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I remember when I attended a Yoga class where the instructor said at the very beginning “Let’s just take a moment to set an intention”. My mind went blank and I simply sat there in silence thinking to myself, “Am I supposed to be thinking right now”. What does “Setting Your Intention” mean?
Setting your intentions can be very personal. That is why most people choose to set them in silence. Setting intentions is different from setting goals, although an intention can certainly appear like a goal in the beginning. Goals produce a desired result. Intentions are manifestations of your deepest desire without attachment to a particular outcome. I like to think of intentions as qualities of life. Goals, I identify, are personal commitments that are temporary in nature. Intentions, in my humble opinion, are life long endeavors.
“You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny” – Upanishads.
The first step, according to Deepak Chopra, to setting an intention is to “Slip into the Gap”. In my understanding, it is the place of quiet solitude that we, as yogis, find during meditation in order to hear the voice of our intuition. Our intuition knows our deepest desires on a fundamental level. It has clear answers when listened to with intent. It also happens to be much quieter than the loud ego personality.
“Intention is much more powerful when it comes from a place of contentment than if it arises from a sense of lack or need. Relinquish your rigid attachment to a specific result and live in the wisdom of uncertainty. Attachment is based on fear and insecurity, while detachment is based on the unquestioning belief in the power of your true Self. Intend for everything to work out as it should, then let go and allow opportunities and openings to come your way” – Deepak Chopra.
I love this phrase because it emphasizes the importance of letting go. Letting go of the desired result and allowing the universe to manifest your intention in the most appropriate way in accordance to where you are along your journey. Our ego mind will want to control, micro-manage every step of the way and make sure we get there with complete predictability. The real magic happens when you can allow serendipity to take place with a certain level of trust and faith that it is all unfolding as it must. This does not be do not stay committed to your intention. It takes work for personal change, self growth, and transformation. But, it does mean be able to let go of the desired outcome and go with the flow.
“As we change our thoughts we change our worlds” – Marianne Williamson
Changing patterns of thinking can shift our universe towards positive change and self growth. If you constantly find yourself in negative “self talk” then perhaps a good intention would be “Today, I choose to embrace my radiance and beauty.” Then you step into your personal power and see yourself for who you truly are, “a child of God” – Marianne Williamson. If you disengage easily and jump from one thing to the next, a good intention could be to “stay grounded”. Intentions help us to reveal how we think about the world and how we can use the power of our minds to make a positive impact on the world.
“It is not how much we do, but how much love we put into what we do” – Mother Theresa.
Less is the new more, people. Hear this loud and clear, more material objects will not buy you bliss. You must discover for yourself, from within. Placing love and good intentions into the universe will mirror those reflections back into your life, in abundance. You must believe in order for it to work, if you just temporarily commit to an intention then you are not growing. You are satisfied with a material result that places you back in your comfort zone after being in a place of discontent for a short period of time. If your intention is to “loose 10 pounds” ask yourself “why does that matter”. If it is to build self confidence and restore your body back to a weight where your health is not compromised then focus on the feeling of self confidence and empowerment. “Today, I choose to be confident and focus on my health”.
My hope, through this blog is to shift your energy around setting intentions. Sometimes your intentions manifest years after they have been set. I spent a whole year on “self love” after going through a lot of trauma from years of self neglect. This neglect was showing up in my body as dis-ease and over exhaustion. Self love steps me into my potential to radiate positive energy to those I choose to surround myself with, without feeling depleted. “I love my body, I love my mind, I love my life, I love ….” Shifting from conversations of fear, lack and indifference to love, abundance and choice.
Last quote comes from Deepak Chopra “You have released your intentions into the fertile ground of pure potentiality and they will bloom when the season is right.”
To bring this full circle, your intention does not need to be a big grandiose life changing mantra. It can simply be “Today, I choose to smile”. or “Today, I am going to breathe deeper”. Starting small is a great way to begin, especially when you’re on your mat. Oftentimes my intention has been “I choose to let go of the bullshit that happened today” and that makes all the difference in the world. Then, I am not carrying any emotional baggage, but instead I am shedding to see the light.
Try it now, close your eyes. Meditate. Discover an intention, or a quality of being that will impact your life. Let it go. Open your eyes. Move forward with faith.
If you would like to keep your intention engraved on a necklace or bracelet, my dear friend Chris Pan, started an organization called The MyIntent Project.
My Intent’s mission statement is “to be a catalyst for meaningful conversations and positive energy in the world”. By carrying your intention with you where ever you go, you can feel empowered to share your intention with other who in turn can help to hold you accountable. It will also be a gentle reminder so you can continue to come back to your intention when you fall into your old patterns.
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Enjoy! Happy Intending!