Intentions & Goals

How does an intention form and gather energy?  Is a goal an intention without the passion? Is a goal from the mind only and an intention from our entire being?

For you, talk to me about intentions — what they are, how they form and gather energy…

Thank you.

Published by Linda Stone

I coined the phrases continuous partial attention, email apnea, and screen apnea. I write about attention and our relationship to technology.

8 thoughts on “Intentions & Goals

  1. According to Buddhist teachings, goals and intentions both arise in the mind. They lead to suffering when our fulfillment is contingent on them. The logic of attachment is: “I’ll finally be happy when and if I achieve my goal.”

    Enlightenment is unconditional fulfillment. It does not depend on achieving any goal.

    In “Buddhism Plain and Simple,” Steve Hagen explains that the awakened person acts without intention. Actions arise spontaneously from full attention to what happens in the present moment.

  2. For me, I’d say a goal is something I expect to have to accomplish totally through my own effort.There may be passion there, but there’s usually no magic.

    An intention, however, has that delightful feeling that wonderful, unexpected,amzing things are going to happen – and might start happening at any minute now…


  3. I think that intentions form spontaneously. Goals however are a higher cognitive function – something we use to exert control over our lives. There are healthy goals such as ridding ourselves of self-justification to break out of destructively self-stoking behaviors.

    On the down side an intention can form that is delusional, while a goal can divorce us from the wellspring of our passions. I think though that goals which bolster an open view of life – like learning, compassion for others, and adherence to the scientific method – can help us to healthily live with our passions.

  4. and for me, it’d be important to stay in touch with my passion and set a goal out of that. That’s helped me to grow in skills and abilities that support my Life Mission.

    And it can be a very beneficial thing to consciously set intentions. Like “at this gathering I’m going to, it is my intention to have a great time and meet people who will support my dreams, as I will theirs”

    When I set such an intention, it’s amazing the way things just “tend to work out that way…


  5. Linda asked:
    “Can you set an intention to fall in love with someone? to marry them? or are these goals? do intentions come from a deeper place? if you set a goal to lose weight, you can go through the paces and maybe lose weight. If you have an intention, does that come from a deeper place and is that something that can be “forced?” or does it need to arise from a deeper place?”

    I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit, and can only answer the first question from experience…theoretially and literally. I don’t believe that one can “intend” to fall in love with someone. Love is a feeling that is first experienced viscerally – not cognitively. (see several articles by Mc Craty, et al., 2000-2006).
    One might, however, create a goal to get married. However, ethically speaking, it would be wisest if the object of affection also has the same goal!
    Feelings fuel behavior and behavior produces feelings, but I think intention is exactly where they each possess their own faculties.

    1. An intention to fall in love with someone is as simple as letting love unleash, after realizing it’s already there. Even though this love comes from the heart and the viscera, the conscious brain still has to give permission, so to say, to let the self fall in love.

  6. @Linda

    I’d say you can set both intentions and goals to fall in love or marry.

    A goal is a systematic left brain phenomenom with steps, procedures, check lists.

    An intention is more intuitive, emotional, right brain, where you’re setting parameters that are favorable and inviting to falling in love/ getting married. By setting that intention and creating that welcoming vibe, you tend to attact more circumstances that favor that happening.

    To illustrate better, with a birdwatching goal, you buy binoculars, go to places birds frequent, get input from other birders.

    With a birdwatching intention, you have a yard full of plants bearing fruit,seeds, nuts and berries. Then you look out the window for the birds you intend to see….


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