Friday, February 6, 2009

Tao of Intention

There was once a man, a sailor by profession, who was very fond of seagulls. Every morning he went into the sea and swam about in their midst, at which times a hundred gulls and more would constantly flock about him.

One day his father said to him: "I am told that seagulls swim about with you in the water. I wish you would catch one or two for me to make pets of". On the following day, the sailor went down to the sea as usual, but lo! the gulls only wheeled about in the air and would not alight.
~ Book of Lieh-Tzü, from Book II ~

For me, this simple story cuts to the heart of intentions. When we are lost in the moment, not pursuing a goal or acting out of self-interest, we can become one with Tao. However, the moment we try to figure out what we can get out of the experience, the magic disappears.

In other words, when we engage in any type of activity with the intent of achieving or obtaining an end, our focus is borne out of self-interest and this selfishness erects walls that separates us from the whole of creation. When we engage in any type of activity without intent, there are no walls.

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