West London Buddhist Centre

Mindfulness Tips from Vajradaka: Layers of Intention

Published on Jun 30th 2021, in Blog

This week Vajradaka offers mindfulness tips on how we can develop layers of intentions which support each other in what you are doing.

Having an intention period at the start of an activity

There are always a number of different components to be aware of  during even a  relatively simple activity or process.  It is good mindfulness training to have a short ‘intention period’  before starting any new activity. At the start bring to mind the main components  of the process you want to be mindful of. At first keep the ‘intention period’ simple and focus on the main things.

Get used to having simple ‘intention periods’ before everything you do.  These are the basic things which you are going to be mindful of during that activity.  You can then build up from the bare bones to having an awareness of more facets of the activity. An example of that is bringing in any attitudes or themes which you want to explore during that activity.


Four layers of primary intentions for meditation on the breath

My suggestion to build up proficiency in bringing to mind intentions is by doing it in layers. Starting with the four most primary intentions and adding intentions as you go along. In the example of the meditations aim to have at least four layers of intention:

a. The primary intention is coming into the experience of the body and the breath and staying with it, these  are the bare bones of the intentions.

b. Secondly is to check whether the mind  is wandering off and to bring it back to the body and the breath with the clear directives ‘not now’ and ‘ come back to the experience of the breath’.
Add the layer of aiming to have an underlying quality of gentle persistence throughout the practice.

c. Aiming to have the quality of ‘befriending’ which includes kindness within the whole process of staying with the breath.

d. All these strata create a nexus of intentions which all work together supporting each other in the meditation.


Primary and relevant intentions

These four layers of intention are primary or ideal intentions but there can also be a layer of personally relevant intention. This relates to an awareness of your actual situation and how you are in the moment. e.g. You might be agitated, so a relevant intention is to calm and settle the mind.


Everyday mindfulness intentions: Seriousness and playfulness

You might decide that you are over-conscientious, serious and too tight in everything you do and need to lighten up a bit. So you may decide to explore that quality of being lighter and what it means for you. Or, vice-versa.



Vajradaka is one of the most experienced meditation teachers in Triratna and is continuously developing fresh approaches to maintaining and developing a vibrant meditation practice. He is known for easy to relate to ways of teaching which come across as clear, practical and relevant. He is a regular guest teacher on Dharma Night.

Find out what might unfold for you on a meditation day retreat with Paramananda. More info here, book here.