Fitness Magazine

Intention + Idea = Action

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge

by Jill

Intention + Idea = Action

USNS Comfort by Marie Lossky
(@Marie.Lossky on Instagram)

There’s so much going on right now (as I know you are well aware) that it’s hard to know exactly what we can do to help someone, some cause, or even ourselves. What do we contribute time, energy, and/or attention to, and in what ways would help most? And how do we even begin? 
I’ve been emphasizing in my own mind things that I can do, rather than things I can’t do, which is has helped me a lot. Everything we can do counts—everything adds up. Another way to start taking some type of kind action is by paying attention to and being purposeful with intention. In yogic tradition, setting an intention (sankalpa) is conscious practice that unites us with our higher purpose, which is personal, of course, but which can include being of service to others. 
Reflecting on and choosing our intentions are the matchsticks that eventually ignite into flame, or into something happening. Thoughts, feelings, words, or actions can begin with or—even be ended by—intentional thoughts. And as part of a mindfulness practice, we will notice when we forget them and we can return to them knowingly. 
From your intentions, ideas will grow. Intention turns into an idea from being just in your heart to becoming alive in the material world. Especially when coming from goodness and non-harming, clear-seeing, and a lightening rather than burdening direction, ideas can turn into helpful actions and hopefully of benefit to others in the world. 
Rolling intentions around in your mind by repeating, focusing and/or reflecting on them creates movement in your mind and ideas can sprout from there. For example, if your intention is to be of service it can give birth to ideas around how. We can all make our ideas happen, if we believe in them, add a little gumption, or even a little irreverence. Being irreverent can create action because it can hold the attitude of “why not?” or “who says this can’t work?”. Sometimes an impish attitude can embolden. 
Ideas then can give rise to action. Having an idea of what to do, how to do it, or even who to check in with to discuss your intention can result in action being taken. For example, my personal experience of working with my intentions and ideas and seeing them come into the world as compassionate action. The School for Compassionate Action is a result. It began in 2001 with my intention to help others not have to experience what I had when being ill, in chronic pain, disbelieved, and at a loss for what to do to help myself. I saw a need then, and have to the best of my ability have filled it with what I would have appreciated knowing 35 years ago when going through such a difficult period. I became a teacher specifically to try to help others who might be going through the difficulties I went through, and offering these alternative supportive practices that saved my life. 
So when you feeling overwhelmed or as if your intentions and ideas don’t matter, remember that’s not really true unless they just stop there. Intentions and ideas as precursors to kind and wise actions do matter, greatly. 
By the way, if you align with being of service to others, you might be interested in the School for Compassionate Action’s programs and trainings, or in helping our not-for-profit get off the ground by offering financial support for first year operating costs. My intentions to help others were the seeds and sparks for School for Compassionate Action, and after operating out of New York City for many years, we have just launched the school in Northern California, in the East Bay. Please go here to find out more: schoolforcompassionateaction.com.
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