Wednesday, March 19, 2014
We are told that we should have an intention in our work; and that intention is a conscious force. Yet exactly what does it mean to have an intention?
There is only one kind of intention, in the gross sense of the word, that one can have, and that is towards the good. Mankind is created in the middle Kingdom, poised between good and evil, and it is the intention of God and all the creative forces in the universe for him to choose the good.
Intention is a choice for the good. The idea is to inwardly tend.
In real inner work, one cannot intend to have things, or get something, or do so and so. These are all material actions directed at the outer world; and above all, an inward tendency, and in tension, means that within oneself, one must exercise discrimination and tend towards the good. To have attention means, in an overall sense, to not allow outward intentions to be one's center of gravity.
The question is an important one, because in discussing the idea of seeing, and being objective, it's often said that we should just see and not judge, that we should not discriminate — at least, that's the implication. Yet in the end, this is foolishness; for what good man, with a good heart, could watch evil and not intend against it? What good man cannot judge against evil, when he encounters it and sees it manifesting? If there were such a man, we wouldn't call him spiritual; we would fault him, as well we should.
Meister Eckhart has a few important things to say about the matter of discrimination in sermon 52. We ought to attend to his words carefully, for they are well chosen. In point of fact, the entire passage relates directly to Gurdjieff's teachings on impressions, and how they feed Being. The very idea that any old impression is good for the soul is an absurdity.
I think the point is, we are supposed to inwardly tend towards the good, to instinctively sense what is right, and to go in that direction — not to just accept everything as equal, and somehow unimportant. With my whole Being I reject such a proposition, and assert that the whole point of intention is choice—to go towards the good. Why else have choice? Why else have discrimination? There is no point to an intention that does not tend — that is, take a direction — and care for.
So we want to take a direction in life, and we want that direction to care for life, to care for goodness, to care for others, and for love. Do we truly see how we betray that in most instances? Even the greatest of souls has this weakness, and struggles with it. It's in the nature of what we are.