Have you ever thrown your hands in the air and asked yourself "What in the world is going on with me? How come my best intentions and the ability to accomplish them seem to live in two different universes?"
We intend not to run off like a mad human being, spending money ill-afforded. We intend not to do something mean-spirited or otherwise self-defeating. Yet that is often just what we do. Then we ask, "What happened . . . how could we?" Yet, for all of our questioning, this mystery remains unsolved. To paraphrase St. Paul, we don't do what we know is right, and do instead what we sense is all wrong for us.
Part of the answer to this endless enigma requires an understanding of its own hidden dynamic -- knowledge hard come upon because the self that continually runs into these problems is itself a part of the problem that it faces. With this idea in mind, see if the following insight doesn't shed much-needed light into this darkness of our spiritual inability:
No intention can be any stronger than our ability to remember it in the moment that it is needed. Considering this fact brings us to a vital discovery about our present nature.
The reason we can't remember our intention is because we are not one self. We are a being fragmented into many parts, all of which have separate agendas and therefore individual intentions.
As you have no doubt witnessed, these various aspects of self "argue" with one another -- one tugging this way, the other that way -- and all are unconscious of the fact that their conflict consumes our life's energy. In effect, our time is spent trying to be accountable by pleasing one master after another within ourselves -- only there is no pleasing this "self" (or any other, as they pop up in this psychological chain of false command).
However, when you can see how one part of yourself manages to take control of the rest of you, it is the beginning of the end of its authority over you. To state this same idea in other words, this new and higher form of self-discernment begins with realizing that you are in wrong relationship with these false parts of yourself -- that you are not intended to be their servant, but the other way around! Within this discovery begins the process of letting go of the anxiety and worry that must attend being unconsciously identified with these temporary characters within yourself.
As you realize that your greater intentions are rendered powerless in the hands of these vagrant parts of yourself, it also becomes evident that you are not going to be able to fulfill these higher aims until you begin to become a whole human being. But how can self-unification take place when this aim itself is thwarted at every turn by the very nature it seeks to replace? This question brings us to the solution of a great spiritual mystery.
The more we awaken to how inwardly divided we actually are -- and start to see all of the forces randomly operating within us, with no guidance apart from the "good" each separate self desires at the moment -- the more we realize the need for a new kind of unity, a wholeness we are unable to create by ourselves, within ourselves.
With this new understanding comes the dawning that the only way to accomplish our higher intentions in life is to start embracing God's intention for us to be whole and conscious creatures. Our will must be redirected, married to a Greater One.
In this gradual redirection of our "willingness," a new sense of self begins to surface in us; no longer do we struggle to will ourselves into being strong or righteous; no more do we turn on ourselves for our "weakness." These former choices, once thought of as being part of what we needed to succeed with our intention, are now recognized as being part of the problem and not the solution. Our new intention is simply to remember God in our life, and this will becomes the one part of ourselves with which we meet everything that life brings to us.
Suffering (for whatever reasons) ceases to be our focus; nor is what might happen to us tomorrow of any more concern. The issue in moments of trial (or victory) becomes simply remembering where our heart is supposed to be. And within this new way of knowing ourselves rests the active understanding that anything in us that doesn't embrace this higher willingness is secretly set against our new and truer intention . . . which brings us to one last consideration.
Nature abhors a straight line. And what the unaided eye sees everywhere, the sciences confirm. By law, substances tend to circle themselves. What this means to anyone seeking the way out is that the spiritually sleeping person doesn't know that he or she is simply going 'round and 'round, caught in the unconscious circle of self whose secret intention is the re-creation of itself.
This is why a new and higher understanding of our internal workings is so necessary. "Know thyself" takes on the meaning once lost (and now forgotten) as the only way of possessing ourselves. Without this self-understanding, we remain captives of that level of consciousness that believes going in circles leads somewhere. It doesn't.