How Can I Motivate My Intentions?
My intentions emerge from my inner life. They come from where I feel, where I think and learn, and where I experience spiritual development. If I really concentrate, I can count close to thirty different threads in the fabric of my inner life (see Table 1). Each of these threads (one of my multiple intelligences) unfolds in a series of stages, maturing from one level to the next.
Table 1: Intentional Threads (Intelligences)
The threads of my inner (emotional/psychological/spiritual) intentions are intimately intertwined with the bio-physical, cultural and social aspects of my life. I cannot talk about one intention without implicating all other bio-cultural-social aspects of my life at the same time. It is like the relationship between nature and nurture. They are “joined at the hip” when I talk about what motivates me.
What I notice, in my inner life is that, each of these threads lives within me as if it were a different life in my inner life — it seems as if I have a whole community of lives within. I have had to learn how to live in balance with all these threads. In fact, I suspect that unless they are more or less in alignment with each other, I am not congruent. And if I am not internally aligned, I find it very difficult to be aligned with others. When life becomes sufficiently misaligned, that’s when I’m motivated to change.
These misalignments can come from inside me. Or the misalignments can originate outside of me — in my environment or life conditions. Whether the changes come from nature or nurture, I’m motivated to find new ways to integrate my inner life, by feeling, thinking and being aware differently — hopefully in more mature ways.
When I look back at my life I can see that I have moved through definite levels of existence. It seems that most everyone has this experience — in fact that’s what Clare Graves and Don Beck talk about as the “spiral dynamics” of life.
What this helps me to understand is that everyone tends to mature through similar stages because life conditions are always interfering with our intentions. I am constantly adapting to life and so is everyone else. If that’s the case then no wonder we all seem different to one another — while at the same time we recognize certain patterns.
Because the patterns arise from our intentions or wants, then eventually we identify them as values. Here is the sequence of value patterns that the research behind “Spiral Dynamics integral” indicates are global:
- Survival and Safety
- Family Bonding
- Ego, Self-Expression, Power
- Order, Hierarchy, Purpose, Rules, Discipline
- Rational, Scientific Advancement, Individual Achievement
- Compassion, Sensitivity, Networking, Diversity
- Systems Thinking, Interconnection, Ecology
- Global Thinking, Synthesis, Energetic Integration
Figure 1: Emergent Value Patterns (adapted from Spiral Dynamics, 1996)
Is it any wonder that in the City, conflicts arise because we have different intentions? I am starting to see that it is not just what I feel, think, believe or want, but what everyone else is feeling, thinking, believing or wanting. But the only person I can take real responsibility for is me.
How do I do take responsibility for myself? Here are some suggestions:
- understand my own story — my journey, my values, my life conditions (check out “Journey to Wellness” Workbook by M. Hamilton et al)
- learn and practice emotional intelligence (EQ)
- develop my cognitive capacities, competencies (IQ)
- consider my purpose in life (check out Implicit Career Search)
- develop my spiritual intelligence (SQ)
- develop my systems thinking and complexity intelligences (COMQ)
- learn about and use affirmations
- develop an integral transformative practice.