Living with Intention

Today the phrase “living with intention” popped into my head first time in my life. I felt like it conveyed the sentiment that I had recently been feeling and contemplating on.

“Living with intention” is often used interchangeably with “living with a purpose,” but it’s not the same. I’ve never felt that life had a purpose, so the latter never resonated with me.

Most of us live our lives by “going through the motion.” We end up doing many things in our day that we did not intend to do. They just happened. To live with intention is to intend everything we do. Even if we were to watch TV, we do so with an intention not because we happen to feel like it at that moment.

To live with intention does not mean that we should feel bad if we fail. The primary benefit of living with intention is that even when we fail, we can learn something; so we make progress every time. If we did not intend to do anything, we would not know if we failed or succeeded. It could have been sheer luck. Or, we could end up succeeding in something we hate.

When we meditate, we have the intention to observe our own thoughts. Our thoughts just happen. We don’t intend them. But we can intend to observe our thoughts. To live with intention is to live mindfully. Even when we are washing dishes, we do so with intention, as well as we can, not because we have to.