By JJ Simon
Published on Jan 14th, 2016

In order for a human being to reach their potential in any endeavor, they need three things.

Willingness, know how and capacity. I will refer to this as WKC for this article.

These qualities are the larger ideas that break down into: Inspiration, aspiration, intention, attention, and will.

Willingness is made of the two qualities of inspiration and aspiration.

Inspiration is an experience of seeing, hearing or observing the message or achievement of an individual. Inspiration is the starting point for any journey into growth.

It is the seed planted into ones consciousness, ready to grow, as long as we create and nurture the conditions necessary for success.

Aspiration is a transition from whatever inspired us, to courageously take steps to change, learn and grow. While inspiration is usually generated by an external experience, like hearing a mentor's message or witnessing a personal hero’s success, aspiration is a completely internal phenomenon.

It is the beginning of confidence in the possibility that we too can accomplish what we have been inspired to.

The ability to take the spark and tinder of inspiration and aspiration and turn it into the fire of will takes the breath of intention and the maintenance of attention to make the bonfire of will happen.

Manifesting intention is a skill; a natural expression of mind. Unfortunately it is usually an unconscious function based on personal habit instead of a process of conscious intent.

It is the first stage of the “Know how”, part of WKC.

Most people don't know how to do this, and that is one of the two challenges we need to address.

The manifestation of intention is an experience that is very difficult to describe.

Instead, I will outline an exercise.

But first, we need to deal with attention training.

Attention is the ability to move mental energy and keep it in one place for an extended amount of time.

Attention has the quality of knowing an object mixed with the quality of resting that knowing in the object.

Attention is a natural attribute of being alive, however most people have limited stability in focusing their attention.

Generally our mind is fragmented and distracted. Some consistent training is helpful.

The greater our capacity in attention, the greater our chance of success.

In order to build this greater stability in attention we have to do a little training.

Once we learn how to train we begin to move from know-how and we build strength. Known here as capacity. Try this exercise for building capacity in attention.

Find a pebble or a shell or some other small object that you like. Place it in front of you and gaze at it. This is not the hard stare of a tough guy in a gritty movie.

It is a soft gaze, relaxed and confident.

Notice when your mind wanders. When this happens, reset, acknowledge that you've become distracted and then come back, start again.

By returning gently again and again to an object of attention you will build the primary skill you must have to manifest any goal.

Doing this exercise daily has an added benefit.

It allows us to decompress and drop any stress we are experiencing by just bringing our attention down to one point.

A half an hour of this exercise a day is recommended.

Now that we’ve built some capacity in attention. Let’s look at the exercise for practicing intention consciously and moving into the experience of will.

Again, take an object and place it on a table in front of you.

Set the intention to pick up the object.

Emotionally this should feel like desire and physically you should feel pulled towards the object.

You may feel that pull in your chest or your whole body or just in your hand.

No matter how that desire-feeling interface arises, don't immediately grab the object.

Really come to know what that experience of intending is. Take your time.

Now allow yourself to reach out to the object. Feel the pull.

Do this slowly. No matter how slowly you begin moving, cut that in half.

Move really, really slowly. Pay attention to the energy in your body. Experience the feeling of desire and being pulled. If you lose your attention bring it back into the slow experience of reaching for your goal.

Notice that as your hand gets closer and closer to the object the sense of energy will spool up and you may want to move faster. Don't. Keep it slow and attentive.

Pay particular attention to what happens to your sense of confidence the closer and closer you get to picking up the object. Eventually you will know that nothing can stop you from picking it up. This knowing is WILL.

Complete the exercise and pick up the object in attention. It is important that you intentionally and attentively do this exercise.

How do you feel once you've accomplished your goal?

Do you experience a rush of energy? Power? Release? Joy? Fulfillment?

All of these are possible and more.

To recap, this exercise is a way of training intention, attention and have the experience of will.

You may ask. How does this apply to martial arts, goal setting, and success in my life?

The ability to apply your will skill is based first in knowing what you want.

Let me repeat. In order to manifest anything, you have to know what you want.

Figuring out what you want is actually pretty simple.

Remember that attention you have been training? When figuring out what you want bring your attention to the question 'what do I want?'

There is no need to intellectually work on this like a math problem.

Just make the question the object of attention, the way the pebble was in our previous exercise.

By doing this again and again, you will eventually come to know what you want.

When you know what you want, set the intention to accomplish your goal or manifest your desire.

You're goals need to be accessible and you will most likely need to learn something new.

That is just the continuation of the structure of WKC.

As you set the intention to accomplish your goal, your attention will naturally follow it.

As in the attention training, whenever your mind wanders from the goal, notice it, reset your intention and allow your attention to guide your activities.

At some point, which you do not get to decide on or force, you will know that nothing can stop your accomplishment of this goal.

This is the level of will and it is the human equivalent of magic.

I would like to thank the extensive work of Ken Mcleod from I learned many of these principles and definitions from his work and our lessons together.

His over 40 years of attention training and academic work have made it possible for all of us to benefit.

My life has been greatly improved because of this knowledge.I hope in some small way this work; these exercises, help anyone reading this.

Filed under Philosophy and Opinion

Author Bio :: JJ Simon

JJ Simon has studied the Martial Arts for over a decade. In October of 2010, he tested for, and earned, his black belt at TheMALC's annual Residential . Mr. Simon has studied meditation since 1990 and has completed a number of Meditation retreats from 3 to 30 days under such noted teachers as Lama Surya Das, and in the Shambhala training tradition created by Chogyam

JJ has acted as a meditation coach for friends and martial arts associates since 1992. Mr. Simon is a tattoo artist of some renown with some 20 years of experience in the field. He owns Explosive Tattoo South in Salisbury, MD. JJ is also a painter, knife maker, and the Artistic Director for The Martial Arts Learning Community, Inc.

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