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Let’s preface this article by saying: It is not about bashing the practice of meditation. This article’s about why you should also remember to stop meditating and get clear about your intentions.
The benefits of mindfulness and practicing meditation are well documented. Bringing our awareness back to our bodies and the present is arguably a vital tool for survival, especially as an entrepreneur.
If you run your own business, you are pretty much never encouraged to think in terms of the present moment. You’re always looking to future targets while casting your mind back to past successes and failures.
We are constantly projecting ourselves into an assumed future, or a long-gone past — the upshot of which is that we are not living energetically in the present!
Of course, we must have an eye on our future as business owners while learning from the past. But we also have to remember that executive action can only happen in the present. As physical beings, we can only exist and take action in the “now”.
Meditation is a great way to do that, clearly. We shut out all of the pressures of the future, traumas of the past and focus our minds on our breathing, bringing our awareness to what’s going on purely as an observer. But so often people get caught up in the inner work that they never take any action in their outer world. Just as it is possible to lose yourself in the pressures of past and future performance, so too can you become lost in mindful practices.
Taking action is concurrently the most and least important part of realizing anything.
Taking action can be the least important part of realization because blind action will not result in a specific outcome. You have to be specific with your goal and specific with your actions, and that means doing the prep work meticulously! On the flip side, taking action can be the most important because no matter how much preparation we do, taking no action at all will mean that your desires remain in your head.
The actions that we take are also done in accordance with our belief system. That is to say: We will only take actions that we believe will have real-world outcomes.
What’s a great practice for unlocking our belief system? You guessed it — meditation!
What we’re really talking about here is intention.
Using a guided meditation that is designed to open up your belief systems with the intention of being able to take better action in the present is how real growth is done. Meditation that is undertaken without a specified outcome is not useless, but counterproductive.
“Stop Meditating” is not about never meditating. It’s simply a reminder that there should be a point to it.
Clarity of intention is vital to receiving a desired outcome.
We can so often ignore our intentions when embarking upon some new endeavor because we’ve simply been convinced that it’s the right thing to do.
Set your intention for meditating around becoming more conscious and present with what’s going on in your life. Make it about reclaiming dominion over as much of the decision-making that’s going on for you as is possible.
Armed with that intention, you’ll be able to approach meditation (or any other practice) with purpose. You’ll know exactly what you want to get out of it and exactly when it is no longer serving you.
When you think about it, that’s what intentions are — conscious disruptions of unconscious patterns.
So how can we set proper intentions?
There are lots of intricacies and avenues to go down, but really it boils down to five main steps:
1. Where are you now?
Find a way to take an audit of where you’re at right now. Really be open and honest with yourself about how things are, and how you got here.
Don’t sit in judgment of yourself. Don’t see only your failures, but make sure that you acknowledge them and take full responsibility. You can’t get directions to a destination without knowing the starting point. If you are going to create a plan to get you to your end goal, it has to include the first step. That first step can only come from one place: where you are now.
2. Identify your end goal.
Following on from the principle of needing to know where you are before you set off; you also need to know where you’re going. What is your goal made up of physically? What does it entail?
3. How does it feel?
Get totally clear on what your destination is and what it feels like. What sensations will you feel when you get there? How will it affect your general mood, demeanor, or outlook on life?
Understand how it feels to be that version of you, because this will help identify if you really do desire to live this way (you very well might not, and that’s ok).
4. Moving towards our intention.
Get practical. Specific intentions are important, but to bring it back around: Without action, intentions won’t get you anywhere. Armed with the clarity attained during earlier steps, you can now go about creating alignment between you and your end goal.
Identify the knowledge and skill gaps that need filling, then start seeking out the necessary guidance to fill them.
5. Lock in your “why”.
So in step three, I spoke about finding your “why”. This is the emotional connection you have to your intended outcome. It’s who you want to be and the emotional state that you want to live in.
This could be the excitement of waking up each morning, with a full day of your dream job ahead of you. It could be the general relaxation that comes from not being stressed about money. Maybe you just want to live a life where each day is a surprise and you’re excited to see what each one brings.
This is so contextually and subjectively based, that it really isn’t possible to get too specific on your behalf. You need to do the work of making your intended future as real for yourself in the present as you can and start to recognize the feelings that this provokes.
Once you are aligned with a consciously chosen outcome, you create an inevitability. Not that you’ll definitely have all your dreams come true — we still live in the real world. But an inevitability that in your actions, you will be moving towards that outcome, deliberately and inexorably.