Is it possible to create New Year’s intentions from the recognition of our wholeness, rather than as an attempt to improve or fix ourselves?
When our attention is identified with the conditioned mind we forget who we authentically are. Our true nature, which we could also describe as Awareness, is like an open, empty, allowing space. As such, we resist nothing, hold nothing, seek nothing. Thus contentment, or happiness, is what’s most primary. It is our essential nature.
It doesn’t always feel like that though, does it?
When we align our attention with the conditioned mind, we identify with the illusion of a self that is separate from life. From this distortion, we leave our direct experience of who we authentically are and seek happiness in objects. We do this, sometimes, even in the name of ‘moving towards our true nature.’
But how can you move closer to yourself? It is a faulty premise.
Especially at this time of year, we are conditioned to fall for the story that through the ‘right’ resolution and the ‘right’ discipline, we will finally become the ‘right’ person. The person we believe we ‘should’ be. The person we long to be.
We even use spiritual language in doing it:
“This year I will be more mindful.”
“This year I will meditate more.”
When running this story, we believe that this resolution will bring us closer to the idealized vision of ourselves. That vision is conditioned. It bypasses the truth of who we actually already are. It bypasses what we are. It bypasses what’s essential. Foundational.
When our attention is aligned with the conditioned mind, energy follows that. For example, if I’m constantly attending to the story that I’m over-weight, I might engage in self-harming behaviors. However, if my attention is focused on the remembrance of who I authentically am, behaviors follow – actions that are in alignment with the recognition of myself as Awareness.
It is from this place, from this recognition of what’s essential and primary, that we can create conscious intentions. These intentions have a very different flavor than traditional New Year’s resolutions. New Year’s resolutions are a self-improvement plan. True practice can never be and will never be a self-improvement plan. The separate self that asserts it wants to improve is a creation. There is no self to improve.
And, that’s not the same thing as saying we have no part to play in creating change. What shifts is in how we experience that which is creating the change.
When we are trying to make changes on behalf of a self that is perceived to be separate from life, the natural result is dissatisfaction.
When we move on behalf of the recognition of our true nature, a conscious intention becomes a way to align all aspects of our lives with our deepest understanding and recognition of truth.
From a conditioned ‘New Year’s resolution’ perspective, goals are born of and based in fear. They are seeped in the premise that I am not enough as I am. That there is something wrong with me. That I need to fix myself and I resolve to do it.
A conscious intention is seeped in possibility. While it may even look similar on some level, on the surface, to a conditioned goal, it is born of different soil.
It is not what, it is how.
Conscious intention is a reflection of the infinite possibility exhibited in all of life. It is grounded in the recognition of our wholeness. It is enlivened by Love.
A Christian mystic might say, “It is created by God, in the recognition and remembrance of God, for God.”