What are you planting this season? What do you want to see growing and what do you wish to harvest later on in the year? In a few years? What do you envision the next generation will be harvesting? All energy movement starts with intention.
In qi gong, an embodied spirit practice that connects mind, physical body and spirit body, the mind (yi, intention) leads the qi (vital force), and the qi moves the body (xi, form). This central role of the mind - activated through images, sounds or hand postures - is such a powerful determinant in all energy based practices that it limits the possibility of designing placebo-controlled studies of qi gong or tai chi - and even acupuncture, another qi (vital force) based therapeutic practice (1).
Intention is an invitation you send to the Universe to co-participate in your life. How many times a day do you invite the Universe to participate? Every time you breath with combined awareness and intention. The air comes in and participates to your metabolic processes. If your breathing is complete, aware and filled with intention, you can use it for healing and performance enhancement. This is just an example of the Universe making itself available to you all the time. Rumi, the famous mystical poet, says “Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it”. Rumi means that the Universe comes to the table and participates, if you allow it to. All you need to do is to create that openness, through awareness and intention. Our bodies are designed to heal. Every day your body repairs and renews itself: skin cells renew every two weeks, red blood cells - every four months and even the brain regenerates, although modern science believed until recently that this was impossible. Your body works perfectly and beautifully - and this is just an example of the intrinsic good will of the cosmos.
Ancient Greeks, who believed in an orderly and harmonious Universe, were the ones who created the word “cosmos”. The philosopher Pythagoras was the first to use κόσμος (cosmos) defining it as “the order of the universe” (2). He saw the physical world as a reflection of eternal numerical and mathematical laws. The term became part of modern language in the 19th century when geographer–polymath Alexander von Humboldt resurrected the use of the word and assigned it to his five-volume treatise, Kosmos, which influenced modern holistic perception of the universe as one interacting entity. The word “cosmetics” evolved from the word cosmos, meaning “beauty”, deeply connected to the idea of order. Living with intention sets up the stage for the intrinsic oder-intelligence of the universe to mend and weave the fabric of your life.
Show intention in all you do. It works. Although scientists did not figure yet how exactly. In my native Romania, country women pour their intention of healing the sick of the village by vibrating certain words that have been inherited from previous generations, called “descantece” - healing charms. All the old ladies do is send, through vibration, their intention of healing into the diseased medium. This tradition has been preserved from the Thracians, the pre-romaniac tribes who lived on current Romanian territory. The mechanism of action in complex, combining the hypnotic, psychological and bioenergetic aspects and is still used in Romanian villages nowadays. In his book “A New Science of Life” (3), the biologist Rupert Sheldrake describes this type of interconnected vibratory medium as “morphogenic fields”- defined as inherent collective memory, similar to the Jungian collective unconscious or the "akashic records", where all previous experiences are believed to be stored and to which we have the capacity to tune in, just like radio waves receptors and emittors. Appealing to something you believe in, rooted in a tradition that has survived, enhances the power of intention.
What are the barriers, the inner blockages that can obstruct intention? The most common one is the need of the ego to control the outcome, behind which lies the fear of failure of manifestation. The fear is run by the subconscious mind's default programs, inherited from upbringing or conventional belief systems. To make space for the good seeds to grow, fear and its programs needs to be removed, just like weeds need to be uprooted so the good plants can grow. Fear renders one passive and dull in intention. Planning and trust are the most important dimensions of intention. As opposed to expectation and belief, which imply a sort of void that needs to be filled, fear builds rigidity and the need to control the results. When we try to control, we narrow the gifts that the Universe is willing to offer us. We close ourselves to life. In a national survey of why patients use alternative medicine (4), Stanford University researchers found that complimentary and alternative medicine therapies attract those who see alternative therapies less authoritarian, more empowering and as offering them more autonomy and control over their health care decisions, as well as more aligned to their philosophical values. Co-participation is an important aspect of healing, mostly overlooked by convetional medicine.
The participatory experience to your own health through education, empowerment, authenticity, and an enlarged identity within an organic habitat is what we are seeding in our unique community here in Port Washington, New York. At Sol Center, healing relies on the interconnectedness of our habitat as healing vector, and includes foraging, sacred ceremonies following the rhythms of nature, educating and creating awareness about ecosystems and sustainable living in schools and community. Two years ago we planted a pollinator’s garden at Sands Point Preserve. Now we watch it growing and attracting monarch butterflies and bees, which are endangered species that are vital for cross-pollination. Last week our community members planted another pollinators garden at the Children’s Science Museum. Each Saturday at the local farmer’s market - the only 100% organic free market in Long Island - there will be tours available to take you to local pollinator friendly gardens that our Re-Wild Initiative community members planted this spring. Every week we offer meditation and qi gong classes outdoors at the beautiful Sands Point Preserve and every Thursday night we have community gatherings at Sol Center.
Nature walk at Sands Point Preserve led by environmental eductor David Jakim
It is our intention to offer support the vision of true healing to those in need, in their journey of growth and interconnectedness with the local habitat, including the relationship web to the family, friends and other community members. Make your intention to communicate and educate your eco-system about what matters to you and listen to what matters to them. Than do it! Communicate. Connect. This is what life does every day, through pollinators, flying seeds, vibration etc. Only when you learn the skill of intention you can stop focusing on illness and what is wrong with you and embrace a life of sustainable well being.
Native plants pollinators friendly garden at Sands Point Preserve, Port Washington, New York
Community planting event at Sands Point Preserve, Port Washington
Forth graders of Manorhaven school learning about monarch butterlies and planting milkweed - the only plant where monarchs deposit their eggs
Sandra, the butterfly fairy!
(1) P.M. Wayne and T.J. Kaptchuck, “Challenges inherent to Tai Chi Research: Part 2 - Defining the Intervention and Optimal Study Design”, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 14, no.2 (2008): 191-97.
(2) Iamblichus, Pyth., β 59; Aetius ΙΙ 1.1.
(3) R. Sheldrake, A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Formative Causation. Saunders of Toronto Ltd, 1981.
(4) J.A. Astin “Why patients use alternative medicine: results of a national study” Journal of the American Medical Association 279, no 19 (1998) 1548-53