By Frank Conerton
Ernest Holmes wrote that to live without intention is to filter out joy and await inevitable pain. This statement can be used to shed light on the teachings of Buddha, and gives us a fruitful way to understand Buddha’s teachings.
In a recent Tuesday night class, Michael Strelcheck looked at Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, and positioned Buddha as the grandfather of the philosophy of the Science of the Mind. The Four Noble Truths state that the world is suffering. This suffering is caused by attachment to the world. There is a freedom from suffering (Nirvana). Nirvana is achieved through living “Rightly.” The fourth Noble Truth parses living rightly into eight areas or aspects of life. These eight areas are Buddha’s Eight-fold Path.
Ernest Holmes, author of the book “Science of the Mind” can be considered a father of the modern science of the mind philosophy. His statement, paraphrased above, shows Buddha’s teaching in a modern light.
Living without joy and waiting for pain, as Holmes describes living without intention, is another way of describing a life of suffering, Buddha’s description of life. How does living without intention illuminate the attachment to the world which is Buddha’s cause for suffering?
In the Science of Mind philosophy, our intentions should flow from our deepest aspect through our mind and into manifest physical world. A concept or idea flows out of our soul, or deepest part of our self, into our mind. This concept generates thoughts, words and actions which bring the result into manifestation. According to science of mind, living with intention flows from inner to outer.
If we consider Buddha’s cause of suffering, attachment to the world, we can take this to mean that we look for some external person, place or thing to bring us happiness. We want some experience of an external to bring us Nirvana. The flow of this pattern of living, which causes suffering, is from the outside to the inside. There is an abundance of evidence which proves that external things simply do not produce true happiness.
We can rephrase Buddha’s Four Noble Truths in light of Science of the Mind philosophy as follows. The usual experience of people living their lives is suffering. This suffering is caused by seeking fulfillment or joy from external experiences, from the world. There is a blissful life experience possible if we seek inside ourselves for joy. This is done by living from our deepest self through our mind and body, into the world; by intending our deepest, most authentic urges into ideas, thoughts and words which manifest the result in our life and in the world. Any “Right” activities in our lives support this flow from inside our self, into the world.