If you are intent on doing something, you are determined to get it done. If you have an intent, you have a motive or purpose.
Intention and intent are synonyms, but with subtle difference. Intention implies a general desire or plan to accomplish something, while intent is a little stronger. indicating a firm resolve to get it done.
Hence, what is living with intention?
Living with intention means giving purpose to your life through every single actions you are accomplishing. It means embodying the thought that life is not happening to you but through you.
Every single one of your actions is an act of life on you and on everything around you.
Have you heard of the butterfly effect theory?
The butterfly effect is an idea that is more commonly used in chaos theory. A small change can make much bigger changes happen ; one small incident can have a big impact on the future.
Living with intention, is acknowledging that every single one of our actions in the present moment can and will have an impact in our future but also in the lives of the ones around us.
It is about making conscious choices regardless of temporary factors such as moods and emotions. Choices are forever, so we aim to make them with purpose, embracing the consequences small or great that comes with them.
Every effort, intention, choices are yours to make and can be fulfilling and helping you to go as long as you are aware of what you are doing and why you are doing them, you then realize that happiness isn't a destination, its something we find along the day by living lives with intention.
Indeed, happiness is never going to come from something external, ask yourself am I living with purpose? Do I know what I believe in? Am I cultivating the personality traits I value ? How would I be living my life today, if money did not exist? What is my unique and distinct contribution in this world ? What do I want to be remembered as if I were to leave this world today?
Living consciously is the opposite of going with the flow mentality, it is told that going with the flow is accepting change without getting angry or frustrated. it is taking what life gives you, rather than trying to mold life to be exactly as you want it to be. "Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing." Sounds dreamy right? Truth is going with the flow, is a trauma response. It is forcing ourselves to be a passive participant of life because we lack the necessary tools to control and direct our lives.
I see it this way, imagine being on a boat and the captain let you drive it. Lacking the necessary knowledge, you would just hold the steering wheel and hope for the best right? You could drive it peacefully that way for as long as the water is calm and empty of obstacles. Let the current drag you and be content right? Yet, by not controlling it in the face of any obstacles, what would you do besides sink or give the control of "your life" to someone else? Is this how you really want to live your life?
As a passive spectator? If you go with the flow you let things happen or let other people tell you what to do, rather than controlling what happens yourself. In this article from the Huffpost, "going with the flow" is described as being "an egoic defense mechanism - what it really means is " I am stressed out", " I am burned out", " I am overwhelmed". (...) It's all the ways we've learned to get by, to survive, to get what we think we don't have and to not lose what we're afraid somebody is going to take away. "
You go with the flow when your ego tells you that's the only way you can get by. Because you lack. In Islam we say : " Allah is the best of planners", we say when humans plan, God smiles. hence why we say " In Sha Allah" (If Allah wills it) every time we makes plans. However, we are still encouraged to make plans for ourselves within our lives and to prepare for the afterlife. We are encouraged to be rooted in the truth of our being. That we were created for a purpose and we are to live to fulfill that purpose. That we were chosen to be in this life before we were even born, that our destiny was pre-planned for us and yet we were given free will.
Live your lives acknowledging that life is an energy, and that energy is following a specific flow carrying all of us with it yet we are to be active participant within that flow. As I like to say " Trust the process of life but be an active participant of it".
Free will, is mankind greatest gift, it is the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion. living with intentions is exercising that free will. It is making decisions for ourselves and understanding why we make the decisions we make.
How do we live with intention?
Living with intention is to plan. Intentions requires planning and foresight. You must first have a vision of the path you choose to follow. then the intention to make it happen, then the planning begins, and it is what ensure the direction of our lives.
How about we make a list ?
Use your free will - Before you engage in any activity - take any actions, whatever it is, ask yourself, do I want to do this or am I just doing it ? Why? Would I be able to live with the consequences of this choice?
Be present - It means being wholeheartedly engaged in what you are doing and what is going on in the present moment. To be present physically, mentally and emotionally.
Cultivate Mindfulness - It means to be grounded, aware of yourself, your surroundings and the people in them. It gives you the ability to live a conscious self-directed life.
Adjust your expectations - It means to assess the reality of the situation and revise your expectation accordingly. Attention, it is different from "If I don't expect much I won't be disappointed" no- It is to realize that in this life nothing is sure, nothing is meant to be perfect and we should always leave room for the unexpected in our plannings with both things and people.
Appreciate your uniqueness - Do you embrace who you are ? Are you fully aware of yourself and your attributes ? How can you express my special gifts and characteristics ? Be at peace with yourself, who you are and who you are not. Who you can be and who you cannot. I assure you, you do not need to jump through any hoops to earn your place on earth.
Asses what is really important to you - What makes you feel alive? What do you want your contribution to humanity be? Gives purpose to your life, but know that purpose is different to goals, A purpose relates to the road to be travelled, whereas goals are the stops along the way. When the direction you are taking is significant and worthwhile to you, your life has meaning.
Find your own meaning and purpose - Your ideas do not have to be spectacular, public or even specific. They can be a feeling, longing for something better, a sense of overall direction and destination. Whatever you choose will be important for expressing who you are and what is of value to you.
To conclude, I want to ask you this question, What does living with intuition means to you ?