Intention is where the game begins

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What Covid-19 has shown us is that what we crave for is the human interaction with our family and loved ones

By Shilpa Bhasin Mehra

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Published: Mon 28 Jun 2021, 12:05 AM

Last updated: Tue 29 Jun 2021, 3:05 PM

The first time I realised how important intent is, was when I was studying criminal law in Law College. How mens rea translating from Latin to mean guilty mind, or criminal intent, distinguished a murder from homicide. From being punished for a murder one could be cleared of any criminal charges, if the act of murder was done in self defence.

In life, I realised how intent actually shapes our minds and actions. As one goes through the journey of life, one can distinguish how genuine is the other person’s intent. Some people are so genuine, that there is complete harmony between their thoughts, intent and action. On the other side of the spectrum, are those people who pretend to help but actually have no intention of doing so. They will fake concern and be very vocal about their intent to help, all sentences start with “I wish” or “If I could” or “I would have loved to but….”

Some people, who I must say have a lot of free time on their hand, want to hear the full story but actually from the start have no intent of helping you. Now I have become a bit wise and only ask those who I know are genuinely concerned and will go out of their way to do what they can. I don’t have the time to tell stories to the fake ones.

Another interesting trait of those who are not really interested in your cause is that they will give a hundred excuses why one should not even try. “It is impossible, “you are wasting your time” or “100 per cent this will not happen”. My request to such people is to keep their negativity to themselves. At least don’t drain me out with it. Just like the quote: “If you have nothing nice to say, it is better not to say anything”, similarly, if you can’t help or encourage, please don’t discourage me. There are enough challenges in life, and we all need encouragement to face a new day, especially in the pandemic that we are living in.

Being a believer in the law of attraction, I am naturally in sync with like-minded people. The ones who always tend to think of the negative consequences first are not my favourites. Being a lawyer, we weigh the pros and cons, the positives and negatives of every case. What baffles me is how some people just think of the negatives. “You won’t get a table at the restaurant”, to “you will be stuck in traffic” to “you will be in trouble at the Customs” to whatever. I do get amused when I prove them wrong.

When I was studying the Science of Well Being (Happiness), it was amazing to learn that we get happiness when we give, share and care — what was needed was the genuine intent to do so. We should not let our lesser resources discourage us from doing what we can. If we can’t feed a hundred, at least we can feed one, Mother Teresa said.

Somewhere in the race of life, our intent to do good things got substituted for the intent to please our boss, or intent to buy a new house or car. What Covid 19 has shown us is that what we crave for is the human interaction with our family and loved ones, the outings with our friends and the good times we had, and not for the new house, car or watch. One quote that really inspired me when I was paralysed in 2003 was “life may not be the party we hoped it would be, but while we are here we may as well dance”. Putting this in the present context, while we are in lockdown and restricted movement, we can look around and see if we can help our neighbours and community in some way. One community I know does a virtual music programme with cheerful and motivating songs sung by the residents to uplift the mood in this tough time. So it is not always financial help that is needed. We are going through a very emotionally turbulent time too. Send an inspiring quote, a good morning message, or a joke to bring some laughter on Whatsapp. The daily mortality rate can be avoided please.

We say charity begins at home. I say goodness begins from our intent. If a precious metal like silver can get tarnished, so can our intentions. We need to polish our good intentions and the result will be shining and so rewarding.

Shilpa Bhasin Mehra is a legal consultant based in Dubai and the founder of Legal Connect

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