The following is the second installment in a weekly series of reflections from one of our learners in the Beyond Mindfulness program. Each week, Noopur will recap her personal experience to give insight into her journey towards a more aware and intentional life. If you’re ready to start your journey in mindfulness, please get in touch. We’re here to help.
Hello lovely people!
How are you doing today? Me? Why, thank you for asking— I am happy I get to share my first, “Aha” moment—stemming from the idea of “intention”— with you all. And also, just about everything that happened in class, after and before it.
Before Class Frenzy:
I was pretty excited the whole day before class. Though Tracy had sent us an email mentioning the flow of the class and what we would be covering “What will I learn? What will we do? What will it be like?” were just a few questions buzzing through my head. I got ready for class, made sure I had everything ready and I switched on my Zoom exactly at 7:30 pm. And guess what? I was not the only one who was excited to be there! When I was allowed into the Zoom meeting, I was welcomed by the nervous and excited faces of my cohort. It was like I was back in school.
Tracy opened the class with a grounding meditation which helped me feel a bit more centered. It was a lovely way to open the session, it helped me feel a lot more connected with everyone even though I didn’t know most people in the cohort.
To be honest, I was a bit skeptical about how easy or difficult it would be to share and open up in front of people I had never even spoken to. And as the program was a lot about being reflective, I wanted to be honest and truthful about it when sharing. It almost felt like Tracy read my mind and this was the first thing she did while addressing the class. She talked about how these sessions were going to be a safe space for us to share and learn from. And that everything shared in the session would remain in the space—we all agreed to that. This shifted my hesitation to trust, and helped me be present for everyone while they share. Tracy chose to be vulnerable and shared her own mindfulness journey. I remember feeling really touched by it. We each then talked about the reason why we were here doing this program.
I loved that the class was not very theory-based and we were allowed to voice our opinions on the topics we discussed. As this was the first week the main things, we discussed:
- What does mindfulness mean?
- Mindfulness vs Mindlessness
- Why do we need to be more present?
- Is it really important to label our experiences, our emotions or even the state we are in?
- What is intention?
- Importance of gratitude
While explaining about intention Tracy shared a very interesting story with us, which was very interesting.
I would like to share that with you:
There was once a king, who had no heir. When it was time for him to choose one, he thought to himself ” I don’t t want this to be a position that goes to someone just because of their power or money.” He wanted to ensure that the person who could really take care of his people and his kingdom would gets to be his heir. So, he decided that he would allow people to apply for the position no matter what their social status, gender, and their past actions were. But he was a bit concerned about his own biases. He was worried that if someone came dressed in torn clothing that he would not be able to see what the person has to offer. The king came up with a solution for this and decided to create a suite with the finest clothing, the best beds, tastiest food, and other luxuries—so that everyone got what they needed for him to give them a fair chance.
The king then waited. He waited and waited and waited, but no one ever came to him. Surprised by this the king then decided to go check the suite. When he went there, the suite was completely empty. Turns out that people came, ate, bathed, slept, wore fine clothing, and completely forgot why they had come there in the first place and just left.
This was a very interesting story to me. My first reaction to the story was—well one can have good intentions but that doesn’t mean everyone else shares the same intention as you. But, I missed the whole point of the story. The people that came to take up the position of the heir came with good intent but lacked intention and hence forgot about what they were really there to do and just did what they felt was their need at that point. The intentions were lost…. This was my “Aha” moment. We all talk about intentions but it is so easy to confuse intent with intention. One can have good intentions but we really don’t know where that intent is really stemming from.
While intention is something we set, it is not a goal, it is more like a guideline that helps one take a decision at a moment.
At least that is what my current understanding of the word is. Intentions help us choose how we want to show up at a moment and create our future selves.
A few pointers that we were asked to reflect on when we choose our intentions are:
- Are they in alignment with our values?
- Are they in alignment with our actions?
- Are our feelings, thoughts, and body aligned with our intention?
This was also part of our weekly reflection. We need to think about what we want our intentions to be and how we can be more intentional in our actions and how we can track them.
The last topic that we covered was gratitude and the importance of it in general life. What are the things we are grateful for? And how often do we notice and feel grateful for the smaller things that happen to us? We all had a good time discussing, listening, and learning from each other. Few of my classmates already knew their intentions unlike me.
Post- Class Reflections:
I took back a lot from the class that day, usually, I like sharing my own thoughts and opinions about things but this time I was really left thinking about intentions and what they mean to me. A week of thinking and pondering has brought me to a few answers for myself for now.
- Earlier I would set an intention for the day and kind of forget about it (like new year’s resolution) but I am glad that it was brought to my awareness that my intention is more like a GPS navigator that I am following vs something that I say and forget.
- I am allowed to not just have an overall intention for the day, but I can have intentions for every activity I choose to do. I am trying to get into the habit of asking myself. So… what is my intention for what I am trying to do right now? Like my intention with this blog is to find answers for myself and in the process share whatever I am learning.
- Intentions are hard! It is not easy to declare something and choose to show up like that. It takes a lot of courage and a lot of stumbling and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes constant practice and reminder to ourselves to be able to do this.
- I am also learning how important it is to reflect on my actions and to be grateful for the small daily wins. Reflecting is a new thing for me but it helps me keep track of things and with my personal accountability.
The newest thing that I have learned about intentions is that they don’t need to be fixed, they can be malleable and life will make sure that we are constantly calibrating and realigning ourselves. And while intentions are blueprints for how we want to be, even they can be changed if they are no longer in alignment with who we are now.
On this note, I will see you soon with more things I learn and reflect on.
Signing off for now!
See you next week