Day 6: Intention

Unlocked in a Lockdown - Investigative Selfism

Intention is the essence of moral training. – Ajahn Chah

I must say, I panicked and changed the topic of today’s article. Then I thought I should undo those changes. Then I took a deep breath and told myself that by doing one we were doing both.

So what was the original topic? It was a big scary one: purpose.

But instead of saying that it’s too big to even be talked about in one single article, I thought it might be a good idea to approach it slowly, with lots of kindness, and, just what we’ve been trying to do with our fears, to befriend it.

So just for today, let’s replace ‘purpose’ with Intention.

I’m not here to tell anyone what your purpose is (I’m on my own journey here, remember?), but thinking of our intentions is not a bad way to draft a map of sorts.

Well, it’s more than thinking about our intentions. It’s very much about actually setting them, too.

This is what Brendon Burchard – our resource from yesterday – talks about. This is what Tony Robbins loudly reminds us to do. And, not to reference one single teacher in particular, this is such a big part of what aiming to be a bit more mindful means.

And just like with all the other topics of this challenge, our intentions are completely in our control – yay! This is what Seth Godin, who I mention in Day 4, advises us to do regarding creative work: Focus on the practice, don’t focus on the outcome.

I think this is what we have to do with our intentions, too. Focus on the intention, detach yourself from the outcome.

(If anything, I think 2020 was one massive reminder of how focusing on the outcome doesn’t necessarily guarantee that outcome)

What can those daily, weekly, yearly, place-specific, and so on, intentions be?

Perhaps it’s to be a bit kinder? Act with more self-compassion? Be more vulnerable? Generate more energy? Befriend our fears?

Choose what serves you. And stick with it.

From our intentions flows initiative, says Brendon.

Could new habits, new neuroassociations (remember Day 5?), also stem from our intentions?

I think so.

If I set an intention to bring some joy and lightness to the ones around me, to do one brave thing, not to be afraid to be silly, whatever it is: I might even, at some point, start seeing that as my identity.

“That’s how I am.”

Or, the opposite: “Ah shit, I was supposed to be kind today! Let me still work on that.” (You know those days?)

In addition to Brendon’s quote, there is one by Marie Forleo, that I got stuck in my head:

Purpose fuels persistence.

Maybe this is how it all comes together? Maybe this is how we lead a life that is just a little bit more wholehearted?

I honestly don’t know. But I think the search for it – or, as I call it, investigative selfism – is very much worth it.

Exercise/Reflection

If you were to set an intention for today – how you’d like to show up for yourself and others – what would that be? Could you set it keeping the guideposts of wholehearted living (from Day 3) in mind? What would you showing up like this mean to others?

Resource of the Day

After yesterday’s principles of neurolinguistic programming, today I have something less scientific – but rather beautiful – for you.

One, Michael B. Beckwith!

Michael B. Beckwith is an author, a spiritual teacher, and our resource of the day. In his heartwarming interview with Oprah, he invites us to ask the following questions:

What is trying to emerge? Who must I become?

“Pain pushes until vision pulls” – woah!

“Your potential is always greater than the problem. Your potential is infinite” – oh damn!

“People either are in reaction, or they are in choice” – tell me more!

In short, it’s a dense talk! Dense but, coz it’s Oprah, it’s also really light, with lots of explosive laughter and loud “Yes! Yessss!” being said.

Two, Ajahn Chah!

The main quote of today is from Ajahn Chah who was a Thai Buddhist monk and meditation teacher. In fact, he was one of Jack Kornfield’s (remember Day 1?) teachers. My recommendation for today for the ones interested is a book: Food for the Heart: The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah. These are truly beautiful teachings. You’ll get many sharable quotes from this book. Oh yeah, and an increased sense of stillness.

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