I am over the moon that Clive agreed to be a guest blogger for the GHR. I have known Clive and known about his important work in the world for about 5 years. What an important, yet humble and kind soul.
Clive Johnson is an interfaith minister, writer and spiritual counsellor. He is the originator of numerous initiatives aimed at building beloved community, including Labyrinth Around America, A Prayer for Peace, and We Are One. He has written 12 books, including several on spirituality topics, and is a lover of the mystical, the magical, and the miraculous. He has no fixed home, pursuing a nomadic lifestyle that allows him to follow his heart. Clive’s website is www.clivejohnsonministry.com.
I know you will enjoy Clive’s words on intention and perhaps you would like to join in with him for one of his meditations. The information is at the bottom of the post. Thank you, Clive!!
In recent weeks, I’ve come to appreciate the immense value of praying, or emitting energy, with a laser-sharp intention. This, alongside willing the pure light of loving kindness to shine into those dark places in Eastern Europe, seems to me to be the most important response I can have to the unfolding catastrophe in Ukraine. I’m also certain that, if our intentions are sufficiently focused and appropriate, even a very small group who jointly pray or send intention can change hearts and minds. Generalised prayer of course has value, but I believe that it’s when we can be very specific in our requests and the nature of the light/energy or vibration that our prayers create that we can have most impact.
The impact of small group intention has been convincingly established through extensive research, much of which is summarised in Lynne McTaggart’s landmark book, The Power of Eight. Lynne is foremost in promoting the value of shared intention. She offers a simple guide to her suggested approach in this YouTube video: https://youtu.be/HTORJd3s3Ws.
My own offerings are currently a daily (Monday-Friday) intention focus on the Insight Timer app, and a small group Zoom meeting each Friday, using a paper copy of the same labyrinth design, which we ‘colour with intent’ as we feel led. (Clive’s links at the bottom of post) This colouring activity is meant as an aid to maintain our focus, rather than the object of focus itself–which is of course the suggested intention for the meditation. The task is not about creating an artwork, walking the path with a pencil, or necessarily starting at the labyrinth’s threshold or coming to its centre. Colours may be chosen for their energetic properties or other aspects they may represent, and no more than odd scribbles may end up on the paper, as the meditator feels led. After colouring, I’ve also extended my own practice to imagine the labyrinth’s healing energy extending out in the direction of our focus as I hold the paper in the palms of my hands, and will it to sweep its energy way beyond the confines
of my room.
Considerations in intention setting
Whether we have a faith tradition or not, and whatever energy-led, healing modality, or intention setting approach we may work with, there seem to me to be a number of key ingredients for our intentions to have greatest impact:
• Ensuring that the intention communicates positive energy. A will to ‘rain fire and brimstone on the Kremlin’ may be motivated by a desire for the conflict to end, but it issues a curse and channels anger as negative energy, rather than willing lovingkindness to all.
• Not taking sides. Essentially, this means not making the intention overtly political in its focus. Arguably, any intention for peace is political to a degree, but what seems important to me is to avoid being overly polarised in supporting a particular course of action, ideology, or war camp. Russian soldiers and civilians need our prayers as well as those in Ukraine; pure loving kindness transcends everything, including space and time.
• Focus on outcomes. Don’t offer solutions. Allow God, Source, The Universe, Spirit to work out what needs to happen, sometimes with learnings, consequences, or over a timescale that we may not at once appreciate. Often, we may not know how an outcome may be achieved anyway, holding out for many miracles or stark changes in circumstances that might seem improbable. Yet, we must trust that what we call miracles can and do occur.
• Making sure the intention is timely. I realised this after offering an intention for evacuation corridors to be protected, before appreciating that the cities and places that people need to evacuate from also need to be made safe, at least in parallel with, if not before the corridors can operate.
An earlier intention:
Our intention is that the corridors for safe evacuation and supply of humanitarian aid just agreed between Ukraine and Russia are fully protected indefinitely. They are not interrupted, shelled, or otherwise prevented in any way from allowing safe passage for all who travel through them.
then led to another:
Our intention is that all who have power to influence the free flowing of supplies will allow the civilians, soldiers, and others who are now under siege in Mariupol to receive the food, water and emergency supplies that they need, now, and until normal services are permanently restored in the city, or at least until those who wish to leave are able to flee to safe havens, while those who remain may continue to have access to the supplies they need for as long as they need.
Both have merit, although after reflection, the second intention might most appropriately have come first. Fortunately, I believe, the Universe isn’t bounded by time, so what matters here is recognising that the two intentions function together.
• Making sure the intentions are very specific and clear. An intention such as ‘We desire peace in Ukraine’ is actually quite vague. This doesn’t say when or for how long we will this to be, whether we intend generalised or localised peace, and–crucially–what peace actually looks like. An end to conflict may come with surrender, for example, but this may not represent the outcome that we desire for those affected.
It’s this last point that I most struggle with, although I find that my intention setting with all of these is a work in progress. As someone who used to advise on and lead projects in the corporate world, in which SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) and precision mattered, my now poor ability to be very clear is perhaps odd. Yet, there can be learnings from each experience with intention setting, and–doubtless–increasing practice will help too.
Some intentions may trigger other, even more specific ones. For example, the intention to protect evacuation corridors led me to realise that a related, more specific, intention is to will that the hearts and minds of those who have influence to respect the safety of these corridors may appreciate that whatever military or political strategies they may have otherwise, there’s no value in interfering with the safe passage of migrants. This is the type of intention, I believe, where a small group that has sufficiently strong intention really can change the world.
My fallback for prayer, when not knowing how to pray, is to will lovingkindness for people, places or situations. The form of words I use is ‘May [this person/place/situation] know [their] wholeness, may they dwell in the heart, may they be free from suffering, may they be healed, may they be happy, may they be at peace.’ Actually, I believe that when we get our intention focus right, specific though it may be, we come back to communicating this same energy.
When we feel into a prayer, yearn for what we desire, allow what is within us to flow forth, we connect with the divinity that is within us, or Source of unconditional love, if you prefer. Feelings charged with divine power and set vibrating in the Universe will reach their targets. This is a light that is beyond the grasp of the material world, but it can be engaged when we first apply our minds, then our hearts, to creating a powerful wave of love. We only have to believe this, and work at the task of being authentic and deeply engaged in our prayers.
Clive Johnson (he/his/him)
T: +44 07956 942980
The daily (Monday to Friday) intention sending that I’m offering on the Insight Timer app are at 8am ET/7am CT, usually for around 10 minutes. The links change every day for these, so it’s best if folks have the app (downloadable from the iTunes or Google Play stores) and simply search in the app for ‘WILLING PEACE IN UKRAINE AND OUR WORLD’ under the ‘Live’ tab to find the next listing. I’m also trying to offer this at the same time on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/clive.johnson.731, although have sometimes had technical trouble with this.
The vigil for peace in Ukraine and our world that I host is each Thursday at 5-630pm ET/4-530pm CT, again on Insight Timer and my Facebook page. This isn’t guided, and doesn’t have a specific intention focus, although folks tend to suggest topics for intention/prayer focus in the chat.