Updated: Aug 15
Intention and Mindfulness
All things begin with intention. Everything we say and do is first preceded by the intention to say or do that thing. Mindfulness is no exception. It is the intention to be mindful, along with the momentum of past moments of mindfulness, that allow mindfulness to come into existence. When we are lost in thought while meditating and then we wake up, it is our intention to be mindful during the meditation period that supports the mindfulness to arise and suddenly become aware that thinking is happening.
The intention to be mindful does not always bear fruit right away. For instance, you may form the intention to be mindful when you reach for the door knob to leave for work in the morning. You may or may not remember (Sati) to be fully present for that moment. Even if you aren't, because you’ve set the intention, at some point you will remember that you didn’t remember to be present when you reached for the door knob. The intention bore fruit, just not right away.
This idea that intention supports mindfulness holds true in the momentary example above, but is also true for our mindfulness practice at large. Every time we form the intention to be mindful, it will come to fruition at some point. We don’t know when, but we can trust that it will. This is why it is so important not to judge our meditation practice in any way. Just because we may have not been present very much for a certain practice period, it doesn’t mean that all the moments of intending to be mindful were lost. They will still manifest in moments of mindfulness in the future when the conditions are supportive.
So the practice is much more about patience and perseverance than looking at any one meditation period or day in our life. We simply keep with the practice of intending to be mindful and then leave the rest to the natural unfolding of the Dharma. We can’t know exactly how, and in what time, it will unfold. But we can trust that if we just keep going, our practice will bear fruit. This is not a fanciful wish, it is lawful.