You say that intention is not something you do, but rather a force behind everything in the universe, that it's what makes an acorn a tree, an orange seed an orange. Can you elaborate on what you mean by "intention"?
Carlos Castenada said there's an immeasurable, indescribable force which shamans called "intent" and absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is connected to it. You can call it spirit or soul or consciousness or universal mind or source. It is the invisible force that intends everything into the universe. It's everywhere. This source is always creating, it is kind, it is loving, it is peaceful. It is non-judgmental, and it excludes no one.
In the Old Testament it says, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth and everything that God created was good." That leaves nothing out. So good and God are what it means to be connected to our source. If you go to the Gnostic Gospels -- you know, the gospels that Constantine in the fourth century decided shouldn't be in the New Testament -- if you study the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and the Gospel of St. Thomas, they don't refer to God as God, they refer to God as the "The Good."
Whenever we are in harmony with that source from which we all emanated, which everything came from, we have the powers of the source. And when we let go of our connection and rusty up the link between ourselves and this connection, dirty it up by living at the lower levels of consciousness, then we create things like illness and poverty and sadness and fear and hatred.
We have to take a look at every single thought that we have and ask ourselves, "Is it in harmony with source or isn't it?" Any thought that isn't loving, any thought that is filled with hatred, is a thought that is inconsistent with, not in rapport with source.
What role does the ego play in our relationship with intention?
The idea that intention means I have a pit-bull attitude and nothing's going to stop me and nobody can get in my way, that's really the ego at work. And the ego is the thing that really separates our selves from our source.
The fourth is the ego says that who I am is separate from everybody else instead of connected through this universal source that we all emanate from. Fifth, the ego says that who I am is separate from what is missing in my life. And that means that we don't understand that we're already connected to everything so that in some spiritual sense, everything that we feel is missing from our life we're already connected to. And finally it says that who I am is separate from God. God is something outside of me. Instead of seeing myself as a piece of God, I see myself as an ego who I separate from God.
When St. Francis was feeling that he didn't have any peace in this life, he didn't say to God, "I need some peace. Please just bring me peace." What he asks is "Make me an instrument of your peace. Let me be like you." That's what called God realization. And that's something that we can all do at any moment in our life.
So the ego is the bad guy here, it's what causes this separation from God. Why did God create us with these pesky egos?
Well, I don't think God did create us with these pesky egos. I think God created us and I think that we all came from this source and then we separated ourselves. We're the only creatures who are capable of doing that. Rabbits can't do that, you know, and beavers can't do that and birds don't do that. None of them go around believing that there is something other than what they are. They are just at peace with who they are.
But God created us with a free will - a will to decide whether or not we're going to stay connected to source or not. And basically what most of us do is decide not to connect. Because we're raised on these ideas like, I am my stuff and I am my achievements and all of that. But that's not God at work, that's us separating ourselves from God. We make the decision to separate ourselves. It's not a sin; it's just a mistake. It's an illusion; it's a belief that we're something that we're not.
I mean, I'm 63-years-old, I look at this body and I watch it go through its motions and I watch all the stuff that I accumulate and I watch my reputation, I watch all of this stuff -- but there's a part of me that knows that this is not who I am. That who I am is that divine source that I emanated from and that I'm returning to. And so if you can just keep reminding yourself that you're not here as a human being having a spiritual experience. All of us are spiritual beings having a human experience.
One of the beautiful quotes that I put at the top of the chapter on living a stress-free, tranquil life was from Paramahansa Yogananda. He said, "So long as we believe in our heart of hearts that our capacity is limited and we grow anxious and unhappy, we are lacking in faith. One who truly trusts in God has no right to be anxious about anything." And Thomas Merton said, "Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity." You know, it's like once you connect, once you know that you're connected to source, stress is not a possibility in our lives.
You say stress is a "desire of the ego." But when I think of the people around me who are stressed and the things that are concerning them and giving them anxiety, many of them are just concerned about providing for their family, which doesn't seem to be ego-based or self-centered.
But it is. It just sounds more acceptable. If those people were to say, "I want to feel good in the midst of all of this, I want to feel connected to God" and did an internal kind of meditation, that stress would be gone. Now whether or not the mortgage would be paid and so on, might or might not take place. My suggestion is that the abundance will begin to flow into your life when you reconnect to an abundant, providing universe.
But let's just say that it doesn't. The stress isn't from whether the mortgage gets paid or not. The question is whether or not I'm going to process it in a way that's going to produce stress for me, and that's always ego-based.
It just sounds better to say, "Well I'm stressed over the fact that I want to provide for my family---I want to do nice things." But it's still an internal decision not to feel good-not to feel God. And in any moment in our lives we all have the opportunity to match up with intention and ask ourselves "How does my source think? How does it feel?" And you just have to practice that. We just have had tons and tons of practice at doing the opposite and really believing that those external events are the thing that are causing me to be unhappy.
You emphasize a lot the Law of Attraction - the psychological theory that a positive attitude will attract positive experiences. What are people to think when things go very wrong? For example, cancer, earthquakes, other natural disasters, etc. -- how could someone possibly be responsible for those kinds of tragedies?
Swami Paramananda said, 'Self realization means that we've been consciously connected with our source of being and once we've made this connection then nothing can go wrong."
So you don't look at those things as "going wrong." Wrong is an attitude of the ego. How can an earthquake be wrong? An earthquake is. It just is.
The question is, can you now attract enough well-being from the source of well-being, from which all things emanate? Because devastation doesn't come from source. The source just creates. It's just in a constant state of creation and it's a source of love and it can't be anything other than what it is.
So that if we could stay in balance and rapport with that, we could attract whatever it is that we need to make cancer be something that isn't life threatening. Because I think all of us have cancer. That some of us just live with it and some of us don't.
Do you mean that metaphorically, on a spiritual level or...?
No, I mean on a physical level. I think that cancer is a life form that exists out there and it exists in us. I think even the concept of healing is a spiritual principle that we have to really look at. I think the word itself is something we ought to get rid of, because it implies that there is illness--that there is something wrong. And so you're going to a universal source with something wrong and this is a universal source that only knows what's right, and you're asking it to be something that it isn't. Instead we should go to the universal source when we feel we have something wrong and we should just be trying to summon more of what is right. Just summon more of what is right.