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Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Quotes about Intention

Ego’s Intention is Separate from Natural Forces

Intention: Ego can intend, and can act according to intention. However, because of the presence of unmetabolized experience, ego’s intention is separate from natural forces. The intention of ego is a sign of its separateness from the realm of Being. Realizing the will aspect of Essence makes this rather subtle point clear; one sees that when ego intends and acts real will is usually blocked. For the Personal Essence, on the other hand, intention has a different meaning. It is related to the integration of essential will. When this happens one realizes that one’s actions must be in harmony with all natural forces, even on the level of Being; otherwise there is a splitting from Being, and an incorrect action will result. So instead of intention one experiences a spontaneous flow of intelligent and purposeful action, realizing that Being flows through one, as one, and it is the flow that determines one’s life, action, interests, creativity and so on. Students who have only partially integrated the Personal Essence become aware of this reality. So there is nothing in Being that is similar to the function of intention of ego. One is so integrated into reality that it is reality that is the source of one’s actions. As the Personal Essence, one becomes the spearhead of reality. Reality acts through one by one being the individual manifestation of it. In religious language this is called surrender to God’s will, or flowing with the Tao.

Looking Deeply at the Personality Functioning in the Body

If you look deeply at the personality functioning in the body, beyond the verbal level in your awareness, and if you’re not actively acting from your frustration, you can see these stands of contractions. If you feel this very deeply, and let the tension relax without identifying, the big thick contraction dissolves and you see the very thin strands of what we call the negative merging affect itself. They are like lines, like nerves that still have a contraction, a dryness in them. And when you reach that place, you can begin to understand the activity of the personality. You will see that the moment there is some impulse in you, an intention to react, even to act to pay attention to something, you feel these strands of contraction and the effect of them. You’ll feel first of all that your breathing becomes more intentional, rather than spontaneous. You’ll feel that your muscles start to become tense. The action of the personality is simply those strands getting squeezed together to make a big, thick strand of tension. This is what you feel as will, as determination. This determination is a springboard for your action. The personality cannot act unless all of these strands are massed together to move from. Without that, there is nothing. There is an emptiness you can’t jump from.

Mutual Intention in a Real Relationship

A real relationship is based on real relating, where each person is as present as possible, with the mutual intention to be open to one another. The more present and open we are, and the more we have real contact—true connection —the stronger the possibility of real relating will be. The less we define the other or ourselves through past experiences and personal history, the more our actions and responses will be based on what is present or needed in the moment, and the more the relationship will be an expression of the new revealing itself through the relational field. This means too that we need to see the other as a person who is a universe of experience, who has knowledge, wisdom, sensitivity, experience, and a set of skills unique to him or her.

Our Intention in Doing this Work

Our intention in doing this work is not to make our lives comfortable. Having a comfortable, idyllic life is possible, but we don’t need the work for it. The work we do is for individuals who want to see their true nature, who want to see the intrinsic value of their life. If you want to be real and to live a life that has value of its own, that has significance independent of society or external pressures, then the work is for you. Neither this path nor any other spiritual work aims to provide students with a nice life. There’s nothing wrong with having a nice life, but it’s not the purpose of the work. If you want the truth, if you want to be real, if you want to live a real life, then the work can speak to you. Being real and having a real life might not feel comfortable and ideal a lot of the time. But then you need to make your choice. What do you want, truth or comfort? Although the truth is not intrinsically contrary to feeling good or being comfortable, sometimes, because of our personal history, the truth comes with pain and difficulty.

Practice without Intention

During the course of engaging the spiritual path, it is difficult to practice without a goal and without motivation. But as the practice becomes subtler and deeper, we realize that intention is not necessary, a goal is not necessary, motive is not necessary. Not only are they not necessary, but if they remain, they will obstruct the arising of reality. Recognizing the ways in which our practice is limited by our aims reveals further subtleties of practice. In this teaching, we come to understand, especially in the nondoing practice, that we don’t want to do anything to our experience. It is not only that we don’t orient toward some goal but also that we don’t act on that orientation. To do something to our experience means that we have some idea or hope or desire for something different to happen. We don’t want to do anything to our experience because our true nature is presence, is Being. Being doesn’t do anything to itself—it simply is. So when we recognize that our nature simply is, that our nature doesn’t divide itself such that something does something to another part of itself, we see that to take the position of doing anything to ourselves in order to get someplace contradicts our true nature. When we recognize that contradiction, we see the folly and the misalignment of our normal sense of doing.

The Intention of the Superego

As we deal with the superego, we learn that the intention of this major coercive agent within us is to try to direct our experience. Basically, the superego is trying to make you feel one thing and not another: “This is acceptable; that is not acceptable. This is okay; that is not okay.” But the superego can manifest not only in the form of attacks, but also as positive feedback: a pat on the back, pride in your accomplishments, self-congratulation, or a little bit of ego inflation. What’s important to remember is that all inputs by the superego are secondary components—reactions within the event horizon. The main event is what’s really happening. If I’m authentically in a condition of realization, why do I need to pat myself on the back? Who’s doing that? If I’m feeling proud, who’s proud? If I’m getting inflated, what does that mean? What it really means is that I’m going beyond the center and traveling again to the periphery. So we need to defend ourselves even against so-called positive internal commentary

The Orientation of Inquiry

The orientation of inquiry is to inquire into your experience as it happens. As we do that, we notice an optimizing force that leads us to our true self. However, we also notice that the true self doesn’t say, “I want you to go toward your true self.” The true self does not operate with that intention. So we do not work with that intention; instead we want to harmonize ourselves with the true self, which is goalless, endless. This is very tricky. You can always say, “The true self is pure awareness, so let’s develop awareness.” Or you can say, “The true self is lovingness; let’s develop love.” The true self means no blockages, so you can say, “Let’s work on blockages.” Many teachings do exactly that, but the true self does not say any of these things. The true self never tries to make anything happen. It does not have a particular position. It embodies an attitude of complete allowing and freedom: Whatever arises is fine. The true self will just guide you toward understanding your experience, appreciating it, and moving on. Finding your true self is a good thing, but there are many ways of going about it. In the Diamond Approach, we don’t look for it; it happens as a natural consequence of our inquiry. If you trust the process of following your thread, the optimizing dynamism will manifest whatever is supposed to happen. You do not even need to have the concept of true self. The true self may arise, but you might not even call it the true self. Because if you say, “Let’s look for the true self,” you create a concept, which then becomes an ideal and a goal. This is the beginning of developing a spiritual superego, which uses spiritual ideals to evaluate you, but is a superego nonetheless, and then you are back where you started—at the same impasse.

The Tension Needed for the Ego to Take Action

The feeling of negative merging or the tiny strands of contraction are felt as harshness, as if there were sand on the nerves, a prickliness. That is the contraction when it is felt on the deepest level, and is not covered by the level which is felt as a smoothing out or as dullness. And the moment you want to do something, the moment there is the slightest ego intention, the subtlest activity, it brings these tiny strands together, increasing the tension, compacting them. As they are compacted, more of that contraction results. So after a while you have a big tension somewhere in your body, and from this you react. Without this tension, you cannot take any ego action. This is because there is actually nothing underneath the ego. So the ego has to amass this contraction in order to take action. The solid contraction is a springboard for the activity of ego. This is where you come from when you act from personality: a solidification and intensification of the contraction that is already there. This is why the ego cannot take an action of any sort that we could call surrender or letting go or acceptance.

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