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The First Intent: Support Life
I refrain from opposing or harming anyone. I allow others to have their own experiences. I see life in all things and honor it as if it were my own. I support life.
The first time Lee Ching "came through" me, I was sitting in my favorite armchair, having just finished my usual morning meditation. I'd stated my intention—that everything needing to be known is known on this day; that all of my words are clear, precise, uplifting, helpful, and fun (I added the fun part); that I am guided, guarded, and protected throughout this entire experience; and that everything I say and do serves the highest and best good of the Universe, myself, and everyone everywhere—then I switched on a portable cassette recorder and asked myself the first question on a short list that I'd prepared in advance. It had to do with mankind's highest priorities.
Following that, I closed my eyes and, much to my surprise, within seconds I began to feel a change go on inside of me. It was very subtle at first, but then, right away, a gentle warmth began to spread throughout my chest, accompanied by a feeling that could only be described as "compassion for all living things." At the same time, I felt lighter, not in the physical sense, but as if I were more radiant, more luminescent. As I held my attention on this wonderful light, it spread out in all directions from my heart, encompassing my entire body and even past the edges of my skin, so that I found myself surrounded by a "bubble" of light. (Later on, I learned how to expand this bubble considerably farther, to fill the room I was in and even past the walls of the house to the land outside and beyond.)
Meanwhile, my body began to change; my posture shifted, my facial expression was entirely different, and the movements of my hands and arms slowed down, becoming more graceful, as if they'd taken on a life of their own.
Just as soon as my body settled into its new stature, words—softer, more soothing than I'd ever heard—came into my head. Initially, I was frightened to repeat them aloud, but, because I was completely alone at the time, except for the little kitty who had settled in quietly beside me, I (he) began to speak into the tape recorder:
"The highest priority for humanity is to support life," he said. "Your potential as human beings is far, far greater than you presently imagine. In order for you to reach the heights of experience that await you, that you have set for yourself, and that call out to you even in this very moment, you must stay alive. You must act to perpetuate your own life, as well as the lives of all those with whom you share your magnificent, abundant Earth."
My entire being tingled with excitement as he spoke. The only time I'd ever felt anything like this was once when I slipped out of my body while meditating in a bamboo forest in Kona many years before.
"The teachings," he went on, "that are coming to you at this time are meant to reveal the true nature, the true power of your thoughts to you. Each thought you entertain either takes you closer to your joy or farther from it; and it is for you to discern, in each moment, which of your thoughts are serving you, and which of your thoughts are not serving you.
"Since you are becoming that which you hold your attention upon, you would be wise to support life in all that you think and all that you say. Up until now, much has been hidden from mankind concerning the dynamics of your thoughts, and you have not been properly taught how to think. Now, however, these teachings are being made available to all so that you can sharpen your thinking processes and create better lives for yourselves."
He paused for a second, and I felt the twinkling of a smile cross my face. A part of me heard the tape whirring softly and felt the cat nestled against my leg, but my primary focus remained on the warm feeling inside of me and the flow of words coming from within. There was something else going on, as well. It was as if, somehow, between the words, he was helping me untangle eons of confusion that had been passed down to me through my ancestral lineage.
"As you truly look to support life, you will soon see that one of the most detrimental things you can do is to oppose someone else. When you oppose anyone," he said, "you invite your worst fears to come alive. By taking a defensive stance against anything or anyone, you are actually creating or setting the scene for you to be attacked. It works this way: your thoughts are always creating your future. When you are opposing others, it is because you are picturing someone else doing something bad to you. This is a thought, and, like all thoughts, it is working its way into the stream of your daily experience. Whether the person you are thinking about is a grouchy neighbor, a terrorist, a soldier, or an attacker of any kind doesn't matter. What matters is that you understand that your thought of being attacked is going to manifest as quickly as any other thought. You must learn that it is you who ultimately makes the choices about which thoughts to place your attention on. It is you who invites goodness or chaos into your experience. It is you who is responsible for your creation."
I felt his compassion for humanity and what we're going through in these turbulent times. Lee Ching had been a great warrior who, in his own time, set an example of mercy for his people by deliberately laying his sword aside during a battle and subsequently ascending. As if he knew what I was thinking, he said: "One of the great lessons of your lives is that you attract to yourself, and must live out in your everyday experience, that which you oppose. You must learn to allow others to go through life without your interference, and know that your unwanted experiences will cease only when you have finally relinquished your tendency to resist them. Your opposition to anything, be it a person or an institution, always makes things worse."
We talked for about an hour and he reiterated that, in the great majority of situations, whatever is happening does not require our participation or intervention. In fact, he said, we are usually best served by retaining our composure and intending that we are guided, guarded, and protected at all times. In this way, we save our energy for when we really need it, and, at the same time, we set an example for those around us who may be prone to emotional outbursts and getting themselves into trouble. He was adamant that peace begets peace, and that those who aspire to be effective role models won't force their beliefs on others. They'll understand that the Universe is taking care of everything and that, in most instances, they don't need to do anything at all. Then, he asked me to take a look back at the grand adventure that had been my life, and he said that I'd likely surprise myself by noticing that the times when I had the most beneficial impact on things was when I stepped back and simply observed the situation.
Just before he took his leave, Lee Ching said that a second way to support life is to spend some quiet time alone every day. This idea sounded a little odd to me at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that those who meditate daily are much less likely to become involved in conflicts. They're calmer, less excitable, and, even more important, they're more apt to see things from a higher perspective. Later on, he told me that this is why those who seek to manipulate us don't want us to meditate because it makes us more difficult to control. Meditators aren't as reliant upon others to tell them what to do because they're cultivating their own inner independence. Compared to most people, they're a lot freer.
I went to bed that night pondering everything Lee Ching had said. The idea of inviting an attack by taking a defensive posture intrigued me. As I thought more about it, I recalled an experience I had in Kona in the mid 1970s. The eighteen years I'd spent farming there were very enlightening for me, mostly because of a friendship I enjoyed with a man named B.J. B.J. was a strong, lanky fellow [who looked] curiously like some of the pictures I've seen of St. Germain. When I met him, he said that he'd been an instructor with a present-day, quasi-mystery school that operated out of the east San Francisco Bay Area during the sixties and early seventies called the Morehouse. The primary draw to the Morehouse, he explained, was to help people get more of whatever it was that they wanted.
Naturally, this idea sounded good to me. At the time, I had just purchased four and a half acres near the small town of Captain Cook in the heart of Kona coffee country. My property was a long thin strip at 1,700 feet elevation, running lengthwise down the mountain, with a spectacular view of the entire south Kona Coast. The only problem was that the land was so steep I couldn't take care of it by myself. I needed help if I was going to realize my dream of making the property as beautiful and productive as it could possibly be. Enter B.J.— and, as it turned out, he was skilled in just about everything I needed to know. He knew how to plant fruit trees, design rock walls and terraces, fix a truck engine, plumb a water system, build a house, you name it. In fact, he not only knew how to do these things; he was something of an expert at them. And, to my good fortune, he was willing to share his knowledge with me.
Within a few weeks of our first meeting, B.J. moved onto my property and we began working together on a daily basis. Back in those days, we'd start our mornings out with a couple cups of strong, fresh-brewed Kona coffee while he talked about a very interesting body of ideas that he called the Information. At first glance, the Information didn't appear to have any particular structure to it, though it was always strangely ironic that whatever problems I was faced with at any given moment seemed to lend themselves to the Information. Over the years, I came to see that it was B.J. himself who'd set up many of my challenging situations so that I could apply the Information and learn my next lesson in life. While all of this was going on, however, I was totally unaware of his behind-the-scenes involvement.
The stories of what I went through back in the hills of Kona, with no one but me and B.J. around, are too numerous to elaborate on here, although one experience which involved the Information stands out clearly in my memory because it's played such an important part in my life. It happened one morning while B.J. and I were discussing the neighborhood tyrant, Dead Doug. At the time, Dead Doug wasn't dead yet; it wasn't until later that he killed himself by overloading on drugs and missing one of the sharp curves on the narrow road that snaked its way to the southern tip of the Big Island. When he was alive, however, Dead Doug enjoyed nothing better than to terrorize everyone who lived on the bumpy thoroughfare known as Rabbit Hill Road. At least a couple of times a month, skinny little Dead Doug would get a bug in his britches and decide to walk up and down our road with his Detroit street-punk attitude hanging out. His usual tactic was to carry a big stick or a machete in his hand and threaten to "get da boys from down south" on anyone who didn't do whatever he wanted. It was an absurd situation, but very real nonetheless. We all lived in fear—except, of course, for B.J.
Before we go any further, you need to know that we treasured our privacy back in those years on the farm in Kona and did everything we could to keep ourselves free from distractions while B.J. passed the Information along to me. Our houses were neatly hidden from the road that ran through our property by a thick grove of guava and banana trees, and hardly anyone, except for our immediate neighbors, even knew we were there. The only time we ever had to deal with other people was if we invited them up, or when one of the neighbors who lived past us (this included Dead Doug) had to cross through the middle of our land in order to get to their own farms.
On the particular morning in question, Dead Doug was down on the road, yelling at the top of his lungs. We could hear him through the trees, threatening that we'd better get down the hill immediately and fill a hole in the road, or else he was going to burn our houses down. Since I'd seen this kind of thing happen before, I knew well enough to wait until he drove away before going down and throwing a few shovelfuls of dirt into the hole.
A couple of hours later, after Dead Doug had gone to town, I was fine-tuning the job with a scratch rake when B.J. walked up and motioned to a spot in the shade of my old Power Wagon where we could talk. He'd also heard Dead Doug shouting earlier and knew I was still a little rattled by it all.
The first thing he said made no sense to me at the time, considering the circumstances of the day. He said that whatever we put our attention on, that's what we can expect to see happen in real life in the near future. He said that it got especially interesting when our thoughts were about other people, and that if we found ourselves in opposition to them, we would wake up one day to find that we'd become just like them. He said he didn't think I wanted to be like Dead Doug.
It was a stretch for me to fit this into my thinking, but he went on to say that, if I paid too much attention to Dead Doug, then very soon I would find myself thinking about ways to get back at him. My thoughts would turn dark, and I would be picturing myself lighting fire to his house, or hiring some nasty Hawaiian thugs to get him before he got me. B.J. said that I had better things to think about, like how to help the fruit trees grow better, or how to stay happy. Besides, he said, the Universe had ways of taking care of people like Dead Doug that didn't require my participation.
Four months later, B.J.'s words came true when Dead Doug left the planet, and everyone on Rabbit Hill Road breathed a sigh of relief and went back to enjoying their lives in freedom and peace.
Aside from my encounters with Dead Doug, I lived simply during my years in Kona, always protecting my freedom and doing whatever was necessary to remain unencumbered by the usual fears and controls that were accepted without question by most of my fellow travelers. I'd purposely arranged my life as a hermit so I could avoid becoming entangled in the consensus reality matrix. I never dreamed that I would leave my avocado farm and meet Lee Ching a decade later. Nor did I think I would ever leave the beautiful island of Hawaii. It was my home, my land was paid for, the trees were dripping with fruit, and I could have easily lived out the rest of my life there. Ultimately, however, as The Intenders began to blossom and I began to write books, I realized that my work had to be taken out to the world.
As I said earlier, my travels first took me to the Bay Area, then to a lavish lifestyle in New Mexico, and finally to San Diego, where I became acquainted with a group of people who introduced me to yet another way to support life. As it turned out, these new friends were members of a nearby church, and I became interested in the principles they lived by. One principle of theirs, in fact, appealed to me immensely. They didn't "backbite" other people. Or, as we said in Hawaii, they didn't "talk stink" about anyone else. Previous to this, I'd occasionally find myself taking part in conversations in which people were talking about someone else who wasn't there. All too often, the tone of these talks would shift to the negative, and, when this happened, it never felt right to me. I admit that I did it, but later on, when I went home and reflected on it all, I'd realize that I was doing the very thing that I'd opposed in the person I was just "talking stink" about. I was becoming like the person I was opposing with my backbiting.
It was like a breath of fresh air being around my friends from the church, because they rarely "talked stink" about anyone. If, on occasion, they did start to gossip or "backbite" others, they'd invariably catch themselves and stop doing it. I truly admired this about them and came to understand that their abstinence from backbiting was just another way of supporting a higher quality of life for all of us.
When we realize that we are becoming exactly like those we oppose, shouldn't that be reason enough for us to stop opposing them?
When you really think about it, supporting life, in itself, is a strange topic to be talking about. Under normal circumstances, there'd be no need to discuss it because we'd likely agree that it's important for us to stay alive. But circumstances in today's world are far from normal. Life is not valued here on Earth as it should be. On the contrary, we glorify the harming of others while just about everyone stands back with their hands in their pockets and takes all of the suffering for granted; the only exception comes when it's our own lives that are on the line.
Clearly, we live in an insane world, and why so many support the status quo is an unfathomable mystery to all thinking, caring people. It's as if we've lost sight of our most precious commodity, life itself, forgetting that, unless we're willing to stand up on behalf of our own self-preservation, we run the risk of losing all that we hold near and dear.
So, let's draw a line in the sand right now. If you believe that it's all hopeless, and that there's no chance we can create a better, safer world for ourselves, then you may as well skip the First Intent and go on to something else. Perhaps you'll want to move ahead to one of the other Intents of The Code and work on it for awhile.
Excerpted from The Code by Tony Burroughs. Copyright © 2008 Tony Burroughs. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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The First Intent * Support Life
The Second Intent * Seek Truth
The Third Intent * Set Your Course
The Fourth Intent * Simplify
The Fifth Intent * Stay Positive
The Sixth Intent * Synchronize
The Seventh Intent * Serve Others
The Eighth Intent * Shine Your Light
The Ninth Intent * Share Your Vision
The Tenth Intent * Synergize
The Intenders of the Highest Good