A few weeks ago I taught a class and found myself completely inspired by the group of students in front of me, and spoke to that... to that energy that I sensed in the room, and I could tell what I said resonated with more than one person in that class.
When I suggested that the class set an intention at the beginning of practice, I attempted to better explain what I meant by this, what I thought a strong and meaningful intention might be and how to figure out what you might want to set as an intention. I remember the effort to set an intention in my first classes, and wasn't sure what was meant by that. What is my intention? Where do I begin? It's a funny question to explore when you are not used to thinking in that way.
I told my students to look to their distractions to set an intention. Notice: what is it that is pulling you away from this moment, right now, right here? Where does the mind want to go? There is always going to be something to pull you away from the moment, there is always going to be a distraction, there is always going to be a reason why you are not 100%. When you can begin to notice patterns and habits, you can begin to work with them.
I watched my students. I presented examples: are you constantly on the move, are you always making to-do lists and busying yourself, living in the next moment, anticipating the future, worrying about something that hasn't even happened yet and very well may never happen? Your work is going to be about presence, about patience, and faith and trust in the present moment, because that is going to fuel your present action which is going to affect your future. Or, does your mind go to a critical place? Do you wander to a place of self-criticism and self-judgment? Beating yourself up, asking yourself why you're not better, telling yourself you are not good enough. Your intention needs to be about self-love, acceptance, and compassion. Judging yourself is one of the most detrimental things you can do. It disempowers you.
I watched as one student nodded her head. Another began to cry a little. It was so profoundly touching, to witness my words affect another person in that way, to know I had influenced someone, I had spoke to someone's experience, and very simply because I listened to an inner voice and I spoke from my heart. Though my students may not have considered it, I understood full well in that moment, the reason I can speak to these things, the reason I can understand and share my knowledge on this subject, is because I, too, have felt it. And during those darker moments, never did I think that they would somehow make me a better person by facilitating me to help another person see light.