What do we intend? How do we act?

Most of us have experienced the frustration of the disconnect between our intentions, and the way our days and lives actually unfold. In our gathering this Sunday Margaret guided our exploration of the connections between intention and citta.

Citta is the third foundation of mindfulness in the Satipatthana Sutta.  Citta is sometimes translated as “heart-mind”, or “mood of the moment”, but the following provides a perhaps useful motivation for using the Pali term “citta”:

“What we call mind is in reality different fleeting moments of consciousness succeeding one another very rapidly. Since “mind” has in psychology a meaning different from “mind” according to the Buddhist teaching, it is to be preferred to use the Pali term citta (pronounced: chitta).”  (From Cetasikas, by Nina van Gorkom.) 

We explored intention – widening the scope to incorporate the underlying intentions that drive our more impulsive, reactive actions.  We based our reflections on a talk by Ajahn Sucitto, titled “Rest Intention through Embodiment”.

You can listen to the talk by Ajahn Sucitto here:

We explored the way intentions that lead to actions are conditioned by Citta (heart-mind), noting that our Citta is accurately reflected in the body. Citta is connected to emotion, and also has an ethical component. We considered the way long term habits are embedded in Citta (this relates to the notion of karma).  In this framework for thinking about intentionality, meditation serves to calm and settle the body, to disengage from reactivity. The intentions that arise from this calm and settled state lead us to more skillful ways of being. 

Also provided was a guided meditation by Chas di Capua that some used during our sitting: