Is participant experience relevant?
It's okay if participants haven't seen the inside of a classroom in years.
Physical trust needed
Mental trust needed
Journals, paper, writing utensils.
10 minutes – 2 hours
Experience level of the facilitator
taken part AND professional facilitator
Number of facilitators
CHARACTER OF THE METHOD
Level of activationneutral
Woo-Woo Level – How touchy-feely is this method?
From 1.Rationalist-Materialist “No feelings here, folks.” to 5.Esoteric-Shamanic Bleeding Heart:
• Appreciative / Community building
When people set intentions at the beginning of a session, day, workshop, or project, powerful potential is unleashed. Participants simply identify what their aim is and the facilitator reminds them periodically to return to their intention.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
The purpose of setting intentions is to clarify, both within oneself and within the group, what each person's aim is.
A possible pre-exercise is to introduce the concept of intentions and then lead a guided meditation exercise. First bring your attention to your heart, feeling your physical heart in your chest, and breathing into it. Then allow to arise in your heart what your deepest wish for this project/workshop/retreat/meeting may be. Each participant can then free write for 5-10 minutes on this topic, always returning to what your intention will be, your heart's true wish for this time together.
Another excellent pre-exercise could be the Guided Journaling method in this database. You may want to adjust the questions or only do the most appropriate ones.
PREPARATION (excluding materials)
Whether you think of this in a woo-woo way or a scientifically-based way, intention setting is powerful. You can think of it as calling your highest ideals into being by speaking them to the universe, or you can think of it as bringing your highest ideals to your conscious mind, planting seeds in your own psyche.
1 Setting the Space
You can adjust how much ritual you do around the intention setting according to your purposes and your participants. At the Art Monastery we do an intention-setting ceremony at the beginning of our 2-month summer laboratory. We do the pre-exercise of helping participants get in touch with what their intention may be (see above). Then at the Intention Setting ceremony, we create an altar in the center of the circle (a beautiful plate or tray with local greenery, fruit, nuts, chocolate, candles and other relevant beautiful objects) and a pot or container that can safely hold burning paper.
2 Arrive in the Space
Everyone sits in a circle and takes some breaths together, bringing their attention down into their hearts.
3 Speaking the Intentions
The first person who is called to speak reads their intention aloud. Then that person makes eye contact with each of the other people in the circle, the idea being that we are each holding the intention on behalf of that person, supporting them, bearing witness to them, anchoring their aspiration. (If there are more than 15 people in the group, or if you are pressed for time, you can skip the eye contact part.) Then that person can step into the circle and burn the piece of paper their intention was written on. (You can also skip the paper burning part and simply speak the intentions.) The paper burning can be very powerful though, particularly if the group remains silent, watching the paper burn until it's gone before the next person speaks.
Once everyone has spoken, celebrate!
Throughout whatever period of time you are together for, periodically bring the intentions to mind. Ask each other how it is going with your intention or if anyone wants to further clarify or amend their intention.