Recently my fiancee, Eleykaa, and I visited a beautiful sanctuary that our friend, Eve, owns called The Sacred Garden on Maui. We were admiring her large Buddha statue that sat prominently in her greenhouse where she sells plants to the public. I told her that it had the most serene presence of any that I'd ever seen anywhere in the world. She replied, "You're not going to believe it, but it manifested within 15 minutes of thinking the thought that I'd like to find a Buddha statue for the greenhouse." She went on to share the details of her amazing purchase of the statue, while driving with her sister on a rainy day. "It just goes to show you," she said, "that you'd better be careful with what you want, because you might just get it!" Read Eve's own account of her story by clicking here.
Eve was describing the power of intention, or what is calledagama karma in Sanskrit. 'Agama' means 'coming near, or approaching.' When we set an intention we are coming near to its manifestation. It's the thought stage that precedes the physical stage of taking action, or what is called kriyamana karma. Together agama karma and kriyamana karma comprise our free will. We set an intention, and then we take action, or we make a plan and then we work the plan. The results of those thoughts and actions will modify our previous karma.
The power of intention is based on the principle of 'like attracts like." Whatever we focus our mind on, we draw nearer to us. The Buddha said,
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Our thoughts are more powerful than most of us realize. In 1997, David Smith, a professor of sport and exercise psychology at University of Chester, conducted a research study on exercise that showed that the power of our thoughts is almost as good as the real thing. Participants of the study who actually exercised were able to achieve 30% increase in strength. However, the participants who just imagined themselves exercising achieved an amazing 16% increase. Virtual workouts can give us almost the same effect because another study using EEG machines showed that the brain doesn't distinguish between doing something and just thinking about it. In other words, just thinking about something was triggering the same physiological processes as real exercise.
It's because our thoughts have a powerful effect in the physical world, that I believe that it's best to not make negative, fatalistic predictions. The fear that is instilled actually draws those fearful situations towards us, and creates changes in our minds and bodies. Since we're modifying our karma all the time, by our thoughts and actions, why not modify it in a positive direction?
A good question is: If our thoughts have the power to manifest, then why don't we manifest everything we put our minds on? It's because wishful thinking, hopeful thinking, oh wouldn't it be nice if...thinking is not setting an intention. Instead, it's saying to ourselves and to the universe that something will happen, believing it, and putting our entire will behind it. I believe that we can only have this level of conviction when our will is in harmony with God's will, or our karmic destiny.