The Nature of True Intent
Misconceptions of the Aspiring Mystic
A brief essay on correct focus, correct intention (yi), and subsequently, correct energywork.
By Koujiryuu © 2005 Not to be reposted without permission.Introduction
This essay attempts to address what seems to be a common problem: misunderstanding the nature of intention as it applies to esoteric energywork of any kind. While I'm writing once again from the standpoint of a Chinese qigongist and internal martial artist, I'm also speaking from the position of a kundalini yogi and hermetic scholar.
Within Daoist-Internal art derived qigong, there exists a concept known as yi. Now, yi can translate to many things: mental-intention being the most fitting one, the symbol has similarities to the kanji for the number 'one', as well. This refers to a moving synergy with the cosmic consciousness - brahma - dao and a unified, purified sense of intention with movement and etheric energy (qi). This sense of "empty mind", or wuwei, is acting from a state of void, blanked out mind where energy goes where it needs to and accomplishes intent based on the motivation of the individual. It is often said in the internal martial arts, "An adept raises his hand, and the qi is there". There is no visualization, no imagination, just movement and actualization.
Therefore, the purpose of this essay is dualfold- to refute the common assumption made by younger aspirants that imagination, anger, and visualization move energy; and to lay out traditional and commonly accepted alternative methods of accomplishing action with energy.Induced Delusion
The mix of the three traits above: imagination, anger, and visualization eventually leads to a phenomena known as qigong psychosis, which is classified now in most books discussing psychological diseases. The child, usually influenced or inspired by Japanese Anime cartoons, develops a fetish for "power" and attempts to practice a bastardized version of Chinese internal martial arts. I've personally seen this lead to extreme, absurd claims such as the ability to fly, throw "fireballs", and even "transform" into golden haired warriors. Thankfully, this kind of thing is now on the outskirts and definitely isn't the norm around bigger sites online, and certainly isn't even mentioned or widely practiced in most serious, offline metaphysical communities.
"Most qigong is a combination of either specific is static posture or physical movement coordinated with specific respiration and specific concentration or visualization.
Therefore, we can say that qigong affects the flow of qi in the body, and specific mental-emotional states are evoked by and correspond to specific directions of qi flow. Thus it is easy to see that erroneous qigong can cause abnormal flows of qi in the body which then causes an uncomfortable, even pathological mental-emotional state."
"In addition, if one disturbs the free flow of the qi mechanism, for instance, by absorbing more qi than the body can freely diffuse and circulate or by accumulating and concentrating the qi in a certain area of the body, this may easily lead to qi stagnation. If this qi stagnation endures, depression may transform fire, and fire flaming upward may harass the heart spirit. Depressive heat may also damage and consume yin fluids, thus giving rise to ascendant hyperactivity of yang, vacuity heat, and/or internal stirring of wind." -Bob Flaws, Dipl. Ac. & C.H., FNAAOM
Now, in the sense of martial arts, if you are hitting someone or something and want more power, all that is needed is to learn a martial art- proper technique- and practice striking a lot! Eventually, through intention to move energy (into the target) one learns how to produce a cultivated, refined, deadly strength through methods such as fa jing, or "explosive power".
In the Daoist mindset, intention is yi- which is born from shen, the intellect/spirit. Therefore, yi is a result of mental discipline, focus, intent to accomplish a specific act, and a psychospiritual movement of the life force currents all around us. One can then see how visualization is not necessary; the primal soul is doing the work, as opposed to the brain and optic nerves.
You can picture things in your minds eye', conceptualize endlessly, and do all kinds of ritual, but will the energy move in any large amount minus proper intention? Doubtfully. It is only when a strong intent is in place that energy can truly manifest powerfully.The Components of Proper Intention; True Yi
A famous Taijiquan adage reads: "Yi leads Qi, Qi leads Jing and Jing leads your opponent." This applies mainly to the fighting arts, particularly the internal arts, but it could also be applied to any form of energy work if it were simplified to become: "Yi leads Qi."
To makes things more clear for those practicing other methods of energetic manipulation and cultivation, I'll present two more sayings relative to firstly magic(k) and secondly psionics:
"Volition leads magic(k)al current."
"Intention leads psi energy."
Alright, now that we've established the idea that the dominant force in manipulating energy within any paradigm is indeed intention/volition/"yi", we must further break down and define those words in order to be able to attribute further traits to psychospiritual intent.
intention ( P ) Pronunciation Key (n-tnshn)
A course of action that one intends to follow.
1. An aim that guides action; an objective.
2. intentions Purpose with respect to marriage: honorable intentions.
3. Medicine. The process by which or the manner in which a wound heals.
4. Archaic. Import; meaning.
volition ( P ) Pronunciation Key (v-lshn)
1. The act or an instance of making a conscious choice or decision.
2. A conscious choice or decision.
3. The power or faculty of choosing; the will.
Pinyin Transliteration: Yi
Wades-Giles/Yale Transliteration: I
Translation: "Intent", "Mind-Intent", "Intention", etc.
Intention as it relates to energywork comprises and is defined by many things. The absolute most simple expression of psychospiritual intention exists in the action of moving energy from point 'a' to point 'b'. This can be moving energy from a plant to a point in the air; it can be moving energy from the ground, into the feet, to the hands; and so on, and so forth. The act of expectation and purpose of accomplishing something manifest through the will of the adept is varied in form and expression; as the nature of the desired results changes, so must the intent of the practicioner.
Therefore, our first and most fundamental component of intention is motivation. What do you want to accomplish by moving energy? Why do you want or need to accomplish this? It is only by asking ourselves these questions that the next component can be understood and applied. Asking these questions before any energy work is beneficial, to establish why you need to do energywork in the first place; another means of accomplishing your ends may be more fitting and effective.
The next component is willpower. The defining aspect of an individual's action is his or her own will behind the action. If the will behind an action were to change, the action must change as well. In this same manner, the will to move energy moves energy. Focusing on a specific point in the body or outside of it and intending to move energy to that point for a prolonged period of time will cause exactly that to happen. Specific willpower actualizes similarly as well, as in the intent to heal or cause harm with energy.
The component of intention I'll mention next is emotion. Although not always necessary, emotion can be a very powerful ally when applied in intention. Healing someone would be impeded by any angry or malicious feelings towards that person; it would be amplified greatly in it's effectiveness by feelings of love for them. Likewise, will the feeling of universal love during the execution of a right cross to someone's nose be appropriate or helpful? Unlikely. Emotion amplifies and enhances the effects you can achieve with energy use greatly, assuming the emotion is genuine and applicable to the operation being commenced.
The final component of intention is less a component and more of a given: action. As you channel the energy and employ intention correctly, action is taking place in and of itself. Therefore, it only stands to reason that action must be a component of intention, for without action, we wouldn't be doing anything with energy to begin with!
All of these aspects of intention are of equal importance to each other, and when combined properly result in a developed psychospiritual control mechanism that is fundamentally necessary for energetic actualization of any type. Without intention, energy does not move or do anything. Visualization falls quite short when contrasted to a developed intent.Visualization vs. Intention
Visualization is defined as a mental focus on the replication of images. This commonly manifests in what is usually referred to as the "mind's eye"- you imagine a green sphere with your eyes closed and you will "see" a green sphere.
Now, using the above example, does that green sphere actually exist? Only within the spectrum of your own thought patterns. This in itself does have merit and purpose within energywork because what you visualize does exist on some basic level- if merely temporarily- and therefore it can be effectively used as a medium of energetic expression once the trainee reaches a certain level of adeptness within his field of practice, and has developed the ability of intention adequately.
However, because of the nature of visualization, that is- being personally exclusive and partially dependant on the inherent capability of the practicioner to visualize - it is unsuitable for basic energywork. Why?
Visualization does not equal intention. When you have intention, you have a means and an active method for the manipulation of etheric force(s). When you have visualization, you have a mental image. That's it.
Visualization can be an aid to intention, as in sigil magic or meridian systems for conducting energy flow. However, both of those would be more accurately termed 'conceptualization'. It is a common misconception to believe that visualization is intention in and of itself.
Intention, as defined above, works on a primal 'soul' or etheric body level. It offers a means of moving and manipulating energy while being 100 percent positive that what you want to happen is indeed happening. There isn't any guesswork involved, being unsure of your desired results' manifestation, assuming what you intend to do is verifiable in some way. This isn't so for visualization, which once again is personally exclusive (only you see what you are visualizing, excluding the ability of clairvoyance for simplicities' sake).
Finally, while visualization is an effective means of strengthening intention, I feel I've made it quite clear what the difference between the two is and why intention is clearly superior to the fallacious implementation of imagination.Psychophysical Perception vs. Intention
Psychophysical perception, otherwise known simply as "feeling", is a doctrine of energywork put forth by those who believe that "feeling" everything "happening" is the way to properly manipulate energy. Of course, this couldn't be farther from accuracy.
While percieving energy moving and conforming to your will is necessary for energetic practice, it isn't intent. In much of a psychosomatic method, some people fool themselves into believing that energetic action is occurring when it simply isn't.
Psychophysical perception includes within it all five senses, not just the sense of touch. Just as easily as a lot of authors would tell you to "feel", would they also tell you to "see". This is equally erroneous and ridiculous and doesn't conform to the established principles of any form of esoteric practice as developed by past practicioners of great reknown.
Some examples of this:
"Feel the energy flow to your hands", "Feel the aura around you strengthening", "see the construct take form", "feel yourself healing the other person", "see those dots fading from their glow", etc.
The fundamental error committed by those who hold true to such statements exists in the base negation of the principles outlined above. That is, intention leads energy, in particular. Part and parcel of moving energy through intent is feeling the energy moving and/or feeling the results of what you intended to do; this feeling by itself does not equal actualization. Feeling is a method of perception, not a medium of intention, and focusing overtly on the feelings energy work inspires (usually mellow heat or tingling sensations) detracts greatly from the exertion of willpower. If the feelings are what is being focused on, naturally the end result is neglected!
The only exemption allowed for lies in the domains of empathy and telepathy. The reasoning for this is beyond obvious and unneeding of my further elaboration.
Feeling energy taking form and doing something is very far removed from willing energy to take form and accomplish something.Conclusion
This essay has been a long time coming. I hope it has served to clear up many common misconceptions efficiently and within reason and logic. If you disagree with the majority of the essay, thank you for reading; you are probably exactly the kind of person I had hoped to reach. Regardless of that, I sincerely hope my writing has inspired thought and contemplation at the very least, and change towards the principles presented at best.
Until next time.
Permanent and non-revocable permission has been granted for the Veritas Society to publish this article.