Intention and Attention

I’ve learned and have been exploring lately, the differences and interplay between intention and attention. I invite you to enter into this discussion with me so we all can grow together.

First, when working with Reiki energy, one is taught to begin by intending to connect with the Reiki energy. We put our attention on the flow of the energy. Then, we intend for the energy to flow to the recipient, either ourselves (as in self-healing), another person, or a goal (as in attracting abundance). Once we set our intention, we are to simply place our attention on the flow of the energy as it goes. I think of it a little like giving the cab driver directions and then letting him to the driving to the destination. Already, in these first few seconds of a Reiki session, the interplay between intention and attention has occurred twice.

One can think of the attention part as surrender, but I think it’s more than that, I think it’s observation – this attention to the feeling of the energy flowing. One can put as much attention into a Reiki session as one wishes. What I mean is, I can send a “shot” of Reiki energy to a person by just intending to send Reiki to him or her, noting the feeling of the energy flowing for about five seconds, and then going about the rest of my day. The energy will get there and do some good.

I can also sit for about ten minutes and simply focus on sending that same person Reiki, and for that entire time, I can attentively feel the energy tingling and pulsing between my hands as the energy flows via the connection between us.

Or, I could spend that same ten minutes while the Reiki is flowing, tuning into the recipient’s energy, and using my hands to “scan” through the person’s energy, observing which chakras or physical parts of the body are receiving the most energy. I can mention to the recipient those areas of need I observed, and ask him or her about any concerns related to those areas. This takes very focused attention.

In the Medical Intuition class I took during January, we learned that the mere act of observing triggers the healing process to begin. One of the key pieces to doing medical intuition that was emphasized in the class is to earn to tune in and observe the body parts inside yourself (and eventually another person). But this observation itself seems to be more than just looking. Healing begins here.

This idea of observation is also noted in the technique called Remote Viewing. It isn’t the goal of remote viewing, but one of my students who knows how to do this technique, told me about an experiment done by a team of remote viewers and some plants that had been infected with a plant virus. The viewers were supposed to determine which plants had the virus, and which did not (they were attempting to “see” the plants from some other location, without knowing in advance which group of plants was which). The plants that were remote viewing targets, and had been infected with the plant virus, did not develop symptoms, while a control group of plants infected with a virus did. The non-infected plants were fine. It was a surprise to the group conducting the remote viewing exercise that the plants did not get sick, but it was an example of how just observing the inside of the plants for signs of infected cells had a direct effect on the health of the plants.

In physics, this is called the Observer Effect – that even quantum particles that are observed will behave differently than those that are not. On a molecular level, something about the energy of observation changes the behavior of the observed particles.

If a Reiki practitioner sets his intention to start the healing, but does not then step back and adopt a presence of attentive observation during the energy flow, will also make it harder for the energy to work. The practitioner who is focused on intention the whole time will likely end up using his own personal energy to drive the healing, making him end up exhausted at the end. Think of telling the cab driver where to go and then pushing the cab the whole way instead of letting the cab driver do his job and drive there.

Attention is important beyond energy healing too. For example, my kids always want attention. They want me to look at them, talk to them, play with them, listen to them. It’s a natural human instinct to crave relationship and the simple act of attentiveness is a way of showing respect and love. My kids want me to show them how to draw a new picture, and then watch them do it, but they don’t want me to push the pencil for them.

It’s a little like surrender, or trust. You set the intention for the energy to work and then step back and let it go, trusting that it will work towards the highest good of the recipient. It takes the ability to let go for the energy to work.

Another thing is that the energy doesn’t always work exactly as we expect it to. It may work in some other, more needed, way. It’s not just about us as the practitioners, but the recipient’s readiness to receive the energy also comes into play here. That may be on a subconscious level as well. So we need to let go of the focus on the results after setting the intention for the energy to flow, and trust that it is being received where the recipient is ready for the energy to work. That is not always our decision alone, and sometimes isn’t even something we can predict.

When I am asked by someone new to Reiki what the energy is going to feel like, I tell them to simply relax and observe “what’s different” as the energy is flowing. This helps the person focus in on his or her own sensations and then give those sensations attention. The more the person can pay attention to the sensation of the energy, the more he or she will begin to notice.

There is an interplay between intention and attention in the Law of Attraction too. We put our intention out there to manifest what we envision for ourselves. Then we let it go and allow the angels to arrange the things that need to fall into place in order to allow our dreams to become real. We need to pay attention to opportunities and signs along the way that will lead us to fulfilling our dream. Excess effort in trying to push and make it happen is discouraged. Put it out there, and step out of the way while the universe is bringing it to you on that stream of creation energy you have set out there with your intention.

What we place our attention on grows, and what we ignore goes away (eventually). So with energy, so with a lot of things in life.

I’m fascinated with the interplay between intention and attention. I think that it’s helping me allow for the flow to come to me without me getting into my own way. Peace.