Being a practical girl, I haven't always believed in the power of intention. Yet, extraordinary stories always capture my attention, and there is no question in my mind that it is more practical to apply intention than to write it off as mumbo-jumbo.

The word intention is used in many ways. The dictionary definition that fits most closely says, "intention is conception of a thing formed FIRST by the direct application of the mind to the individual object, idea or image. It is a stretching or bending of the mind toward an object."

Other words often used interchangeably with intention are "prayer", "positive thinking" or "manifesting".

Fundamental to INTENTION is that "thoughts shape reality". What we focus on in our minds, is ultimately reflected in our reality. If we intend on attracting the ideal employee in our minds first, and BELIEVE the person will show up, will they? Well, yes. I've seen clients do this again and again. The reverse is also true. If someone believes the ideal employee is going to be HARD or impossible to's more likely that person will experience difficulty in their search. Your patterns of thought shape your reality.

Another fundamental assumption is that "everything in the Universe is somehow connected". This is true even though we can't SEE that connection.

The best visual that scientifically validates the notion of intention is the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto. Dr. Emoto did a series of studies where pictures of tap water were taken before and after people held positive or negative intentions. Water that received thoughts of love or gratitude morphed into beautiful crystalline structures. Taping the words "thank you" or "you fool" also resulted in two radically different jars of water structures, demonstrating the positive affect of thought on water.

See the pictures for yourself. It's remarkable. The interview goes into more detail about his findings, and substantiates the effects of intention.

As paraphrased from "What the BLEEP do we Know?", "If our thoughts can do this to water, imagine what the impact of thoughts are on our lives." We are 70% water.

Maximizing the Power of Intention: If you would like to increase the effectiveness of intention in your life, the tips below offer some guidance.

1. Become SPECIFICALLY CLEAR about your desires. Would you like to receive an extra $5000 next month? Are you looking for the perfect new employee? Do you want to heal a pain in your body? Do you want to attract your ideal relationship? Whatever your desire, intention can accelerate the results. The more CLARITY you have, the better.

2. Get Connected. Realize that you are not separate from your desire. Imagine and experience yourself receiving your intention now. How does it feel? The more fully you associate with your intention, the better. When we say, "I want a new car" and we remain very disassociated with it because we don't really believe it will really happen.

3. BELIEVE. Your thoughts shape your reality. If you don't think "intention" can work, it probably won't. If you don't believe that you'll be able to attract your desire, you probably won't.

4. Let go of the HOW. Once you've set an intention, it's time for trust and faith to set in. When you put a cake in the oven, you don't question that it will bake. You also don't have to understand how the dough is transformed into a dessert. Have faith in the process, and KNOW that the field of consciousness is working its magic.

5. Be UNATTACHED to the Outcome. Allow your desires to unfold in the perfect time and manner. When we are ATTACHED to a specific outcome, the energy becomes restricted and we cut off the natural flow of energy. It's also useful to not be attached to a timeline. Everything unfolds in its perfect order. Often times you will receive something BETTER than what you imagined in your mind. One of my clients wanted to sell his car dealership, and he almost instantaneously attracted several buyers. When the first "perfect" buyer flaked out at the last minute, instead of becoming discouraged, he reviewed all the options again and simply surrendered even more to the process. While he wanted to sell the dealership, he was also open to keeping it. A couple days later, an even more perfect buyer appeared.

6. Be OPEN to Receiving. Often an intention may be blocked energetically by an underlying belief. Do you feel you are truly worthy and deserving of RECEIVING your intention? This isn't a question to answer too quickly. If the "something" hasn't shown up in your life, there may be a block to clear. Some people view material things as "not spiritual", thus instinctually repelling desired objects from their life. Do you have space energetically to RECEIVE your desire? Sometimes receiving your intention may disrupt your life, and subconsciously a part of you could be repelling it. Everyone gets tested on expanding their ability to receive. Experience yourself receiving your intention, KNOW that you are indeed deserving, and create space for your desire to come into your life.

A FINAL NOTE: Does every thought we have manifest in reality? Are we really controlling our own lives? While many teachers talk about the power of intention, know this isn't the whole story. There are many, many, many thoughts that will NEVER happen in reality. Both David Hawkins and Byron Katie chuckle at people for believing we are 100% in control of our reality. We ARE each co-creating our realities. Our intentions and thoughts do have an affect on the field of consciousness. We can either set empowering and positive intentions, or let the negative influences of the world shape it for us.

As I wrote this article, I have become even more conscious about my intentions and thoughts this past week. The more attention is placed on intention, my experience is -- the more magic shows up. I encourage this practice.

SOULFUL CHALLENGE: Set intentions every day and throughout the day for the coming week. Play with intention as though you are discovering it for the first time. Apply the principles above. You may even buy Wayne Dyer's "Getting in the Gap" and use his CD to guide you in Japa as you set intentions daily. Notice what happens.

Author's Bio: 

Mary Allen has been a respected Professional Life Coach for over five years, and has authored the engaging online newsletter Soulfully Living since 2002. Mary inspires readers to experience a deeper level of fulfillment in their lives through her unique and empowering articles. Her extensive depth of knowledge, years of coaching experience, combined with her authentic connection to her readers, allow her to effectively integrate and communicate concepts in a refreshing and powerful manner. Mary is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Psychology. She is a certified professionally through The Coaches Training Institute as a CPCC, and The International Coach Federation as a PCC. She enjoys a full coaching practice working with individuals who share a commitment to success and inner fulfillment. Mary is also the author of the acclaimed eCourse program Living in Choice. For more information about Mary Allen, visit