The year is 2010 and it’s a smoldering 95 degrees in my hometown of Houston, Texas. While the sane take refuge in their air conditioned homes, I drive my ’95 Toyota Camry lemon, in search of a love connection…or so I hope. With no air conditioning to help me brave through the June heat, my only option of cooling off is to defy the speed limit in order to generate a warm breeze from my rolled-down windows.
I curse the MapQuest directions for their inaccuracy and distraughtly speed through the wealthy, wooded neighborhood. Tardiness is unacceptable. I must prove myself the disciplined athlete, in which I am truly not, in order to look appealing in the eyes of Sociology class crush.
There are many social theories about what causes attraction to another person. This guy, whom we will call Alex—because that really is what his name was—seemed to project every aspect of accomplishment that was missing in my own life: an attendant at Rice University, an Ivy League institution; a multi-talented athlete, excelling in track and field and basketball; and an aspiring medical student. Attending Houston Community College for the summer in order to expedite his graduation, Alex seemed to have materialized for the sole purpose of blessing an academic underling such as myself with a glimpse of true success.
From the moment he introduced himself before the class his voice and candor, meshed with his primitively thick eyebrows, created friction in me. I was rubbed raw with a need to counter his candor with deception. Deception crafted and aimed for the purpose of getting closer to him. This was my first conscious escapade with impure intention. That being said, I guess you could say that Alex was my “first.”
How could I spend time with him outside of class? My hopes rested on the possibility that we’d be placed in the same group for our upcoming “fathers and their importance in the family unit” project. Of course, as fate would have it, our sociology professor assigned Alex and me to different groups. Damn.
On to Plan-B: lying. I can still remember my heart palpitating as I approached him after class. I heard myself say something really goofy like, “Hey, I’ve always wanted to run track. You think that maybe we can get together and train one day?”
“Sure,” he replied and jotted down his Facebook, email, and cell phone number and handed it to me. I had to fight off a love-stricken paralysis as I grabbed the ripped out sheet of spiral notebook paper. Now all I had to do was follow through with my feigned interest in running track. I did so by meeting him at his old middle school track and gym where we ran laps; did core exercises; and lifted weights. The tireless running in conjunction with the sweltering drive there made for a hot experience—and not in a romantic sense either— more in a my-panties-are-riding-up-into-the- crack- of-my-ass-because- they’re- so- drenched- with- sweat— type of hot experience.
Not only was I miserable but I was frustrated because the effort in which I put into setting up this athletic rendezvous did not yield my true expectation, which was to date Alex. Despite my short-shorts which left little to the imagination, he didn’t bite the bait. He instead remained poised, focused, and absorbed in improving himself as an athlete irrespective of any fanfare, including my own.
In the following weeks I exaggerated the condition of a sprained ankle to terminate our training sessions all together. I walked away from the experience both embarrassed and cheapened.
It seems that to disassociate myself from pure intention or motives is to dissociate myself from my own authenticity, values, and morale. How often do we parade an inauthentic version of ourselves in order to gratify our own desires at another’s expense?
Was it the last time you bought that hot girl at the bar four cosmopolitans under the guise of being charitable and a good listener? Do you then become frustrated when you do not get what you really want once the tab is closed?
Pure intention understands that a person’s time is a privilege, not an entitlement, regardless of the night’s outcome. This is the true root of the frustration brought on by impure motives and intentions. When people respond with their humanity of choice rather than submit themselves to being the object that we desire or envision.
Sometimes impure intention isn’t so blatant, but masks itself as a noble cause. Do you pursue athleticism because of a genuine desire to hone your skill set as an athlete or do you really lust to be glorified in the public’s eye? I personally could never excel at track and field not only because I was an athletic imposter, but also because I lusted for the limelight and recognition of an Olympic medal more than I respected the sport itself. This impure intention made me mentally weak which in turn manifested itself in poor athletic performance and tenacity. Once again, my own impure intention drove me to make a fool of myself.
Expectations are like pipeline to our intentions. If you ever want to know if your intention is pure, just check your expectation.
Now some may say, “That’s fine and dandy, but I’ve been seducing men and conning people for years and I’ve gotten through life just fine with my impure motives, godddamnit!”
So why then should we seek to practice pure intention? The answer is always relative. Personally, I desire to practice pure intent because I want to live a life of peace, joy, and productivity that is irrespective of outward circumstances, including others’ reactions. This gives me an unprecedented power and ownership of myself.
Conventional wisdom tells us that we are a product of our environment; but pure intent tells us that we are the product of how we relate to our environment. This makes all the difference.