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Are Intention and Mindfulness Enemies?

Or friends?

Stuffed toys in a box
Intention and Mindfulness can be friends

Intention implies a focus, a plan, a goal, determination.

Mindfulness accepts this moment as it is, without judgement.

These are two different states of mind.

Can intention and mindfulness live together? Or are they enemies?

Intention is seen as having power and control and getting things done. Mindfulness can seem passive because accepting this moment sounds like giving up. And not having opinions or judgements about things that crop up in our lives can be seen as weak.

So, which state of mind would you choose?

A wise person chooses both.

How can you incorporate both of them in your life?

Imagine a horse and cart, and you in it. You sit on the padded seat, hands in your lap, and wonder where the horse will take you. Probably nowhere. It’ll nibble the grass at its feet and flick flies with its tail for the rest of the day.

Now imagine you have reins connecting you to the horse. The reins represent your intentions.

Intentions get you moving in a specific direction.

When you’re galloping down the road in pursuit of your goal, with the reins of intention increasing your speed, or helping you negotiate a tricky corner, that’s when it’s time to change your state of mind.

It’s time for mindfulness to emerge.

Learn to move from two states of mind: the practical mind that operates at a surface level and deals with intentions and details; and the deeper state of mindfulness –unconditioned consciousness:

Eckhart Tolle in Stillness Speaks says:

In you, as in each human being, there is a dimension of consciousness far deeper than thought. It is the very essence of who you are. We may call it presence, awareness, the unconditioned consciousness. In the ancient teachings, it is the Christ within, or your Buddha nature.

Have intentions, make plans, flick the reins and guide the cart of your life. But don’t get so caught up in the activity and the desire for the end result that you crash.

Crashes happen because someone isn’t paying attention. They’re not being mindful. They’re not present, calm and aware — which are the ingredients of mindfulness. They’re fuming about the past or focussing on the future, instead of noticing a rock or tight bend in the road.

Living with mindfulness

Have intentions. Make schedules. Plot your course. Flick your reins. Feel the rush of wind on your face.

But spend as much of your life journey as possible in a state of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is alert, curious, unbiased attention.

That’s where universal, timeless wisdom dwells.

With love, Marlane

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