Intention setting and meditation are the new ‘in’ things and more people are taking it up but why now, does it really work and what’s the science behind it? I tried it out after having spoken to someone who was fully embracing the spiritual life and it has also made a massive impact on my life. Not only do I feel calmer and more in-tune with people and my decisions, I feel like I have more meaning in my life.
Ever wished your day would go better or you’d be more this or more that? Well this might just help.
What happened when I started to set intentions?
What I have noticed since starting to set intentions regularly, is that I am more in tune with my days, feeling more connected, grateful and trusting of what is happening in my life. Everything feels like it happens for a reason or there is a lesson to be learnt. I have more purpose and focus on the things that matter. On the days I forget or don’t make time for it I feel like I’m just coasting through the day, with no real meaning.
How I got interested
Last year, I was chatting with someone I met at my meditation group about his spiritual journey and he said setting intentions each morning played a huge part in him following his dreams. He showed me a video about metaphysics and how this relates to meditation and setting intentions. While I knew the benefits through my training in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), I had never set a regular practice and didn’t understand the neuroscience behind it apart from a little understanding from my psychotherapy training about neuroplastiscity.
What exactly is an intention?
I have been doing this for a few months now but when I came to write this, I actually had to stop and ask myself what an intention was. So upon research I have found it is a deliberate decision or aim, and in this case for how you want your day to unfold. For example you might want to be focused, compassionate, connected to the people you meet that day, live in the moment or just have a laugh with friends. Sometimes it’s a combination of a few things.
‘An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create’. Deepak Chopra
The Difference between goal and intention setting
I think there is a big difference between goal setting and intention setting. While goal setting is widely promoted I think this can lead us astray and sometimes we feel under pressure to meet said goal which is always within reach as it is a future orientated phenomenon. Intention setting is like setting a way of life for that day and often those pre-conceived goals come along with just setting those intentions. So for example, instead of saying we want to write a book by a certain time, maybe it would be more helpful to set an intention of being focused and consistent. A goal is focusing on the outcome, where as intention focuses on the ‘how to’ which leads to the outcome. This person thinks so too http://www.mindful.org/meditate-with-intention-not-goals/
Why are people taking it up now?
As science advances and the evidence meets our demands for knowledge we become more open to what the East was open to centuries ago. In an age where mental health is seen as just as important as physical health, the openness to more esoteric practices are becoming more commonplace. The meeting of the East and West, the merging of practice and science can only be a good thing.
How to set an intention
This is how I do it but I’m sure you’ll find your own way…
* Take 3 deep breaths in and out
* Hold your hands together in a prayer position against your breastbone
* Think of one or a few intentions for that day
* Think about the way you want to feel for the rest of the day and chose your intention based on that (it might be one or two words or even a phrase)
* Run through the day like a mini film from start to finish of how your day might look with more of this in your life.
* Take one last deep breath and bow your head
How to make it a regular thing
* Find somewhere comfortable where you can sit or stand. Use the same place each day if possible. I chose my yoga mat looking out to the garden.
*Set a regular time each day. I prefer mornings and it is usually the first thing I do and it sets me up for the day, but do what works well for you. I shifted my sleeping pattern so that I wake up earlier and I have plenty of time in the morning.
*I actually set intentions as part of my yoga practice. Here’s the youtube video I use. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is8tMCpv4F8*
*Get rid of all distractions like your phone.
*Use music if it helps
Fancy giving it a go? Here are some useful links:
- Intention setting: Melanie Richards at TEDxMontrealWomen
- Ted talk Power of intention Colleen
- Dr Emoto carried out experiments to test human consciousness and the effect it has on the molecular structure of water. So if intentions have this profound an effect on water, then think what it must being doing to our bodies which are made up of around 70% water.
- Harvard neuroscientist- meditation not only reduces stress it literally changes your brain
- 10 Intentions to set for you most authentic life
- ‘What the bleep do we know’ is a long film but stick with it, it explains about metaphysics and the impact it has on us as human and has an excellent storyline woven into the sciencey bits.
- Lynne McTaggart – Biology of Transformation – The Field
- Defining intention: Dr Joe Dispenza
I hope I’ve done enough to convince you to give it a try. Intention setting has been a great addition to my morning routine of meditation and yoga. Each serves a different but equally valuable purpose. Happy intention setting people!