A teacher of mine reminded me of the power of setting intentions when we awake in the morning. I admit I have become lax in this habit. I wake up. I say a silent prayer of thanks for my life, then I roll over and look at my phone. Who’s doing what? Has someone reacted to something I’ve posted while I was asleep? Is the world still outside my window? What are people’s opinions of that world? What memes are going to inspire or annoy me? Scroll, scroll, scroll. It’s a habit.
What would my life be like if creating positive intentions for the day became my habit?
So, I inhaled. I remember Pema Chodron’s instructions for meditation. Breathe in and think of a situation that needs healing and exhale the solution to it. For example, if money concerns are your problem then let them be, breathe in, and exhale the intention of abundance. Always be exhaling the solutions. Send out what the situation needs so that it may be transformed.
I exhaled mercy. Mercy is what I need. I need forgiveness and mercy. God, please make me aware of your mercy today, I prayed. Inspire others to be merciful toward me. If I’ve offended anyone in any way, let them show me mercy.
Having set my intention to experience mercy, I went about getting ready for work and taking care of my cats. I forgot about the mercy I asked for.
As I arrived on campus, I was met with the challenge of the parking lots being closed for some sort of event. My handicap spot next to the building where I teach was inaccessible. I silently raged to myself, imagined calling the state police to enforce the American Disabilities Act providing me access to my job, and was generally pissed off by the inconvenience. I wasn’t even thinking of the word mercy at this point. My insides were throwing a tantrum over my lack of access.
I found a spot farther from the building than I liked. As I walked, I was grateful for the ability to walk to the classroom without much pain, but I was still grouchy about it. Grateful and grouchy. What a way to arrive in my classroom.
As I was setting up the videos and power point slides, a student came in. He was out of breath from rushing to class. He hastily put his things at his desk and walked over to me with a cup of coffee in hand.
“I don’t know how you take your coffee, so I just brought the milk and sugar on the side”, he explained.
What I nice surprise! I gushed gratefully at him. It always lights me up when students bring me coffee, candy, or any thoughtful thing.
As he sat back down he said, “I knew I was going to be late. I thought maybe if I brought you coffee, you’d have mercy on me.”
Mercy. There it was. Mercy.
I told my class about my morning intention. I told them I had exhaled mercy. I told them when we set intentions, when we pray, we should look out for the answer to that prayer. What we ask for in good faith wants to show up for us. There it was, mercy.
I explained that coincidences happen. I said that I prefer to call them coincide-dances. The dance of coinciding. When we are getting spiritual confirmation of something, little coincidences show up.
My students know I like to make meaning of every little thing. Today’s thing was a cup of coffee from a student who wished for mercy. I wanted mercy, but he’s the one who wanted mercy from me. It was in his kindness that I got my confirmation, my reassurance.
Set your intentions. Look for confirmation of them.
Expect good things to show up.