widening your intention

Widening Your Intention

Excerpt from Awakening Joy by James Baraz and Shoshana Alexander

Whatever motivates you to grow in happiness becomes the wind in the sails of your intention. It might seem pretty obvious why you would want to be happy, but if you take a look at your motives, you might find a few other reasons. Maybe you believe that if you have more joy, you’ll make more money, or you’ll get the right guy or the great gal. Those are not necessarily bad reasons for intending to be happy, but you might also consider opening up to other options. The more inspiring your motivation, the more energy you can bring to fulfilling your intention.

In 1994, I was invited to a conference for Western Buddhist teachers to be held in India with the Dalai Lama. When I mentioned to a friend that my flight called for a stop in Frankfurt, Germany, she immediately said, “Oh, you should visit Mother Meera. That’s where she lives.” I’d heard about this holy woman before and said I’d consider it. My friend looked directly at me and, as if channeling instructions from on high, she repeated, “You should meet her. She’s known to grant one’s deepest wish. That was hard to resist, and I set about arranging a visit to the Mother’s Center.

There was a buzz that evening as I waited in line with a crowd of about 150 others. We all were shepherded into a smallish soft-lit room with an empty chair in the front for the master. After about thirty minutes of silence, there was a rustle of excitement as a beautiful young Indian woman entered. The purity and serenity Mother Meera radiated was palpable. For a while I watched as one by one, people would bow at her feet in respect, look into her eyes for a few moments, then leave with a blissful smile. Then I turned to the question that had been at the back of my mind for days. If this holy person could actually fulfill my deepest desire, what would I ask for? Over the next hour as I waited my turn, I dropped deeper and deeper into my heart, moving past layers of desire, dismissing the luxurious vacations, new cars and houses that crossed my mind. What really mattered to me?

By the time my turn came, I knew clearly what I would wish for. I knew what my deepest intentions were for my life. I kneeled before her, silently repeating the simple phrases I had arrived at, each one feeling both authentic and humbling. At one point I looked up into Mother Meera’s eyes, and it was like gazing into a vast ocean of eternity. As I continued to fervently repeat my intentions, I felt as if they were being seared into my heart.

I don’t know what powers Mother Meera might possess, but I do know that getting clear on my deepest intentions that evening set in motion a process that has increasingly aligned the elements of my life to fulfill them. Getting clear on our highest intention establishes our most authentic connection to our heart and is a powerful part of awakening the joy within us.


Exercise: Your Heart’s Desire

What do you hold as the purpose of your life? What are your ideals? If a holy person or a magic genie could grant you your heart’s deepest desire, what would it be? Take a few moments to contemplate those questions. Can you align your intention with those deeper desires? The more encompassing your vision of happiness, the greater the potential for joy.