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..:: Intention ::..


Alan Schneider


             This essay will investigate the central role of intention in human consciousness and behavior.  This most pervasive phenomenon often floats at, or beneath, the surface of conscious recognition either in the fully unconscious region of the Psyche, or barely perceptible at the threshold of awareness.    Why is this?  Because we so very frequently do not wish to know or admit what motivates us in living our lives, and this out of sham and remorse – the real quality of intention is often far from laudable, noble, and graceful.  

            Intention is the wished for or expected outcome connected with a course of action or behavior, customarily on the Physical Plane, but this quality can also be manifest on the Astral, Mental, and even higher Planes.   Because intention is closely linked to our self esteem and ego issues (and represents a disparagement threat for that reason), we have a vested interest in portraying our motives for belief and behavior in the loftiest terms, idealizing them as much as is possible for the benefit of our own, and other’s, perception.   The true state of affairs is, however, generally much less salutatory than we would prefer to admit, occurring as it does in the context of the fallacious concerns of the social fiction of the ego and its interpretations that we so regularly take for realities. 

            A good case in point for the introductory remarks here is the synopsis of the well-known Freudian defense mechanisms.   These are all designed of, by, and for the ego to protect it from the self-recognition of the real intentions behind its perceptions, motivations, and subsequent behaviors.   A comprehensive listing of these psychological devices would fill volumes, but a couple of examples given here will suffice to demonstrate my point.  First, let us consider the defense mechanism known as projection.   In this socially enacted process, the protagonist recognizes – and usually criticizes – certain overtly negative qualities in another that, in fact, are personally present within him or her as well.   In extreme cases, the external subjects of the projection may literally not exhibit the identified quality at all, yet the compulsion of the protagonist will cause insistence that it is there, and this is customarily accompanied by vehement denial that it is present in the protagonist’s behavior or mental processes.   The identification of fault in others is often an effective way to conceal it in ourselves, by focusing the attention and scrutiny of the social group away from us personally.   But, the primary benefit of this mechanism is the protection of the fragile ego from the inherent disparagement of the recognition of its own flaws.  

            Another good example is the defense mechanism of sublimation.  This is a somewhat less personally toxic psychological strategy than is projection, because it tends, with notable exceptions, to be significantly less potentially dangerous personally and socially.   In the realm of physical processes, a substance is said to sublime when it passes directly from the solid phase of manifestation into the gaseous phase without passing through the customarily seen liquid phase in the interval.   In Freudian psychodynamics, the implication here is that some type of overt behavior or perception is really a rarified (“gaseous”) expression of another, more basal (“solid”) phenomenon, with no evident intermediate (“liquid”) state demonstrated.   The classical example here is that of religious expression being the rarified and idealized expression of sexual motives without any apparently sexual content being present.   The give away in this case is the quality of religious ecstasy so often seen in the devout fundamentalist, who cannot accept any form of literal sexual orientation – the ecstasy itself is the sublimed result of the natural sexual interest which is denied an appropriately structured outlet – the liquid orgasm.    It is of note here that the practice of Tantra will use the sexual energy of orgasm to produce the higher stage of spiritual ecstasy through various techniques, without denying the original sexual content in the process.  

            The third (and, for the purposes of this essay, last) example I will use is that of rationalization.   In this case, when the ego is subjected to what is really a significant disappointment, a series of “rational” reasons why it this supposedly not of great importance is retroactively constructed by the ego to relieve the disparagement involved.   “Oh, I really didn’t want that promotion that much anyway”, or “He/she obviously had poor taste in rejecting me for a social/intimate partner”, or “I simply couldn’t prepare for the test because it conflicted with my social priorities” are all examples of the use of rationalization to one extent or another.   

            From the spiritual perspective, the only valid intention for any internal or external action is the performance of Dharma – sacred duty and entitlement – because this enhances the process of Self Realization and brings us closer to God.   When Dharma is served by our thoughts, words, and deeds, the specific nature of those three manifestations is secondary.   Because the ego is positioned within the Psyche at the most extreme distance from the Self, its concerns are necessarily in conflict with the motive of Self Realization on almost every occasion, and are fallen therefore.   This is why the aforementioned defense mechanisms are so harmful – they attempt to protect what should be acknowledged as not only fallen, but literally non-existent as a social fiction – one that prevents the perception of the Self as the most real and positive condition in the Psyche.   And the Freudian defense mechanisms are not the only destructive aspects of intention gone awry, they are simply the best known ones.   If we do not learn to frankly admit to our motives for perception, belief, and action as the first phase of spiritual growth and development, we will be subconsciously controlled by them with potentially disastrous results – all of the most lamentable events of human history are the direct result of our failure to recognize our flaws and work to release them through Self Realization.  

            This practice is, of course, excruciatingly uncomfortable in its initial phases, and tends to continue to be so thereafter, for that matter, until the need to justify our actions and existence is supplanted with the comprehension that only the Self is ultimately real, and we are real only as spiritual expressions of that Self – as Souls temporarily embodied in biological vehicles for the consummation of Karma.   In Buddhist and Yogic theory, this process of awakening can take myriad lifetimes to unfold, with many sufferings born of unenlightened ignorance encountered in the interval.   For the ego to accept its non-existence is tantamount to death – the most feared human process of all – and this is nonetheless required to fully experience the Self as the Truth of Consciousness.                           

            Pure intention is the gateway to Enlightenment, the Soul, Compassion, and the Self, but, how is this to be attained?   By learning the oh-so-hard way that all of our personal machinations are exercises in futility that only serve to waste our precious time during incarnation – particularly when we appear to be succeeding at them!   As far as I know this is the one spiritual gradient that can only be overcome by trial and error, and for which no mode of training or instruction is wholly adequate preparation.   The ego is a natural part of our human psychological apparatus, however errant, and acquiring the understanding at the level of the Heart – which is beyond all other modes of  comprehension – that it and, therefore we, do not really exist is the most difficult, challenging lesson of all the Karmas.   

            It can be asked: if we and nothing that the ego shows us, exists, then, what does really exist, and how can it be experienced.   What is the Self, and how is it known or knowable from the human perspective?  Once the pure intention is established within consciousness and the Psyche to Seek the Truth (as personified by the Self), then we can make progress spiritually, regardless of how many other competing intentions are present – these will all eventually fall away as we work with compassion in the Heart, and learn to utilize the higher Centers beyond to attain Enlightenment.   The first heightened perception that begins to manifest in consciousness in this process is that of the collective experience of the Soul – we are all bound together to a great extent at this level of Being and becoming, although it frequently manifests initially as a personal expression.   This is the root of psychic experience and the extra-sensory perception that defies logical, scientific explanation.   The observation that only the Self is Real is quite literally true, with the caveat that we must first attain that level of understanding by negating all other perceptions as false.   The linear logic of the ego and Physical Plane must at least be set aside for the interval of investigation so that the many apparent logical inconsistencies present on the higher Planes of Expression can be worked with sufficiently to gain an understanding of their higher logical form.  

            This might be called quadratic logic, or multidimensional logic perhaps, or even cosmic logic.  To a certain extent science itself supports such exotic logics – the mathematical foundation that postulates eleven-dimensional cosmic string theory, with the first three of length, width, and depth, being augmented by a hypothetical fourth of temporal duration, time, and the remaining eight dimensions composing reality “wound up” and concealed from human perception in that fourth dimension of time – is an example of such scientific validation.   The math says it must be this way, but we cannot experience it this way with our primitive brains and physical receptor apparatus.   At present, the only way for a human being to even partially experience the additional dimensions of reality is to go within and meditate to release the ego perception and attendant restrictive linear logic of the physical senses and sensory experience.  

            When this is successfully attempted, the additional dimensions are revealed initially as archetypal symbols present in the Jungian collective unconscious.   Even though we cannot really literally perceive the additional dimensions – or archetypes, in Jungian psychological terminology – we can perceive their symbolic resultants.   These, in turn, emerge from the Self at the absolute threshold of experience and manifestation beyond which we simply cannot know or perceive anything under any circumstances – the primitive stage of our evolution will permit us to journey no further.   The Self is the Primary Archetypal Symbol – the Creator, the Brahman, the Logos.  

             Thus, as we learn to set aside our personal concerns in favor of the universal concerns of spirituality, and allow our lives to be guided by Dharma instead of desire, we can know as much of the Truth as is humanly possible, live this Truth as we lead by spiritual example, and offer it to each other along the Path.   All of this is enabled by pure intention, and disabled by denial (another, particularly destructive, Freudian defense mechanism) and selfish actions.   Action by itself is not capable of creating more Karma for the Soul – this requires coupling with negative, impure intension as the motivator of that action.   Action resulting from Dharma not only does not create more Karma, it releases it through positive works and compassion.   Dharma is the Soul’s Path back to God, who birthed it in Love as a separate Vibration of Consciousness radiating forth from the Self.  


                                                                                 - With Love, Alan -

                                                               (Copyright 2009, by Alan Schneider)


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