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Mindful : June 2015
all this clearly, with some objectivity and, in certain moments, even equa nimity. As his meditation practice continued, he began to see the way his mind reacted and created stories. He realized the many ways he experienced suffering in his life and contributed to the suffering of others due to these unexamined reflexive processes of mind. He began to see things more clearly, and in one session out of the blue a wellspring of compassion arose for his six-year-old son. He saw how confused and afraid his son felt because of his parents’ divorce and understood the origin of his son’s acting out. He real- ized meditation practice was helping him become a more compassionate, empathic father, and his moti- vation to practice deepened. His intention expanded to include becoming a more compassionate father in addition to reducing anxiety and tension. Note, however, that intention is not about begin- ning a treadmill of never-ending self-improvement, where we become fixated on meeting certain goals and judge ourselves when we’re not “achieving ” them. Our intention is simply a g uide, connecting us with what we most va lue and cherish, and remind- ing us that this is the direction we want to take. We must be careful to not make meditation practice one more way to beat ourselves up when we do not meet our “goals.” (See “Connect With What You Value: A Meditation on Intention,” on the previous page.) Paulo Coelho uses an apt metaphor: shooting an arrow. “The arrow is a projection of the intention into space.” Once it’s shot, the archer can do nothing except follow its path to the target. The archer can rest, observe the flight of the arrow with ease and calm, then let it go. Because the intention simply guides, not compels, once it is set, we can let it go and rest into the practice itself. The archer can rest, observing the flight of the arrow with ease and calm. Intention will carr y us as we travel the vast space in meditation practice between here and there. Our intention connects us to what is of greatest value and importance in our life. It can also help con- nect us to something larger than ourselves, expanding beyond our personal desires and recognizing the pos- sibility of meditating for the benefit of all beings. At the deepest level, intention does not demand religious or spiritual beliefs or ideology, it is simply a reflection on why we are practicing, what we value, and what is most important to us. Intention is not about getting somewhere. It is simply about recog- nizing the direction we want to head. As medita- tion teacher Jack Kornfield says, “Intention is not a destination, it is a direction.” ● Intention is simply a guide, connecting us with what we most value and cherish. insight 76 mindful June 2015 practices Inspire mindful change Helping people make meaningful moments throughout their busy day. Upon checkout, use our thank-you code: MINDFUL 15 by July 31st to receive a 15% discount off your purchase. meaning to pause® bracelets gently vibrate every 60 or 90 minutes prompting you to pause, refect on your intentions and reframe your thoughts. Have you been meaning to pause®? www.meaningtopause.com Our hand strung beaded bracelets are available in Natural Stone, Gemstones, Sandalwood, Sterling Silver and more. Enhance your mindfulness with a “Personal Pause” by adding a word, phrase or photo to your bracelet. This is one of the best tools for coming to presence that I know of. — Sarah Susanka, Author of The Not So Big Life