The quality of mental states (e.g. thoughts, beliefs, desires, hopes) which consists in their being directed towards some object or state of affairs.
We have all heard of the buzzword ‘mindfulness’ but not many of us talk about intention and intentionality. Both mindfulness and intention refer to focusing our energy on something. We all know that when we are distracted we tend to procrastinate. Our minds feel fuzzy, our emotions are unstable and ultimately we arrive at a point of frustration and anxiety from not being able to get done what we truly need to. Living mindfully and intentionally are antidotes to such states and outcomes.
When we direct our energy to what we are doing precisely in this moment, we become aware of what we need to do or not do. For example, if we are truly mindful when watching videos on social media, we may realise that we are thirsty, we are frowning, we are breathing shallowly, etc. At this moment we should probably take a break from the activity and re-focus. Moreover, if we are able to focus on precisely what we are doing in each moment, whether it be driving, writing an email, reading something interesting or listening to what a family member or colleague has to say, not only do we we optimise the efficiency with which we are able to perform that task, but this will lead to a calmer state of mind and body.
In addition to performing tasks and living in a more mindful state, if we are able to go a bit deeper and live intentionally, we can further reduce the anxiety generating affect of distraction and not applying ourselves. One method I have been using for the past year or two is by zooming out of my every day existence, so to speak, looking into the future and asking what I see as the vision of my life. I ask myself questions like ‘what kind of contribution do I want to make in the world?’ and ‘what would I like to attract into my life?’. I believe that if we then break down this vision into manageable goals to achieve on an annual, monthly, weekly and even daily basis, we can then structure lives in such as a way that we slowly but effectively achieve our long term vision, day by day.
From my perspective and experience, the reason this seems to work is that if you are able to understand on a granular level why you do what you do, each moment is enriched with a sense of excitement and passion because you now have the motivation needed to perform each task during the day. And this leads to the realisation that you have the opportunity to live each moment with intention. Everything you do, say and even think can be slowly customised to the vision you have set out to create. Of course this will change over time due to changes in your personality and changes in the world at large, but at least you have a clear picture for now of why you do what you do, to slowly build and create the vision for your life that makes you feel most yourself.
No two visions will be the same, and we may be able to let go of some of our unauthentic desires which may have been suggested or prescribed to us by our school, family, work or social culture. Many of these ideas will be relevant and important in the short to medium term, but once you have assimilated the value that you can, it is acceptable to move on and express yourself more fully, from the deep .
So, as I suggested in last months newsletter, find some time to feel a sense of calm, get a pen and paper and start to paint your vision so that you have the clarity to live each day intentionally. The joy of living in such a way manifests in feeling focused and energised, without the obstacles of uncertainty, doubt and frustration slowing you down. I wish you all the best on your journey of deepening self discovery.