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Intent: Exploring the Core of Being Human Paperback – January 1, 2011
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I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has a genuine interest in using everyday life experiences to grow in a holistic way as a human being. It gives us a framework for our growth as human beings, throughout our lives. --Graham Edwards, CEO A.E.L.
The purpose of INTENT is to hand the readers a clear, systematic tool with which they may identify and discern the stages of their growth as a sentient human being. Mystery has been eliminated, secrets are not kept, and clarity is granted. Etsko, a social anthropoligist by training, and a Sufi master by provision has combined the insight of a Sufi with the training of a field observer to deliver a clear text, peppered with real-life anecdotes for a visceral experience. But this is where the book stops, and the readers journey begins. This is not a book to read through and put away, but a text to savour over years and to practice over a lifetime. It is a key to the mystery of human character, the unlocking is up to the reader. --Ramla Akhtar, founder of The Changemakers Hub
About the Author
Etsko Schuitema is a renowned business consultant who has authored numerous books including 'Leadership' and 'The Millenium Discourses'. He is a senior partner in Schuitema, a transformational consultancy operating worldwide. Etsko is also a Shaykh or teacher in the Shadhili-Darqawi Sufi tradition and is known as Shaykh Ebrahim.
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Though some of the books were more useful than others, no other book has had as profound an effect on my life as Intent by Etsko Schuitema.
In Intent, Etsko Schuitema integrates surgical psychological insights with ancient spiritual wisdom and presents them to us in contemporary language. He convincingly demonstrates that one way to view the issues of maturity, growth and fruition in human beings is to view them as functions of our intent.
Furthermore, he demonstrates that intent can only function in two ways – the intent to get or the intent to give unconditionally. He goes on to explain how intent develops through different phases of our lives. Most importantly, he shows us how it is intent that accounts both for our misery or contentment and our mediocrity or excellence.
The most uplifting aspect of the book is that it liberates us from mainstream win-lose, dog-eat-dog ideology, which is the cause of much of the damage and misery we suffer individually and collectively as a species. Etsko Schuitema very persuasively argues that the intent to serve unconditionally benefits not just others around us, but it also gives us what we all aspire for – security, power, fulfillment and harmony. And it makes us stellar human beings. As such, the book rescues unconditional giving from the fists of the sanctimonious and presents it to us a practical and rational idea to embrace for our own selves.
The book argues that it is possible for anyone to achieve excellence and contentment as they are a function of intent, not of money, resources, education, gender, race or any other category or of anyone else! This means you can be anyone, anywhere and you can transform yourself and your life; you don’t have to wait for anything or anyone else. In this respect it is truly empowering and transformative.
It persuades you to give attention to what lies in your hands, what you can contribute, what you can do. It helps you to see problems as opportunities to grow. It transforms life from a series of relationships and situations that you previously experienced as painful to a fascinating journey into your own self.
Intent provides a simple yet powerful tool – the deliberate maturation of our own intent – that we can apply to help us achieve excellence and find peace.
I apply this one surgical tool in almost all arenas of life to diagnose situations and relationships and to decide how to act correctly. I have used this tool to (1) transform personal relationships fraught with conflict and pain; (2) decide what work to do and how best to do it; (3) bring out the best in people who report to me; (4) respond to changes, devastating illnesses and loss; and (5) parent my child. In other words, the teachings of this book guide me in every moment of my life, in my aspirations to grow and be at peace with myself, others and Existence.
If understood and applied correctly, the ideas of this book have the potential to set your free and raise you to the pinnacle of your existence.
Excitement that I had found a roadmap on how to live an excellent life. And, trepidation because as I turned the last page, I knew that I could never again hide behind my feeble excuses.
The statement, “The world we experience is a reflection of the register of our internal dialogue” put paid to any idea I had of shifting blame for my lot onto someone else. Ever again!
The book contends that the unfolding of the highest aspects of ourselves are principally concerned with the ‘maturation of our intent’.
It makes it clear that there are only two ways for us to live in this world. Our intention is either to get or to give. When we’re immature we believe that others are here to serve us (we’re greedy and fearful). As, we mature we get that we are here to serve others (we’re generous and courageous).
This raised serious questions for me as to where I was in the maturity journey.
An illuminating moment for me is that when you want something from others (get) it makes you weak. This aphorism slapped me between the eyes, “When you want something from the other their ability to withhold what you want gives them power over you”. This holds significance in my life as a sales consultant. It highlighted to me why sales people people are mostly weak in any transaction - because they are there to get (a sale) and not to give (solution/value). This puts the power firmly in the buyer’s hands.
“The itch called insecurity scratches from the inside”, once again highlighted to me that living this life is an inside job.
I also found some perspective as how I could live in this world. There’s two ways I can perceive this world: in fear or in awe. The book poses the following question (amongst many), “How can the universe be hostile to me when everything I am made of comes from it?” I love the idea that the world is a friendly place and not as hostile as I often perceive it.
The book also explores the theme of gratitude. I get the idea that gratitude is the mainstay of every endeavour. Without it we can’t be generous and courageous or find harmony and contentment.
The book is not a simple read. It’s not for you if you’re looking for a silver bullet to solve all your problems. It’s going to take many readings for you get to grips with the lessons it imparts. But, if you commit to the book and make it part of your daily regime, I’ve no doubt you’ll be a lot closer to living a life of harmony, fulfilment and contentment.
I’ll go so far as to say that this book will not only change your life for the better, but it has the potential to change the planet.
Is it any wonder then that Dr Michael Jordaan, CEO of one of the four dominant banks in South Africa, has referred to Etsko as “the philosopher for the 21st Century”?
Intent: Exploring the Core of Being Human
The book starts of with the two intentions. Maturity is the growth in "maturing intent from taking to unconditional giving." There is a frame to unconditional giving: giving the right things at the right time-the appropriateness of giving; the challenge to be courageous in saying yes or saying no.
As this book is about growing into maturity, the chapter on "Transactional Correctness" highlights the content in the process of "being" mature. Transactional correctness includes how to be generous, to be courageous, have gratitude and experiencing awe. Not the recipe acquired attributes, but the ownership that comes with "growing into." Clear examples helps a person to identify their own place on this continuum of growth.
Since maturity is not just "the journey" but also a multi-leveled concept, Etsko completes the idea in the book with chapters on "The Three Attentions", "The Four Concerns" and "Six Aspirations".
If the reader wants to read something original, mind-stretching and inspiring, here is the book waiting to take you on the journey.