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An Intention-Setting Meditation

A brief meditation practice to refocus, realign and reset your intentions.

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A brief meditation practice to refocus, realign and reset your intentions.

STEP 1

Find a quiet place. Doesn’t have to be anywhere special – no need for meditation cushions or expensive yoga mats. Just find somewhere you won’t be disturbed. Put your phone on airplane mode, if you need it for a timer (or buy an old-school clock and leave your phone in another room entirely). If you share your living or working space with other people, either let them know in advance that you need to be undisturbed, or do whatever you need to do in order to get your space set up (headphones, locking your door, moving locations, etc.).

STEP 2

Start to bring your attention towards your breath.

Sounds pretty simple, but it’s at this point of ‘settling in’ that your mind is probably the most active. See if you can direct all the movements of the mind towards the rhythm of the breath. Every time you find your mind wandering, just bring it back – with patience – to the breath. No judgment, no labels, no analysis. Just simply bringing the mind back, again and again.

STEP 3

Once you’ve focused on your breath for a few minutes, you’ll probably feel the body start to relax. This is the time to keep the attention steady. You might start to feel a little uncomfortable, or restless, or like you want to shift positions. If it’s getting super distracting, just move until you feel comfortable again (it’s more important to stay with the practice than fight through continual discomfort).

After a while focusing on the breath, you might be able to steadily release the attention from your inhale and exhale, and just focus on “being”. It’s difficult to put this sensation into words, but you might feel a sense of inner stillness, calmness or connection. It’s likely that this will be transient, so don’t worry too much about holding on to it. When your attention flickers off again, just come back to the breath.

STEP 4

When you’ve been in meditation for a while, you can start to bring the mind back to a point of focus. Your anchor for this meditation is going to be your intention. Carefully, without forcing anything, you can begin to formulate your intention in your mind. Your intention can be as simple as wanting to stay more present during the day, or it can be as complex as wanting to act or behave in certain specific ways – or anything else that feels like it fits.  The most important thing is that it feels natural, and that it feels personal to you.

STEP 5

Almost there. In this final step, you’re going to bring the attention back to the breath to complete the meditation. After a few more rounds of deep, focused breathing, you can open your eyes and return to your day. To hold on to your intention, it’s a good idea to make a note of it somewhere – perhaps on your phone or in a notebook. If it’s a super simple intention (say, one word), you might even want to write it on a post-it note and place it somewhere you’ll see it throughout your day.

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