Setting powerful intentions(DW#29)

In Islamic spirituality, setting an intention (niyya) is the foundation of an act of worship. Without the intention, the act does not, in fact, qualify as an act of worship. And conversely, by setting an appropriate intention, any act of everyday living can become an act of worship.

Setting intentions for our actions is a powerful exercise. Intentions determine the full consequences of our thoughts, words, and actions. It is our intentions which form the spirit of our activities and the emotional tone of our efforts.

Two actions which look identical will be different in spirit depending on the intention behind them. For example, I lend someone my car. Whether this qualifies as an act of generosity or social barter (I do something for someone in the expectation that they will return the favour) depends upon what my intention was for doing it.

So setting an intention can turn an ordinary day into sacred time and an ordinary space into sacred space. Let us understand this through an example.

I leave the house with the purpose or goal of teaching a class. Before leaving I set an intention that I will be mentally and emotionally present for my students, I will be authentic and bring my best into the classroom. Setting this intention transforms the way I show up to teach. It focuses my mind and energy and allows the Universe to support me in my intention.

This is something quite difficult to explain but astonishingly easy to experience.

When you leave for work today, or even a meeting with friends, pause for just a moment and become present to your intention. Softly announce it to yourself or even to others if appropriate.

Notice the difference it makes in your day and in your interactions.

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