When you are asked to set an intention in the beginning of a yoga class, it is more than just setting a goal. A goal comes with a sense of achievement, or a sense of failure…
When you set an intention, it is something bigger. Something larger than for your small self. Something for the greater good of the world. Like when we chant Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu – may all beings (human beings, animal beings, plant beings, even green beings…all beings) be happy and free. And may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute to that happiness and freedom for all. Or setting an intention of the attainment of yoga – enlightenment – for all beings. Every ounce of your being is dedicated to that intention. You take ownership of your thoughts, words and actions when you release them into the world.
Your intention is similar to a seed. If you hold onto that seed, nothing will happen to it. But if you plant that seed, it will turn into a flower, and then a tree, and then that tree will bear fruit, and that fruit will feed other beings, and more seeds will be born. And similar to how nature will just take over and flourish, once you set your intention, the universe will take over. There is no need to worry about it – let nature take its course and trust that if you truly believe, truly believe , in your intention, it will be. When you release your intention out into the world, it will spread. If you treat yourself and others as a holy being, others in turn will do the same. Happiness and freedom will eventually spread like wild flowers. And it starts with your intention.
I leave you with a quote from Osho that I thought fit quite nicely with this sentiment…
“The seed cannot know what is going to happen, the seed has never known the flower. And the seed cannot even believe that he has the potentiality to become a beautiful flower. Long is the journey, and it is always safer not to go on that journey because unknown is the path, nothing is guaranteed.
Nothing can be guaranteed. Thousand and one are the hazards of the journey, many are the pitfalls – and the seed is secure, hidden inside a hard core. But the seed tries, it makes an effort; it drops the hard shell which is its security, it starts moving. Immediately the fight starts: the struggle with the soil, with the stones, with the rocks. And the seed was very hard and the sprout will be very, very soft and dangers will be many.
There was no danger for the seed, the seed could have survived for millennia, but for the sprout many are the dangers. But the sprout starts towards the unknown, towards the sun, towards the source of light, not knowing where, not knowing why. Great is the cross to be carried, but a dream possesses the seed and the seed moves.”