Intention, attention and manifestation (Part II) by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Our life runs through intention. Everything we do has either a desire or intention or unconscious habit attached to it. Whether you want to drink a glass of water, take a walk or sit and watch TV, first an intention arises in the mind. If you want to call it desire, as ‘a desire arises in the mind’, I have no objection. But there is a difference between intention and desire. People don’t understand this. Even if you say ‘I don’t want any desire”, it is a desire. “I want to be enlightened” is a desire. Better job, more wealth, live happily… die peacefully is also a desire!
Why some people desire gets fulfilled, others don’t? This is a question in many people. How many of you have this problem? It is very few in Art Of Living!! Somehow by hook or crook, or fluke, you got the skill to attend to your desire. Desire is a feverishness attached to a wish or a thought. The feverishness kills. If you have noticed people who are getting all this Emmy awards, Filmfare awards – prestigious awards in the world, they can’t contain their happiness. They get sick. They get panic attacks!!
Desire when fulfilled still leaves you empty. If not fulfilled, they make you miserable. This whole hippy movement happened because all desires were getting fulfilled. It all seemed futile, nothing to hold on to. Because desire doesn’t seem to be bringing fulfillment.
Unfulfilled desire gives a void. Fulfilled desire gives a greater void. It creates such feverishness; you can’t have a good night’s sleep. If desire is the mother of sorrow, then shouldn’t we desire? I am saying “I don’t want any desire”. If that is also a desire, what to do?!!
Here comes the knowledge, the secret knowledge of desire and intention. For example, you want to go to Mysore – a 3 hour journey. You sit in a car, drive, on the way stop, drink tea, coffee, whatever, and you reach in 3 hours. This is an intention. An intention is a thought that arises in you, remains with you and translates into an action – whether today, tomorrow, next year.
And desire is sitting in the car and being feverish, repeating “I want to go to Mysore, I want to go to Mysore”. You will not go to Mysore, you will go to mental hospital.
Most of the people in the world do not know the difference between intention and desire. Ancient people knew the secret. They called it sankalpa. Take an intention and leave it to the universe. Today if you go to temples, even in the west, or where there is a fountain, they say ‘make a wish and drop it’ – drop the coin.
An intention has to be dropped. Have an intention, have an attention and consciously drop it. It will start manifesting. If you hold on to the intention, intention becomes desire and desire causes heartache.
See your life in the bigger context. With intention in your hand, what do you do? See how many billion years have passed, how vast this universe is. With this vastness, the mind expands. This is what is sankalpa – so many billion years have passed, among all the billions of stars, among all the milky ways, in this small planet, in this small country, state, I take this intention; and drop it!!
When you do this, a phenomenon is happening within you. Mind, consciousness expands and this expanded consciousness recognizes what you need to be happy. Attention on the magnanimity of the creation? and intending what you want to manifest is an art in itself. Instead, what we do? We put our attention on what we don’t have!!
My grandmother would say “Chocolates are full. I have to go to chocolate shop!”. She will never say ‘it is empty’. She would say ‘chocolate is full’. Even in language, she wouldn’t use the negative word – don’t have. She would say angels are floating around and all they say is ‘let it be’. You say ‘I don’t have money’, they say ‘let it be’!! It was like that for her, you know – always smiling, cheerful, positive state of mind.
Intention, attention and manifestation. They are linked. The go together. But if our attention is always about something negative… Your attention goes to fights, to problem. If someone is doing good work, your attention doesn’t go there. Create a scandal and see your interest! Unless you know all about that, you don’t feel comfortable. If your mind is clinging on to negative, that’s what is going to grow. If you tell your child, ‘you are stupid’, he will remain stupid. Because your attention is on foolish, stupid.
People don’t understand this. They sit and visualize – I am becoming rich, rich! Instead of attention, intention they turn the intention into a feverish desire and become depressed. In positive thinking, you suppress, suppress and somewhere it all becomes negative.
This is a skill. You know, there is a certain group that tells people to wake up in the morning and sit and tell “I love myself, I love myself, I love myself”. And they get sick!! See, you know you are in Bangalore. You don’t have to repeat you are in Bangalore. You keep affirming, you keep saying “I am strong”, somewhere you think you are weak, so you have to keep affirming.
Intention is not fighting with a stream of thought that is coming in the mind. Intention is beyond fleeting positive and negative thoughts. In your mind, you get so many thoughts, but not everything translates into action. Why? Only those thoughts that translates into intention becomes action.
Let us see the distinction between desire and intention.
Intention has a purpose
Desire has feverishness.
Intention has a goal.
Desire’s goals are really not good because desire is always linked to happiness and no event or object can bring you to the happiness you really want.
If your attention is all the time on the negative, switch it to positive. Just being aware of it, it already switches. Then give the time for it to manifest.
Some of you have this habit. Saying Always. “I always have pain”. That is what is going to happen. In Bible also there is a saying, “Those who have more shall be given to them, those who do not have what they have will also be taken away”. The feeling of abundance, feeling you have abundance and abundance will grow. You put your attention on lack and lack will grow.
A gentleman got 1 million dollar in a lottery. He became so sad. Previous day, he had seen a house that cost 1.2 million! “Just 0,2 million and I would have got my house!”. Even though he won a lottery, he became depressed. Desire is never with what we have here and now. It always gallops – leaves your legs tired and hands empty. And meditation is the skill in which you learn how to drop the intention and relax, let go!
You know there is a saying – ask, and it shall be given. We never even attended to it. Your attention is not there. You never put your intention on it and you say it didn’t manifest. Many people who say “I am poor” do not put their intention and attention on it. It’s not enough to say “I want money”. You have to be specific – who do you want to be wealthy? In the temples, they say “this child born on this day, this grand child born on that day”… after or before meditation, you put your intention. I want this much money, this to happen, this to be solved – and drop it.
Many times you do not really enjoy what you wanted. Kids, it happens. They want something, get it and they don’t want it! Clarity comes only through depth of meditation and meditation cannot happen when mind is feverish with desire.
Bringing desire to intention, putting attention and allowing time to manifest is a really intelligent way to deal with desire. When you are sick, you put an attention on it “I am sick, I am sick”… I am not saying, you put an affirmation – “I am healthy, I am healthy”.
In Bali, Indonesia, they greet “Swasthirasthu”. Swa means self. Swasthi means ‘established in the self’. Swasthirasthu means “may you be established in the self”. Swaastha means not just physical health. Physical, mental and spiritual health is ’swaasthya’. In India, nobody greets that way. But in Bali, they greet that way. ‘Om swasthirasthu’ – of course in festivals, pundits chant that. But others don’t understand!!
Question: If you drop an intention, how can it convert into action?
Sri Sri: Just like you want to go to Delhi, and drop it, it automatically converts into an action. If you hold on to it, what will happen to you??
Intention should go with a feeling. It is not reading, “Oh, what is the intention I should have today?”. Intention is a need that comes within you. There is a deep yearning for it. Then it becomes an intention. Like someone wants a car or transportation, they really need a car, then you just put an intention, sankalpa – I really need this.
One is fantasy – it is not a real need, your heart, your soul is not longing for it. Like someone else has a car, I also want a car. Someone has a bigger house. I also want. This is not a need. It is not going to happen. If you say “I’m so tired of moving houses, and more people are coming and I need a bigger hall”, then it is an intention. And then you add the clause “Anything better than this is ok”. “This or anything better than this, I can accept”.
But if you have not kept your commitment, you are not sincere, you are cheating, nature will know that. It will also cheat you! Nature will also not give you the power to manifest what you intend!
In Yoga Sutras, Patanjali says there are five yamas one has to follow before asana.
Ahimsa – Non-violence. What do you get by being non-violent? In your presence, everyone else will lose their violence. One who is established in non-violence, in their presence others will also lose violent tendencies within.
One of our teachers in Botswana, a young woman – she was kidnapped by 5-6 gunmen. How many of you know this? You should hear from her own words. They took her in the car. She was laughing and she said “If you do any harm to me, your family will not be happy!”. She said, “see, I have a Guru!”. They said, ‘what is a guru’ and then she gave them an intro talk!! She spoke to them half an hour and they left her. Then they gave her the passport back. You listen to her own story. It is very funny! And the terrorist said sorry to her! They tried to push her, she said “It’s paining, don’t do that”. They said “Oh sorry madam!”.
We don’t know the power of yoga, meditation. How 6 terrorists in Botswana, it has never happened in history, they have left just like that and given the passport back!
Another teacher from India, went to Moscow. Four men came and started speaking in Hindi and then told him “You have five hours. Lets go have some tea”. He went with them innocently and they took him and locked him. He broke the door. They have guns and this gentleman without any weapons could face and get away from them, unhurt! They also gave him money to get to the airport!
Couple of other stories are there, in Calcutta, they kidnapped and brought him back.
If you have the conviction, if you are established in non-violence, in your presence, surroundings, violence drops. Violence turns into non-violence. This I have seen again and again. Why should you follow truth? Because that will fructify your actions. That much enough for today.
Question: About Varlakshmi Vratham and what it symbolises
Sri Sri: They take a pot, put rice, crown it with a coconut, invoke the Divine and feel the abundance. Not just for me, for everybody. They say, give me enough, so whoever comes to my house will not be hungry. Grant me the wish for abundance. Wanting abundance for whose sake/ Not for oneself, so that I can help everybody! They feel Lakshmi has already come home. Lakshmi is invited to every home and stays at every home. There is enough for everyone in this planet. Don’t be greedy, don’t be selfish. There is abundance in every life.
Sit quiet for a few minutes and feel the abundance. Close your eyes and feel you have abundance of everything – good qualities, money, health everything.