This article is written by Azuka Muse for Parimukti
According to many spiritual traditions, including the yoga tradition, attention and intention are the two most powerful tools we have to use to expand our human potential and our happiness. But how to bring these into your daily life?
~ Know the difference between goal and intention ~
To bring intention into your life, lets look at the difference between intention and goal with which it gets mixed up easily.
‘Goals are rooted in maya (illusion ), the illusionary world where what you want seems fixed and unchanging but in truth is forever changing. It is in this world that mara, the inner voice of temptation and discouragement, flourishes. Goals never fulfil you in a on going way, they either beget another goal or else collapse. They provide excitement, the ups and downs of life, but intention is what provides you with self-respect & peace of mind. ‘
The Buddha’s four Noble Truths teaches right intention as the second step in the eightfold path:
‘Cause no harm and treat yourself and others with loving kindness and compassion while seeking true happiness, that which comes from being free from grasping and clinging ‘.
The Upanishad says: ‘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 ‘
Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness, they are able to grow. ‘You have released your intentions into the fertile ground of pure potentiality and they will bloom when the season is right ‘ Deepak Chopra.
~ Awareness of Intention ~
Intention is one thing, but cultivating awareness of intention brings it to a next level. With awareness of your intention, you would refrain from responding hurtfully to anyone, in any situation. Instead you might only say something unskillful, causing much less harm . Or if you have a habit of speaking harshly, with right intention you might only have a negative thought but find the ability to refrain from uttering words you would later regret. When you are grounded in your intention, you are never helpless in how to react to any event in your life. While it is true that you can’t control what happens to you ,with mindfulness of Intention, you can mitigate the effects of what occurs in terms of both the moment itself and what kind of karmic seed you plant for the future.
Right intention is like muscle, you develop it over time by exercising it. When you lose it, you just start over again. There’s no need to judge yourself or quit when you fail to live by your intentions.
You develop the HABIT of right Intention so that it becomes an unconscious way of living, an automatic response to all situations.
Right Intention is Organic, it thrives when cultivated.
Each time you start over by reconnecting to your intention, you take one step more to finding your own authenticity and freedom.