"Segment Intending" and Thought Discipline
© 2002 by "Emc"
The following is a post from the FranzBardonMagi online discussion group that I admired greatly. I asked the author, who signs himself "emcshadow", for permission to post it here. Emc's advice is VERY practical.
Date: Thu Jun 27, 2002
Subject: RE: [FranzBardonMagi] questions regarding soul mirrors and thought discipline
>> I wondered, what is the criterion for the thought discipline exercise (the part where I have to defend against thoughts that have nothing > to do with the task at hand in daily life) to move on to the next exercise. Bardon just writes in IIH "Having obtained a certain skill in this exercise...". What is a certain skill? Do I have to be conscious the whole day, defending against unwanted thoughts ALL THE DAY or do I have to be able to concentrate to the task at hand another 10 minutes or an hour? There are times where I just don't want to control my thoughts in that manner. Do I still have to? <<
This may not help directly, but I found it useful to think of the overall "theme" of the 1st step as practice in building sustained intent. Charging the breath for an increasing number of cycles, impregnating food and drink and keeping the intent focused through the duration of a meal, the thought concentration all start to build an experience with focus. While external events and emotions can trigger a type of focus based on random stimuli and associations, we usually don't think this way intentionally. There are some interesting parallels here with other schools of "manifestation" that find it takes at least 17 seconds of focus on a single thought for it to "combust" into the minimal energy required to start working its way into manifestation.
A powerful way to use the "concentrate to the task at hand" is not to try to maintain focus the entire day on each detail but to do what is called, in other disciplines, "segment intending." This is a process of dividing your day (or task, or plan) into intervals and setting different intentions for each interval. Then, as you start the interval, you focus on your intentions for it... e.g. driving to work your intention is to get there safely, to flow through traffic with tranquility and arrive in a mood of preparation; for the next segment
your intentions change based on the nature of the segment and how you would like to experience it. Instead of having complaints about various segments (commuting, shopping, etc.) you find they start conforming more and more to your intents. The intention keeps more of you "present" during the segment and the outcome provides feedback on your
increasing skill. This is useful not only in a dour, work-world sense, but as a way of really appreciating all aspects of your life.