Image for The Gathering Pod A Martha Beck Podcast Episode #155 The Magical Corner of Intention and Invention
About this episode

To get more insights about transforming drudgery into a spiritual practice, tune in for the full episode, which also includes Martha’s guided Silence, Stillness, and Space meditation. And if a retreat with Martha sounds like just the thing to help you return to your life with fresh eyes, read about her Pure.Wild.Self Retreat in Costa Rica at the link below!


Martha Beck:

I’m going to start with our Space, Silence, and Stillness meditation. It’s been a few weeks since we did this, and I have sorely missed your company. Even though I can feel you on the astral plane, still having you here when we do this meditation makes it so strong for me, even though I do it on my own a lot. So having given everybody time to sort of show up, maybe people are still coming, that’s all right. They can join us as they come into the room, the Gathering Room. Take a deep breath, relax your arms and legs, make sure your arms and legs are not crisscrossed if possible. Sit in a comfortable position or lie down. Or, if you have to, stand up. And then just start breathing very relaxed breaths, especially relaxed out breaths.

Purse your lips and force the air through it. That makes your diaphragm work harder, and it tells your brain you’ve got plenty of breath and everything is good. That sound actually, that sigh, will help. Now just ask the strange little question that always kicks off this meditation. Think to yourself: Can I imagine the distance between my eyes? Repeat that to yourself a few times: Can I imagine the distance between my eyes? Is it possible for me to imagine the distance between the front of my face and the back of my head? Can I imagine that whole space inside my skull? Is it possible for me to imagine the space in the atoms that make up my entire head and also my neck and shoulders? Can I imagine the distance between the front of my chest and the back of my rib cage? Can I imagine the space between my sit bones on the chair, thighs, hips, and my heart? Can I imagine the space inside all the atoms of this body, which is so much more space than it is matter? Can I shift my focus from the matter that makes up my body to the space that is most of my body that is continuous with all space to the ends of the universe?

Can I imagine the stillness underneath all the motion in my body, in my surroundings, in the whole universe? There is stillness under every action. It holds the action. Can I imagine the silence underneath every sound, pure, calm, vibrant, living, aware and loving stillness, silence, space? Can I imagine that that space, stillness, and silence connect us all on this podcast in this moment? Because that is the literal truth.

Now I’m in the magic space, and that’s a fun place to be because today I want to talk to you about something I call the “technologies of magic.” I started calling it this when I was doing a book where I talked to medicine people and shamans and people with similar talents in many cultures. And the reason I called it the “technology of magic” was that when you found someone who could actually do it, where I could actually see a measurable thing that they were doing, I knew one guy who could just turn on and off electrical appliances energetically, and he’d just go, look, look, look. And another guy who lay in the desert and felt crystals and dug them up for me. These guys were not faking it. It was happening. And what I realized is that these people were not just randomly casting spells. They had learned to do what they were doing the way you’d learn an art like playing the piano or dancing. They were being very specific and skillful. And there was a way, there was a physical process in the universe or an energetic process in the universe that was actually allowing them to do these things. It was just like the technology that allows us to see each other or see things on our phones. We don’t know quite how it works, most of us don’t, but there it is. It’s in front of us. And it is technology. It happens over and over again. Well, certain things like “If you think it, it will come true” are not clear technology of magic. That is– people love it, and in a way it’s true, it’s part of the technology of magic, but it’s not enough. It is a necessary but insufficient condition for me to think things up and then have them manifest in physical reality. And I said I just got back from a trip, actually, I just got back from two trips. Maybe I talked to you between the trips, but they were very close together, and they were both to Costa Rica. Now, the way this happened was complete– well, it was magic, and it happened at a place I call the “corner of invention and intention.” So most people who follow The Secret feel, we feel in ourselves that something about “if I really intend it, it will happen,” there’s something true about that. But then we do intend it. We really want to win the lottery and it doesn’t happen.

We’re getting part of the technology, part of the technique wrong. What happens to me more and more often is that I get a feeling of something I want to happen, and I would love to manifest it into being. I have made several vision boards in the past five years or so where I stuck on a picture of Costa Rica because I just always wanted to go there. In a way, it was a pre-memory as one of my clients called it pre-membering that I would go to Costa Rica. I don’t know anybody there, don’t speak Spanish. There weren’t a lot of reasons for me to go there as opposed to other places, but I’ve always wanted to. And that got stronger and stronger and I’d made the vision boards, but it didn’t manifest. So I said to my dear family, “Let’s go on a vacation to Costa Rica,” or I think they said that to me because I don’t often take vacations. I didn’t learn that skill, but I’m getting better at it.

So we figured it out 18 months ahead of time, we sat down and we found a bed and breakfast that we could book, and we found cheap tickets so we could take the whole family, and we found a place to put the dog while we were out of town, and we organized. We made it up and we made it happen, this trip to Costa Rica. Then, while we’re waiting for the vacation time to come around, Ro and I remembered this cool dude named Jake Sasseville who lives in Costa Rica and runs a retreat center. And we said to ourselves, “It would be cool to do a retreat in Costa Rica.” And we had a spurt of motivation, and we contacted Jake again and arranged to do a retreat there. Some of you may be coming to it, it’s already full. It’s going to be amazing. But Jake’s way of doing business is very generous, and as part of it, if you book a retreat there at his retreat center Imiloa, he flies you in to check out the facilities and the landscape and the food and the wonderful people and everything, and you get this trip free.

They call it the fam trip. And so Ro and I had to go to the fam trip that was scheduled most appropriately for us, it was a bunch of retreat leaders who got together at the same time. And it happened to be within three weeks of the vacation that was already planned. So suddenly, I’m going to Costa Rica at almost exactly the same time I had intended for free without planning it myself at all. It literally fell in my lap. Well, not quite literally. It’s more like I fell in its lap. Mind you, a lot of people were doing a lot of work, but I wasn’t.

So this has happened to me over and over recently, and I realized it’s because this is the way the technology of magic works: You want something to happen. You don’t see how it’s going to happen. You will it to happen. It doesn’t happen. So you say, “Well, forget magic. I’m just going to roll up my sleeves and find a way.” And you sit down and you invent what you’re going to do.You put it together. You do the hard work, whatever it is, and you get it on the books. And at this point, you totally relax–that’s number one–and number two is you’re really sure it’s going to happen or you’re pretty darn sure it’s going to happen. Because you have relaxed and you are now in a state of trust, the intention manifests by itself. So the invention is what you do with blood, sweat, and tears, and the intention manifests when you are so sure everything’s going to happen that magic can work without the blood, sweat, and tears. This isn’t a long enough broadcast for me to tell you all the times this has happened to me. So the last few years it’s been like double vision. I invent something, and then it also comes to me through intention, so I have two of everything. And it’s really teaching me a lot about the technology of magic. And I think the biggest thing it’s teaching me is that there is a lot of magic in the invention part of it, even if it feels hard and you have to scrap around and find the money and do the thing, there’s magic in that. You learn, you grow, you have experience of the world. And if you have a very strong desire and you are in a state of complete trust and enjoyment of the idea that it is going to happen because it just is.

There’s a book called The Time Traveler’s Wife, and it’s about a time traveler, and he comes back in time and he tells this woman what’s going to happen. And she says, “But how do I know that it’s going to happen?” And he says, “It will because it did, it will because it did.” He knows for sure. So you get to that “it will because it did,” and I’ve always had this feeling about Costa Rica, right? So when I finally booked a vacation and trusted it, it found a way to manifest. And it taught me something about the magic of invention and the effortlessness with which the universe actually can seem to conspire to give us our intentions when we are in a state of complete trust. I only think that happens when there’s that sensation of it coming to you as part of your mission in life, part of your spiritual journey.

If you just want a Gucci handbag because you saw one, and it doesn’t have that deep inner feeling, it doesn’t work the same way. Real intention has to be fueled by a deep, core deep desire. It has to come to you almost. And then you do the work of shaping it with your mind and with your yearning, and that brings it toward you. So yeah, that’s what I wanted to share with you. Try the corner of intention and invention. If you’ve been trying to manifest something and it hasn’t been manifesting, try getting blood, sweat, and tears involved and get it to happen and then relax and enjoy the magic of the fact that you’ve made it happen–even if you made it happen by earning the money and spending it and just the logical way of doing it. It’s all magic. It’s all part of the experience of learning to be creators, part of the great creation.

So, oh, comments aren’t working on Instagram, but they are on Facebook. So if anybody has a question, I was wondering why I wasn’t getting any questions. The scrolling stopped as I said, and it was such a powerful shock to me. Something about, okay, intention and invention. We’re working on getting the airways to clear. We’re working on it with our minds, but we’re also going to shift to Facebook and look for questions there. So if you have questions, put ’em there on Facebook. Let’s see, somebody said they missed you. I missed you too. I really, really did. Oh, can I tell you another magical thing? This is so fun and sorry, I’m obsessed with animals. I just edited my, did the first edit on my book Beyond Anxiety. My editor was so kind and gentle and sweet. She’s like, “Do we really need a story about a horse here? Couldn’t it be a bad person?” But I love animals. So I’m going to tell you a magic thing that happened. When we do our retreats at Londolozi in Africa, South Africa, my friends there and I always, the other life coaches and I, we tell the participants, “Call ,energetically call to the animals and they will come. They’ll come and help you and teach you.” And then we always look at each other and go, “What if it doesn’t happen?” Because we have no control over these animals. They’re wild! And they always show up. Well, so I’m in Costa Rica and we’re in this Airbnb in the Cloud Forest, which is amazing. And I’m thinking, “I’ll see monkeys. For sure I’ll see monkeys. I really want to see monkeys.” And one day I was coming out of my room and there was a clatter, and out came a large-ish animal, bigger than a cat, bigger than a big cat.

And I was like, “Oh, it’s going to be a monkey!” It was not. It was a coatimundi, and they are beautiful and lovely, and we communed, but it wasn’t a monkey. So the next day I said, “I’m gonna some magic monkeys.” I sat down, I put out a call to any nearby troops of monkeys, capuchin monkeys. I was like, “You need to come see me now.” So we went to breakfast at a cafe and it had a bird feeder and onto the bird feeder hopped a monkey like 10 feet away from us. And I was like, “Yes! They came when I called.” So I was calling away and I got really confident that I could do this. And then we went back to our Airbnb and were mobbed by monkeys! They were jumping up and down on the roof because there was a piece of plastic and it was kind of like a trampoline.

So they were jumping, boing, boing, boing! And they were looking in the windows and they were trying to get in. And I went out on the deck and there was a plate of fruit there. I know I shouldn’t have done this, but I got a piece of fruit. And the thing about holding out food to a monkey is it doesn’t reach with its teeth. You’re reaching out cautiously with your hand and the monkey’s reaching out cautiously with its hand and the two hands touch. And every time one of the monkeys would take a little piece of fruit, they all made the same noise. I don’t know if they were thanking me or they just automatically make that noise. Anyway, it scared Karen and Adam half to death. And so I said, they said, “They’re going to come back here. You fed them, they’re going to be back.”

And I was like, “Okay, monkeys, you need to stay away from now on.” And even though there was still food around, they never came back. So, it worked, it worked, it worked, it worked again. So here we are with questions. Eva says, “Is it because we are engaging the creative force that the intention begins to work?” Yes, but here’s the thing, as humans, we are always invariably and inexorably using the creative force. So your mind is inventing all the time, but most of us invent with fear. Our brains have a negativity bias and it takes us into scary places. And so we think scary thoughts all day long: “Oh, something bad’s going to happen to me. Oh boy, things aren’t going to go right. Oh, what if that breaks? Oh…” And that’s what the negativity bias makes us think about. And we tend to sort of create that.

And if you’ve ever been in a state where you were easily– where you had a trauma that was unhealed– you know that that can leave you in a state where everything is a little scary. You never come out of fight-or-flight. And so you see threat everywhere, and you can be quite, like somebody says to you, “Have you seen my coffee?” And you go, “Why are you accusing me of taking your coffee?” And then you create a scary environment for the other person. And so all of this is just to say, we are always part of the creative force and our minds are creating all the time. So let’s be good stewards of what’s going on in our heads. Let’s use invention to get or to pull ourselves into the place where we’re thinking more optimistically, and then that will create different things. And if we can get to the place of total trust, it will make us start magically manifesting.

And that is really fun because then you start to have faith that the universe is taking care of you, and that can put a lot of your fears to bed. Alright, Loretta says, “I would love to hear more about the magic of invention and the magical relationship between invention and intention.” These are– the words have broad definitions. I am using them as a little bit of wordplay, so it’s not gospel. But what I’ve seen is that intention is a really clear visualization of–I think visually, you may think of it in terms of other senses. You may even think of it in terms of a story that you’re telling with words, but you’re thinking about something that could happen. Invention is where you start to think, “How do I make that?” Not like “Huh, how, how?” it’s like, “No, seriously, how would I make that?” And when you start that going, then the aspect of intention gets really, really focused and clear.

And when you begin to trust that you can invent something, you can make something with work, the trust kicks in and invention is less necessary because the intention starts to create stuff by itself. And that’s when you’re actually rolling up your sleeves and then unrolling them because you’re using the magic of technology, which is all energetics. And I think we’re all here to practice that and observe the relationship between our mortar-and-bricks creations and the ones that come about by apparent magic. It’s fun. They’re totally interrelated.

Marie says, “What if you have deep feelings of things meant to happen but don’t know how to start?” Well, the first thing you do is start asking questions. I don’t know where to start. You go out online. I don’t know where to start. You ask all your friends, I have no idea where to start. Ask about how to start if you don’t know how to start. And if you don’t know how to ask, how to start, ask about asking how to ask how to start. You can always start by going, what? What?

And if you do that, you’re actually beginning the invention/intention thing. Because the reason we always start with the meditation, we always start with the prompt, “Can I imagine the distance between my eyes?” is because any question puts you in a place where your nervous system calms down and you begin to access energy. And it is really interesting the place where the brain goes into its negativity bias on the left side of the brain. On the right side, there seems to be a relationship between curiosity and calm and creativity. So the moment you say, “How? Why?” and you’re not just speaking rhetorically, you really want to know how and why, you enter curiosity. You enter that information seeking thing that is not anxious, it’s just practical. And that’s how magic starts: with a practical question. You ask it to figure out how to do something in nuts and bolts and the question itself, the energy of questioning brings magic in, or it powers the magic.

Okay, Jessica says, “I’m working on manifesting a new place to live and I’m pretty proficient with the technologies of magic. Reason is getting in my way because the real estate market sucks. How do I dismiss reasonable thoughts reliably?” It is funny because as you read, as I read through it and you said “the real estate market sucks,” I always turn things in my head, any negative statement, I’ve done the Byron Katie work so many times that every negative statement flips in my head. And so it became “the false estate market sucks.” Instead of real. Or fake, “the fake estate market sucks.” So that’s a little bit of wordplay again, but what it’s saying, what if the state of your mind and of your future, the things that you yearn for, the things that you know will happen, they will because they did, what if that is the REAL estate market, and what you see buying and selling around you is fake, is created by some perception.

There’s a really interesting fact that people always overlook when they’re looking for a house or a partner. They’re like, “Oh, I know I need to go out and do and hit the clubs and everything because finding a partner is a numbers game.” No, it isn’t! You would– unless you’re looking for a whole bunch of people. I mean, if you want to marry a whole bunch of people, God bless you, have fun and go to a bar. But if you just want one person, or two for some of us, or three–however many people you want–that’s still not a “numbers game.” You’re looking for a very specific thing. So if you get really specific about the invention/intention, like I put things on that vision board that were very specific to where I wanted to go in Costa Rica. And those are the things that manifest: the things that are sensory, visual, auditory, things you can smell and taste.

If you start to look for the place to live with your senses instead of in the fake estate market, you know how to do magic, Jessica. So it’s going to happen. So start the intention, push the intention process harder. You are already working on the invention part. Yay!

Laurie says, “I’m in the process of creating my first ever mastermind and I keep questioning if this is going to work. Other things I’ve put heart and soul into haven’t worked. How do I know if this is the right thing to intend?” Try it. See. There are infinite right things to intend and infinite wrong things to intend. There’s not one specific thing you’re supposed to do at any given moment. You could, I mean, there are a trillion different things you could create, even with this one mastermind, and some of them will work better than others.

When you trust that something’s going to work ultimately, you keep trying when it doesn’t work penultimately, or antepenultimately. Oh my God, I just worked the word “antepenultimately” into a sentence. Yes! I knew it would happen, I intended it. But Orville and Wilbur Wright went out to Kitty Hawk and flew these ridiculous planes off this little berm and crashed over and over again. But then they’d look at the birds and the bees and they would go find their wives. No, they would look at the creatures flying around and they knew for certain that creatures heavier than air can fly. There is a property of aerodynamics that will allow heavy things to fly. So they just kept doing it. They didn’t say, “Oh, it crashed, man will never fly.” Even when it happened 12, 13 times, they didn’t say that. They worked for a dozen years on that thing before they got their first flight.

And then now we’re zipping back and forth to different countries like it’s just nothing. So go with your heart and know that it can happen. And just if it doesn’t work the first time, great, that’s an education. Don’t do the same things the next time, but keep trying if it’s something that’s in your heart.

Okay, couple more. Andrea says, “I was rolling around that verse from the Tao in my head today about nothing being done and nothing is left undone. And thinking how overwhelmed I feel and how I would love to do nothing. This thought triggers fear: Oh, but I have to do all the things! How can we practice letting go of that tight grip that culture trains us to continuously keep on everything?” Boy, you have nailed my entire life’s work here, Andrea. I think that you’ve already acknowledged that this idea that we have to throttle things in order to save them for ourselves is part of our culture.

You’ve also identified that it feels horrible and that you long to do nothing. So what I would do is in short bursts, practice doing nothing. And I don’t mean doing nothing in a way that’s boring. I mean, someone once told me watching TV is easier than doing nothing, which is really true. So find something that is fun, easy, thoughtless, whatever it is for you. Listen to an audio book while you color or something. Go for a walk and just say, I’m doing nothing now. Nothing that I need to hang onto. I’m letting my creative power float along and enjoy itself. And don’t try. And if you find yourself trying, say, that’s okay, you don’t have to try not to try. You can just laugh at it and say, oh, there I am trying again. If you keep being curious about finding the place of not doing, which is where you’re moving, but it’s because of the joy of it and it seems automatic, you’re going to get that sensation and that is the magic right there.

That’s at the corner of intention and invention, this. And I get it, for example, when I’m drawing. I’ll be drawing away and it’ll be really hard, some tricky perspective, and then I start to relax and it suddenly becomes blissful. That is not doing. I’m doing exactly the same thing I was doing 10 seconds earlier, but I’m doing it in a state of total relaxation. It’s fabulous. Relax. Relax and practice relaxing. And that’s how we get out of our training from the culture.

Fatima says, “Hi. Can you tell me the difference between manifestation in the sense of The Secret, which made me feel icky versus how you perceive it?” I think that– think of it like this. We all have higher selves, and our higher selves know what’s really good for us. Our lower selves read The Secret and go, “This is fabulous. I can do anything.”

They’re wrong. But our higher selves say, “Yes, yes, there’s something to that. And when I deliver you a desire and it will not leave your heart and you learn to trust me, it will happen.” That’s the difference. It comes from a place of humility, trust, and love. And there’s no acquisitiveness in it. It’s from your higher self, not your lower self.

Okay, finally, Raymond says, “Can we have trust without love?” Oh, Raymond, that’s a beautiful question. And you know what? I was talking to a friend today about how you can’t have love without trust. If you’re afraid someone’s going to hurt you all the time, you can’t feel really loving toward them. But Raymond has flipped that: Can we have trust without love? And I think that the two go together because when you get to that place of trusting, when you know that the thing you long for will happen because it did, and that a hundred years before you were born, God drew a circle around the space you’re standing in right now.

When you totally trust that, relax into it, love floods in. So that’s the reason to defy our fears and to turn into our curiosity instead of our negativity because the moment we start to trust, we feel the essential reality of the universe as love. Raymond, that is a beautiful question. Thank you for it. I’m going to stop now and hope that all you guys have a fabulous time playing at the corner of invention and intention. Until we meet again, thank you so much. It’s so great hanging out with you. We’ll fix Instagram next time. It’ll be even better. It must because it did. I love you, bye!

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