How to Set Your Intention for Meditation

How to Set Your Intention for Meditation
We live in a world of immediacy. We want an answer to a text now, that double skim vanilla latte immediately, and the streetlight to change—oh, like yesterday.

The practice of meditation helps slow us down. It allows us to let go of this sense of urgency. It also opens us up to other possibilities without too much interference.

When I first learned meditation at Seduction of Spirit in 2007, I came with a question about a relationship. I was deeply conflicted and longed for an answer. I had read about intentions and even had set many the year before. Without a meditation practice, the power of intention was difficult to fully understand. Yet, immersed in my own sense of urgency, I had an idea in my mind as to when I should receive my answer.

I looked at intention-setting like many goals I had established in the past. Set the big goals, break them down into smaller, more manageable ones, and then tackle them head on one by one. And then, boom, the task is complete. Little did I know, the universe laughs at this sense of micromanagement when it comes to intention-setting.

So there I was, a new meditator, eager, and a bit skeptical. Deepak Chopra asked us to set our intention for the week and share with a friend. As an obedient student, I did as I was told. I meditated, and waited, and meditated, and waited some more. For six days, I waited and got absolutely nothing, no response. I was certain that this meditation and intention-setting wasn’t working.

We were on our final meditation with Dr. David Simon. While I was sitting, in the front row, nature called. When I couldn’t hold it any longer, I snuck to the restroom. Inside the stall, my intention from the first day popped back into my mind. I shook my head in dismay as I sat with this answerless question. Then, the voice of intuition came to me and it said, “Let it go.” I knew it meant the relationship. It wasn’t how I expected it to come, but I had my answer.

We’re all guilty of trying to control every aspect of our lives. Setting intentions is an extremely powerful tool, but the process must be respected for it to work. Here are some tips to help you use intentions with your meditation practice:

  1. Write down your intentions and, if possible, write them down with a pen and paper. There is power in the physical act of writing it down.
  2. State your intentions in the positive. For example, instead of saying, “I don’t want any more parking tickets.” State, “I will always find ample, free parking every time I need it.”
  3. Read over your intentions before you go into your meditation. If you have a lot of intentions, you can skim them. You know what they are and you’re just sending yourself and the universe a gentle reminder.
  4. Surrender your intentions to the universe. The concept of letting go is not an easy thing to do. However, it’s necessary when setting intentions. Guess what? You’re not in control. Embrace it and feel the freedom of not having to try to control everything in your life.
  5. Be open to infinite possibilities. We don’t know enough to see the grander picture. I never thought the answer to my relationship problem would come to me while sitting on the toilet. But that’s the fascinating thing about the process. Staying open to possibilities keeps life exciting, fun, and yes, worth laughing about.