Intentional Efforts: an Introduction


Image by arbyreed via Flickr

The concept of “Intentional Effort” or, as many call it, “Intentional Suffering”, is one of the arguments concerning self development that are susceptible to many misunderstands, and this happens for the reason of the religious legacy about this concept. Indeed, it hasn’t anything to do with what usually the word suffering makes arising in our minds. To explain in trivial words, if I decide to slam my head on a wall, this is not “Intentional Suffering”, this is pure idiotism. And, many people think that suffering an intentional way is just this. To understand better this concept, it would be good to check out what this word means because, as we have seen in some previous posts, the same word keeps her true meaning. Indeed, every word has been composed in the past to give an idea, and later this idea has been corrupted with further interpretations deviated from the original meaning. Etymologically, “suffer” has the following meaning: “sub- fero” or, “keeping under”, namely “bear”. It also mean (in a version that I don’t know how to translate in English) “to offer ourselves to someone else” (indeed, in Italian, suffering is “soffrire”, composed from the suffice “se”- oneself” and the word “offrire”-“to offer”). So, what is an “Intentional Suffering or “Super Effort”? This word is deep related with the concept of “discipline”. There is a big relation between awareness, observation, development of self consciousness, de-mechanicity and Super Effort. To develop the skill of being aware, an effort is needed, and it couldn’t be in other way, because we move in the opposite direction of what is habitual, so mechanic, for us. If we have not too much will, then we do not success. It would be really pleasurable to say, such as the New Age movements says, that the emancipation from what brings us stuck in our mechanicity is easy to be performed, but, unfortunately is not true. In exchange, what we achieve from such efforts is the most precious aim we can gain as individuals: ourselves. The first step to achieve what in the old traditions is called a “permanent center of gravity”, or a stable and unified “I”, or “Self”, is to begin to develop the “habit”-skills of self observation, presence and awareness. Once we have achieved a specific degree of observation, we become aware of the fact that we are unable to maintain a constant continuity of consciousness. We need something to overcome this problem. The only observation is not enough. What can we do what mean, tool we have in arrangement to develop a stable, unique and unified “I”? Fortunately, the mean exists, and this is the Super Effort. A Supper Effort causes the temporary unification of all the parts of our fragmented personality- such action forces all the “I’s” to collaborate together to achieve the result of such effort. In such moments, from a state of anarchy, our personality passes to a state of leadership authority who decides in what direction the attention must be focused. At the beginning, of course, the period of such efforts are short, but even in such little moments, something happen: the manifestation of a new Consciousness- a new “I” arises and absorbs the energy of the other old “I’s” to create himself (Gurdjieff called this moment Crystallization, in Traditional- so Esoteric- Alchemy, Transmutation). Even if such process is short, trough a constant repetition of similar actions involves, trough time, an effective change happens. It’s the same process of the development of consciousness, a topic previously published on this Blog: at the beginning, the duration is not the only important thing; indeed, the frequency is also important. So, if we repeat an effort often and often, even his duration will gradually increase. Such as air, food, sunlight, impressions and water are the food for the development of a child, the Intentional Effort is the necessary food to develop a stable and unique “I”, so a different level of Consciousness, Able to direct all the fragmented parts of our personality. Once developed such Capital “I”, it could evolve in a form of effective discipline. In this field, we can’t achieve anything without efforts because we need a sort of “friction” to generate the necessary energy; in this way, with the necessary energy, we can achieve a higher state of Consciousness. Let’s take an example: reading. One thing is use our mental mean to read something we really enjoy,. Make us happy etc… – this does not require any effort from us. Another thing is deciding to read something concerning arguments that are unusual for us, or that we don’t like, so that is not of our interest. To perform such action, once we have decided to perform it, we have to use a higher degree of attention, and this requires an effort. If we want to develop a muscle, we have to train it -to make him “suffer” a sequence of periodical shocks- so, making an action that can compel the muscles fibers to overcome their limits. The same thing happens to an Intentional Effort: if we wish to exit from our habitual mechanicity, then we have to perform that are not habitual, and this requires effort. But, it would be useful to specify that an “Intentional Effort” is much different from an ordinary effort. For example, my chef tells me that for the further week, I have to work three hours longer than usually. This is an effort, but not intentional. I have to do this to do not lose my job. An “Intentional Effort” must be exactly what these words mean: Intentional, so I have to decide it. I have to decide the kind of effort, its duration and when I’ll perform it; a decision I make by myself, not something who comes from the outside. The decision must be voluntary, because only what is voluntary can develop that “something” in ourselves we use to call here “a stable I”. So, the choice is the main skill in this practice. The skill to say “no” to our mechanical habits and to all the reactions produced from our identifications, such as a strong affirmation- decision to do something we have decided and maintaining that decision, are the capital skills to the development of a real Will. This post is only a brief introduction to an argument that will be developed with some theoretical and practical advices in further posts.


About mr Sarmoung

Andrea Dandolo je pisac i istražitelj razvoja svijesti i duhovnosti uključen u razotkrivanje drevnih učenja s ciljem olakšavanja unutarnjeg razvoja ljudskih bića. Jedan od načina kojima se time bavi je i kroz blog koji je preveden na engleski, španjolski i od nedavno hrvatski. Od rane mladosti je u svijetu duhovnosti i rada na sebi sudjelujući u radu grupa koje potječu direktno od Gurdjieffa, tj koje su bile vođene od strane samog Gurdjieffa U skladu sa drevnim znanjima, naglašava razvoj svjesnosti kao primarno sredstvo za psihološku transformaciju i duhovnu osvještenost individualaca. Karakteristike sistema koji predlaže su jednostavan jezik i moderni prijevod drevnih učenja kao i njihove praktične primjene u svakodnevnome životu. Njegov blog čitaju ljudi iz svih krajeva svijeta. Samorazvoj je ne religiozni i ne dogmatski put; sastoji se primarno od naprednog dostizanja viših stanja svijesti, p prisustva i konačno od ostvarivanja svoje prave intimne prirode, koja je poznata u mnogim tradicijama pod imenima poput esencija, duša, biće. Kroz takav razvoj individualna osoba ulazi u nove dimenzije svijesti koje mu omogućuju da vidi stvarnost sakrivenu iza iluzija. To mu omogućuje kreiranje osobnosti neovisne i otporne na vanjske situacije i vanjska uvjetovanja. Posljedice takvog razvoja su oštra inteligencija, izvanredni kreativni kapaciteti, ravnoteža i smirenost u svakoj situaciji i stabilno stanje višeg stanja svijesti koje je poznato u drevnim tradicijama pod nazivom “buđenje”.
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2 Responses to Intentional Efforts: an Introduction

  1. Pingback: The Meaning of Action #3 | Sarmoung's Blog

  2. Your tips is extremely interesting.|

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