“Every action begins with an intention. Whether you are conscious or unconscious about it, the intention is what generates movement and action. Always ask yourself: What is the intention behind this action? Why are you doing what you’re doing?”
I wrote this in my journal yesterday whilst reflecting and thinking about the power of intentions and how we haven’t truly harnessed it. And that’s partially because we live in a state of mindlessness. A certain degree of presence of mind is necessary for us to be aware of our intentions. What was my intention when I got up in the morning? What thought was the driving force behind me opening up the Bella Naija website? With every single action that we take, no matter how minute or insignificant it seems there is an intention behind it. And my challenge for myself over the next couple of weeks is to present and mindful enough that I gain awareness about the intentions behind my actions.
Islamically, the importance of our intentions is highlighted through this Hadith:
The Messenger of Allah said: “Verily actions are by intentions, and for every person is what he intended. So the one whose ‘hijrah’ (migration) was to Allah and His Messenger, then his ‘hijrah’ was to Allah and His Messenger. And the one whose ‘hijrah’ was for the world to gain from it, or a woman to marry her, then his ‘hijrah’ was for what he made ‘hijrah’ for.”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The great thing about being conscious of your intention is that it gives you the opportunity to change it. Linking it back to studies, I’ll give you an example. There’s a difference between me opening my laptop to watch a lecture with the intention of ‘I have to watch this lecture because I don’t want to fail’ to carrying out the same action with an intention of: ‘I want to watch this lecture because I choose to and I want to learn.’ Intentions reveal a lot about our motivations. When you get up to pray, what is your intention? When you say yes to that project or that meeting that you don’t actually want to be at, what is the intention behind your decision? When you’re setting up a new project, what is your intention? To serve people? Attain fame? Get to the bottom of it because it not only reveals your motivations it determines the outcome of your action.
Intentional living can be transformative and Oprah encapsulates what it means to live intentionally. Check out one of my favourite videos of her below.
This is a series chronicling my final year at uni. If you’ve benefitted from this post, please do keep me in your prayers.