We have learned how to do things by thinking . . . and thinking can be a good tool. It’s not the whole tool set. When all you have is a hammer every problem tends to look like a nail. We think, choose and act–well, sometimes. A lot of the time we just think and then think some more. Perhaps even more problematic is that what we call thought is often just a set of random associations based on the big thing we call fear, its smaller brother anxiety, then there are the cousins inertia and insecurity.
Practice differs from thought – it is practice in being and doing. There is a place for thinking and analysis but there is another area that is very important in our training, development, and ability to do things – the cultivation of this area requires practice.
I would call this the area of “intent”. Other related terms are will, commitment, focus, and spirit – the Chinese “Chi”. Intent can cut through thought with both power and speed. “I”s can be cultivated. When people really want to develop or make something happen it is always there – it is not often spoken of.
Intent begins with the ability to wish. You got to want it and you got to want it bad. We can look at what we really want – then we can cultivate our intent.
Intent and spirit are not something we can understand. They are forces. They don’t seem to increase when we understand or think about them. They do from practice. They grow through focus and attention. The cultivation of intent is a legacy in both the Zen and Fourth Way traditions. Intent can be taught and cultivated. Working in a group, or Sangha, can make efforts stronger. It’s not really taught in words. These words I’m writing are a song about intent.
Intent is a gift we all posses. A lost coin.
Intent is not in the realm of thought and not to be understood.
Photo by JK***