Has anyone ever asked you to set an intention? Besides knowing that the road to hell is paved with them, perhaps you will consider this:
“Setting intention, at least according to Buddhist teachings, is quite different from goal making. It is not oriented toward a future outcome. Instead, it is a path or practice that is focused on how you are “being” in the present moment. Your attention is on the ever-present “now” in the constantly changing flow of life. You set your intentions based on understanding what matters most to you and make a commitment to align your worldly actions with your inner values.” ~ Phillip Moffitt
I love the idea of setting an intention, but find that I’m always hesitant to commit to just one intention. I don’t know if it’s because I’m afraid to pick the wrong one, as though there is a wrong one. There isn’t for the record. Maybe I’m just so busy that its hard to pick only one intention for my day. Perhaps I’m an intention hoarder? I can’t bring myself to pick one because all the good intentions I can think of appeal to me. I’m not sure, but it seems my commitment issues spill into many areas of my life.
A mantra of one of my guru’s Kelly Morgan is, “How you do one thing is how you do everything.” Everyday I find more truth in that statement.
I have had commitment issues since 3rd grade when I was sure that I loved coconut pineapple ice cream and mint chip ice cream equally. Couldn’t I just have them both? Hmmm. That line of reasoning still resonates with me. Some things really don’t change. Just saying.
The notion to set an intention has come up a lot for me in the last few months. Most recently in my yoga and writing classes. It started with Kelly. In each class actually she asks us to set an intention for the class, for the day, for life… It’s a spur of the moment thing and it isn’t really something to over think or come prepared with. It’s just a positive affirmation or a word that you want for yourself. For example, if I’m in my writing class and I want to have fun, I’m supposed to close my eyes and visualize the word “FUN”. I see the word “FUN” floating above my head and then try to channel what fun would feel like. “This is the important part” she says. “Bring that feeling into the body” she coaches. How would I feel at the end of class if I had experienced fun? I imagine myself walking to my car with a smile on my face and that light feeling of joy I often get when I’m remembering something funny my friend said or how good it felt to complete that exercise in the group. She then guides us out of our meditation and we move on. Hopefully I move on to have fun, which, for the record, I usually do, with or without the intention. Sounds easy enough right? Well, only because I just explained how my best self completes that exercise. Regular everyday me on the other hand, well, everything is a little harder for Dre…
For example today the yoga instructor asked us to put our hands in prayer, and bring our thumbs to our forehead where our third eye would be. The third eye, for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, is what yogis and most eastern traditions refer to as the place of our inner wisdom and enlightenment. Anyway, then she told us to think of our intention. Zen Dre had it all together till that moment. My mind immediately began to race and something like the following conversation took place in my head.
“Crap. What’s my intention for today? Happiness? Love? Peace? Shit! Pick one. Which one though? I want love but what’s love without happiness? Well if I have love wont I have happiness? No. Remember what’s his name? You loved him but you were miserable. Oh, yeah. Ok, then happiness! Happiness. Happiness. Happiness. Wait! Isn’t Peace better? Metta World Peace. Iran. Iraq. Afghanistan. Peace. We ALL need peace. Plus if I find peace then I’ll be happy. Ok, Peace… Wait. What about forgiveness? I’m having such a hard time forgiving that fucking lying, asshole, thief… wait. Its yoga! Don’t bring that energy here! Think good thoughts! Ok. Love. No Peace. Or was it happiness? Wait what was it again?”
By the time this inner dialog occurred between me and myself, the intention setting part of the class was over and we had moved on to down ward facing dog! Damn it! I missed it again.
Luckily, at the end of class she asked us to channel our intention again. I have to explain that by the end of yoga practice I am always a much more calm centered version of my usual neurotic, anxious, adult attention deficit disorder self. This is why I adore yoga. So when she asked to call again the intention to our third eye, smoothly all four words came to mind. Not crowding each other. Not competing. Just flowing. LOVE. HAPPINESS. PEACE. FORGIVENESS.
I’m setting those intentions for myself now. I want to memorize them. Record them outside of my mind so that when I’m called upon again to set an intention, I won’t fight with myself. Intentions are not meant to be set then forgotten about, as though the universe will make them happen for you. Through the everyday actions of living you act them out and bring them into your life in daily practice. In my words, actions, and thoughts, I hope to show love, happiness, and peace. Forgiveness is something I’m still working on, but I must keep it on the list as to not bitter this thumping, expanding, open heart of mine.
“Goals help you make your place in the world and be an effective person. But being grounded in intention is what provides integrity and unity in your life. “ Phillip Moffitt
Set your intention now. For the day, the weekend, the year; then make it happen.
The light in me reflects the light in you. xo