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April 20, 2020

4 Intentions You Can Use to Cope with Isolation Blues

If you think about it, we all know — fundamentally — we’re not in control of much in this life. 

Look at the pandemic, for instance.

We don’t control the weather, the behavior of those around us, our love life, our health, how long we’ll live, our success in the world, and so on… Most everyone gets this, right? 

We can make plans both large and small, but the existence of those plans does not necessarily lead to the desired outcome. During this pandemic time, many of us are struggling with this ultimate lack of control, and we are fearful…. Many are suffering.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about intention, a quiet little “practice” that I was reminded of in a recent 28-day meditation challenge. 

Intentions Don’t Belong On Your To-Do List

First off, intention is very intimate and cozy, and it doesn’t belong on anyone’s list of “to do’s”. Intention is simply the decision to set a course for yourself that will lead to less suffering and more happiness in a day by day fashion. 

Making this choice is something you DO have control over…

You have the power to articulate your best wish for yourself, and as you hold that best wish, you’re doing yourself a great kindness. 

The idea is that at the beginning of each day, you sit quietly and look inside for your intention for that day. 

And this is a wonderful way to reduce your experience of suffering.

It could look like one of these: 

  1. I intend … to not blame myself for the upset of someone close to me. 
  2. I intend … to take two steps back each time I feel reactive anger arise inside. 
  3. I intend … to offer kind words, like “thank you,” “I’m thinking of you,” “hope you’re safe and well,”), and a smile to those I communicate with.
  4. I intend … to perform one act of kindness for myself, like reading a good book, picking up my knitting project, making a beautiful meal, writing a letter to someone I love, listening to some great music).

So, why am I making the case for intention? 

As I shared, it’s my experience that as you sit quietly at the beginning of your day you have the power to articulate your best wish for yourself, and as you hold that best wish, you’re doing yourself a great kindness. 

You are offering yourself love, and also accepting that on this very day you might not transform the world with your brilliant ideas or admirable practice.  

It is never about the outcome. 

It’s about effort.

And as you offer yourself love, you are creating the possibility that this love will travel outward into the world and reach humans around the globe without exception. 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama once said you can’t bring peace into the world until you bring it into yourself. 

So, consider taking this step for yourself and your fellow beings tomorrow morning as you wake up to the possibilities of your new day. 

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