Monday, October 23, 2006

Can Intentionality Become Contrived?

A person said to us today: Wow, it sounds like you're trying to live very intentionally. And I thought about it for a few seconds before I said that yes, we are.

I wondered how she processed that word: intentional. For me, it means living by conscience, not convenience...taking the less-traveled road...on purpose. Not that we always do this, but it's something we have strived for. But I could also see it sounding kind of contrived...too on purpose or something.

It caused me to recall that Taoist phrase Wai Wu Wai...uncontrived living. Do; don't do. Attain goodness by not grasping for it.

And I thought, Perhaps intentionality can act as teacher so that we will learn to live naturally in this enlightened state. That is, it is not our end goal to live by any regimen...but at times it can be very useful to commit to some intentionality to help us re-center our core. What, after all, is at our core but values often created by our behaviors and life-patterns?

I stood in line at the supermarket and saw a lane open up. I walked over to that lane and asked an elderly woman in front of me if she wanted to go ahead of me. I did not think about it. I just did it. It was mere reaction to my situation. I'm not trying to toot my own horn here...I'm just saying that it was natural...not intentional, per se. But that natural response was trained at some point.

So I think there is great value in intentionality...for the sake of training and re-calibrating how we understand our world.

Perhaps today it is recycling and composting as much of my trash as possible...so that someday I will understand this world is not our trashbin and that you can live life without so much disposable stuff. Or perhaps I'll attempt 15 minutes of prayer and meditation at the beginning and end of each day...so that someday it will be a part of my daily fabric.

1 comment:

growing up in neverland said...

dude, that's crazy. today, i was leaving the place where i got lunch, and walked out to my car and was about to get in, and noticed this red truck next to my car that had its lights on. i thought "man, i don't wanna walk all the way back in there and feel like a dork and try and get everyone's attention to tell them that someone left their lights on..." but i did it anyway. i thought "no, i'm gonna force myself to do this even thought it's not convenient." it's weird, but walking away, i thought "that was the right thing to do." i totally realize what you're saying - when we push ourselves beyond our comfort zone, i believe we really open up the opportunity for ourselves to be changed. for me, it's important to realize that i am the only one i can really hold to that standard. others, i need to love and accept where they are at. i think that's where we get into trouble - when we expect everyone to do what we've consciously chosen to do ourselves. sure, it's okay to encourage, and even challenge those around us to do good... but ultimately, we lead by example. and i do believe that following those convictions in each of our own lives is the way to truly infect change in the world around us. beautiful thoughts man... i totally agree with you.