Second Reformed Church

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Review: "Living with Intent"

Mallika Chopra has written a very engaging and honest book about her quest for living with intent -- Living with Intent:  My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace, and Joy -- she doesn't hide her struggles, but shows what she's been through and what she is still working on.

Intent, she defines:  "Intents are expressions of who we aspire to be as individuals -- physically, emotionally, spiritually -- as members of our families and communities, and even citizens of Mother Earth.  Intents are a way of defining what we want and asking the universe or God for help.  They're the seeds of what we yearn for in our lives, whether better health, meaningful relationships, or love" (3-4).

"Right intention says essentially:  treat yourself and others with kindness and compassion while Irving in alignment with your deepest values" (12).

Chopra tells her story and develops her practice of intent using the letters of the word to make an acrostic of method (20-21, and individual chapters):

Incubate:  Chopra says we ought to begin by quieting ourselves and looking within to discover what our intentions are at the root and then see where they lead.

Notice:  Next, we ought to notice what we are doing and seeing what we say and do and what of all those things give us meaning and purpose -- these will lead us on our "true path."

Trust:  Then, we listen and trust -- rather than criticize and judge -- the message that comes to us from the other in us.

Express:  Next, we ought to write, speak, or in some way make what we have discovered palpable that we can move forward.

Nurture:  As we continue forward, we need to give ourselves self-care and support, because we will fall and fail, as well as succeed and move forward.

Take Action:  once we have done these things and identified one or more intentions that we are passionate about, we cannot sit back and wait for them to come, we have to take action to bring them to us.

I agree with Chopra that there is value in sitting down and discovering what we really value -- rather than being tossed to and fro by the winds -- but knowing what is truly important, understanding those things, and making sure we get and pursue them.  In this, we make progress.

Each chapter has a section of reflections and practices -- so this could be a workbook for some time, leading one through the steps and guiding one to a purposed -- intentionally -- conclusion.

Her father, Deepak Chopra wrote the afterword, in which he includes his ten "keys to fulfillment" (229-234).

While I find value in this book and method, I find one assumption problematic:  the assumption that our intentions, led by the guiding of the ultimate within us, is good.

My problem is this:  what if humans are basically evil, selfish, and sin-inclined?  Should we really follow after what we want in our deepest heart of hearts?  Even if, let's say only 1% of  the human population would follow after evil naturally, do we want to tell them that they should follow after the evil that the universe fills them with?

Much as I like things the author wrote -- and even use them in my life -- I fear she does not take the natural wickedness of the human heart seriously -- and she should.


[I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This review appears on my blog and on]

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