Intention. It's a critical aspect of spiritual practice.
It's the volitional aspect of your life - deciding what is most important and then remembering it again and again and making decisions that reinforce what you most want.
Without a clear intention you are like a sailboat without a rudder. Where the wind blows, that's where you go. The forces of aversion and attraction take over.
With an intention, you can more consciously weather the natural challenges that arise.
Last night we ended our evening with the question, 'What one word summarizes your intention for this next year?'
(To listen to the talk, you can go to my iTunes podcast.)
That's a potent inquiry.
There is inestimable value in pausing and reflecting on what you most want out of this precious life.
Asking the right questions can draw you deeper to the core. Ramana Maharshi claimed two questions would lead to unveiling the true self, if you live into the inquiry:
Who am I?
What do I really want?
The courage to honestly reflect deeply into these questions can peel away layers and layers and reveal your true nature.
The following questions are from a teacher I've found most helpful in my life. David Allen is the author of Getting Things Done, a book all about, well, getting things done. He offers the following questions as a way to evaluate the year behind and the year ahead.
I hope you find them useful.
David's Food for Thought
Questions for Completing and Beginning the New Year
What have you actually finished, completed, and accomplished? If you haven't made a list in the last year, I would highly recommend that you give yourself a treat and review the year that just passed and look forward to the year ahead.
When I go through these kinds of questions I like to consider my answers in several areas:
Physical Emotional Mental Spiritual Financial Family Community Service Fun / creativity / recreation
Completing and remembering last year
- Review the list of all completed projects.
- What was your biggest triumph in 2011?
- What was the smartest decision you made in 2011?
- What one word best sums up and describes your 2011 experience?
- What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2011?
- What was the most loving service you performed in 2011?
- What is your biggest piece of unfinished business in 2011?
- What are you most happy about completing in 2011?
- Who were the three people that had the greatest impact on your life in 2011?
- What was the biggest risk you took in 2011?
- What was the biggest surprise in 2011?
- What important relationship improved the most in 2011?
- What compliment would you like to have received in 2011?
- What compliment would you like to have given in 2011?
- What else do you need to do or say to be complete with 2011?
Creating the new year
- What would you like to be your biggest triumph in 2012?
- What advice would you like to give yourself in 2012?
- What is the major effort you are planning to improve your financial results in 2012?
- What would you be most happy about completing in 2012?
- What major indulgence are you willing to experience in 2012?
- What would you most like to change about yourself in 2012?
- What are you looking forward to learning in 2012?
- What do you think your biggest risk will be in 2012?
- What about your work, are you most committed to changing and improving in 2012?
- What is one as yet undeveloped talent you are willing to explore in 2012?
- What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do or have more of that in 2012?
- Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving in 2012?
- What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2012?