In a recent discussion over on Takuin’s blog, several people talked of not reading spiritual books for a time. Being in a place where such concepts no longer appealed.
I went through a similar phase, although partly this was simply the stage of life with a family and such. Spiritual life as a whole became more background for a while – present but not in the form of books and discussions and such.
Typically, I tend to be the kind of person who has a number of books on the go at any one time. Mostly non-fiction over a wide range of subjects. The Internet has meant that while I read more, I have less time for book reading. This means that my reading pile languishes and I buy fewer books now. And it means it can take awhile to finish one.
Recently, I’ve had the chance to come back to Constance Kellough’s book The Leap. I’ve quite been enjoying her ability to state things plainly but cover it well. A good skill and a good editor.
Last night, I read Chapter 8, Noble Intention. A great exploration of the subject. A few quotes to stimulate the connections:
“Intention is conscious creation through focused thought energized by feeling.”
I describe intention as directed awareness which stimulates thought and feeling. The key is noticing the intent rather than the thoughts and feelings effects so that we can recognize what we are asking.
“Often people feel that if they visualize something, they are creating it. But visualization is only a tool, not the creative source. The same is true of prayer, whether it is uttered verbally or silently. Indeed, both visualization and prayer are fostered by and flow from intent.”
“Intent is an expression of faith. It is something strongly held but not controlled by will, mental effort, or manipulation. Although intent holds to an end state, the intent is not specific in detail and has its own characteristic feeling-signature.”
“Although there is a thought component to intent, it is not mental energy that is required but heart energy.”
“While all intention is powerful, intention can arise from two different sources. The effect in each case is also quite different.”
“Ego-based intention, no matter how positive it may appear, is actually rooted in the negative emotion of fear.”
Sometimes we have the “right” thoughts but we’re intending those thoughts for reasons that cause other results than the thoughts reveal. Guilt is a common motivator of helping for example. The intention is thus distorted.
“When intention is based in ego, you may accomplish a great deal. …[but it] bears the hallmark of a voracious vacuum sucking into itself. …the good it can achieve is restricted by the boundaries of self-interest.”
“Instead of being motivated primarily by money, fame, or power, noble intention is love-based and flows from your heart. You come from a higher consciousness, and your intentions are simply an expression of the goodness within you.”
“Your intention, the initial stage of creativity, is an extension of your true Self. Because its accomplishments are the fruit of love, they bring about lasting good for your and for all concerned.”
She goes on to give examples of how Jesus taught noble intent. How prestige and affluence may result, but as they were not the motivating drivers, they are only positive and will not lead to attachment.
“…when others are blessed, the one who holds the intention is also blessed.”
“There is a difference between creating a goal and setting an intention. Goals originate in the human mind…”
“Willing an intention into being is just another form of the mind trying to be in control. A noble intention has to come from the heart…”
She goes on to explore this process in some detail. This is very important to understand. We are intending all the time, but often not consciously. Thus we are creating our world unconsciously. Becoming aware of the intention that underlies thoughts and feelings is a powerful way to gain insight and settle the drama and suffering. It is the seeds of a much happier and fulfilled life. A very noble intent.