What is your intent? Do you have one? I won’t forget the interview in which I was asked if I believed people set their intent. I had always thought so; the interviewer did not. So, after the television spot, I informally surveyed a number of people. What did I discover? Although many people do not formally set intent, they do so in unconscious and informal ways.
Our intent is our aim, purpose, or something we would like to achieve. Maybe it is a goal specific for the day. This kind of intent is soul deep. It supersedes our short term goals and many of our long term ones. You could ask yourself, “At the end of my life, how would I want people to remember me?” That answer is integral to your life intent.
For many, their intent is to follow the golden rule — do unto others, cause no harm, love thy neighbor are three renditions. This sounds simpler that it is. I cannot count the number of times my actions have not reflected my intent. When my intent is out of sync with my actions, I have a choice. I can throw up my hands in the face of this adversity or I can accept responsibility for my behavior.
Accepting my responsibility is only possible with self compassion. Instead of harming myself with critical thoughts or words, I alleviate my personal suffering. In doing so, I clear the connection between my intent and action. I am able to refocus my intent and lay tiles upon the bridge of my intent and action.
In my book, Engaging Compassion Through Intent and Action, I share a template for building a bridge that connects who we are in the core of our being with our action. This bridge provides elements that help us focus our awareness, live in the moment, and understand our self. We are encouraged to be courageous and curiously daring as we mindfully take an intentional look at our life. We maintain our bridge through contemplative practices that develops mindfulness.
You may ask yourself, “What is my intent?” Perhaps it is a spontaneous knowing that you easily name, or you may need to sit quietly and, through reflection, allow it to rise to the surface of your consciousness. A few moments of focused attention — either sitting meditation or attending to your breath — releases your distractions and enables you to name the intent that rests in the core of your being. After realizing your intent, allow it to resonate into your being orally, through the written word, or through artistic expression.
Throughout the day be conscious about how you lay the tiles on your deck of your bridge of intent and action. When you notice that your actions are drifting away from your intent, return to your breath. It roots you firmly in the moment and creates an environment of choice. Rest at the foundation of your awareness. Commit to your intent. Act upon your intent.
It does not matter how often your intent misaligns with your actions. What matters is that you are consciously aware of those moments when your actions do not sync with your intent. What matters is that you consciously, intentionally refocus so that your actions mirror your intent. Through the refocusing, you engaging your compassion through intent and action.
For more information about building a bridge between intent and action, read Engaging Compassion Through Intent and Action.
Vanessa F. Hurst, ms, is a Mindful Coach, Compassion Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Author who weaves her inner wisdom into all she touches. Contact Vanessa
Her books are A Constellation of Connections: Contemplative Relationships and Engaging Compassion Through Intent & Action.
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