Intention. In what direction are we headed? What or who are we serving? What do we value? What is our agenda today—and for tomorrow?
What is it we are doing at this moment?
We set our intention moment by moment, albeit often unconsciously.
Intention is like the needle of the compass pointed in a certain direction. It is an internal guidance system and can be thrown off course by many subtle things and events—distractions of which we remain nearly unconscious of.
It is our commitment to our intention that makes all the difference; for where our heart is, there is our treasure, as Jesus said.
The Buddha has said that our intention really directs our lives. It is vital to notice where it is pointed, and how often it gets off course.
An AA slogan says, “Turn down the sound and watch the action.” We say we intend lots of things, but where do our daily actions take us?
I find it important to renew my intention to serve that which is higher and greater than the ego each morning upon awakening and at night as I fall asleep.
But I must give it my attention.
What am I paying attention to? Am I paying attention to what is taking place within my mind? For that is where intention really resides.
What is it doing? Daydreaming? Wishing things were different? Hurrying to get things done? Blaming myself and others? Telling myself sad or frightening stories about how I perceive things?
If so, that is what I am nurturing. Not my spoken intention.
And whatever I give my attention to will grow. Is my mind on events of the past? Or am I worrying about the future?
Intention and attention make up the quality of our lives.
Where is our focus? For instance right now? What is going on within your mind?
It is impossible to live in the past or the future, but how we do try to do so! Thus we miss our lives.
Such a sad waste.
That which we have been conditioned to think and feel is not what we really are. It’s what others have been taught and believed. We have adopted those attitudes, fears and limitations. They are not natural to us, but so familiar that we think we are them. They were simply given to us by others.
What do we desire? Comfort—or freedom?
We will be set free only through the intentional living from our authenticity, rather than the beliefs and attitudes we have been conditioned and steeped in by our families, culture and society.
This is not easy or simple work.
It takes continual moment by moment investigation, awareness, into what our mind is thinking and perceiving, and letting each thought or feeling pass away, recognizing that this is not me and doesn’t belong to me, as there is no separate, stand alone “me” for anything to belong to.
It’s all conditioning. We are so much more free and more absolutely amazing than any “me” we could dream up. We are an energy system that is always capable of shifting, moving and acting in ways that are truly appropriate and bring forth something more truthful and beautiful.
We are capable of bringing new ways of connecting to that which is real, the invisible, intangible energy of the universe, and allowing it to guide us.
We can commit ourselves to be of service to that which is higher and greater—all we need do is remember, breathe consciously, deeply, releasing all that has been and give thanks that we free to bring love into our hearts and mind at this moment.
By basking in the loving energy of the universe, we find joy, peace and well being. We need just to sit and contemplate it and trust this energy to do its work within us.
Derek Wolcott has written a poem about finding our original beauty and living in it. It is called “Love after Love.”
The time will come
when with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who know you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Can we attend to this stranger within? The one who always loves us and never leaves us? Will we become ultimately familiar with this being?
It’s not our personality. Not our likes and dislikes. Not anything physical. This being has no form, yet is always present.
We might become acquainted most easily by paying attention to the breath, by pausing, letting be what is, just sitting with ourselves without expectations.
It takes quiet to hear the soul’s whispers of beauty and goodness.
It takes much spiritual questioning and inquiry to “peel our own image from the mirror” so that we can see what is.
This is our godliness. This is the image and likeness of God. It’s not the face we see in the mirror each morning.
It’s deeply below and beyond our thoughts and perceptions. This being is our comfort and our joy.
When we come to know ourselves by seeing through our personality traits, all loneliness and sadness disappear.
Don’t believe what the personality tells us. It’s just a mask we have worn.
Let’s feast on our original beauty!
And it’s here now—always has been.