I was listening to a podcast the other day with Dr. Dan Siegel, a scientist, doctor, and psychiatrist who is a neuroscience and mindfulness geek. I was taken aback when, during a brain-science talk, he began to speak about the power of intention. Intention and brain-science?
I was completely intrigued.
I did some research and here, in his book Aware, The Science and Practice of Presence, Dr. Siegel writes:
“How intention glows, determines where attention goes, neural firing flows, and neural and interpersonal connection grow. Your intention sets the direction of attention and connection. When we set an intention in awareness with initial purposeful effort, we influence what will also become intention even outside of our awareness. This creates a state of mind that can be present without our conscious effort. This is how a repeated, purposefully create state of mind during a practice becomes an automatic trait in our lives.”
What happens we set our Intention?
What he is NOT saying here is that you can set an intention, repeat it a couple of times and then stay in old habits and patterns, and expect the miraculous results of your intention to appear.
What he is saying is that when we create an intention, let’s say kindness, compassion or focus, and we purposefully set up specific practices around that intention (meditation, routines, rituals) we will, literally, create a mental state that begins to manifest this trait in our thinking, our words, our actions, and our interactions with others. I think this so cool!
Purposeful Practice and then Trust
And, even cooler, is that the more we integrate the intention into purposeful practice, the less “conscious” that intention will need to be, as it gently settles into a personality trait; a natural, habitual way of being. And, the more we purposefully practice, the more we can let go of the outcome, live in the moment and trust the flow of outcomes ahead of us. What I also find fascinating about what Dr. Seigel is saying is that in the purposeful cultivation of our intentions, we are also setting up a neurological connection to others and the foundation for our interpersonal relationships.
We will be exploring more about the power intention, neuroscience, and how understanding our brains and mindfulness work can transform our wellness and our relationships at our Women’s Wellness retreat November 1st, 2nd and 3rd in Litchfield CT. Join us for a powerful weekend of transformation and healing.