Living with Intent

Living with Intent
One day a motivational speaker was in front of an audience of around 50 women when she realized she was not practicing what she preaches. As she led the audience through a meditation consisting of three questions Who am I? What do I want? How can I serve?, she reflected on her own life. The day was going badly. She ran late on the way to the event and spilled coffee on her pants. She ate a giant cookie earlier in the day and was suffering from a sugar hangover. She’d missed an important phone call for work, which left her feeling unnerved and guilty. And that was just one day. Her life in general was not what she wanted it to be. She suffered from a sugar addiction, wasn’t exercising regularly and stayed up late reading Facebook posts and playing video games.

This motivational speaker I’m referring to above is none other than Mallika Chopra, daughter of famed physician, alternative healing advocate and best selling author, Deepak Chopra. Mallika says she realized while giving the presentation she’d somehow lost her way. Despite her family’s focus on spirituality, she was not living a life filled with meditation, yoga, cleanses, spiritual retreats and vegan meals. In essence she was not living with intent and was instead always scrambling playing catch up. It was at that point Mallika said she decided to write a book about intent to “help guide my path and help me find my way forward.” Living with Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace, and Joy is the result.

In the book Mallika says that intentions are not merely goals, rather intents emanate “from somewhere deep inside us where we get clarity on our heartfelt desires for happiness, acceptance, health and love.” The concept of intent is ancient. In Buddhism to live with intention means to live every moment with integrity and in line with what you value most.

To write Living with Intent Mallika interviewed authors like Eckhart Tolle, who said following your purpose does not have to mean that you do something on a grand scale. “The truth is, greatness may be hidden in the everyday activities of work and parenting.” Eckhart added that intention is a desire “that wants to manifest through you.”

If intention is desire, this reminds me of New Thought teacher Elizabeth Jones Towne when she wrote “find desire in your own self...and you find God. Study the motions and results of desire in yourself and you will understand how God works to create worlds.”

One of the things I really enjoyed about Living with Intent is that the reader is privy to Mallika’s process of writing the book. We feel her longing for peace of mind. We go with her to her interview with Eckhart Tolle and Dan Siegel. We watch her as she figures out what it means to actually put the concept of intention into practice.

Another reason I enjoyed this self help book so much is that I just liked Mallika. Given her pedigree, she could have approached the book as an expert of experts, but instead she would say things like “I make a list of things that sound appealing: A walk with a friend on the beach. Breakfast with Sumant before our busy day begins. Sad as it sounds, it’s not easy to come up with ideas for things I enjoy doing.” For inspiration she looks to her friends to see what they enjoy and many love yoga. The problem is while people expect Mallika to be a master yogi because of her father, she admits, “I suck at it” and says it was her “hidden shame.” On a personal level, I could relate to Mallika’s struggle with the downward-facing-dog position as yoga is my bugaboo too.

In the book we see Mallika deal with insecurities and face her fears. She moves forward making small changes and tackles problems in bite sized chunks. At one point she hosts a party although she feels out of her depth. “In this moment I also realize the power of taking just one step, even if it seems insignificant. Every step reaffirms your intent, then empowers and helps create more energy for living the life you want.”

I borrowed Living with Intent from my local public library.

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