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7-Week Zen Practice Period / The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
Week 5: "The Zen of Intention and Desire"
Listen to this talk:
Week 5: The Zen of Intention and Desire (32 min.)
Transcript of a talk delivered by Brother ChiSing
Awakening Heart (Community of Mindful Living)
December 5, 2010 - Dallas, Texas

Amitabha.

So tonight we will continue our seven-week series on the Spiritual Laws of Success. Tonight is the fifth law, the Law of Intention and Desire. So if you can put your palms together at the heart and repeat after me:
Inherent in every intention and desire
Is the mechanics for its fulfillment.
Intention and desire in the field of pure potentiality
Have infinite organizing power.
And when we introduce an intention
In the fertile ground of pure potentiality
We put this infinite organizing power to work for us.
There are some practices that Deepak Chopra offers to us to help us put this law into action in our lives. I'll just read the three practices. I hope that many of you, or most of you, or all of you have been keeping up with these practices every day and every week, and maybe reading the book, "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success," it's very helpful. But anyway, the three practices that Deepak Chopra offers are this:
I will make a list of all of my desires.
By the way, you might want to get a journal that you can keep with you to do this.
I will make a list of all my desires. I will carry this list with me wherever I go. I will look at this list before I go into my silence and meditation. I will look at it before I go to sleep at night. I will look at it after I wake up in the morning.
So that's the first practice. The second practice is:
I will release this list of my desires and surrender it to the womb of creation, trusting that when things don't seem to go my way, there is a reason, and that the cosmic plan has designs for me much grander than even those I have conceived.
So that's the second practice. They balance each other, you know. The third practice is:
I will remind myself to practice present moment awareness in all of my actions. I will refuse to allow obstacles to consume and dissipate the quality of my attention in the present moment. I will accept the present as it is, and manifest the future through my deepest, most cherished intentions and desires.
Well, there's a lot I could share with you tonight, so we'll see what I do share with you. So I think I'll start off with sharing with you something that I shared with another community a few months ago. This is a New Thought community and they emphasize the law of attraction and the power of intention and manifestation. So as I was meditating before the service, before I had to speak, three things came up to share with them. And it was three reasons to meditate for New Thought communities, those who are interested in manifestation and the law of attraction and things like that.

Well, The first reason why is that through meditation, the mind that makes the intention to manifest is a more powerful mind, and a more focused mind because of meditation. So, for instance, when you're doing your prayer, or your affirmations, or your intentions, or your spiritual mind treatment, for example, you know, maybe ten to fifty percent of you is saying "Okay, I am one with the universe, and I manifest wealth and abundance, and positive relationships, and health in my body," you know, you're doing that with one part of your mind, but then this other part of your mind is, "Okay, this is what I need to go to the grocery store and get, and, you know, oh, I'm just remembering, you know, I forgot to turn on the heat at home, or something, or, goodness gracious, you know, this reminds me of someone that did this thing to me ten years ago, or, you know, I wonder what I'm going to do like twenty years from now, you know, won't that be interesting." But anyway, so, your mind is not necessarily fully in the focusing and the intention, right? So I offered to them, well, through meditation practice, you can bring yourself more fully present in mind and body together, and when you do your practice of prayer or affirmation or spiritual mind treatment, I believe it can be much more powerful and effective because of meditation.

I remember several years ago, when I first realized this truth. I had actually learned about New Thought practices before I even started on Buddhist meditation practices. So I had already learned about these different things. I didn't necessarily practice it, but I learned about them. And then later on I learned meditation. So anyway, one day after doing silent meditation at home, this thought arose and bubbled up from within me, that said "Wouldn't it be nice to now do an intention affirmation or a spiritual mind treatment right after you've just had this deep meditation where you're really, really present, and see what happens?" So I did. So one of the things that I put into conscious intention at that moment was to live in a better place, with a roommate who meditates and likes to cook and clean, along with me of course!

And what's interesting is that very day, one of my friends or acquaintances that I had met a few months earlier, who lived in Los Angeles, she called me and said, "Hey, guess what, I'm moving to the San Francisco Bay area." At the time that's where I lived. "And I'm looking for a place to live and I have a friend who has a really beautiful house on the Oakland Hills with a view of the whole entire bay and you can see Golden Gate Bridge and it's just beautiful," and so I said, "Okay, I'll check it out with you," so anyway, a couple months later I lived in this beautiful giant house, three-story house, with a beautiful view of the Bay area, and my rent was only like $500 a month. It was amazing. Of course we had other roommates, but my main roommate was this friend who was also a meditator, which was how I knew her. So that was like amazing to me, that it manifested so quickly. So I was very grateful for that happening, in that moment, of that thought arising "Well, wouldn't it be interesting, I wonder what would happen if I did make an intention right after I did this deep meditation." So that was the first time I realized, "Oh. You need to combine the two," you know. "Not just only meditation or not just only prayer/affirmation spiritual mind treatment but both!" And when you combine them they're very powerful.

So the second thing I shared with their community a few months ago, besides that it will make your intentions more powerful, the second reason why to meditate is so that what you want to put into intention and manifestation will be of a purer kind. What I mean by that is through meditation practice over time, there's less and less of an attachment to ego desires, and more and more of an openness to universal desires or divine desires or enlightened desires, whatever you want to call it. So through meditation practice, then, instead of self centered ego kinds of intentions you are making, you know, that come from that place, you are more likely then to make intentions that come from a much more deeper place, a more enlightened place. Because, you know, the law of attraction and manifestation works, whether it's coming from ego or it's coming from deeper true nature, within yourself. So it works either way, but if you only manifest from ego, guess what? You'll get the things that you seem to want to manifest, but you'll get a lot of other things, too, which might sabotage, you know, yourself. It's kind of like those stories we hear, as children, you know, fables and other stories, where someone makes three wishes or something but they backfire, right? Yeah, it's like that. So we want to put out our intentions that are much more enlightened, much more coming from a place of wisdom and compassion, and our true nature.

The third reason why to meditate that I offered to that community was because once you manifest something, you want to be able to cope with the stress of your manifestation! I thought that was kind of funny. Because, for instance, this center first started from a meditation I did in January. So I was meditating, and suddenly a thought came bubbling forth from deep within, to inquire about this particular building, which had not been leased out in several months, and I thought, "Hm. I'll check into this. Because maybe this could be a meditation center." And, well, of course many months and years before that I had always had this intention and desire, but finally it looked like, okay, let's put some energy into this, making this happen, and there were just different things and different people that came into play to keep me on track, even though they actually ended up not even being a part of the center, but because they were, you know, they were there, encouraging me, you know when I was thinking, "Okay, if they're going to help me I'll do it," it just kept me going on this direction, of course they fell away, early on, and yet, okay, well, it seems like I still have to do this so I'll keep doing it, hoping that the funds will come through somehow, anyway, and so we're still here, manifesting.

But, through all those months, especially, you know, with this building being a mess, and having to tear down this wall over here and this wall over here to make this room, and to paint everything and to clean everything, it was very stressful. Very, very stressful for me. I wasn't used to this kind of thing at all. And, and so I just I was aware that my stress levels were higher than usual, and it was a little easier for me to be irritated, and, and things like that. So, but at least I had my mediation practice, which helped keep me from screaming every day, just every other day. It just, it was helpful, to keep me able to cope with the stress of my manifestations, right? So that's another reason why I gave to that community. Why meditate? Because when you do finally get your manifestation, it's not necessarily going to be without some stress. Because when you're dealing with physical reality, it has all of those components. You know, if you want to build a beautiful temple, it requires hard work and you have to organize everything, you know, so when you create a spiritual community, yes it's beautiful, yes it's joyful, yes it's light, but it has committees, and it has differences of opinion and it has things that need fixing and it has things that need to be cleaned, you know, so whenever we live in this physical reality everything we manifest always needs to be maintained and kept up and so it has that level of stress in it. But that's also is just part of this reality, and if we know how to work with it, you know, we can stay peaceful throughout.

So now those of us who are not just in the New Thought communities here, you know, what can we learn from this, also? Well, in the Buddhist teachings, we are offered the Noble Eightfold Path of liberation, enlightenment and true peace. And in this Eightfold Path of wisdom, ethics and meditation, the second of the Noble Eightfold Path is right thought or intention. I'm not going to go into all the details of that, but what right thought and right intention points to is an attitude toward our practice. In later Buddhism, in the Mahayana tradition, the word bodhichitta was used to describe this enlightened attitude toward our life and practice. Bodhi, which is the same root word for Buddha, enlightened, awakened. Bodhi means that, enlightened, awakened. Chitta refers to the heart, the mind, consciousness, or, in this case, attitude. So literally it means enlightened attitude. Now, it has various translations and one of the translations is awakened heart, awakened mind or awakening heart, which is how I translate it, which is what we are all about, the awakening heart, the enlightened mind, the enlightened attitude.

So what is this enlightened attitude? It is this enlightened attitude or intention to practice in solidarity with all beings. Our intention is to be completely liberated and free and peaceful and enlightened in order that we can be of more better service to others and be able to help all beings toward that same liberation. In fact, in the mythology of early Buddhism, the idea was that once you become enlightened, then you can rest forever. There's no more work to be done. It's bliss, peace, nirvana. Okay? But as Buddhism developed and became a little bit more sophisticated, looking at that same mythology it used that mythology and returned it to the original intention of the Buddha. Which is this: There's now the idea of instead of enlightenment just being final rest, that there's this other kind of enlightenment, a deeper kind, where when you are enlightened, instead of choosing to go into final rest, you choose to come back to this world, or any other world, over and over and over again without resting, until every single being reaches enlightenment, and then together enter into that eternal rest, if there is such a thing. I personally don't think there is. I think that the eternal rest is actually in each moment, and that you can be in that eternal rest even as you are in this world. That you can be in that eternal rest even as you are doing your work in serving others. So that's my idea, but I may not be correct. That's just how I would see it.

So what is your deepest desire ? What is your truest aspiration? What is your highest intention? To be on the path of enlightenment is to find the answer to that question, because that is the question that will determine everything else in our life. What we are truly living for affects everything we do and say and think and feel in our life. So find what it is, what that is and then let every other desire stem from that true, pure desire. Because if we're not living from that true, pure desire, then what we manifest around us in our lives, it's not yet fully enlightenment. It's not yet fully what it could be, the best that it could be. It's not yet the greatest happiness for yourself and others. So find out what is that true deepest highest desire, intention, aspiration. And then, when you find it, when you awaken to it, then that's when you keep on practicing, because then after that, everything in your life is about aligning all other desires, sub desires, smaller desires, with that one great desire.

In Buddhism, this is seen in three steps, so the first part of our spiritual journey is about basically sifting through these questions and these answers to find the great question and the great answer, and that's the second part of our journey, which is initial enlightenment. And of course initial enlightenment can come in small doses, and get bigger and bigger, sometimes it zaps people really big the first time, you know, you never can predict. But there is an opening, and a realization of true nature. And then after that the third part of the journey - you see, it doesn't stop there. You see, enlightenment isn't the end, you know. True enlightenment, anyway. It doesn't stop there. True enlightenment is to take that awakening and apply it and make it real in the real world, in this world. So the third part of the journey is, then, "Okay, now that you've awakened to this true nature, how does that apply in this human body, in these thoughts, in these feelings, with these memories, with these conditionings, how does it start to harmonize with all these things and to manifest through this particular personality type, these particular relationships, this particular job I have?" So that's - and of course, in a way that's the hardest part of the journey, isn't it? And I don't think it ever ends. I think it's eternal. You're always learning how to integrate and express and manifest and embody the truth.

One last thing I'll share with you about desire is like I said before - bodhichitta is the true desire, the true desire, the highest desire, the enlightened desire, the desire to be fully free, and help all beings along with yourself. That you're doing it in solidarity with all beings. So that's true desire, but there's other kinds of desires, too, and in the Buddhist teachings, one of the causes of suffering is desire. But not necessarily just desire, it's a kind of desire. It's obviously not bodhichitta desire, that doesn't - that's not the cause of suffering, that's the cause of great love, joy and peace. But what he means by this word desire is craving, attachment, obsessive-compulsive, grasping desire. It could be the kind of desire for those things that ultimately will not bring you happiness. To keep on desiring those things that won't bring you happiness, that causes suffering, right? Or to desire for certain things not to be in your life that they're going to be in your life, such as growing old, or sickness, from time to time, and eventually death. You can't avoid any of these things. So to desire not to experience them, that will cause you suffering. Because you're desiring something that goes against the nature of reality. You're desiring to push away reality. So the desire to push away reality, to push away our experience of reality, causes suffering. That's why one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Adyashanti, you know, at his retreats he puts this sign on the entranceway of every retreat, "Resistance is futile." You see, the desire to resist and push away, as well as the desire to cling to that which is not going to bring happiness, both of these are the same thing, just different. One's pulling toward and one's pushing away, but they're both based on the same delusional desire. You see? The first desire is delusional because it's trying to like bring to yourself things that aren't good for you, necessarily. And the second kind of desire is delusional too because it's the desire to push away those things that well, they're just part of reality. And sometimes, you see, we do need some unpleasant experiences in life. So we don't want to push everything away, because then we're pushing away our happiness and pushing away our enlightenment. Some things in life it's important to have some amount of unpleasantness, to have a truly liberated, happy, enlightened life.

Now, I want to say something along with what I just said, because some people might think, "Well, okay, then I need more unpleasantness." But it's not true. You will have enough unpleasantness in your life. Without seeking for more, it will definitely come. So you don't need to seek for more. You will have enough. I guarantee it. So just some unpleasantness in life, it helps us develop wisdom, it helps us develop compassion. It helps us develop character, discipline, strength. These are all good things because these are all the tools that we will need eventually when we become a fully enlightened Buddha to help other beings, you see. So they all have a place. All this yucky stuff just becomes compost and fertilizer for the garden of enlightenment.

As we are getting in touch with our truest, purest highest desire, and allowing all our other desires to align with that one true desire, we want to manifest that desire. And how do we do that? First, after we've meditated, we can then just gently plant the seed of our intention into the soil of consciousness. And then let it go. Just like I was saying before, in past weeks, you know, when you meditate you don't look for the results of meditation during the meditation. It's like planting your seed. And then you don't just dig it up and like, okay, is it sprouting yet? No, no. You just plant it and then you let it go. Trust that it's working. Same thing with this planting our intention into the soil of consciousness. And we do it lightly. We don't manipulate the universe. We just simply go to our deepest desire, see what other desires can stem from that that we want to manifest, and then just, we put that intention into that gentle spacious freedom of consciousness, and then curiously let it go, like with a childlike curiosity, like, "Oh, now what's going to happen?" You see? Instead of manipulating the universe, you just put your intention, and then just let it go. Let it go free.

So you have that intention, that thought. You create it carefully, mindfully. And then when you know which kind of thought or intention you want, or affirmation, then you create it mindfully and then you place it deep in your meditation, in your consciousness, throughout your daily mindful life, and then you also add some feeling to it, you know? Put some feeling to it. Really imagine that it's really happening, and how you would feel when it happens, and then just let yourself to experience that. And then, so thought, feeling, how about some speech? Maybe say it out loud, what the intention was. Say it with feeling and with joy and with peace. Activate it vibrationally. Maybe chant it. Thought, feeling speech, and then action. Physical action. And maybe that physical action will be to write down that intention, or type it up on a beautiful piece of paper and put it on your altar, or to make a collage, or to create a ritual, a physical ritual that you enact. So do some action that will make it tangible. If you do all of these steps, thought, feeling, speech and action, then the universe will know that you mean business, that it isn't just a random thought but it's a real thought, coming from your heart. And then the universe comes in and supports it, shines some light, sends some rain, and the seed begins to sprout.

I don't have time to share with you some other teachings, maybe I'll see if I can combine them with another talk the next week or two, but I also have some really interesting insights into the teachings of Jesus with the teachings of Buddha with the teachings of New Thought and the step by step process of manifestations that I saw, Wow! And also the Hindu teachings on the chakras, I saw how they all correlated. It was very interesting. The seven chakras with the five step process of spiritual mind treatment with each line of the Lord's Prayer, it was fascinating to see this kind of - yeah, they all corresponded to the same thing - it's a formula for how to manifest. So anyway, you see, when Jesus said "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," it's basically taking true spiritual intention and desire and making it manifest in the physical realm. That's all it is.

So what is our true desire? It can be expressed in many ways. One of the most beautiful ways I've learned that it can be expressed is simply in the word Amitabha.

Transcribed by Jennifer Jonnson

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