One of the most powerful intersections for personal growth is fueling an intention with meditation and mindfulness, complemented by heart-driven practices.
Throughout our lives, we experience many stages of growth and transformation.
I recently found a picture of me when I was 15 years old. I knew it was me from my favorite black panther Grateful Dead tie-dye T-shirt, but other than recognizing the shirt, it was challenging to see “me.”
For many of those stages, I approached life as a jellyfish. The tide of life would draw me where it willed me to go. When life was tough, I weathered it the best that I could. When life was amazing, I allowed all 10 toes to lift off the ground. I numbed out the mundane with distractions.
While I did all the adult things, like relationships, a good career, friends, and family, there was a sense of longing that I couldn’t satisfy no matter how hard I tried. Being unable to articulate the unscratchable itch, I couldn’t apply the right antidote at the right time. When big unexpected events happened, I was completely thrown off center and swept away. I had regrets.
Around a decade ago, yoga, meditation, and Tibetan Buddhism came into my life and offered me tools to work with my dysregulated nervous system. Bad habits were replaced by helpful practices, and I found myself less like a jellyfish and more like a fish swimming in the ocean. The swells would still come, but now I had agency and free will. I could mindfully paddle my way to a safe space to heal, adapt, and grow. The environment around me hadn’t changed, but my ability to work with everything life threw my way had.
Fast-forward to about two years ago when I started training to climb a 7000-meter peak. I started my training the same way I had prepared for any other endeavor, strong-arming it with greater discipline. I would learn this wasn’t going to work for big mountains. I had to get stronger and fitter. I had to get smarter.
There are many well-known books about creating intentions, but I’ve found their self-help manifestation approach unrelatable. Instead, leaning into the tools I teach in meditation immersions, I have developed an intention-setting method with a remarkably simple formula: Your Heart’s Longing + Intention + Mindfulness = Goals Achieved. Rather than leaning on spirit or divinity, this method uses neuroscience and mindfulness. And it works!
To get a taste of what this looks like:
1. Connect with your heart’s desire.
2. Note the things that hold you back from living your heart’s desire. Write them down.
3. Create and write down an intention that is stated in the present moment and reflects how you want to feel each and every day.
4. Supercharge it by connecting the intention to how you can better serve humankind.
5. Bring it from your conscious to your subconscious by writing it down, reflecting on it, and incorporating it into your everyday decisions.
To live with intention, we can’t be jellyfish. They aren’t going in a direction of their own volition; they are going with the flow.
To inspire others and to live a life without regrets, we need to know what we stand for, and our intention is there to keep us aligned with each breath and in every moment.