Intent and Implementation

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I want to convey an idea that’s key to developing a new style of magick, or really, to developing any new technique. But I’m not sure how. So I’m going to write, and hope I figure it out by the end of this post.

The idea is the difference between intent and implementation.

(Previously, I’d talked about “interface vs implementation,” borrowing a phrase from computer programming. But I think “intent” makes more sense here.)

Most magick focuses on intent. You intend to send a person healing energy, imagine them recovering, and channel some sort of energy. You intend to find a job, do some ritual to focus that intent, then send out your intent. You intend to move energy around, so you imagine it moving, and let whatever happens to actually move it just happen unconsciously.

Intent, intent, intent, followed by an image or ritual to convey that intent to your unconscious mind. And it works great, so long as you have a tool to turn that intent into actual change.

But I’m about to step ahead too quickly. So, let me back up, and ask you: What is intent? At the simplest level, intent, like every other tought, is the subjective experience of nerves firing in our brains. Nothing more, nothing less. Nerves releasing chemicals, sending electrical impulses through the world’s most complex information processing device.

Which is amazing. I’m not trying to be reductive, to say that intent is “just” neural impulses. There’s no “just” about it. Neural impulses in a human brain are pretty amazing, and the way they create all of these subjective experiences is pretty amazing, too. My goal is to explain, not explain away.

But here’s the rub: If intent = neural impulses, how does intent affect the outside world? How does that pattern of neural firing cause external change? What does it even mean to “send out your intent”?

And now, you’ve moved from intent to implementation. Simply asking how that happens, simply realizing that the standard explanation doesn’t really explain anything — that “sending out your neural impulses” doesn’t really make sense — has moved you into exploring magick’s implementation.

It’s a tough nut to crack. If you’ve been with me for more than a few weeks, you’ve already run into mental muscles, ethereal software, possibly thought layer and thinking mind, and other components of my model. But my goal right now isn’t to provide an answer, it’s to provide a question: What happens to connect neural firing to change in the world?

This is as much as I can write today, and as much as I think I’d want to read in one chunk if I were you. I made some progress, but still don’t really know how to explain this. Next post, we’ll make it concrete, and talk about intent vs implementation in energy healing. I hope to have a concise answer by the end of the week.

Also, I’m still making progress on the book. The intro is done, I’m starting on Part 1. I’ll post chapters next time I’m consulting and don’t have time for new writing.

Other posts in this series: If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at


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