Staying Present While Setting Intentions

As a believer in both the power of setting intentions for the future and the power of being mindfully engaged in the present moment, I am sometimes asked how I reconcile the two.

On the surface, they do seem mutually exclusive.


I believe that all intentions, even the most materialistic, have at their root a desire for a specific feeling-state. Boiled down to its core, that sought-after feeling-state might be called something like ìinner peace, fulfillment, well-being, joy or unconditional love.

Mindfulness teachings put forth that each of us already embodies, at our core, all of the aforementioned positive feeling-states right now; nothing external is needed to give us these positive states, for they are already ours. The key is to be present, stop seeking fulfillment outside of ourselves, quiet the mind and drop into oneís heart-center. That field of still, peaceful, powerful ìpresenceî-energy is always there ñ it just gets covered over by left brain chatter. If we can get quiet and tune in, we find that underneath our thoughts, perceptions and emotions is a powerful current of unending peace. It is alive behind even the most turbulent and persistent of mind chatter. Truly, all is well.

Mindfulness practices can help us to engage this energy field, which is our true state, more often. From this state, nothing more is needed — peace and fulfillment are total. From here, if we still desire to set intentions, they can be put forth not from a state of lack, wanting or desperation, but from a state of already having completion and wholeness, in tune with the flow of life. Needing nothing, all things can be added unto you… ironic, isnít it? 😉

Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle describes his experience of the manifestation process in creating his books as being in tune with helpful forces beyond himself. Talking about writing his second book, “A New Earth,” he said, “The process began in the same way as it had with (my first book) The Power of Now sense that there was a book that wanted to be written. It felt almost as if the book already existed in the unmanifested realm and wanted me to bring it into this world. Many times in my life, it has been my experience that the most powerful starting point for any endeavor is not the question, ‘What do I want?,’ but ‘What does Life (God, Consciousness) want from me? How do I serve the whole?'”

Thereís a teaching by Abraham-Hicks that sums up beautifully the state I strive for in terms of staying mindfully present but also engaged in the intention process. Paraphrased, they say that the most resourceful state one can be in is ìdeep appreciation/gratitude for the present moment, along with excited anticipation about one’s future.

This state, when I’m in it, allows me to put forth intentions for my ideal future without denying or rejecting the present moment. On the contrary, there is always something to enjoy and appreciate in this moment, and in fact, from this centered state my best and most satisfying intention ideas arise. There is a flow to life; I move from one gratitude-filled “present moment” to the next. A sense of trust as well as exuberance pervades. The intentions I am inspired to put forth resonate deeply, for they are rooted in my higher self and aligned with the highest good. When I am in this flow of well-being I am truly living my highest, best, happiest and most rewarding life path

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