By David Simon, MD (The Chopra Center)
It’s the second week of a new year, and you may have already created some beautiful intentions for 2012. While it’s easy to set an intention to get into better shape, organize your finances, or become a more loving husband or wife, many people find it difficult to take the next step of translating their intentions into choices. This requires the power of commitment.
In my own life and experience working with many people, I have found that we are most likely to make evolutionary choices and follow through when our body, mind, and soul are in alignment with an intention. Although the meaning of these three words is usually taken for granted, I’d like to offer my definitions to ensure we have a common understanding.
―Your body is the collection of molecules that allows you to experience the world. It includes the five senses that connect you to your environment and the motor systems that enable you to take action in the world (your vocal apparatus, hands, feet, etc.).
―Your mind is a field of thoughts, constantly engaged in a conversation about what happened in the past, what is happening now, and what may happen in the future. Your thoughts, memories, desires, and feelings are expressions of your mind.
―Your soul is the silent witness to your body and wind. It’s the eternal aspect that has your best interests at heart. When you become still, you can hear your soul whispering, I want you to be happy, I want you be healthy. I want you to have love. I want you to live a life of meaning and purpose. If your mind is turbulent or your body is in distress, it can be difficult to hear these life-celebrating messages from the depths of your being.
A commitment is a contract between your physical body, your thought-generating mind, and your observing soul, so it’s important to get agreement from all three parties. Consider one of your current goals or intentions and see if you are truly in alignment. I’ll guide you using the example of deciding whether to train and run for a marathon this year.
Take a few moments to get centered and quiet. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling completely.
Bring into your awareness an intention that you have or that you are considering. Now check in with your body and see how it feels about your proposed intention to run a marathon. Pay attention to any subtle sensations or feelings that signal a “yes” or a “no.” Next, tune into your mind and notice what it is saying.
Finally, settle in even more deeply into the present moment and see if you can hear the quiet voice of your soul. How does it feel about experiencing a 26.2-mile run? Does it feel right? Or is your guidance telling you that a marathon isn’t in your highest interest right now? What guidance does your soul want to offer?
If your mind, body, and soul say “yes” to a choice and you move forward with that option, you are more likely to manifest the desired outcome. Similarly, when your mind, body, and soul send you signals that a particular choice is best avoided – and you heed that message – you are almost certain to avoid distress.
As you consider an intention, if there is disagreement among these three aspects of your self, spend some more time in silent meditation, letting each aspect express itself until they arrive at an intention that your body, mind, and soul all agree on.
In setting powerful intentions, taking time to quiet the mind and body in meditation is invaluable. It allows you to hear to soft voice of the soul and avoid decisions that lead to emotional upset and physical discomfort – instead making choices that expand peace, happiness, and well-being in your life.
Start with one commitment, perhaps the one that seems easiest or most interesting to you. Commit for a day. If you are able to honor it for a day, see if you can commit for a week, and then a month. You’ll know that your commitment has become an integral part of yourself when you no longer have to consciously remind yourself to honor it because you’re already doing so. Once you’ve mastered one commitment, choose another. Have a sense of curiosity and wonder. When you’re acting from the true integrity of your body, mind, and soul, the fulfillment of your intentions will unfold with grace and effortless ease.
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