An Intentional Life

Do you know what you’re doing here? Seriously. Recently I listened to a Dhamma Talk by Thanissaro Bhikkhu on The Power of Intention. The talk is by a monk so it has some Buddhist terminology in it that may be confusing to some. It’s a short talk but it spoke volumes about how most of us go about our daily routines simply reacting to the stimuli the world provides. We then take those experiences and shape our view without giving much thought to them. This talk really gave me insight about how powerful our minds are. We have ultimate control over our actions. That’s a liberating concept to ponder when you feel like your life is spiraling out of control.

“Suffering is an inside job”. Gone are the days when you can simply blame others for your feelings. Pleasures for our sense bases is all around us. It’s up to you to figure out what’s worth clinging on to. Knowing the true nature of your habits and surroundings can equip you to handle certain situations better. It’s a growing dilemma in our communities to place blame on someone else. As a counselor I see this come up in sessions time and time again. People will replay the traumatic events that happened to them until they are paralyzed from moving forward. It’s a recurring scene that rarely gets better. When you are a passive recipient of life you start to feel like you have no control of your happiness. Your well being is left up to those around you and the environment you inhabit. That’s a dangerous place to be in.

Knowing that you have this much control can seem a little scary. After all, it puts your happiness solely in your hands. We tend to wait for things to happen to us in order to feel sensations of happiness. Looking for a compliment, promotion, or some sort of validation from that outside world that says “Hey you matter.” Words of affirmation are good and all, but you won’t get to the meat of your worth if you don’t believe it yourself.

Your mind shapes your experience. We can take what has happened to us and formulate our experience to being either pleasant or unpleasant. Without the proper mental training that meditation provides, we cling to experiences that cite invalid information about ourselves. The mind is ignorant of what is happening, and before you know it you end up in situations that you initially didn’t want to be in.
Live your life with a purpose. Have a goal and make steps towards that goal. Realizing that every ounce of energy you use is either working towards your goals or against it. Action. That’s what is missing from your practice. It’s not enough to philosophize about your plans for the future. If you want to live a life with intention, then it’s going to take some action to get you there. Being intentional doesn’t mean perfect. Part of the journey is making mistakes and learning from them. The key is putting that effort towards something you truly believe in. Pushing on a door with all of your might is wasted effort if the door says “pull”. Just something to think about as you continue your path. Good luck in bringing clarity to your awareness. Metta.

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