I remember when I began meditating, I would meet my friend Joe once a week and discuss practice a little, then sit. He’d been sitting for over a decade already, and had studied Buddhism in university. I didn’t even know a Buddha from a Bodhisattva (I’m still a little puzzled at the difference…).
One day, before sitting, he said we should set our intention.
My intention was to sit here for 15 minutes without moving and get enlightened, wasn’t it obvious??
It actually took quite a long time to figure out what he was talking about, but I realized, eventually, without intention, I was wandering around, up and down every path I came across, lost in the mountain. When I found my clear intention, it was like spotting the tip of a pagoda through the trees, pointing the way.
Now I must walk my path to it, keep it in sight, not to be distracted by the obstacles along the way.
Easier said than done!