I was on the phone with my younger son today and he asked me what I had been doing. I told him that I had been working. So he said “No, I mean what have you been doing in the evenings?” I replied “Working, I worked until midnight last night and I am working this evening.” He asked “Are you getting paid extra for the work that you are doing in the evenings?” I replied “No” and he asked “Why are you doing it then?”
Why have I been working during the evenings? Simply put, a bunch of people who have placed their trust in me and who I care about are counting on me to help them accomplish something that matters to them. And people’s jobs and lives are at stake – there is something huge at stake given the economic situation in this country.
I am also working in the evenings because I am mindful of a fantastic piece of wisdom from a master of life and living. Like a zen master (and I say he is a zen master, I suspect he lives joyfully without labels) he sees reality and the human condition just as it is and just as it is not. Here is what he says:
“It is important that you get clear for yourself that your only access to impacting life is action. The world does not care what you intend, how committed you are, how you feel, or what you think, and certainly it has no interest in what you want and don’t want. Take a look at life as it is lived and see for yourself that the world only moves for you when you act.” Werner Erhard
You, I , we act on the world by what we do and by what we do not do. Oftentimes what we do not do (that which we hide from ourselves) has more of an impact on the world than what we do do (that which is visible to ourselves and others). Unfortunately most of the time we are not present to this.
I was fortunate that I got present to the fact that what I did not do on Monday evening (structure and write up the information coming out of the workshops) was likely to make more of an impact on the project that I am working on/in than what I had been doing during the days (facilitating workshops).
Wow: I just got an insight into why my wife is unhappy with me right now!
This week I got present to the huge influence intention has on how I am being and what shows up in my life. I also got present to the impact on myself and others when I have one intention and yet pretend to be, to do something else – something that is not a function of my intention.
Time is short and I have a powerful intention to honor my word
Its 12:15 and I have just got off an important conference call. There is another conference call scheduled for 13:00. That leaves me with only 45 minutes to get to the town centre, park my car, get to the shops, find the right phone case (for my son), pay the parking, exit, arrive home and dial into the conference call. i (which loves to ‘play small’) comes into play right on cue: “You’ll never get it done today. Too risky – you will be late for the conference call. Son won’t mind if you don’t keep your word. I am sure that I can come up with a good excuse…….”
Thankfully, being mindful I was present and I was adamant that I was going to play full out to honor the word given to son. So I headed out to the town centre committed to playing the game full out to get the right phone case and get back in plenty of time to make the conference call. No traffic. No problem finding a parking place – too easy in fact! Get to the first mobile phone shop. Can’t find the phone case. Find an assistant and ask for help. He shows me the phone case – only one type of phone case. I look at it and it strikes me that that phone case is not the one that occurs as being the kind of phone case that son would like. Make my way to the second retailer and look for the case. Cannot find it and look for help. There is only one person to help and he is already helping another customer. Wait. Great my turn. I ask for help, get it, try out the phone case, it is just right, pay £10, thank the chap for being helpful. I notice that he is smiling and I am smiling. Leave, pay parking ticket, exit car park, arrive home. What? Still fifteen minutes to the conference call. That means that I accomplished the mission in 30 minutes. WOW!
Fully into putting together an inspirational music playlist and my daughter enters
I had set my heart on putting together an inspirational music playlist. It is around 18:45 and I am half way there – looking forward to getting this done and then taking a break. Daughter marches into my room and ‘asks’ for my help in doing her homework. Out of guilt i drops what it is doing and says “OK, I will help you” ignoring that other part of i which is not at all happy about this. i and daughter go downstairs. i and daughter sit around the dining table and she starts her homework. i automatically finds fault with the way that daughter is doing her homework: she is just writing the answers and not showing the workings – how she arrived at the answer. i tells daughter that it is not good enough to just write the answer, she also has to show how she got to the answer. i tells daughter that this will help her in the exams: even if she gets the answer wrong she can get some marks if she is using the right method. Daughter does what she does. i interprets this as you are wasting my time: “If you are not willing to listen to me and insist on doing your homework the way that you are doing it then you can do it on your own!” i makes its way back to the PC and finishing the music playlist.
Once i had retired and I came into play I noticed that i never had the intention to be of service to daughter. The hidden intention was to get the music playlist finished. Everything that occurred – the words, the behaviour – on the surface was just a sham. i pretending to i and i pretending to daughter. I also notice that i created exactly the situation that it wanted to get its desired outcome!
What is and is not showing up in life (including my experience of what is showing up or not) is function of my intention – whether I am aware of it or not. So all I have to do is to look at what is showing up and then asking myself the question “What intention would result in this showing up (or not) in life?” And if I answer that question truthfully then I have the access I need to create the intention that sources the kind of phenomena I want in my life.