Not to sound like the Buddha’s replica, but focusing on goals is at the stem of everything. Whether it’s academically driven or something entirely different, planting the seed of what you mean to do in the future helps ground actions more clearly. In this blog, I’ll be highlighting why intention is so important, and how to cultivate the mindset that creates it.
Have you ever postponed your work because your desk simply isn’t clean enough? Or, vice versa, felt extra motivated because you changed your sheets and now they smell super fresh. Well, yes, cleanliness does tend to uplift enthusiasm and focus. Studying just seems so much more appealing now the floral scent of linen can be associated with catching up on seemingly endless hours of lectures. With a clean room, suddenly everything feels just a little less daunting, and the world a little more conquerable. Now, we can use this as a handy metaphor for how our headspace works. In ‘recalibrating’ or simply just freshening up your mind (with a little Febreze) it’s often so much easier to think clearly. Ok, sounds like common sense, but here’s where the important bit comes in. This mindset of neutrality, or a ‘clean slate’ can be seen as fertile soil for other thoughts to grow. Now, hopefully this garden and plant based (™) metaphor isn’t going too far and you can begin to see where I’m getting at, the sprouting of thoughts, (these running puns are simply just embedded in my nature now).
Whilst it’s clear that these spaces of neutrality within our heads clear a way to better influence our thoughts, let’s just rewind to quickly recap how we can create this. Meditation is perhaps the most common suggestion for decluttering or clearing your mental room/ space. It’s hard to stick to the pattern, like a Duolingo streak, but once you start creating that habit, it should start to come easier. Now, I say that as if I'm a go-to-meditationer. Admittedly, I go through phases of trying and failing and trying again (I really should go and reread my blog on resilience). What works for me is just spending time outside, whether on a run or just walking to somewhere with a pretty perspective-providing view.
Now, let’s step back a little further (for the purposes of this blog, I borrowed the time machine from back to the future and twiddled it to the state of the psyche). Why intention? Well, for one, it’s the start of fruition. There are intentions and actions which bloom (or wilt- these garden puns won’t stop at anything) into consequences. The Buddhist nun Shri Dhammananda states how ‘deeds are condensations of thoughts just as rain is a condensation of vapour’. I love this quote (not just for its beautiful imagery) but for capturing moments within a whole process of thinking and doing. Moving away from sounding too scientifically futuristic, our intentions, or volitions, help form habits which influence how we act. So, channel The Scientist music video vibes, unwind your actions and go right back to the start.
Anisha Minocha is studying English and Spanish at the University of St Andrews. She is a passionate writer and poet whose work has been published in anthologies, magazines, blogs and won competitions. Contributing to Sink Magazine, she is keen to utilize the voice of young people and share work through her creative writing blog. As a climate activist, she has combined her love for words and the planet in a performance of spoken word at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 'Letters to the Earth'. She also co-runs Young Friends of the Earth: Manchester and has organised workshops, participated in panels and spoken at Manchester Cathedral.
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