I have, with some trepidation, joined a spiritual book discussion group. I generally like to be “left alone” when reading. It’s a highly personal thing to me, and I’d rather not have others “help” me to interpret literature. That goes double for English teachers. With apologies: I know any English teacher who happens to read this blog will not be like the teacher who wrote on a dear ones literary essay only one word: “No”. I’ll leave you to react to that as you will.
But I digress. The reason I chose to be a part of this group is that it will exist for only five weeks, and will discuss only one book, namely The Power of Intention, by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. This is the sort of book I might be inclined to read, anyway, and since it’s NOT FICTION (if it were, I’d run, run far away, fleet of foot, and unique of thought), I figured it would be a chance to connect up with some folks who interpret spiritual experience in a similar fashion.
I’ve watched Dr. Dyer mentally shape-shift through the years. I read his very first book, published in 1977 (Your Erroneous Zones–clever title) in which he discusses well-being from a psychological perspective. I’ve read through some of his other works, and he apparently has undergone a great spiritual evolution over the last three decades. But this is the first time I will be “studying” his work.
He starts right off defining the word intention for himself. I find this sort of fun. I enjoy finding out as many dictionary definitions as possible for a word I’m building an article around, and then I go ahead and make up a definition that pleases me, guided by my research.
Here are a couple of dictionary definitions from Merriam Webster:
noun Pronunciation: in-’ten(t)-sh&n
1 : a determination to act in a certain way : Resolve
2 : Import, Significant
3 a : what one intends to do or bring about b : the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered.
4 : a process or manner of healing of incised wounds. (While I acknowledge and respect meaning #4, I’m hopeful it will not need to be demonstrated in our group).
Here’re a couple more definitions:
determination to do a specified thing or act in a specified manner. something that you want and plan to do.
OK, so far, so good.
Here is Dr. Dyer’s definition, at least for the purpose of the book in question: “Intention is a field of energy that flows invisibly beyond the reach of our normal, everyday habitual patterns.”
So, my first question for my book group members will be “hunh?” (See how intellectual I can be ?). As I mentioned, I’m all in favor of finding new meaning in old words for ourselves. Yet, it seems to me, that there are already plenty of good words to be had for what Dyer is describing. At the outset of the book, I am confused by his use of the word “intention” in this way. He mentions a “field of energy”–why not call it that, as Lynne McTaggart did? (In fairness, he does refer us to McTaggart’s book). Other words are ’source’, ‘universal substance’, ‘force’ (if I want to get StarWarsian), or, dare I say it, ‘God’. The book could easily be called “The Power of the Field”.
As I’m only in the middle of chapter one, I’ll report back in a week to let you know if he’s convinced me to use his word his way.
Peace, my brothers and sisters in Intention!