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Intention as a Seed for Action

It takes action to make meaningful change in our lives. And in order to make change in the direction we’d prefer, we have to water the seeds of the actions we want to practice. It’s been said that without a cause there is no result. But what is the cause of action? What is the seed of action?

Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, “Thought is the seed of action.”

For some of us, if any and every thought leads to the seed of and action from that thought, it could be an unfortunate thing! I have had thought seeds I surely wouldn’t want to water and have them grow up into being real actions. You probably have too. I would venture to say we all have.

We have lots of thoughts of many kinds. In fact, our minds are continuously producing them without any help from us. We learn that well when we sit to meditate. It can feel like an avalanche of thoughts was unleashed as soon as we settled in. We have unintentional thoughts, but we can also direct our thoughts intentionally.

What is key is to recognize that actions that come from unintentional thoughts don’t always work out so well, unless we’ve cultivated really good habits of thought. Actions that come from intentional thoughts tend to be the kinds of actions that align more with our preferences and even our values.

What’s the use of intention without action? Or action without clear intention? Action without intention is like a ship without a caption. It’ll just be luck if it makes it to a safe harbor. Intention without action is a good first step, but doesn’t get us too far nor does it make an impact in our lives or the lives of others.

You may have heard the riddle that if there are three birds sitting on a fence and one decides to fly away, how many are left? Most people seem to quickly answer that there’s two birds left. But does just deciding to fly away make it happen? Just like deciding to get out and exercise more, or just deciding to be less reactive with a person you have difficulty with? It’s a good riddle for illustrating the fact that just deciding, or just setting an intention doesn’t insure follow through. It’s just a seed, and it may be a seed for something very beneficial. But a seed needs the right conditions and care to grow. And it needs to be watered regularly. Intention is surely a first step and a key factor. But action is where the rubber meets the road.

Intentions are also a wonderful and very useful way to check in on our actions. We can look back on our earlier intention and see how we’re doing, and see if we need a gentle course correction, or we could put some energy into renewing our intention. For example, when you first learned about mindfulness or the Mindful Life Program, did you have an intention for some kind of change? Were you looking to cultivate certain qualities, make a shift in how you live, or grow in some particular area? Were you looking to suffer a little less from an unruly and busy mind, or respond to challenges in your life in a healthier way? How can you water these intentions and have them lead to wise action and meaningful change?

Another useful way to look at intentions is with the lens of our values. Are our intentions aligned with our values? Or have we set some intentions to do some things or achieve some things that really, after some thoughtful reflection, don’t align when we really think about what a meaningful life is to us.

At the Mindful Life Program, we say often that a meaningful life is lived with attention and intention. Tied together with intention is attention. If we don’t cultivate attention, good luck staying focused on your intention, remembering it, and calling it to mind. Just as intention without action doesn’t get us far, having an intention, but not being able to attend to it, call it to mind, have the presence of mind to act on it also does not get us too far. One of the best ways to cultivate attention is shamatha or mindfulness of breath meditation, as it gives us practice in creating attentional balance and the ability to choose one thought over another.

I invite you to call to mind the aspirations, qualities or habits that you would like to develop in your life and choose one that you can take action on today. What action will plant a seed for that today? Set the intention to do what it takes to plant that seed today. Remember that while seeds are small, with good and regular care and conditions, they can become mighty. How can you take steps to nurture that seed today and over time?

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
Mahatma Gandhi

© 2016 Mindful Life Program Inc

Intention as a Seed for Action

It takes action to make meaningful change in our lives. And in order to make change in the direction we’d prefer, we have to water the seeds of the actions we want to practice. It’s been said that without a cause there is no result. But what is the cause of action? What is the seed of action?

Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, “Thought is the seed of action.”

For some of us, if any and every thought leads to the seed of and action from that thought, it could be an unfortunate thing! I have had thought seeds I surely wouldn’t want to water and have them grow up into being real actions. You probably have too. I would venture to say we all have.

We have lots of thoughts of many kinds. In fact, our minds are continuously producing them without any help from us. We learn that well when we sit to meditate. It can feel like an avalanche of thoughts was unleashed as soon as we settled in. We have unintentional thoughts, but we can also direct our thoughts intentionally.

What is key is to recognize that actions that come from unintentional thoughts don’t always work out so well, unless we’ve cultivated really good habits of thought. Actions that come from intentional thoughts tend to be the kinds of actions that align more with our preferences and even our values.

What’s the use of intention without action? Or action without clear intention? Action without intention is like a ship without a caption. It’ll just be luck if it makes it to a safe harbor. Intention without action is a good first step, but doesn’t get us too far nor does it make an impact in our lives or the lives of others.

You may have heard the riddle that if there are three birds sitting on a fence and one decides to fly away, how many are left? Most people seem to quickly answer that there’s two birds left. But does just deciding to fly away make it happen? Just like deciding to get out and exercise more, or just deciding to be less reactive with a person you have difficulty with? It’s a good riddle for illustrating the fact that just deciding, or just setting an intention doesn’t insure follow through. It’s just a seed, and it may be a seed for something very beneficial. But a seed needs the right conditions and care to grow. And it needs to be watered regularly. Intention is surely a first step and a key factor. But action is where the rubber meets the road.

Intentions are also a wonderful and very useful way to check in on our actions. We can look back on our earlier intention and see how we’re doing, and see if we need a gentle course correction, or we could put some energy into renewing our intention. For example, when you first learned about mindfulness or the Mindful Life Program, did you have an intention for some kind of change? Were you looking to cultivate certain qualities, make a shift in how you live, or grow in some particular area? Were you looking to suffer a little less from an unruly and busy mind, or respond to challenges in your life in a healthier way? How can you water these intentions and have them lead to wise action and meaningful change?

Another useful way to look at intentions is with the lens of our values. Are our intentions aligned with our values? Or have we set some intentions to do some things or achieve some things that really, after some thoughtful reflection, don’t align when we really think about what a meaningful life is to us.

At the Mindful Life Program, we say often that a meaningful life is lived with attention and intention. Tied together with intention is attention. If we don’t cultivate attention, good luck staying focused on your intention, remembering it, and calling it to mind. Just as intention without action doesn’t get us far, having an intention, but not being able to attend to it, call it to mind, have the presence of mind to act on it also does not get us too far. One of the best ways to cultivate attention is shamatha or mindfulness of breath meditation, as it gives us practice in creating attentional balance and the ability to choose one thought over another.

I invite you to call to mind the aspirations, qualities or habits that you would like to develop in your life and choose one that you can take action on today. What action will plant a seed for that today? Set the intention to do what it takes to plant that seed today. Remember that while seeds are small, with good and regular care and conditions, they can become mighty. How can you take steps to nurture that seed today and over time?

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
Mahatma Gandhi

© 2016 Mindful Life Program Inc

MLP Weekly Groups See Growth – February, 2016

We are excited to see the growth of weekly groups as a way to support you in sharing your growth in mindfulness in person with others. We now have groups in three locations and a new group for our new Mindfulness in Recovery Program.

Those in the Durango, Colorado area can now take part in a group hosted by MLP Certified Teachers Cindy Schmidt and Tecumseh Burnett. A guided meditation is followed by discussion and support for creating your own consistent practice. Bring your questions and insights for manifesting a mindful practice and way of life.

We also excited that our Melbourne cofounder Mark Molony has reconvened the Wisdom on Wednesdays group after a short break. This program supports individuals who have completed the MLP Foundations Course and are looking to continue to develop their practice. The group meets on a fortnightly (2 week) basis.  The group meditates together and shares insights into our individual daily meditation and mindfulness practices. Currently the group is reading B. Alan Wallace’s book “Minding Closely” and using the Mindful Life Community as a foundation for their daily intentional practices.

We are very excited to launch our new Mindfulness in Recovery program!  This has been a vision of our co-founder John Bruna for many years and it has now come to fruition. Drawing upon his 31 years in recovery, experience as a substance abuse counselor, educator, Buddhist monastic, and mindfulness teacher, we have integrated the tools and resources of our mindfulness community with specific meditations and resources for people in recovery. To learn more about the program and the weekly group, see our news article announcing the program or the webpage dedicated to this new offering.

Mindful Life Community News – February, 2016

Our Mindful Life Community (MLC) membership and vision is growing! Members have joined from many states across the US and from countries around the world. It is supporting both individuals and communities.

The Community resources are expanding and will soon begin to include specific resources for targeted communities such as teachers, therapists, and the recovery community. Currently we are growing the resources for the recovery community and will be adding specific resources for teachers shortly. We are very excited that the staff at two different public schools have chosen MLC as a way to support all their teachers and administrators.

Becoming a member is a great way to be introduced to and begin taking action to make meaningful change if you are new to mindfulness. We designed the Community so that whatever MLP course, workshop or retreat you attend, all of the invaluable tools and skills that you learn are reinforced and expanded by MLC and allow you to have the continuous support that helps you make meaningful change in your habits and your life. The community has been designed to provide daily ongoing support to include and elaborate on the four keys of living mindfully that are embodied in all of our teachings and trainings.

Members of the community receive daily mindfulness support by email with inspiration, teachings, activities and exercises that are specifically designed to support and reinforce the healthy habits of living mindfully and to make meaningful change. In addition to the emails, members have access to our meditation and mindfulness resource libraries, the opportunity to participate in conference calls three times a month, and access to meditate with the whole community via a live web stream at different times throughout the month.

When we began the community, the inspiration was to provide the precious resources and tools of mindfulness to those who normally would not have access to them, as well as to provide ongoing support for those who have already engaged in an MLP program. However, our vision has now grown beyond seeking to help just individuals as we see the value of how individuals making meaningful change can make our world a better place. Many of our members have commented to us how their practice has helped them counteract the harsh rhetoric and anger that can sometimes dominate our communities as well as social media. We’ve come to realize that, together, we can become a movement. A movement of compassion and mindfulness that counteracts the voices of hatred and division that have become so loud. Imagine millions of people all over the world absorbing their daily support email and engaging in mindful, meaningful activities that improve their lives and those they come in contact with. We encourage all of you to join us in this vision. Together, we are the difference we want to see the world! If you’re not currently a member, join now and tell a friend. Learn more here

 

Events

Men’s Recovery Retreat at Graymoor

8th Spiritual Life Retreat for Men in Recovery at Graymoor in Garrison, NY

John Bruna

“It is said that for meditation to be of value, the results must show in our daily lives.” (Pg 47, NA Basic Text)

“Emotional balance is one of the first results of meditation, and our experience bears this out.” (Pg 47, NA Basic Text)

“There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life.”  (Pg 98, 12 &12)

“The doors that open and close in our lives are not nearly as important as the person we are when we walk through them.”  John Bruna

Join us for our 8th retreat at Graymoor with John Bruna. This is a precious opportunity to step out of the busyness of life, reconnect to your deepest values, and develop the tools of meditation and prayer to support you in living a life of recovery you find truly meaningful. It is open to all men in recovery and all spiritual traditions and backgrounds.

The retreat is facilitated by John Bruna and will include meetings, meditation, talks, discussion, and reflection to deepen one’s personal spiritual practice in recovery.

This retreat is not run by John or an organization. It is organized each year by a dedicated group of men that value recovery and work selflessly to give men the opportunity to experience the healing setting of a retreat.

The retreat will be at the Retreat House of the Sister’s of Atonement at the bottom of the hill at Graymoor and is limited to 40 participants.

John Bruna has been in continuous recovery since 1984, had successful careers in addiction treatment and as an educator prior to spending over six years as an ordained Buddhist monastic. Grateful to have found recovery in the 12-steps and for all those that have carried the message helping him and countless others, John has dedicated his life helping others do the same.  He is known for his warmth, humor, and ability to make teachings practical and accessible. John is the author of The Wisdom of a Meaningful Life: The Essence of Mindfulness and The Essential Guidebook to Mindfulness in Recovery, and has presented at TEDx and conferences throughout the country. 


*This retreat is currently full. To be put on a waiting list, contact Bruce at 516-965-9928.

Dates: September 25 – 27, 2020 – Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.

Location: Graymoor Spiritual Life Center, 1350 Route 9, Garrison, NY, 10524

Cost: $250 – includes retreat, lodging, and food. There will be a donation basket for John’s facilitation

More information: Call Bruce Massaro (516) 965-9928. Join us for our next men’s retreat at Graymoor, in Garrision, NY