1-8-23 Intention


Intention in the sense we use it here, is not a dictionary definition of setting a goal, intending to do something, whether you accomplish it or not.

Setting intention, at least according to Buddhist teachings, is quite different from goal making. It is not oriented toward a future outcome. Instead, it is a path or practice that is focused on how you are “being” in the present moment. Your attention is on the ever-present “now” in the constantly changing flow of life. You set your intentions based on understanding what matters most to you and make a commitment to align your worldly actions with your inner values. Right intention is a continual aspiration.

Goals help you make your place in the world and be an effective person. But being grounded in intention is what provides integrity and unity in your life. Through the skillful cultivation of intention, you learn to make wise goals and then to work hard toward achieving them without getting caught in attachment to outcome. Only by remembering your intentions can you reconnect with yourself during those emotional storms that cause you to lose touch with yourself. This remembering is a blessing, because it provides a sense of meaning in your life that is independent of whether you achieve certain goals or not.

Ironically, by being in touch with and acting from your true intentions, you become more effective in reaching your goals than when you act from wants and insecurities. To continually coming back to intentions in the course of the day will actually help with goals. 

The “ground of intention” is to help us regain mental footing — to establish ourselves in a context that is larger and more meaningful than goal-oriented activity. Dharma Wisdom—

Good Intention – I intend to be open to success and abundance. I intend to stop taking things personally. I intend to forgive others, and myself. I intend to love unconditionally.

At first blush a goal of success and abundance may bring a sense of personal gain, however personal gain is superficial and never satisfying for long. Personal goals are often only your view of how things are supposed to be, and you become caught in your own reactive mind. You are dismissing your spiritual being and denying your inate, necessary connection with others, community and the world.

It is something you want to align with in your life. It’s an aim, a purpose, or attitude you’d be proud to commit to. Intentions must come from your heart; they are not the tangible “boost sales by 25%” or “get a promotion,” or eat better, kind of smart goals that you set.

An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim, (aspire) to create. Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish. (Or, intention must be followed by right action that comes from the heart.)

In any addiction there is little good intention, a lot of poor decisions and the need to fog or hide. We have now learned we have choices. Choices we can make that are healthier and do not cause, or cause less suffering to ourselves and others. Our newly realized choices, as they have always been there, may not be a natural choice for us yet. We often revert to fear or aggression, but we KNOW when we do and we resolve, to not continue to engage in harm, but to replace harm with understanding and kindness. Never to be confused with being naive or a victim. As we intend to not harm others, we do not permit harm from others as well.

When our intentions are kind, the karmic result is very different from when they are greedy, aggressive, or done from fear.

 You are connecting to your own sense of kindness and innate dignity. Standing on this ground of intention, you are then able to participate as you choose in life’s contests, until you outgrow them. Naturally, sometimes things go well for you and other times not, but you do not live and die by these endless fluctuations. Your happiness comes from the strength of your internal experience of intention. You become one of those fortunate human beings who know who they are and are independent of our culture’s obsessions. You still feel sadness, loss, lust, and fear, but you have a means for directly relating to all of these difficult emotions. Therefore, you are not a victim, nor are your happiness and peace of mind dependent on how things are right now.

Living an intentional life is a progressive matter. The more life matters to you, knowing how precious it is, will promote your progression towards living fully and truthfully. There will be times when we do not do as well as we should have, and so we learn, without regret, and move forward regaining our sense of worthiness and peace, because we are on the right path.

Forget judging yourself, and just work with the arising moment. Right intention is a continual aspiration. So welcome such a realization, even though it may be painful. The less judgment you have toward yourself, the more clearly you recognize how judging causes suffering. This insight is what releases the dark motives and allows room for bright ones. Insight into our true motives can be painful, but when we step into the reality of it, we engage freedom.

As you gain insight through meditation, wise reflection, and moral living, your ability to act from your intentions blossoms. It is called a practice because it is an ever-renewing process. You don’t just set your intentions and then forget about them; you live them every day.

“The spiritual life is not a theory, you have to live it.” AA

This entails understanding what is unwholesome and avoiding it, and understanding what is wholesome and acting on it. Here we give up angry, punishing reactions toward others or ourselves. If such attitudes arise, we resolve to not feed them, and to cut them. We will then be able to act from our brave, kind, authentic selves.

“If you let go a little, you will have a little happiness. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of happiness. If you let go completely, you will be completely happy.” — Ajahn Chah

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.

Heart Of Recovery web site  — fcheartofrecovery.com