Living “Intention” vs. Living “In Tension”
The increased challenges that we are facing in the world can erode our sense of security. In the past we could chart our personal and financial lives with a reasonable amount of confidence. It is an understatement that things in the world are not as predictable as they once were.
Back in 1998, President Clinton said the following in an address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, “Today the store of human knowledge doubles every five years. Soon, every child will be able to stretch a hand across a computer keyboard and reach every book ever written, every painting ever painted, every symphony ever composed.” That sounds like a good thing and it is but at the same time we must adjust to what comes with knowledge doubling every five years.
In a previous post I wrote about the Biology of Stress. In addition to the challenges of the Information Age, we also face uncertainty economically. My wife has her grandfather’s gold watch as a family heirloom. It was given to him after 50 year’s of employment in the same company. What’s the chance of any of us getting a gold watch for that today? I don’t need to list the categories that contribute to us living “In Tension”. Most of us know them all too well.
What can be done to find stability and security in this changing landscape? I have found that as my internal climate changes, my outer landscape reflects the change. I can’t control all of the externals in my life but I can control my internal reality. A cornerstone for me is something Einstein once said. He was asked what he felt the most important question was that you could ask another person. His response was, “Do we live in a friendly universe?” In other words is it a dog eat dog world with survival of the fittest or is the universe conspiring to support me? When I get out of reaction to external pressures and take stock, I have overwhelming data, that is way beyond coincidence, to demonstrate that there is a friendly universe. I have found that it is to my advantage to partner with that.
The following quote by W. H. Murray in the book, The Scottish Himalaya Expedition, written in 1951, speaks to the way partnering with the friendly universe transpires.
“But when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money–booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”
Before Murray committed, he had an Intention. Architects and engineers say that “form follows function.” If I want to walk through a wall (function) I create a door or an archway (form). In much the same way I feel that Creation follows Intention. First we need to perceive what we choose to bring into our lives before we can bring the elements together to bring it into form.
When I used to live near the coast, I took up sailing and those experiences taught me a lot about Life. The wind and tides are outside of our control. Once we have an Intention, we can metaphorically trim the sails and use the tiller to reach our destination. Being pro active with our “Intention” and being good partners with the friendly universe can help shift us out of a life “In Tension”.