My notes from the talk:
More important even than meditation, is intention we set for awakening. Discovering the meaning, values, purpose we want to organize our life around. And then have the courage to live it. Remembering that we can choose how to live our life right now. Are we being driven by pleasure, security, approval . . . or something else?
Like the Buddha, everybody has a palace that they need to leave. Need to discover for ourselves what is our palace? and what is outside of that palace? There has to be some turning away from one thing towards another. For that, we need to plum the depth of our intention, in the direction of the heart. By asking the question, what is my intention, over and over, the intention gets refined over time, and becomes purified from the ego. Dropping down every day, finding out the weak links, and our shortcomings. Each time, answering in one sentence.
Do not settle for first answer. Do not allow fear or responsibilities to get in the way of what might be. Figure out things we need to renounce, leave behind, the palace, so that we can follow through with our intention. This is especially important in our culture, because we are faced with so many choices, that it is easy for our deepest intention to get lost.
What do you spend your time doing? Human life is very precious. Hence do not waste it in meaningless activities. Instead focus on aspiration for awakening, and heart's innermost desire to be free. Also, talk to other people and share your search. It can be very interesting.
When Gil asked us to spend a few minutes quiet to define our intention, all I could come up with was: "To love myself completely and love others just as much". Today, with more time to investigate, my attention turns towards the castle. The old barriers inside my body that keep love from flowing freely, in and out. The ego, that keeps making life harder than it needs to be, with its incessant demands for attention, and reassurance, and satisfaction. The need for an illusory security. The intellectual pride, that looks down on the heart . . . So many rooms in the castle, to open and close.
What is your life intention? What is your castle?