As we begin a new year, instead of a goal or a resolution, I am setting an intention. This is an idea that comes from yoga. At the beginning of every session we set an intention for the next bit of time on the mat. Not a goal to stretch farther nor a demand not to become distracted, but a feeling or an idea that will keep one grounded throughout the practice. Perhaps that intention will carry over to the rest of the day. My friend and favorite yoga instructor used to conclude each session with the words, "may the blessings and benefits you have cultivated today be taken off of your mat and into your world." I often think of that when I practice at home.
I don't think I can really give a clear explanation of what my intention is. It's more of a feeling because if I put it into words I'm afraid it will become a goal. Over the past year I've learned that finding this feeling can really help to calm or cheer me. For example, when I feel uncertain or stressed it helps to think about the peaceful ashram where I used to do yoga in Denton, or moments when I was surrounded by friends and my spirit danced. Sometimes it helps to focus on my physical core. An anatomy professor suggested we imagine tracing our finger all around our head, even into the respiratory tract, as a technique for learning the cutaneous innervation of the cranial nerves. In a similar manner, I find that I can refocus myself by looking inside and thinking of energy flowing through each chakra. Or it's like making life a constant prayer. I know, I'm using a lot of jargon that doesn't really make sense in our western rational minds, but if you let yourself just go I think you'll know what I mean.
Okay, how about this one: my intention is my new kitten.
We just got him from a shelter downtown and named him Zenith. He lives a simple life and is always true to himself. He is playful yet peaceful and always seems to hit the right balance between high and low energy. He purrs frequently, like a yogi's mantra. Because he has a loving home and is well taken care of he is full of love and can share that with the world, even if does have a very small world.
What is your intention for the new year?