Attention and intention really go hand in hand. They are the two most powerful tools that we can use, both in and OUT of meditation – to help us become more self-aware, more conscious about the choices we make – so we can break OLD habits, and get what we really want out of life.
I’m sure you have heard the saying, “where your attention goes, energy flows”. It’s true. If you place your attention on something, the OBJECT of that attention will grow in your life. It’s like nurturing a plant. If you plant a seed and pay attention to it – weed it, prune it, love it – it will grow. On the other hand, if you don’t nourish that plant or water that plant, it will soon die.
Every moment, every experience that we have in our lives, holds a SEED of infinite possibilities. That seed (or intention) has the potential to be ANYTHING we want. So, it’s essential to learn to attend to our immediate experiences in order to use our attention purposefully (or intentionally).
In yoga it’s called Daharana – the mastery of attention and intention. To become masters of attention and intention, we need to be more aware of what’s happening in the present moment and not get stuck in the stories of our past, or paralyzed by our fears about the future. Paying attention to what’s happening right NOW (in this immediate experience), and noticing how we feel about the experience, is the KEY to setting clear intentions.
When we meditate, we’re actually learning how to shift our attention to the present moment – because we’re lightly focusing our attention on one particular thing. That focus could be our breath, a mantra, or nothing at all. We simply attend to what’s taking place at THAT moment from within. When we do this we’re learning to let go of all the drama that surrounds the immediate experience – all the fluff, all the negativities. As davidji, Dean of the Chopra Center University likes to say, “we’re letting go of the things that no longer serve us.”
We start to see things as they really are, and that’s when we can start to set our intentions consciously. These new intentions find a way to adapt to anything we want them to be.
The best gift we can give each other is our attention.