It’s our personal human nature to set goals and intentions, to want to be somebody, to get somewhere in this life we have been given.
Recently, I learned that the word intention (a word I use quite often) comes from the latin root, intendere. Tender/tensum means “to stretch toward” something, and it got me thinking, “why do we always want to be stretching toward something ?
When it comes to goal/intention setting in various areas of our life, we like to “move toward” a somewhat immediate result, perhaps in the time frame of a few months to a year. We talk about that advancement or raise at work; or a health goal like training for a 5km race, losing weight, meditating daily or quitting smoking.
As for the inside job, maybe we are trying to be more patient with loved ones, to speak more confidently during a business meeting, or to become a better listener with our partner.
Long term goals are definitely not alien to us either—think 5 or 10 year plans for buying a house, starting a family, paying off school debt, etc. Whether we reach the goal or not, we typically have a type of reward or finish line in mind.
When we set a goal that we want to meet, we put our full focus, will power and determination into it—at least in the beginning We may even become over obsessive or addicted to our goal and witness it as it becomes all we think or talk about (but not necessarily in the most mindful way).
Society has definitely conditioned us to be goal oriented “human doings,” but what about a non goal goal, like an intention for life?
I don’t mean accomplishing x,y,z by the time we are 90 years old, but rather taking time to contemplate how it is we want to “be” in our life, vs what we “do.”
For example, a personal “life” intention of mine is to live with grace and to serve the greatest Good; to live a holistic and harmonious life with this body, mind, spirit, nature and all Beings. I want to live for the joy of Being, not because that is a goal, but it’s who I am, it’s my natural state.
As I started to keep more focus on the Highest, most Supreme, Grand intentions, my life started to have more purpose. Of course there a mini intentions set within this, yet the main focus does not lie there.
By taking some time to journal and sit in stillness, we can allow ideas for this “life intention” to arise. From here, we can start to ask ourselves questions like “does my lifestyle support my highest goal?”, “Do the people I surround myself with align with my dharma (a term used in Buddhism to mean life purpose)?”, “Am I acting in every moment from this place of intention with every word I speak and action I take?”
Living a more purposeful life does have not to mean traveling the world, become famous or driving our dream car… but it definitely can also mean that!
The doing, the collecting of things and successful accomplishments will simply unfold with time (that is this life!). Me, there person, will be acting out my life plan, as mySelf bears witness.
What’s going to keep us grounded in truth, focussed on love and thriving with grace is the embodiment (walking our talk!) of this life intention in each and every moment.
It’s when we recognise our Highest Self and live from a place of pure naturalness and spontaneity, as the yogis call Sahaja, that we will feel fully free.