Clarifying and remembering what is most important helps us stay awake. A little example:
This last retreat I gave a talk on Impermanence. I tried a different slant on the topic and in the face of 120+ people and nursing a headache, I thought I'd done a pretty darn good job. Afterward I found myself basking in a warm, self-congratulatory vibe.
Then Tara asked me if I'd like some feedback.
I immediately felt defensive and tight. After a few breaths later, though, I remembered my intention: to stay awake and open. Her feedback was direct, clear and while I felt a little deflated, her observations were right on and I'll carry them forward.
One version of the Bodhisattva vow:
"May whatever arise serve the awakening of heart and mind and be of benefit to all beings."
This remembering can open us again and again to the here and now, no matter how challenging.
The following clip speaks to the power of remembering what is most important. I wish there was more footage than just the last few seconds of the school children hugging Nick.