Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole

How to manifest what you want out of life.

"You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your deed, as your deed is, so is your destiny."

- The Upanishads

The question, "What do you want in your life?" is easy to ask but it can be difficult to answer from the depth, clarity and knowing of the soul. This question is really inviting you to probe deeper into what truly nourishes your body, mind and spirit.

One reason it can be challenging to answer the seemingly simple question is that from an early age we are surrounded by messages about what constitutes success, meaning and happiness. Therefore, answers to "What do you want..." are often automatic, and may not align with what really works for you, based on your soul's fulfillment. Automatic answers will mostly be answers born of our cultural conditioning, which have more to do with temporarily satisfying the ego rather than deeply nourishing your soul.

Your heart's deepest desire

Our built-in access to the soul is through our open heart. The bottom line question to ask yourself in order to align with your soul's version of "What do you want in life" is, "What is your heart's deepest desire?"

The best time to pose and to answer this is when you are in a quiet, relaxed and aware state of being. This might be after meditating, after practicing yoga, after a silent walk in nature, or on awakening from a peaceful sleep. All of these are times when your mind is quiet and you are therefore most open to the wisdom in your heart and open to all possibilities.

Four helpful questions

Recognizing that most of us are not practiced in connecting with our soulful guidance, here are some questions to answer first, which will offer clues to what you really want in your life. Do this when you are quiet and feeling relaxed. Forget about any limitations related to money, degrees, practicality, etc. Be open to what spontaneously pops in.

If you could know anything at, what would that be?

If you could do anything at all, what would that be?

If you could be in a relationship which is ideal for you, what would that be?

What would you like your legacy (not including family or money) to be?

Setting an intention

Setting an intention follows knowing what you really want. An intention can be about your day, or about what you truly want of any situation, in support of what you really (soulfully) want in your life. An intention is a brief positive statement in the present tense. For example, "I move through life with grace and ease." Your statement of intention is like a seed, which sets the infinite resources of the universe in motion.

Detach from the intention

Once your intention is given over to your higher self and the greater cosmos, let go of any ideas of how, when or where your intention might come to you. The feeling and practice of detachment is about knowing that everything will work out as it should in the right timing. Your job is to let go and allow the Universe to present opportunities to you. Your higher self knows that everything is all right and will be all right, even without knowing the timing or the details of what will happen.

Scientific studies

Dean Radin, senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) in California, shared results of two studies on the power of intention. Radin and Dr. Emoto (famous for work on how water crystals respond to our thoughts) conducted a double blind study. Two thousand people in Japan were asked to send positive intentions to bottles of water in the IONS lab in California. Under microscopic examination, the crystalline structure from the water infused with the positive intentions was judged to be significantly more organized and beautiful than the crystals from the control water.

Another experiment involved chocolate infused with positive intentions. In this double-blind study with placebo-controlled conditions, Tibetan monks and a Mongolian shaman infused the chocolate with positive intentions. The results of this experiment revealed that people's moods were significantly elevated when they ate the chocolate that had been "blessed" as opposed to the control chocolate.

Experiment and be curious

Whether you are sending positive thoughts to your food and water, or setting intentions for what you truly want in your life, the best way to allow the Universe to work in your highest good is to simply be curious to how it will unfold. PJH