On January 22nd we will have our first Intention circle. I have asked all participants to come prepared to share their vision or goals for their various projects. In preparation I too have been contemplating what my focus will be for this circle. In my case, I am multi-tasking; both visioning for the circle and for myself. I walk in two worlds as I explore our collective world and my individual goals. There is of course cross over. One of my goals is clearly to host/facilitate this circle. Whenever doing a circle I look for tidbits to support the topic. I pray and ask for the right book to fall off my shelf and to open at the very page where the juicy inspiration rests. Yesterday that book was Creating with Others by Shaun McNiff. The page it fell open to had important information on the art of contemplation. Very timely reminders were provided by Shaun McNiff who says that To imagine is to let go……
After reading his thoughts on contemplation, I was reminded of the difference between “thinking” and the use of prayer and contemplation to arrive at decisions. The first suggest that the answers reside within our mind, the second acknowledges that we live in an abundant universe and that the answers can find their way to us through many means. Given this, I would like to suggest that, rather than “thinking” about your vision or project and how to put in it two or three sentences; you reframe this process. In other words, in place of “thinking” our way towards the important answers we seek, we can instead use prayer and contemplation. So the question ( i.e. what is the focus of my project? how will I succinctly present this vision in two or three sentences?) becomes a prayer, a simple request for clarity. We will not ask our mind to solve this, but rather we will seek the guidance of our Creator, Higher Self – or whatever we choose to call God/Goddess. In my experience, this is not a one-time thing. I pray without ceasing on such matters. Each time after I pray I sink into contemplation – which is so much more refreshing than “thinking”. Using these methods, previously unimagined ways of looking at our project or vision can arise. Perhaps the vision or project itself changes, morphs into something yet undreamed.
Shaun McNiff reminds us that. The creative act is based on the paradoxical ability to stay focused on what is happening, while letting go of the need to control outcomes. It is with this understanding that we walk the fine line of goal setting, or visioning, while not holding on too tightly to our initial picture or ideas. We will want to stay open to the messages that come through once we commence the journey towards our vision. McNiff encourages us to stay away from linear, step-by-step guides and to surrender to the unexpected. I like the sound of that.
I encourage you all to stay with prayer and contemplation rather than “thinking” too much. McNiff’s explanation of contemplation reminded me of the richness of these practices. He reiterates that to imagine is to let go and goes on to say …in creative expression there is a need to stay focused on a particular thing in order to travel deeply and expansively without attachment. Establishing a focal point for creative contemplation helps a person direct energy in a particular direction and avoid becoming scattered. Jumping quickly from one thing to another and trying to do too many things at once makes our perceptions aimless and superficial. Yet we don’t want to cling to an object so tightly that we block the movements of imagination that emerge naturally from contemplation.
I look forward to entering sacred space with all the participants, where together we will explore this terrain of travelling deeply and expansively without attachment.