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The Power of Intention

David Schouela

Rick Foster & Greg Hicks in their wonderful book Happiness & Health , write about the power of intention in shaping our lives – “it’s a powerful message we give ourselves, creating the positive emotions that propel us upward on the spiral staircase to good health. By repeatedly setting positive intentions like looking for joy or appreciating family members rather than being frustrated by them, you set up and strengthen new neural pathways to allow these healthy choices to become automatic or default settings”.

The implication of this exciting and reassuring news is that anyone can train their brains to become healthier and happier through the power of their own thoughts. These new findings tell us that we each have the innate ability and power to be happier by changing our mental habits.

According to Foster & Hicks, first thing in the morning is a good time to create healthy intentions because this is the time when the body is most primed to receive instructions from our mind. The mind is ready to accept new instructions and hold on to them throughout the day.

A few years ago, I was given a life-changing book entitled Lessons of the Lotus , written by Bhante Y. Wimala, a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk. Bhante, which means respectful teacher in Pali, the language used during the time of the Buddha, has us reflect that each new day has eighty-six thousand seconds which we should think of as receiving eighty-six thousand dollars. He asks us to consider whether “we want to spend it wisely and work toward creating eventual wonders in our lives? Or do we want to gamble it and waste it?" Bhante reminds us that each new day carries with it multiple blessings – the sunlight beaming through the windows, the sound of the birds, the laughter of children across the street, raindrops pounding across the roof. These miracles are available to us if we incline our mind to them. It’s that simple.

As I lie in bed turning my attention to the wonders of life each morning, I remind myself that I am strengthening the neural pathways that bring me joy and well-being.


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