Attention vs. Intention
If you have ever worked with plant medicine, you'll know what I mean when I say that it's a serious undertaking and it is literally "work". Imagine going to to work every day with no sense of direction of where you're actually going or even what you're actually doing. Life would be very confusing to say the least and more importantly....
How would you expect to get a wage in return for the work?
They say going into a ceremony with no intention is like going to sea with no compass, how would you know which direction to go?
Intention of the Shaman
There are many different ways intention is used in the process of plant medicine work. Let's start with the shamans. They are able to be a vessel of healing and they themselves have committed to a lifelong process of self healing. They spend years training in the amazon, in solitude and abstinence, with the personal intention and commitment to heal themselves.
The medicine itself also requires care and respect, for example the Uwishin shamans of the Shuar people of the upper Amazon speak and sing to the powerful medicinal plants before they are applied as well as to the receiver of the medicine during the process. They do this to seek allies for greater clarity and vision through the healing from spirits and energies of nature. Shamans also used intentions in forms of prayers during the opening and closing of ceremonies welcoming in benevolent spirits and ancestors to offer love and protection creating a space for healing to take place.
Without having strong and clear intentions set beforehand, people often don't know what they have purged and leave ceremonies confused, awash with a mix of emotions and information, leaving it difficult for them to process what has happened. I'm sure you're well aware that when dealing with the mystical world things don't always appear defined and crystal clear, in fact it can be quite the opposite and often messages can appear cryptic.
It's always best to have no expectations, just strong intentions in order for us not to get lost in the experience.
I asked a shaman that I became close during healing work on his view on the subject and he wrote:
"The intention through plant medicine works like a photographic lens that focuses and amplifies the purity of what our heart and spirit wants to achieve."
How to activate the power of intention with plant medicines
Dr. Wayne W Dyer author of 'The Power of Intentions' said:
'Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change'.
He explores intention not as something we do, but as an energy that we are part off. He uses the principles of Discipline, Wisdom, Love and Surrender for the activation of the power of intentions.
I've taken those principles and have applied them to plant medicine work, adding courage as the most important as it takes bravery to journey into the bizarre and unknown realms the plant medicines can take you to.
When deciding to embark on the journey of plant medicines it takes courage. Courage to walk this path, courage to step into the unknown, courage to embrace change, courage to commit fully to the end.
With plant medicines, there is usually a diet that we have to adhere to such as fasting or cutting out certain foods etc. Shamans highly recommend it not only because certain foods can interfere with the medicine, but it shows your willingness to make the sacrifice to do the work.
Combining the knowledge that this work is a powerful healing experience, with a strong intention of the direction you'd like the medicine to take you and the commitment to put into action any teachings you may receive.
When we are seeking healing and make the steps towards that path, it is always out of self love, and through self love we can heal ourselves.