The Wonderful World of Intention

I have become increasingly aware of the overuse/misuse/abuse of the word ‘intention’ and perhaps I am going to engage in much of the same, but please note, my purpose is to de-mystify and hopefully, simplify the entire concept. Increasingly yoga classes are prefaced with the phrase “choose an intention for your practice”. For me, this just starts my mind racing, and instead of being present in my asana practice, I find myself becoming distracted, trying to choose a suitable intention. Thankfully my memory is short when engaged in frustration, and I return to focusing on the asanas. As the class comes to a close, inevitably the instructor reminds the class “to come back to your intention” at the end of my practice, and I realize, again with frustration,  I had forgotten to do so…ugh!!! I think this should be banned from all yoga classes! Anyone have more success than I do with this practice during yoga?

I ask people to set an intention into their mala mainly to help them engage in positive inner query. By the time you navigate to a mala and are actively engaged in seeking to use one, I believe you are standing on this precipice, ready to dive into whatever needs to be addressed. Sometimes it is an unconscious calling and you find yourself opem for a little self-exploration. There is so much talk today about transformation but really isn’t it about returning to your original state…your spirit, your Self? Tulsidas, a Vedic scholar, said we are spirits having a human experience. How can I transform into something that I already am? So for me, intention is the beginning of this journey…back to the Self. This transformation business is a quandary for another blog post!

Webster’s definition of intention goes like this:


Simple definition: the thing that you plan to do or achieve: an aim or purpose
Full definition:
1:  a determination to act in a certain way:  resolve
2:  import, significance
3a:  what one intends to do or bring about
  b:  the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered

It would follow, that an intention includes a ‘plan’ to do or achieve a thing. It includes resolve and purpose and requires full and conscious involvement. Listen to those powerful words!!! You have been placed on this earth for a purpose, your dharma. You intuitively know it, you just have been so busy living life that you have not had time to stop and listen to your heart. Your sankalpa (intention formed by the heart and mind) will help you live your truth. It could be quite simple in expression, e.g. treat people with loving kindness. Well, live that intention and watch how it changes everything you do and how you navigate through your day! That love will suffuse your very existence and gently acknowledge that you will fall in and out of love. That is okay! That’s how we recognize that it is not true love and get back to practicing again. We are living a full life with a personality and engaging with other personalities….it takes time to allow our innate perfection to shine.

With intentions, we are full engaged and active on our journey…we have purpose driven by a plan that can determine we are going to endeavour to act a certain way. An Intention engages your heart, and your head and then through action, your hands. It is never static…as you grow, as your context changes so will your journey in achieving your intention. Perfection is dynamic. Nothing is left to question with an intention, because it is derived from who you really are at heart and as a result all actions resulting from it are pure and authentic. When we allow our heart to govern our actions, our head does some rationalization, weighs in, adjusts to accommodate the world we live in, and then believe it or not we seem to do just fine and receive what we need. When we allow our heads to make all the decisions, we are more likely than not driven by ego and wants. When this happens we tend to become overwhelmed by regret and fear the minute the decision is made, obsessing and hoping everything will work out okay. We fret and worry, leaving ourselves no peace becoming increasingly fearful we won’t get what we want I believe that ‘uncomfortable fear’ is our beautiful hearts reminding us to let it in on the decision making…compassion is a great power and allows a sweet surrender to what  simply ‘is’.