Intention is a function of our minds and is a causal activity. In other words, whether we use our minds consciously or unconsciously, our intentions set in motion beliefs, thoughts and feelings that then play out in specific effects or results. Often, we’re not aware of our intention (or at least the one that is highest priority) and therefore cannot be as responsible (response-able) as we would be otherwise.

In Dr. David Hawkin’s book, Power vs. Force, he explores a variety of perceptions or thinking states, and their resulting feelings, and effects. He uses the example of a person who is sent to prison. One person might think thoughts that create shame, resulting in suicide. Another might choose thoughts that create fear, attracting in abuse and victimization. Another might choose thoughts that create anger resulting in perpetration and attraction of aggression and violence.

Hawkins additionally names guilt, apathy, grief, desire and pride as those perceptions or thinking states that are less productive. He describes courage, neutrality, willingness, acceptance, reason, love, joy, peace and enlightenment as productive thinking states. Setting an intention means choosing your perceptions for a specific purpose or goal. For example, when making reason a priority, a person in prison might earn their college degree. Another might choose to become loving, happy or enlightened. In each instance, the circumstance is the same – a person in prison but with very different outcomes. The intention makes all the difference.

As you can see from Hawkin’s analogy, values such as honesty and faith can be coupled with intentions. For example, if I’m committed to honesty and have an intention to use it to strike out at another from anger with “the truth”, the result will be very different than if I use the value of honesty with the intention of encouraging and supporting another’s growth. If I have faith in fear, this is very different from having faith in love. Any value can be elevated or subverted depending upon your priority goal and how it’s linked to your highest intention.

Here’s another example. Let’s say you’re married and have what you think of as a priority intention to share a romantic evening with your spouse. Instead, somehow you end up in a fight with one of you sleeping on the living room sofa. What happened to your intention for closeness and affection? Is your result an effect of random chance or is it a clue as to your highest intention?

In this example, it’s helpful to consider that your result demonstrates your intention for closeness was not your top priority. Perhaps along the way, one possibility is that you shifted your primary intention from “being close” to “being right.” Exploring our results with loving kindness, and assuming they reflect our intention, provides us with opportunities to become increasingly self-aware and self-managing.

Many would argue that our results couldn’t possibly be contingent upon our intentions alone. This may be true. However, the gift of assuming responsibility that our intention equals results is that we discover beliefs we hold as priority in each moment whether productive or not, and begin to experiment with the effects we create by taking 100 percent responsibility for how we choose to use our mind and focus our choices.

It’s important to remember we’re always trying to experience wholeness in all that we do. As we remember intention equals results, we monitor our results to identify our real priority intention and con- sider how fulfilling and productive it is; we assess if we would rather shift to a new, more joyful intention. In this way, we’re able to make new choices, aware of what we can control and effect. As a joyful learner, we exercise the incredible power of our minds and become ever more intentional in shifting our experiences so as to improve results in our work, relationships and life.

As published nationally in Women’s Journals, October 2008