For a long time I thought intentions were kind of like goals: I intend to be kind to others, I intend to write a book, I intend to call a friend. But then I realized those are all about the future, when my spiritual practice is about NOW. So an intention has to be rooted in the current moment, and the current moment only. Which simplifies things, doesn't it?!
The overarching purpose of my spiritual practice is to feel connected with the world, to find meaning, to experience serenity and joy in each moment. So my intent can be as simple as being open and present. Or, even better, I can bring the Buddha's Fourth Noble Truth into it. This Truth teaches us that right intention is the second step in the 8-fold path:
Cause no harm, and treat yourself and others with Loving-kindness and compassion while seeking true happiness, that which comes from being free from grasping and clinging."
So my intent becomes this:
Be open and present.
Cause no harm.
Treat myself and others with loving kindness.
Let go of everything else.
And guess what? It's that last "letting go" part I struggle the most with. But I am trying! I love what Wayne Dyer says in his book THE POWER OF INTENTION:
Stop being offended.
Let go of your need to win.
Let go of your need to be right.
Let go of your need to be superior.
Let go of your need to have more.
Let go of identifying yourself on the basis of your achievements.
Let go of your reputation.
What I am discovering about myself is that I am really good at two things:
1. supporting causes I believe in, in absentia (I am not that good at showing up at events, but I will buy the book, donate the money, make the call, send the email!)
2. connecting people (I don't need to be THE PERSON, but I can often help find THE PERSON, and make those introductions so that a project might move forward.)
You'll notice that these are not-in-the-spotlight, backseat positions. A lot of the stress in my life happens when I forget this about myself and get sucked into my need to win, need to be right, need to be superior, need to achieve, need to have more.
So maybe my most basic intent is this: BE WHO I REALLY AM.