When we live with intent, we are mindful and present, and this is the goal. Conscious intent makes you aware and mindful. Mindfulness is the key that helps you move beyond your limits. You can learn how to live with intention, all you need are the right tools. Are you ready to begin?
What Came First Chicken or Egg?
To live life with intent, our thinking must be as healthy as possible. The task is to identify and replace negative thought scripts with positive ones. However, the tendency is to skip the first step of replacing the harmful scripts, and rush forward with affirmations. It’s a misconception to think we can instal positive thought scripts over negative. This strategy doesn’t work because negative thought scripts are habitual patterns that will override the new scripts.
So, the first step is to observe your current programming for the patterns which are unhealthy. What came first, the chicken or egg? We don’t know about chickens, but we do know we need to remove the old patterns first to make room for the new ones.
Many people do not have success practicing affirmations. The affirmations don’t work because the underlying habit is more powerful. Once you remove the subconscious thought patterns, then your affirmations will work.
Living with intention is a continual process where we identify and eliminate the unhealthy subconscious thought patterns and then reprogram with healthy scripts. The hard part is dealing with those harmful, habitual thought scripts. Also, this isn’t something you do once, your mind is like a garden and you must tend to it regularly for it to produce good fruit. (1)
How to Live with Intention and Purpose
If we are to live with conscious intent, we need to move beyond your limits the Ego imposes. To do this, we need to change habitual patterns. Deliberate conscious actions come from acting with awareness and purpose. In contrast, habits come from unconscious thinking patterns. These unconscious patterns become chronic because they keep the Ego in control. To act out of intention, we must learn to take back control of the driver’s wheel instead of being a passenger in our lives.
Untying Knots in a Rope
Habitual patterns are like knots in a string or rope. So, our task is to untangle a knot. If there’s a knot and pull on the rope, the knot becomes harder to unravel. We need to learn how to untie the knots that tie up our thinking. This inner work requires the right frame of mind. We must remain nonjudgemental. This strategy is like picking gently at these patterns to lose the knots holding unhealthy scripts.
A habit is an addiction. The longer the pattern is in place, the harder they are to change. Affirmations operate at the conscious level so they cannot overcome the more powerful subconscious programming. We’ve talked about this already. If you have tried to use affirmations and found they didn’t work, this is why. Subconscious patterns are powerful. So, attempting to change long-standing habitual patterns with affirmations is like putting a band-aid on a broken arm. Habitual patterns aren’t always a bad thing. For example, the proper body mechanics for walking are an automatic behavioral pattern. These are the foundation of high performance. Athletes often use a two-step technique of repetitive learning to reinforce muscle memory. First, they practice themselves performing the correct movement in their mind, and they picture the proper behavior, which leads to success. Then they mimic the action they rehearsed in their mind.
The two-step process above works to learn or reinforce the behavior. You should bad habit first. Delete the harmful thought scripts first. Then add the thought scripts after you remove the defective programming. Otherwise, repeating affirmations will not change the underlying habit. When under the stress of competition, the bad habit returns. How we can deal with this habit is dealt with depends on several factors.
The above example underscores why we need to deal with the underlying habit first. Practicing the proper motion does not erase the underlying pattern. The longer the bad habit has been in force, the harder they are to change.
Tools to Help You Move Beyond Your Limits
In the above analogy, the habit is the knot. Habitual thinking causes the knot. Pulling on a rope with a knot makes the knot harder to untie. An affirmation works like pulling on the rope. It doesn’t remove the knot. Most of the time, it makes the knot harder to undo.
So, we don’t want to use force, first; we need to find the knot. The knot, or the bad habit, is sometimes hard to see. Remember, habitual thinking patterns come from the subconscious, so we need tools to illuminate the knot at this level. Once we can see the entanglement, we can remove it. Here are the tools which can help us with this. If we begin living out of intent, we need to deal with our habitual thinking patterns.
We don’t cut the rope. That would cause more problems. Instead, we learn to use our habitual nature to create positive behaviors. Thankfully, we have some tools to help us accomplish this goal. It’s all part of knowing how to live with intention.
1) The Enneagram
The Enneagram Personality Profile can show us thought scripts of our personality and instincts. These scripts show us the content of our habitual patterns. The Enneagram is an excellent tool to find and help us remove harmful scripts.
Along with the Enneagram is an exercise known as the Repeating Question. It works best with two people. However, it’s possible to do it on your own. Here, you must write or record all your responses. It’s best to work with a partner who will ask the repeating question. This exercise gets beyond the superficial answers. To find out more about this exercise, see our article on The power of memories as a tool for positive change.
Learning about our habitual nature enables us to use them for our benefit. Instead of being ruled by nature, you use its power to achieve positive things. Building good habits from your habitual nature is a practical approach for another time.
2) Guided Meditation
Guided meditation is a rebranding of the Shamanic Journey. It is a doorway to the Shamanic State of Consciousness (SSC). You can learn more about this process in the article guided meditation — rebranding the Shamanic Journey. This process will enable you to see the cause of the habitual pattern.
A skilled guide can help you with this, but you can also undertake this Journey independently. The knowledge we gain from inner work will empower us to untie the knots. You may need to return several times because these patterns can be stubborn. Regular use of this process will help you identify and untie the knots that give power to habitual patterns.
Shamanic Journey is one of the safest ways to confront addictive thoughts and behaviors. It allows you to visualize them in a non-threatening form. Then deal with them directly. The analogy of untying knots in a rope, for instance. When we untie these knots, living out of intent becomes possible. If the knot returns on a future journey, you undo it again. You keep doing it until the rope remains the way you intend it. It’s the best way to “move beyond your limits.” The power of imagination is our ally in breaking old habits. It works.
3) Mindfulness Meditation
The practice of mindfulness meditation techniques brings our awareness online with our intent. It’s essential to realize intention requires attention—intention like a garden. Our intention is a crucial ingredient in almost all forms of meditation. See the link here to learn both the seated and moving forms of mindfulness meditation. Your mind is like a garden that needs proper care and attention to give us a harvest of good fruit. Read more about the garden of your mind at this link.
To Move Beyond Your Limits Means Changing Patterns
You’ll find that living from intention is much easier once you deal with the habitual patterns that block your way. It’s common for people to discover that many things become more manageable. It’s the one that puts us back in control of the wheel instead of just being a passenger in our lives. Living with a conscious purpose is our natural state of awareness. It enables us to be present, living in the moment because we can “learn how to live with intention.”
The act of living with conscious intent has a positive effect on our mental state and, thus, our overall health. Living with a purpose makes us better able to handle stressful situations, then our inner work will also progress. As we overcome roadblocks, our affirmations will return positive gains, mantras and sutras yield better results. We can use them to create a beautiful life. Imagination becomes a reality when we can get our intuitive and analytical powers to work together.
Living with conscious intent rather than habit will benefit your overall health and wellness, and it will have a positive impact on everyone in your circle of influence. If we are to do this, we need to deal with our habitual patterns, and we move beyond our limits with the right tools and perseverance. Are you ready for some serious inner work? You have the tools to accomplish the task and the more you use them, the easier the process becomes.
“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen Hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” ― Mary Anne Radmacher
(1) Intention—Behavior Relations: A Conceptual and Empirical Review: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14792772143000003