Tuesday, 26 January 2010

What matters more: intention or action?

This morning I got to spend a few minutes in meditation, a practice I have neglected of late -- need to fix that.

I wanted to start out with a message or thought of inspiration, so after I lit a candle, I opened my Reform Suddur (prayer book) and randomly read from the inspirational passages. One immediately caught my eye -- actually, just the first couple of lines of it...

It said (and I am paraphrasing, because I don't have the book in front of me now)

The heart must feel the effort long before the legs begin to tire.

I stopped, and re-read it...several times. The phrase "begin with the end in mind" came into my thoughts, a snippet from the many Covey classes I've attended. And I put those two quote together and I thought about how there are, or at least should be, three parts to a deliberate act...

1) The mind. The idea, the decision, the plan.
2) The heart. The commitment. The feeling that one will carry out the idea. The emotions. The soul of our actions.
3) The body. The physical component. The doing. The moving.

I think I get into trouble in my life when I forget to engage all three. For instance, I may "decide" to do something. It could be big like changing my lifestyle or applying for a better job or small like making sure the washer and dryer are empty before bedtime.

And then I jump into action. Doing. And after awhile, the effort falls off. I tire of doing whatever it is, and abandon the plan. Why? I left out the heart, the commitment.

Or I commit to do something without thinking it through, but the effort I make fails or misses the mark. Why? I forgot to engage the mind, to begin with that goal clearly in my mind.

And then there are the times when I think of something, and commit to that something, but fail to act. Without that third component, nothing happens...it becomes just "wishful thinking." Daydreaming.

Finally, there is the jumping into action before I either think it through or commit to acting. And while we can also "overthink" things and mess up that way, not thinking at all seems to be an even greater problem for most of us.


I finished my meditation with a visualization of the energy in my body flowing from my head (mind), into my heart, and out into my legs and arms (action) and then looping around again. And I felt calmer and better than I have in weeks.

I never got beyond those two lines in my reading, never touched on official prayers. But that's all okay. Inspiration doesn't need a certain length of words or the repetition of "official prayers." I just need to sit and listen.

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