“If a man going down into a river, swollen and swiftly flowing, is carried away by the current — how can he help others across?” ~Buddha
I’ve chosen this week’s quote in preparation for the Week of Mindfulness hosted by the Living+ community on Google+ with which I am directly involved as an ‘expert’ (though I’d really consider myself more of a student and seeker). I’ll be a part of a Hangout on Air (a live web broadcast) focused on intention and mindfulness this Monday, the 19th hosted by Mallika Chopra from The Chopra Well. Click here if you are interested in attending!
The importance of intention
This quote is taken from The Sutta Nipata, and admittedly I am taking it a bit out of context from the full passage. However, I think all of the Buddha’s words can be applied in many ways to his overall message and the core of the Dhamma. As such, let’s look at these words in terms of intention (as the second fold of the Noble Eightfold Path is Right Intention).
Everyone has heard the phrase, “Go with the flow.” It means don’t swim upstream, accept what is, live in the now, but can it also mean don’t try to change, don’t resist the powers that be, don’t branch out? Depends on your perspective. Depends on your intention.
You see, the Buddha taught that we cannot simply go with the flow. In fact, we already do that most of the time; we get swept up in all of our attachment, pain, and unconscious thoughts. We let the current of suffering take us.
So rather than going with the flow, we must accept and observe the flow. And we can only do this through intention and effort. We must intend to be mindful so that we may see if letting the current take us is the most skillful thing to do. Only then can we help ourselves and subsequently, others.
I will speak to this at greater length in the coming week. Wishing you a mindful, productive, and restful weekend!
By Terence Stone
Chief Editor and Founder of Urban Spiritual, I’m a classically trained singer and actor living in New York City, who has performed in the U.S. and Europe. I’m also a writer, traveller, meditator, arts-lover, and well-being enthusiast.