Editor’s Note: Andrew Weil, M.D. is a world-renowned leader, best-selling author, and...
How to Live Your Dreams
Harnessing the Law of Intention and Desire
What are your deepest dreams and desires? What do you really, really want? You may be longing for an opportunity to travel or have a child. Perhaps your heart yearns for a romantic relationship or the chance to express your creativity. You may be dreaming of changing your career and creating more material abundance in your life. You may just really wish you could take a long nap.
The fulfillment of all of our dreams begins with intention and desire. As the sages of India observed thousands of years ago, our destiny is ultimately shaped by our deepest intentions and desires. As a passage from the Vedic text known as the Upanishads states, “You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”
Our destiny ultimately comes from the deepest level of desire and also from the deepest level of intention. The two are inextricably linked. An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create. Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish. The spiritual Law of Intention and Desire lays out the five steps for cultivating and fulfilling your intentions with grace and ease.
1.) Get Clear on your Intentions and Desires
Your dream is more likely to come true if you first see it clearly in your mind.
What would fulfill your needs at the deepest level? What would allow your soul to complete its destiny? Develop a clear vision of what you want and be specific with your intentions so that the universe has a clear structure to work with. At the same time, you don’t want to be so locked into your vision that you miss the different and more wonderful response that may present itself. Although it is important not to be attached to a particular outcome, formulating an unambiguous intention is essential.
It’s better to write your intentions in positive language rather than in terms of what you don’t want, because the important part of formulating intentions is to generate a field of awareness that feels spiritually complete, whole, and content. That state will naturally organize the means through which whatever you need will be manifested. If you are generating a field of lack, worry, and fear, then that is what will attract and manifest. That is why if we want peace we become that peace; if we want love, we become the love within us. If we want abundance or health, we contact and become the timeless aspect of ourselves that is inherently whole, lacking nothing.
As you consider your dreams, become clear about who you are and what would truly make you happy. Set aside external notions of success, such as labels of status, money, possessions, and social connections.
For every intention, ask yourself two questions: 1.) How will this intention serve me?” and 2.) “How will it serve everybody I come into contact with?” If the answer to both questions can be distilled to true happiness and fulfillment, then you are on the right track.
Most of the time our mind is caught up in thoughts, emotions, and memories, and it’s easy to fall into the grip of our ego’s fears and demands. Beyond this noisy internal dialogue is a state of pure awareness that is sometimes referred to as “the gap.” This is the field of pure potentiality, which gives rise to everything that manifests in our physical universe. It is important to spend time each day quieting the mind and connecting to the timeless awareness and peace that is our essential nature.
One of the most powerful ways to enter this space of expanded consciousness is through a regular meditation practice. In meditation we experience our true self, which is pure awareness, pure potentiality, and pure being. When we're rooted in the experience of pure potentiality, our intentions can spontaneously manifest. Meditation takes us beyond the ego-mind into the silence and stillness of pure consciousness. This is the ideal state in which to plant our seeds of intention.
3.) Release Your Intentions and Desires
Through the practice of silent meditation we establish a deep baseline level of awareness from which intentions can manifest. We first settle down to a quiet state of simple awareness, and then we gently introduce our intention, letting it drop into the silence of pure awareness. We can visualize our intention, repeat it silently to ourselves, or feel it in our body – and then we let it go, planting our seed of intention in the infinite field of all possibilities.
4.) Detach from the Outcome
This step asks us to relinquish our attachment to a specific result and live in the wisdom of uncertainty. Attachment is based on fear and insecurity, while detachment is based on the unquestioning belief in the power of our true self. Intend for everything to work out as it should, then let go and allow opportunities and openings to come your way.
Intention is much more powerful when it comes from a place of contentment than if it arises from a sense of lack or need. Stay centered and refuse to be influenced by other people’s doubts or criticisms. Your higher self knows that despite any appearances to the contrary, everything is all right and will be all right, even though you don’t know the timing or the details of what will happen.
Keep in mind that often is isn’t possible to let go all at once. This is a path of many small steps, a process of replacing automatic reactions with deepened awareness. Be gentle with yourself and take one step at the time.
5.) Let the Universe Handle the Details
Your focused intentions set the infinite organizing power of the universe in motion. Trust that infinite organizing power to orchestrate the complete fulfillment of your desires. Don’t listen to the voice that says that you have to be in charge, that obsessive vigilance is the only way to get anything done. At the level of spirit, everything is always unfolding perfectly. You may not fathom the whole picture, but clearly there is a grand design. You are included in that design, and there’s no need to struggle or try to force situations to go your way.
By detaching, you end the struggle, freeing yourself from fear and doubt and releasing the obstacles your ego has created. The outcome that you try so hard to force may not be as good for you as the one that comes naturally. This doesn't mean that you become passive. You will feel more energy and wider possibilities than you do when you think that you have to accomplish everything by yourself. You simply take the actions that you know to take while staying open to the opportunities, clues, and synchronicities unfolding around you. You have released your intentions into the fertile ground of pure potentiality, and they will bloom when the season is right.
Exercise: Focus Your Intentions
If you’re unsure what you want, this exercise will help you explore your desires and find clarity, allowing you to set more powerful intentions.
Begin by considering the following aspects of your life and write down everything that you’d like to experience or create in each area. Writing (or sketching, listing, or otherwise putting your thoughts into form) is a powerful first step in clarifying what you really want.
Be as specific as possible and don’t limit yourself. Let go of any thoughts of what you “should” want. Your heart knows your deepest desires, so give yourself some time to meditate, become still, and connect to the authentic voice of your true self.
Material Abundance: What do you want on the material level? Your own house? To be debt-free with an abundant flow of income? A new wardrobe? Consider your desires for sensory gratification – sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell. Do you want to live a beautiful nature setting? Would you like to get a massage on a regular basis? Would you like to enjoy more freshly prepared meals?
Relationships: Write down all your desires for your relationships – your romantic partner, friends, children, parents, co-workers, and anyone else in your life. What would you like to experience in those relationships? More conscious communication? Deeper appreciation? More time together?
Spiritual Awakening: What would nourish your heart and soul? Do want to go on a meditation retreat? Start a journaling practice? Perhaps you feel a longing to explore a particular spiritual path or spend time reading inspiring literature or poetry. Write down all the spiritual intentions you have for yourself.
Personal Growth: What areas of your life would you like to nurture? Do you want a new intellectual challenge such as studying a language or learning new software? Would you like more time to play or develop a hobby? Write down what you truly want.
Community: What do you want to contribute to your neighborhood, country, or the world? Consider how you might use your unique talents to serve others. Make a list of everything you’d like to manifest in your community life.
Health and Wellbeing: What are your health goals? Do you want to learn to meditate? Exercise regularly? Get more sleep? Are you ready to let go of emotional pain from the past? Write down everything you desire for your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
Keep this list with you and look at it once or twice during the day as well as just before you meditate.