How to Discover Your Mindfulness Intentions
Meditative visualization is a helpful exercise that may give you an insight into what your true and deep intentions in practicing mindfulness are. Many people are surprised and fascinated by the insights into their own deep motives.
You can read through these instructions and practice on your own or record them as an audio and listen to it as you practice. Alternatively, ask a friend to read out the meditation to you slowly.
Afterwards, do the writing exercise.
Discover your intentions with meditation
Find a comfortable position seated in a chair or sofa, or lying down. Choose a position in which you feel cozy and comfortable. Close your eyes.
Imagine that you’re sitting by the side of a beautiful expanse of water – a lake or lagoon, or perhaps a still, calm ocean. The place can be somewhere you’ve been before, seen before, or may be completely created in your imagination – it doesn’t matter which. Find a place where you feel calm and relaxed.
The lake may have majestic trees around one side, and stunning mountains in the distance. The temperature is just about perfect for you, and a gentle breeze ensures that you feel refreshed. A flock of birds is flying across the horizon and you can sense a freshness in the air. Your body feels relaxed and at ease.
You look down and notice a pebble. You pick it up and look at it. It has a question engraved on it. The question is: ‘Why do I want to practice mindfulness?’ You look carefully at the question as you hold the pebble gently in your hand.
You throw the pebble out into the water. You watch the pebble as it soars through the air in an arc almost in slow motion and eventually makes contact with the surface of the water. You see the circular ripples radiate out. As the pebble contacts the water you continue to reflect on the question, ‘Why do I want to practice mindfulness?’
The pebble moves down into the water. You’re able to see the pebble as it falls deeper and deeper into the water. As it continues to smoothly fall downwards in the deep water, you continue to watch it, and you continue to reflect on the question, ‘Why do I want to practice mindfulness?’ You keep watching as the pebble falls, and you keep reflecting on the question.
Eventually, the pebble softly makes contact with the bottom and settles there. The question ‘Why do I want to practice mindfulness?’ is still visible. Reflect on that question for a few more moments.
Bring the visualization meditation to a close, noticing the physical sensations of your body, taking a slightly deeper breath and, when you’re ready, slowly opening your eyes. Record what you discovered in your journal, if you have one. This may help to reveal further insights as you write.
No right or wrong answers exist for this ‘intention’ meditation. Some people get clear answers about what they hope to get out of practicing mindfulness, and others reflect on the question, yet no answers arise. Some people find that the answers they get at the surface of the lake are the more obvious ones but, as the pebble falls deeper, their reasons to practice clarify and deepen too.
Discover your intentions with sentence completion
Take a piece of paper, or your journal, and write as many answers as you can to the following questions in one minute, without thinking about it too much:
I want to practice mindfulness because…
I am hoping mindfulness will give me…
If I am more mindful I will…
The real reasons I want to practice mindfulness are to…
Ultimately mindfulness will give me…
These sentence completion exercises may help to clarify your motivation and intentions of mindfulness.
Now read and reflect on your answers. Did any of your answers surprise you? Why did they? You may like to come back to these answers when you’re struggling to motivate yourself to meditate – reading your answers can then be a way of empowering yourself to practise some meditation.