""Monks, what a man wills, what he plans, what he dwells on forms the basis for the continuation of consciousness.
" - SN 12.38 - Cetana Sutta
I have begun to wonder about the role intention plays in maintaining concentration upon a meditation object, in this case the object is the breath. During the practice I find that if I make the intention to keep my attention fixed upon the breath (during each cycle of ana and pana), that without fail, it remains. If however the intention is not made to maintain awareness on the breath, then awareness may continue for some time before dropping off into proliferation of a thought which has arisen.
So for example:
Intention is made during Out breath X to maintain full awareness of In breath Y, then it does so, and this process continues.
Intention is not made during anapana X then awareness may remain during anapana Y but may then drop off with the arising of a thought during anapana Z.
I would really appreciate your thoughts on how this might relate to initial and sustained attention (as factors which when cultivated lead to Jhana)?
Thank you for your responses, in advance.