey of intention. You can keep your judgement but it must be carried on the shoulders of wanting to learn more and adjusting yourself to the practice and not the other way around. Soon your sadhana will enhance your everyday life to infinite possibilities.

A true tyaga (renunciation) of your former way of thinking and of the ego’s needs and desires will be necessary to stay on the path. Our mind is Maya and at every turn it will shapeshift reality into an illusion. We cannot decipher it’s intention, nor it’s abilities. But it will seek to enter your path where you once saw clearly, you will become blind.

Be aware. Sadhana for the path of self-realization is an opportunity at every moment in life and time should not be squandered by postponing this urgent duty. Start a regular and systematic sadhana in your life.

Sadhanas can be:

–a mantra

–chanting

–reading sacred scripture

–yoga asanas

–meditation

–pranayama

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will release responsibility by naming it fate. The subconscious is where our experiences, beliefs and memories are stored. Self-knowledge, the understanding of our thoughts and behaviors and their influence on our lives, will make the unconscious conscious.