Mindset Training Week 5: Intention
After I parted ways with my husband, intense grief loomed over me day and night. It was a cement truck depositing its solidifying contents directly into the pit of my stomach. I didn’t want to eat. I couldn’t sleep. I was barely able to care for others at work when I took no care of myself. My daily routine included sneaking out back behind the salon where I worked to smoke cigarettes, and heading to the bar nearby right after my shift. The addictive habits that had been kept somewhat at bay while with my husband showed up like a bunch of clowns at a birthday party. They opened the door to their party car, and I climbed right in.
The realization came with little fanfare. One night, I’d just had enough. I wanted out of the erratic clown car. I wanted to find a way to heal and be happy.
That night I dreamed vividly: I was standing on my head, the world upturned and yet myself in harmony with it. I awoke knowing that yoga was my answer.
The first thing I learned about yoga is that it is not just about standing on my head and twisting into a pretzel. Yoga means to yoke or unite with God, and is an ancient path of self-mastery. Through yoga, the Self realizes its connection to the limitless power of God, and its own power potential as a fragment of it. I had no concept of this in my first yoga class. The spin class thumped loudly next door when the teacher spoke the mind-changing words “Set your intention.”
Set my intention? My initial response was I intend to get a cheeseburger after this. I had no idea what she was talking about. The instructor interrupted my trail of thoughts to say “What do you want?”
Hmmm, I thought. I want to be happy. I want to be the version of myself that accomplishes her goals instead of the one who reaches for a drink and a cigarette every time she is stressed.
This was arguably the most important thing I did in the entirety of my healing process. Intention aligned my trajectory toward growth and began rewriting the limiting stories I was telling myself in my mind.
I wanted to be happy, but the decisions I was making were taking me far from my target because of old stories written into my subconscious mind, false narratives about who I am and what I was capable of. Think about how many times you were scolded as a child. Traumatic events around punishments can write a story in the mind that you’re bad. As a result, you may be unconsciously reacting to that untrue story in your current life. For example, when you perceive you have done something wrong, the mind automatically self-punishes with self-destructive thoughts and behaviors. You’re telling yourself that you deserve to suffer. The truth is, I deserve to be happy and you deserve to be happy. Rewriting these negative stories is about bringing them into the conscious light of awareness and affirming to yourself the truth of your infinite nature though the power of intention.
LAYERS OF THE MIND
To change your life and eliminate habits that are taking you further from success and happiness, seek to understand the layers of the mind and how they influence your decision making. Your memories and stories are stored in the subconscious mind, brought to consciousness in the present moment.
Within the conscious mind are the thoughts and emotions that are present and easily recalled. If you think of the layers of the mind like a computer, the contents of the conscious mind are the items you place on your desktop. They are right there when you power up for the day, easily accessible. The conscious mind is alert, aware, and initiates action. With this part of the mind, you take in sensory stimulus from outside of you, then respond or react using information stored in the logical and emotional areas of the brain. You think your decisions are fully based on the present conditions of this conscious mind. They are not.
The subconscious mind is like the nested folders of your own personal digital files. Every experience you remember along with its emotional residue is saved in the subconscious mind. They’re not always in front of you, but just as you pull up a document on your computer, you can recall memories, associated emotions, and accompanying stories. Triggered by stress, painful emotions can surface when you relive a traumatic event of the past and react based on a compounding effect of the past and present. The subconscious can also act on habitual solution response programming. For example, if your mom always gave you a candy bar when you were afraid, you may as an adult want a candy bar when triggered by fear.
The superconscious mind is well below the surface. The knowledge stored here is the deeply embedded computer files, the ones that run in the background without you ever knowing they exist. Within this level of the mind lies your deepest truth and wisdom, the all-knowing soul level of consciousness. The omniscience of the higher mind gently prompts you to remember what is true, but is often drowned out by the fluctuations of the subconscious mind. When you increase consciousness to the level of your intuitive superconscious mind, you connect with your ever-blissful soul, an inner permanence that never misleads you.
When your nervous system receives signals that you’re in danger, it takes over to protect you and bring stress hormone levels back to normal. The Train the Mind steps are a cognitive method to activate the conscious mind in order to determine if you’re truly in danger, lessening the power of the subconscious mind on decision making. With this training, you’ll be more likely to pause and respond with higher-minded discernment to current events, instead of defaulting to auto-inclined reactions and unwanted habits.
MIND TRAINING STEP TWO: SET INTENTION
To make decisions with the wisdom and awareness of the superconscious mind, it’s necessary to relay messages to the subconscious mind that any messages limiting your greatness are not true. You’ve already begun the process by practicing step one of training the mind: acceptance. Mind training step number two is to set intention.
By identifying what you really want in life, you begin to look at the decisions taking you in the wrong direction and change course. You’ve accepted your current situation by saying “Here I am.” Now ask, “Where do I want to go?” Your answer is your intention. Intention states to the layers of the mind possibilities of what you want and can achieve.
Then you further refine your intention by arranging your words to clearly affirm to the layers of your mind that you already have and already are what you desire. If you’re working on building a successful business, instead of saying “I want a successful business,” your statement of liberation would be, “I have a successful business.” Anything that starts with “I want” indicates something you don’t have. This creates suffering in the mind and unhappiness in your life as the mind will try to get the object you want by attaching and grasping at happiness that may always seem just out of reach. By using a statement of affirmation that speaks to your mind, you don’t have to postpone your happiness. Your conscious affirmation not only acknowledges to your mind that you already have what you want, it magnetizes possibilities greater than your imagined want.
Statements of liberation are strong affirmations that free the mind of desire-based limitations by speaking your soul truth. To create statements of liberation around your desire, imagine having what you want. Notice the feeling generated. Then affirm to yourself that you already have and are that expansive feeling. If your object makes you feel happy, your statement of liberation would be “I am happy.” If it makes you feel free, “I am free.” Repeating these statements to yourself helps to clear stories that are telling you otherwise. The object of your desire simply represents the happiness and freedom that you want from a soul level.
The practice of setting intention and affirmation through liberating statements moves you from a place of unhappiness—wanting something you don’t have—into a place of contentment with how things are in the present, by sourcing your desire from an infinite place within. By repeating these phrases, you affirm to the mind that you already have what it is that you want in this present moment, and the manifestation of your desire through intention draws more of it into your life. You can be happy now with the feeling, instead of awaiting happiness with the object that may or may not come. What you want, you can have—by changing your mindset. After all, all those things you think will bring you happiness don’t actually change our level of happiness, they just change your experience.
Statements of intention and liberation can be used together or separately. Statements of intention address desires of the body. Statements of liberation are desireless desires of the soul. Apply them as you see fit to affirm your truth. They are meant to reprogram your mind to what is possible and what you want to be true. The vibrations produced from positive thoughts will magnetize more of what you want toward you. When you repeat “I am happy” to yourself all day instead of “I am sad,” it will change the way you carry yourself and respond to the events of the day.
The final step in intention-setting is to believe what you’re saying to yourself by writing recall statements to keep reminding you that your intention is true, that you are capable of success and happiness. Recognizing a real moment of happiness from your history speaks the truth of what you’re saying to your logical brain and will begin to convince your mind that happiness is possible. If you’re telling yourself “I am happy” but you don’t believe it, the mind will reject the statement. Confirm to yourself that what you are saying is true. Feel into the words and manifest their truth. Then, notice the results of using affirmations. What results does it bring? How does your life begin to shift as a result of shifting to a limitless mindset?
INTENTION SETTING STEPS
Practice setting intentions by following along below with TMHH Workbook pages for Chapter 5.
STATEMENT OF INTENTION
- What do you want? This can be anything the mind desires. One million dollars, a promotion at work, a supportive partner, a healthy body, to be healed.
- Speak to yourself as if you already have what you want or the quality of your desire. I am a millionaire. I am wealthy. I am a leader. I have a supportive partner, I have a healthy body, I am healed.
STATEMENT OF LIBERATION
Identify the feeling and/or quality underneath your desire. Imagine you have that object. What feeling does that bring in?
- money = abundance, freedom, happiness
- promotion = success, self-worth
- new partner = love, to be wanted
- healthy body = health, wellness, vitality
- healing = wholeness
Speak to yourself as if you already have and are the feeling your initial want brings in.
- I am abundant. Abundance flows toward me.
- I am successful. I have infinite worth.
- I have a healthy and strong body.
- I am free. I give back what is weighing me down. I give back the energy of others.
- I am happy. I am content. I deserve happiness.
- I am love. I offer love. I receive love.
- I have love and joy.
- I am peaceful. I have a peaceful mind.
- I awaken comfort within me. I receive comfort.
- I am courageous.
- I am healed. I am whole.
- I trust all will unfold in time exactly as it’s meant to.
RECALL AND NOTICE
Recall an instance when you felt the desired feeling, or something you did that displayed the quality. Notice how your affirmation manifests what you want.
- I recall going for a walk with my friend, we laughed, and I felt happy.
- I recall the sale I made last week that boosted my paycheck. Abundance is flowing toward me.
- A colleague came to me for advice today. I am respected.
- My friends/family made me a thoughtful gift. I am loved.
- I am taking steps to change my life. That takes courage. I am courageous.
Now that you have set your statements of intention and liberation, breathe and repeat to program its truth into all levels of the mind. Embody the quality or feeling you want to manifest in your life. Visualize it, feel it, taste it, hear it, become it. Use your statements of affirmation during your on-and off-cushion practice.
ON-CUSHION: FIVE-MINUTE EMOM MEDITATION
Today, we will increase our meditation time to five minutes following an “every minute on the minute” (EMOM) sequence. On the even minutes, breathe as you have been in the past weeks. On the odd minutes, hold your breath for two breath counts of 20 seconds each.
***Note on the breath retentions: If you are gasping for breath by the end, you are holding too long. Go until a point when your body wants to inhale again and then slowly let in breath. This is usually about 20 seconds. Do not practice the breath retentions if you are pregnant or have heart problems.
- Read your statement of purpose, intentions, and statement of liberation.
- AM: Read value components. PM: Check off value components.
- Program your timer for five minutes with interval bells to sound every minute.
- Sit up tall with your spine aligned in a neutral position.
- Inhale fully through the nose then exhale, Haaaaa, through the mouth.
- Start your timer.
- With eyes closed and without strain, concentrate the gaze to the center of the forehead.
- Inhale through the nose for three counts, Om 1, Om 2, Om 3, pause.
- At the top of the in breath say silently to yourself, “Heart.”
- Exhale through the nose for three counts, Om 1, Om 2, Om 3, pause.
- At the bottom of the out breath say silently to yourself, “Mind.”
- Hold the breath for 20 counts. Release the breath. Inhale and hold again for 20 counts.
- Listen for the heart beating in the chest.
- Silently repeat “Love” as you concentrate your gaze on the third eye point.
Continue until the fifth interval bell sounds. Repeating “Heart” and “Mind,” link the two with intention to clear limiting thoughts and emotions with the vibrations of Love. Notice the feeling of peace after meditation practice. This is Love awakening from within. Affirm I am worthy of love.
OFF-CUSHION: USING LIBERATING STATEMENTS
Write down your statements of intention and liberation. Carry them with you. Repeat them to yourself throughout the day. Post them in places you’ll see them regularly. Your thoughts are energy; they set off a frequency from your body. What kind of energy do you want to put out into the world and what do you want to invite in? As you begin to use your intention, values, and statement of purpose as your barometer, the things that are not serving you in your life will begin to fall away. You’ll set your course on a joyful hot air balloon ride into the sky instead of a terrifying roller coaster fall with screaming clowns.
Complete introspection questions and Chapter 5 exercise from your TMHH Workbook.