Developing The Three Powers

This is a response to Justine Durrell's question from my last post, The Source of Purposeful Acts.  Justine wondered how to develop all three intelligences–emotion, intellect and will equally without over-relying on a natural strength. This is a terrific and difficult question to answer in a concise manner.   

To begin, it is important to do a fair self-assessment of strengths and challenges. Many of us have received feedback to help us understand our competencies. Also, we may see styles in others that we are more or less comfortable and familiar with. Often, we are drawn or repelled by styles that mirror our own strengths and challenges. These are important clues to assist in recognizing which power(s) need more attention and development .    


Teachers, mentors and coaches are also excellent resources to assist in assessing and developing balance and excellence in all three domains. But Reflection is the most important vehicle to explore personal development and growth. As Visionmakers, we have a responsibility to do our own work and not over-rely on the guidance of others. Also, we should never be overly independent and isolated from help and feedback. Striking a balance between doing our own work and asking for help is the Visionmaker's way.


Next, there must be a commitment to ongoing growth, especially when we have routines and patterns of accomplishment.  It's easy to rely on our strengths, especially where our natural aptitudes are easier to access. But this approach would be like an athlete training only one part of the body.  Eventually our strengths become weaknesses when we over-use them and don't take a holistic approach to development.  


As well, we discover that some strengths are better suited to certain situations than others: heart, intellect and will all have their appropriate use, situations, timing and place. Therefore, it is imperative on a journey of meaning that we have access to the full range of aptitudes, gifts, talents and qualities that are native to each of the powers.  My chapters in the Visionmaker that deal with this specifically are in the second section: The Cradle of Manifestation.


The Heart

In The Visionmaker, which will be available next year, I suggest that the heart is an organ of vision. Instead of looking outside of oneself for answers, the Visionmaker turns his or her gaze inward and reflects on the state of the Four-Chambered Heart. The Four-Chambered Heart, as taught by Angeles Arrien (see the link to her website), consists of the full, open, clear and strong heart.  When we are full, open, clear and strong-hearted we are able to see what is profoundly meaningful and as a result, able to answer the navigational question: "What." Half, closed, doubting and weak-heartedness obstructs vision.


Through daily reflection, the Visionmaker examines the state of the heart, addressing and removing the obstructions to ensure vision is 20:20. Unfinished business, past hurts, grudges, fears, anger, jealousy, withheld communication and unresolved conflicts are brought to closure, wherever possible. The Four-Fold Way, by Angeles Arrien, is an excellent resource to assist in the development of the heart.  



The intellect actively engages two faculties in planning the "How" on a path of heart and meaning.  The first is cognition. It is principally concerned with harnessing the pragmatic and practical aspects of the journey.  The second is the imagination. It is concerned with ideas, images, and dreams that are signposts of the way.


There are eight aptitudes that require development in cognition, or what Visionmakers call The Way of Knowing:

• awareness

• attention

• probing

• understanding

• reasoning

• analysis

• judgment

• memory


The imagination, or The Way of Dreaming, requires attention and development be paid to ten portals:

• dreams

• images

• symbols

• creativity

• possibility thinking

• stories

• myth

• ritual

• art

• memories


The Ways of Knowing and Dreaming, working together, convert possibilities, through actions, to positive impacts. Therefore both need our attention. One without the other reduces our capacity to manifest action effectively and efficiently.



Will is the capacity to make something happen. It is the business of the will to convert the dialogue of the heart and mind to the fire to act. That capacity depends on three essential components: energy, power and timing.  


Energy comes from purpose.  It requires deep engagement, concentration and hard work to access the energy necessary for manifestation. One must be 100% committed to the journey and learn how to use faith and trust to keep the fire burning. My chapter, Destiny's Fire, deals with this practice extensively.


Power is that energy directed on the internal or external environment through intention. The more effectively thoughts, emotions and feelings transform to energy, the greater the fire generated. The greater the fire, the more power is available. And, with more power comes greater impact.


Timing of the execution of a purposeful act is every bit as important as energy and power.  One can be as clear as a bell about the heart's direction and have all the energy and focus in the world, but miss the proper timing. Readiness, economy and efficiency are required to ensure that when the right timing for action occurs, a Visionmaker is ready to act.


Justine, the three powers form a dynamic partnership.  A Visionmaker is a serious student of this combustion system of action and develops each of these resources recognizing that the only sustainable pathway for action comes from a harmonious balance of the trinity. Hope that helps!


© Patrick O’Neill 2008. All rights reserved.

Posted on December 3, 2008 and filed under Uncategorized.