What do you want? Use the power of intention to focus your mind on your next steps.
It’s still early in this new year. Many of you made New Year’s resolutions to achieve a desired goal. How are they going?
Most resolutions fail because they are based on the assumption that your current state isn’t good enough and that your happiness is dependent upon achieving a goal.
A better alternative to the New Year’s resolution would be to set an intention. Everything in the universe is made up of energy. Intention is an invisible force of energy that is created by a strong desire. You need to have a clear intention in order to birth a potential for your life.
Yoga and meditation instructors often ask you to do this at the beginning of a session. They tell you to set a sankalpa (Sanskrit: intention) and then let it go for the remainder of the practice. I love this discipline because it is based on the premise that you are already whole. All you need to do is to focus your mind, connect to your deepest desire, channel the energy within you, and put it out into the world.
Sounds easy, but intending is tricky stuff. How do we determine our intention? And once we identify it, how do we transform it into our desire?
[Also read: “Four Approaches to Desire.”]
Determining our intention must come from our feeling realm, which can be difficult to connect to because we’re conditioned by society to think rather than feel. We need to break through this filter. One of the best ways to do this is through mindfulness practices like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing. These practices help us to live more authentically by surrendering our heads to our hearts. This expands our self-awareness and allows us to better identify our highest intentions without the influences of self-limiting messages and fears that we get from social conditioning.
It’s in this place of self-awareness that we plant the seeds of our intention. Once we do so, we need to release any attachment to them, simply trusting that they will bloom.
Materializing a Beach Chair
So how does setting an intention work in real life? Here’s an example:
One stellar summer day, my mother and I took a drive to the beach. We were unpacking the car when my mother realized she had forgotten to put the beach chairs in the trunk. She was distraught because her back had been giving her pain and would get worse without a chair.
I wasn’t going to allow any sense of lack to pollute this perfect day.
“Don’t worry,” I said, “we will find a beach chair we can use while we are here.”
The emphasis on “will” came out of me spontaneously. In that moment I felt and fully believed we would find an appropriate chair. I had been applying the principle of intention my entire life, and it had worked many times. By now, it often came naturally. I planted the seed for a beach chair, completely released it, and moved on to sit on my beach blanket admiring the varying hues of the waves.
Approximately 45 minutes later, I happened to turn to my right while looking for my sunblock. I did a double-take. Seated in the sand was a lone beach chair that had no apparent owner.
“Mom. Look to your right.”
She looked at it, then at me, speechless.
“This is crazy,” she said.
“Enjoy your day!” I replied.
And she did.
This true story is a good example of the power of intention. I have many other examples of times I set intentions, large and small, that were just as impactful, but none manifested as quickly as the beach chair did that day.
Six Steps to Your Desire
The following six steps will help you to harness the power of intention and create what you desire.
1. Prepare to Sow
Exercise mindfulness to identify your intention and cultivate the soil for your seeds. There are no workarounds or shortcuts for this. Many people find mindfulness practices to be challenging at first. I did as well. If they feel difficult, it means we need them!
2. Be Specific
Pack in the details of your intention (i.e. “a beach chair we can use while we’re here”). In my example, “we will find a chair” would have been too vague. We would not have wanted a broken chair, a dining room chair, or to find one after we were already on our way home.
3. Feel Fulfillment
I can’t overemphasize the importance of our feeling realm. You need to be able to feel the satisfaction of having your desire fulfilled even though it hasn’t happened yet. If you can’t feel it or don’t believe it, you can’t create it. Remember, you always have everything you need.
4. Release Your Intention
We’re taught that if we are not actively “doing” something in the physical realm nothing will happen. We overlook quantum physics, which confirms that we are multidimensional beings: Our energy operates in both the physical and non-physical dimensions. Once you have connected to your intention through your feeling realm, let it go and be present.
5. Detach from the Outcome
This day was fabulous with or without a beach chair. My mother wanted to be more comfortable, which is understandable, but obsessing over it would cause her to miss out on a beautiful day.
6. Leave the Details to the Universe
We’re educated to worry about the details and to try to control the process. But control strangles creative energy. Once you can ably identify what you want, the universe will deliver what you need.
I wish all intentions alchemized as quickly as the beach chair that day. But other universal forces are also at play in our lives. No matter how perfected your intention setting may be, your desires may not always work out the way you want. Remember, we get what we need. There exists an element of divine will in all of our lives.
You still have time. Cultivate your soil, set your intentions for this year, and enjoy your beach day.
Keep reading about setting intentions: