Intention and Manifestation

The Power of Intention

by Jayaram V

Intention literally means having some idea, plan, or a purpose to do something or achieve something. Loosely translated, it means motive, purpose, goal, plan, aim or target. Intention in Sanskrit is called Samkalpa, literally meaning what you create in your mind with will, desire or imagination. Intention is more than a mere thought. It is a thought caused by desire and moved by the will in the direction of a specific purpose or goal. Intentions are vital to our success and survival in the world. In more elaborate schemes, intentions become strategies. Intentions are an important aspect of human intelligence and largely responsible for the diversity in human behavior and interpersonal relationships.

Intention and karma

Many people do not know or do not pay attention to the fact that karma begins with intentions. An action or thought becomes good or bad from a karmic perspective because of intentions. We cannot discern the character of people simply based upon their outward actions. We have to fathom their intentions and hidden agendas concealed behind the masks they wear.

As part of our growing and learning we are conditioned to display socially approved norms of behavior. A person may appear to engage in helpful, kind and compassionate actions but he may be motivated by some selfish causes. A person may show anger and dissatisfaction towards another but behind that negative behavior may be hidden a good intention. We should therefore avoid rushing into judgment simply by the outward actions of a person we may know. We have to fathom that person's real motives which may not be easily apparent or the underlying intentions.

A friend of mine who worked for a large bank and was entrusted with the responsibility of approving loans to small businesses once told me that when people approached him with with an application for a loan he would try to study them through observation. He would especially pay attention to their nonverbal behavior to fathom their hidden intentions and ulterior motives. If he felt that the case was genuine, he would process the application. Otherwise, he would ask for additional information or make further investigation. By this method he said he was able to weed out many doubtful proposals.

Anyone can practice this method with persistence and develop an intuitive insight into people's hidden intentions and agendas. It would save them a ton of trouble. He was certain that his method helped him to avoid deceptive people and troubling relationships both in his personal and professional life.

Our intentions are important not only in our relationships and dealings with others but also in our personal lives. They set in motion a chain reaction and manifest our reality and even our destinies. They ignite our passions and emotions, fuel our dreams and aspirations and largely influence our goals and actions. Therefore, it is greatly helpful to know about them and make use of them. In the following paragraphs, we will analyze some important aspects of intentions.

Types of intention

Intention has its own power. An intention is either conscious or subconscious. We may know about it in advance, or we may not even know it at all.

Most intentions are forgotten once they were created. They remain hidden somewhere within the subconscious mind and continue to influence our thoughts and actions.

When we see some unexpected events unfolding in our lives because of them, we attribute their cause to some external entity or unrelated situation. In truth it was our intention or intentions that were forgotten, buried or modified in the first place which would have manifested the unexpected reality.

Depending upon the nature of intentions we may divide them basically into good and evil. For example, a good intention is the intention to help others or improve oneself. Examples of bad intentions are the intention to hurt and harm others, the intention to deceive or mislead, or the intention to take what does not belong to oneself.

When intentions persist they become latent impressions (samskaras) and form the seed for the next life.

Intention in spiritual life

Intention (Samkalpa) is an important aspect of spiritual practice in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. The Vedas acknowledge the right intention as the basis of good karma and liberation. The Buddha considered the right intention (sama Samkalpa) an important practice on the Eightfold Path. He identified the threefold aspect of right intention: "the intention of renunciation, the intention of good will, and the intention of harmlessness."

Corresponding to these three intentions are the opposite intentions, namely "the intention governed by desire, the intention governed by ill will, and the intention governed by harmfulness." Right intention is the basis for right thinking and right actions.

Right intention also plays an important role in overcoming the evil qualities such as lust, greed, pride, etc. The highest of all intentions is the intention of liberation of which the intention of renunciation, detachment, cultivating virtue and suppressing the mental modifications are part.

Intention and manifestation

Every thought that we send out into the universe comes back to us with renewed energy of its own kind. When negative thoughts go out of our minds, we receive them back with amplified energy.

Positive thoughts on the other hand bring in positive energy and energize us, establishing in the process peace and harmony in our consciousness. Positive actions bring in positive rewards and negative actions result in negative consequences.

We do not always create our intentions consciously. We may harbor some of them subconsciously because of some events in the past. They can be known only through deep introspection. Whether they are hidden or known, intentions shape our lives.

Knowingly or unknowingly, willingly or unwillingly we let things happen, first through our intention, then through our thoughts and beliefs and finally through the force of action and attention. In our little microcosms we are masters of our fate and creators of our individual destinies.

Through our actions and thoughts we constantly create ripple effects in the world around us and manifest our own realities. Whatever we give comes back to us. Because we are all interconnected, what we all do collectively through our thoughts and action also affects us collectively. We should therefore be very careful about what we do or intend to do in our lives.

People blame others for the negative situations that happen to them. They do not accept responsibility for what they think and wish. If you send out thoughts of ill will to others, even if you do not indulge in harmful actions, you will suffer from increased adversity and negativity.

You should, therefore, avoid thinking of harming and hurting other people or wish them misfortune. When you are going through a difficult situation, it is better to look for causes within rather than blame others because most likely the starting point of that difficult phase may be some negative thought or intention you harbored.

When you accept responsibility for the events of your life, and look for causes within yourself, you may become aware of the thought process that might have set in motion a chain reaction.

The cure for adversity and suffering is cultivating a positive frame of mind with right thinking and right intentions. The intention to help others, the intention to purify yourself and the intention to transcend your lower nature are some of the best solutions to overcome negativity and adversity in your life.

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