In the context of my custom jewelry design practice, which is influenced by my interest in psychology and anthropology, the idea of conscious intent relates loosely to an ethical principal in the Buddhist notion of Karma: In every action a person undertakes there is (or at least can be) an underlying state of mental energy. And I have come to realize that the energy and emotion that I hold in my mind, and thus put into my communication with the client as well as the object that I am creating for them, will stay with the object forever.
In reflection, I know that I have always practiced a level of conscious intent in my efforts to make meaningful objects. What has improved over the years is my ability to communicate this in ways that can make it as real to my clients as it is to me.
I have worked hard to develop good listening skills, and seem to be able to rapidly pick up on the cues that my clients give me in terms of direction of design. Some of my clients come with very specific ideas but a significant percentage come knowing that they like the idea of something special but do not yet have an idea of what it might look like for them. Over the years I have developed a language and process to make people feel at ease sharing their thoughts about their relationships and sometimes sharing a special theme or moment in their lives. For example, most every couple has something special between them, whether it’s riding bicycles together or some silly phrase that they say to each other.
More recently, within my ongoing process of self-discovery, I have been reading deeper into Buddhist philosophy, particularly some of Thich Nhat Hanh’s writings on mindfulness. Somewhere along the line I connected those writings with something I had remembered hearing or reading, referencing experiments done with what was termed “conscious intent” and upon further investigation ran upon a study done by Glen Rein titled, “Effect of Conscious Intention on Human DNA”.
I pondered these things for a while and soon began using some of this new language when working with my clients during design consultation. The challenge for me was two-fold; to present these ideas without either intimidating or putting off my clients with too much “woo-woo” factor, and to not allow myself to lose my own essential nature. I have always maintained a pretty down-to-earth approach, never putting on airs as some do to impress potential clients. Also, I have no interest in turning my design process into a séance, but I do believe that what space I’m in as I create something of importance for a person, couple, family or business is, indeed, important.
Gary Dawson Jewelry Magic – Conscious Intent
So now when consulting with clients, I just continue do my normal thing, and if/when the timing seems right I jump in with a brief comment about how I like to bring conscious intention into my work and if they are keen to the idea, I explain further. Client involvement varies, as does the process, but one way that I have used quite successfully is to get the client(s) to participate by generating a short list of words, phrases, or ideas. These I keep visible on my wax or metal bench, or near my computer as I’m working on their project, and I try to hold these things in my mind while working. If I mentally wander away, I try to gently bring my mind back to these things. I’m not fanatical about it because I think just having made the effort and having those thoughts of my clients “in the atmosphere” while I’m creating their objects may have some effect.
The reception to this process has been overwhelmingly positive. Not only do my clients feel pretty special and even more involved in the creation of their items, I feel better for having a language to express to them how we can work together to make their finished objects more meaningful.
So conscious intent is not so much a new way of doing things for me, but a newer way of expressing something I have done all along. If you have an interest in these things, a book called “The Intention Experiment” by Lynne McTaggart isn’t a bad start. It doesn’t hurt to be skeptical when approaching these concepts. They either grab you or they don’t. Either way, beautiful jewelry can still be the outcome.