Resolutions, Alchemy and The Power of Intention

Happy 2015 to all!

In these early days of the New Year, many of us tend to make what we refer to as New Year’s Resolutions. It’s a tradition. Sometimes it’s a game at a party or a ritual at a New Year’s Eve celebration. 

Sometimes we actually fulfill one of these resolutions!

A Resolution is: a firm decision to do or not to do something. – “Her resolution to clear her parents’ name allowed her no other focus in life.”  

What is it about our resolutions, or intentions, that they sometimes manifest and sometimes don’t? Is it about mastering Alchemy?

According to Buddhist philosophy, the Eight-Fold Path to Enlightenment begins with: 

a ‘right understanding ‘ of Reality, and then moves on through 

’right thought and attitude’ to 

‘right speech’, which leads to

‘right action’, and on from there.

Whether or not we hold the lofty goal of ‘Enlightenment’ (or, becoming an Alchemist, which, by the way, requires a lot of lightening up!), if we want to manifest a resolution or intention, we need to face the fact that it’ll take a lot of follow up!

We need to ask ourselves if we’re really willing to do the necessary work. That’s the first step on the path – the ‘right understanding’ – of our personal truth. Every time we casually make a ‘resolution’ to achieve some sort of change in ourselves or our lives, and then unconsciously let it fall by the wayside as we continue with the status quo, we undermine our self-esteem, and actually weaken our ability to manifest future intentions!

“And habits are hell’s own substitute for good intentions. Habits are the ruin of ambition, of initiative, of imagination. They’re the curse of marriage and the after-bane of death.” 
― Dorothy DunnettThe Game of Kings

Step 1. We’re at the point of choice. That goes to the ‘right understanding’ part. Once we’ve consciously chosen to set an intention, it’s like standing in front of a target with an arrow set in our bow. We focus with clear determination on the bulls-eye (our intention), align the arrow (ourselves) with it, and let it go! The intention has been made with full consciousness. Now we must behave consistently with manifesting our intention!

We become what we think about all day long.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“When you say to yourself, ‘I am going to have a pleasant visit or a pleasant journey,’ you are literally sending elements and forces ahead of your body that will arrange things to make your visit or journey pleasant.” From Thoughts are Things by Prentice Mulford

That brings us to Step 2. We have to be vigilant about our thoughts. Thoughts drift unbidden into our awareness constantly. If we notice them, we can make a choice whether to indulgethem or send them packing! When we notice thoughts of doubt, or fear, or weakness, we can simply acknowledge them as potential saboteurs, and let them go! We can choose instead to remember why we set the intention, and imagine the results and how we’ll feel when it’s been fully manifested. This is how we strengthen and reinforce our intentions.

Now we’re ready for step 3. Speech. There we can easily undermine intentions by making premature announcements, by sharing with people we know will ‘shoot down’ our ideas, plans and goals, or will have no compunctions about making an idea their own!. We can also choose to ‘curb our enthusiasm’ by waiting until our plan is fully developed, and speaking about it only to those who can be counted on to support, encourage or empower us. We can also empower ourselves and our intentions by putting them into writing!

First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” –Epictetus

It is not good enough for things to be planned – they still have to be done; for the intention to become a reality, energy has to be launched into operation.” Walt Kelly, Pogo: We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us

Step 4. It’s about action! No brilliant idea, no ideally conceived plan is going to move us 

along the Path in a significant way until it is enacted! We must take that idea and write it down, edit it and get it published, or paint, draw or sculpt it, or design and build it, or choreograph and dance it. Earth is a manifesting planet…nothing counts until it’s been brought into form!According to the Buddhist Philosophy, of course it must be right action. Meaning that it must be an act that is consistent with the highest level of intention…meant to make a positive contribution, and to do no harm to anyone. 

The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.” John Burroughs, The Art of Seeing Things

At Clay Alchemy from the Voice of Clay, every day we have to move through these four steps in order to produce mugs and vases, to conceive, develop, promote and fulfill the promise of our classes and workshops, and most especially to support, facilitate and empower those of you who choose to allow us to share your alchemical process of transformation! You are a vital part of our Alchemy! 

One of the tools we offer are ‘Dream Stars’. Dream stars are clay stars with action words designed to help you make your dreams come true. They come as a set of 22 and a scroll with the Tibetan Star Meditation as well as possible meanings for each word. 

We are committed to lightening up…come play with us in 2015!

Each decision we make, each action we take, is born out of an intention. –Sharon Salzberg,

Loving Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

shannon Burke