Field theory spells out a number of requirements for the practice of deliberate creating that you simply won't find elsewhere.
And the failure to acknowledge the fundamental role played by these requirements leads to all manner of confusion.
Here is an example. A student phoned us once to ask a question about the method for deliberate intending. Five minutes into the conversation, we learned that her boyfriend of three years had decided that he was ready to be with someone else, and had let her know this by leaving her a message on an answering machine.
As this student described the situation, it seemed to us that she was remarkably unaffected, even blithe about it.
When we asked her about this, she said that she was deliberately intending their getting back together, and—being smart enough to use the language of Field practice while on the phone with us—even stated that she "knew" they were already back together, and was resting in this knowing.
Now, this is a perfect illustration of why we point out in the Course that words are not the same thing as intentions.
First, we pointed out to her that if her so-called intention was an intention to "get back together," then her actual intention was that they were not together. This much is probably obvious to anyone not immersed in the situation—for what sense does it make to "intend" getting back together with someone unless you're believing in the separation?
This got her attention, but it wasn't where the power of the conversation was waiting to spring forth.
The next thing we did was remind her of one of the axioms of Field practice, which begins with knowing what we want and accepting things as they are. She remembered this from the Course. So, we asked her—"Do you really want to be with someone who would leave you?"
You see, our question presupposed accepting the condition she was working so hard to deny—a denial that she had camouflaged in the words and phrases of Field theory. The moment we asked her this, her voice broke and she began sobbing. At that point, we were standing there together, looking at the truth, which is in practical terms equivalent to acceptance. And this gave us a place to start.
Now, this woman was trying to do something many of us probably have tried to do—namely, use some consciousness technique to change the world around us.
Virtually all of the New Age literature is devoted to this very end. Visualize, repeat affirmations, and you can attract prosperity or health or your soul mate—and Field theory views this approach as confused in just about every way that matters: in its assumption that even fervent desire has the power to create, that we can create through an act of will, that what we call the "Particle self" does the creating, and perhaps the worst confusion of them all, the failure to recognize that what we want also wants something of us, and that accordingly, no desire can be fulfilled by anything less than the willingness to assume a corresponding identity.
To want something is one thing, and one can go about visualizing until the cows come home; to live up to it is something else.
Why did the woman begin crying when we asked her if she really wanted to be with someone who would leave her?
Well, first of all, we held up the truth that the man she had been with for three years had left her. We didn't collude with her in some comforting denial that what she wanted could be consciously created over and against the truth of that.
Second, we asked her the only question that could follow from that acceptance, and her answer to this—by which I mean her truthful answer, of course—was "no." In her aligned state, she had to admit that she had not lost anything she wanted, and while naturally this in no way mitigated the grief of the loss, it did allow her to spare herself the additional pain of being in contradiction about it.
Field practice is a path of common sense.
It has its feet under it, and it begins and ends in the willingness to work with things as they are.
In the Course, we say "There's no denial in Field practice"—unless we mean the deliberate choice to refrain from giving some fact the authority of a conclusion, but this certainly is not what "denial" refers to in the pejorative, psychological sense.
Accepting things as they are is always the starting point. That leads us to the truth about what we want, in case we're not clear about that.
When the student whose boyfriend accepted the truth, many things became clear to her—not just that she didn't want to be with someone who would treat her (or anyone) that way. She also saw that she had been settling for too little in that staging area for a long time, that her lovers had reflected her penchant for self-abandonment, and as sad as the facts were at that moment, the acceptance and the truth did set her free—free to start over, to create something better by being a better version of herself, and to cast off the burden of so-called creation predicated on resistance and selective half-truths.
Our desires are so much more than wishes to be granted so that we can have this or that. They call us, not just to have more, but to be more.