The Topic of Intention
The topic of intention is a necessary one to address in any bodywork training. It is important to understand what it is so that we can give treatments with clarity and direction while also listening to the needs of each receiver. Reflecting on the role of intention can also greatly increase the effectiveness and power of our treatments, as well as increasing the effectiveness and power of all of our life activities!
We thought it would be valuable to share with you a recent inquiry about intention from a shiatsu/shin tai practitioner in the UK, and the subsequent response:
Why do I need intention when giving treatments?
"Lately I am struggling with the concept of intention, and I am not sure whether I am not understanding it. Why do we need to intend anything while giving treatments? I myself am not sure that I want someone else's intention in my system, particularly if they don't have clear systems themselves (and who does have a completely clear system?).
My thoughts are that when we "intend" we are using the intellect/mind to intend and this can "pull" us out of connecting with our own body. When I "intend" it feels that I am in my upper body instead of working from my hara i.e. lower body. My thoughts are then when working completely from the hara (which contains the whole), I don't need intention because my whole body is working with someone else's body. Then I am responding to what's in front of me without any "intention" at all.
I would really appreciate your thoughts about this as I have struggled with this concept for some time. The struggle is also about the role of intention in my life. In other words, if I don't "intend", I am forced back into the flow of life and my authenticity around that. But that's conditional upon being fully in my body/hara, because with that sensation comes the quieting of the mind and any intention."
Intention is a Synthesis
Intention is a synthesis of 3 things:
- Instinct (which is related to hara)
- Intuition (which is related to the third eye)
Intention is meant to be applied as a synthesis of these three dimensions. The thought (intellectual or mental) dimension does not necessarily play a dominant role. The influence in the moment can sometimes come more from one dimension than the others depending on the situation: there can be a momentary instinctive understanding, there can be an intuitive message or there can be an intellectual awareness. In that case the dominant aspect is also synthesized with the others to create a full spectrum of information.
Intention really means how you want to direct ki. As an example, with kyo and jitsu, the same technique can be used for either condition. There is a brief awareness & synthesis of information that creates the intention in how your ki is directed and how it will influence the treatment.