What would you like to manifest in your life today? The first step is your intention to make it happen.

Webster’s dictionary defines intention as a determination to act in a certain way, and what one intends to do or bring about.

A positive intention always goes with the flow of the universe, which then conspires with you to make it happen. Trying our very best to align our intentions with God’s will brings about constructive consequences for everyone:

A good intention clothes itself with sudden power. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

God’s Will is whatever we do with good intention. – Lloyd Strom

All doubt, despair, and fear become insignificant once the intention of life becomes love. – Rumi

To realize your deepest intention, you might start by saying it out loud. “I intend to be more loving. I intend to bring abundance into my life. I intend to be more present. I intend to be courageous. I intend to be grateful.” Whatever it is, intention is the beginning of the path to realization. For your intentions to truly manifest as deeds and actions, they should serve the highest good for everyone concerned.

We all have an inner moral and spiritual compass that can guide us if we allow it. That compass  intuitively points to the best action in any situation—when we pay attention. Our inner compass can’t predict the exact consequences, but if our thoughts and intentions are pure, positive outcomes usually follow. Our intentions always create what comes back to us, what some would call karma. The Baha’i teachings say that conscious intentions fashion our reality:

Every act ye meditate is as clear to Him as is that act when already accomplished. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 150.

Some seekers after truth have held intention to be superior to action, for a goodly intention is absolute light and is entirely sanctified from the least trace of malice… But the pure intention is sanctified above such faults. – Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, newly revised edition, pp. 348-349.

If you want to live a good life, pay attention to your intentions. Every day, try be clear on what you intend for that day, because the purpose of intention usually comes to fruition. Throughout the day, remind yourself at any given moment, “What are my intentions right now? What inner motives drive my conduct?” Though imperfect, we all sometimes fall short of our goals, but sincerely intending to do the right thing always forms the best starting point for any action:

First and foremost, one should use every possible means to purge one’s heart and motives, otherwise, engaging in any form of enterprise would be futile. It is also essential to abstain from hypocrisy and blind imitation, inasmuch as their foul odour is soon detected by every man of understanding and wisdom. – Shoghi Effendi, from a 1923 letter to the Baha’is of the East

At times, of course, we may suspect that others have harmful or selfish intentions. Those intentions can create much pain and destruction in this world, producing the opposite consequences of pure intentions. Such hypocritical motives are purely self-centered, power hungry, and egotistical. For people unaware of the law of intention, their thoughts revolve around themselves—and they are oblivious to the deleterious consequences that are sure to follow in their wake:

Let no sweetness of tongue beguile you—nay, rather consider the motive of every soul, and ponder the thought he cherisheth. Be ye straightway mindful and on your guard. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 315.

What an extraordinary situation now obtains, when no one, hearing a claim advanced, asks himself what the speaker’s real motive might be, and what selfish purpose he might not have hidden behind the mask of words. You find, for example, that an individual seeking to further his own petty and personal concerns, will block the advancement of an entire people. To turn his own water mill, he will let the farms and fields of all the others parch and wither. To maintain his own leadership, he will everlastingly direct the masses toward that prejudice and fanaticism which subvert the very base of civilization.Abdu’l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, pp. 103-104.

On the other hand, the wise will gravitate toward those people who have virtuous purposes. Surrounding ourselves with the well-intentioned inspires and empowers us:

Choose to be in close proximity to people who are empowering, who appeal to your sense of connection to intention, who see the greatness in you, who feel connected to God, who live a life that gives evidence that Spirit has found celebration through them. – Wayne Dyer

So what are your intentions for today? What would you like to see happen? Good intentions serve as the rudder that steers our ship, the compass that guides the way, and the lighthouse that leads us to safe harbor. Selfish and thoughtless intentions will leave us circling the waters in vain, but with the intentions of a pure and loving heart, we are sure to navigate our way home.

The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BahaiTeachings.org or any institution of the Baha’i Faith.


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  • May 18, 2017
    I meant, Excellent teachings. If we are truly virtuous, then our only intentions would be good intentions.
  • May 18, 2017
    Excellent teachings. If we are truely virtuous, then our only intentions would be good intentions.
  • May 18, 2017
    That's very nice of you to say Melanie! I appreciate it very much.
  • Melanie Black
    May 18, 2017
    I found this article extremely helpful. Thank you.
  • May 17, 2017
    Wonderful article! The ending is beautiful! ??
  • Leonard R Williams
    May 17, 2017
    Lifecycle Planning; just like having a Business Plan.