Intention is a powerful form of thought. Intention is the key to the ethical, moral, or kammic (karmic) dimension of experience. Observing our intentions we see how a thought leads into an action.
We do not live with a single intention that determines all our actions. Instead, intentions arise moment by moment and flavor the choices that we make. Reflect on a choice that you recently made, and identify the intention that seeded that decision. Was it based one of the three right intentions of renunciation, loving-kindness, and compassion, or one of the three wrong intentions of sensual desire, ill will, and cruelty? Was it rooted in the underlying tendencies of greed or non-greed, hate or non-hatred, delusion or non-delusion?
By observing our thoughts and intentions, we will see how we create the conditioning that we later live out. We create the patterns that we might later complain about. We participate in our own conditioning. As the Buddha said (Middle Length Discourses, M. 19.6) “Whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind.”
What do you frequently think about? What are the intentional roots of your most common thought patterns? What are you inclining your mind toward?
We all have the potential to uproot greed, hate, and delusion. We all have the potential to purify our minds. But we each must take responsibility for our own conditioning process. When your intentions are clear, you will have a deep confidence in your own trustworthiness. There will be a clarity and presence in everything that you do.
So notice, in each bodily movement, in each verbal utterance, in your rumination and thought processes……what is your intention? What are you cultivating?