If you’re still thinking about your 2018 New Year resolutions - and wondering how you’ll ever stick to them - maybe take a little time to go deeper with your intentions for the year ahead and make love, nothing else, your goal, suggests our columnist Mahesh Hayward
Today I’m going to talk to you about “setting Intention” and how we do this, where it comes from and why we can benefit from setting out our own spiritual goals in life.
As we embark on a brand new year enter our collective attention turns towards the ‘new’. We let go of another calendar year, shed the past and look forward to giving ourselves new challenges.
This New Year though, I’d like to encourage you to become a little more in tune with your intentions going forward.
So let’s be very clear about what I am talking about: I’m not asking you to change your belief system or take up a new religion, just open your mind to the possibility that you are much more than a body and mind and realise you have the power to search deep within to find what you really want from life.
We are all able to work with the intention that is set before us - what matters more is what we chose as being our intention and why.
If I may I’ll use an example of the one intention that (in my humble opinion) is the most powerful of all - the intention of LOVE.
The intention of love is the most powerful one we have at our disposal and yet the one we most shy away from; maybe because we all have different ways of looking at the word or maybe because of the feelings the word and this intention conjures in your mind and body.
Let’s not see it as something that we connect with the body or the mind - instead, let’s try to see it as something that is part of our DNA and a fabric that is woven within all sentient beings. Let’s recognise love as the thing that makes us feel whole.
The world we live in today is a system based around fear and it’s very easy to become conditioned to the feeling of fear as a comfort. Let’s explore this for a moment. Try if you can to think about how we are all brought up and what tool is used to make us comply with society and home life. It’s not the fault of others just how we have become as a society. I will show you what I mean by using this short list of how we use fear in different ways to make others comply with not only their own needs and but our own wellbeing too.
So, how many of you have heard or used any of the following statements?
1. Brush your teeth OR they will fall out.
2. Get away from the TV OR you will go blind.
3. (Boys) leave it alone OR it will fall off.
4. Go to sleep OR the ‘bogey man’ will get you.
5. Eat your food OR you will starve.
6. Do as I say, OR I will smack you.
These are just a few of the things we were told as children. They are all designed to control behaviour by instilling fear and as we get older, the list just gets bigger - getting sacked from your job, no bonus, I will leave you if you don’t do as I ask, it goes on and on.
So, as we see, our lives are not based around love and compassion for the most part but around compliance and fear which is just seen as normal behaviour. And I’m sure we’ve used this same technique to get what we want at some point.
Let’s set our new goal as one of love, compassion and understanding. Take a moment and just sit with the feeling of love and then see how this will help you to set goals, change your relationships and maybe even your job.
I am going to invite you to make a connection within and find the place that you can feel love, so we can set our intention. Please turn off TV’s, music or phones.
1. Please read all steps first and then take as long as you need; you can do this anywhere if you’re not driving, flying a plane or cooking…. In which case it may not end well.
2. Sit comfortably on the floor, cross-legged or in a chair with your feet on the ground, nice straight back and hands resting on your lap.
3. Relax your tummy, shoulders, jaw and face, and soften the eyes or close them.
4. Take a nice deep breath in through the nose and breathe out again through the mouth; do this a few times. Now continue to breathe only using the nose.
5. Count the inhale and exhale up to 10, slowly being mindful of how the body moves as you breathe in and out and of how you start to relax.
6. Now this bit is important. I want you to picture in your mind’s eye one person or animal who you love most dearly. Mother, father, son, daughter or partner, dog or cat.
7. Think of this person (or animal) and think about how much you love them. Feel this in your heart space in your chest and start to breathe into the heart space, filling your body with the love you have for this person.
8. Hold your hands over your heart space and as you feel the love build up very slowly open your eyes.
Now it’s time to make your intention for the year ahead; make it with love and kindness and make it about you because you need to be at the centre of this before you can be of help to others. Make your intention about loving yourself. Be kind to yourself and think about what your heart wants; be gentle and mindful about the goal you are setting and about the outcome you would like to see . Do not live in fear, live with love.
Now, I hope you’re setting a positive goal and when you need to check in use this short little exercise (above) to bring in the right intentions.
Remember, the only way to change the world is to change yourself. Maybe not change yourself, just shift your pattern of thought and be mindful of how you treat you!
Make this next 12 months about you and how you can be the best version of the unique being you’ve become. See everyone as your equal, be gentle with the body and don’t let the mind rule your life.
I wish everyone of you the best, be good to yourself and give a stranger a smile today.
Heart’s love, Mahesh
Mahesh Hayward is a regular Lush Life columnist writing on issues of Wellbeing and the challenges of Modern Living