When we make mindfulness a goal we have already moved out of the moment, and away from the purpose of meditation. When we make mindfulness a goal, we turn it into a commodity. This means that receiving the benefits of meditation are conditional to us "getting it." And this idea of "getting" or achieving is, in itself, just a hypothetical situation we create in our own minds that takes us out of the moment itself.
So, let's get out of the labyrinth of complexity and take a quick look at the difference between having mindfulness as a goal versus an intention. As always, these are just a few ideas and insights that may or may not speak to your particular practice or viewpoint, but if they do... awesome!!
The classic Vedic text known as the Upanishads declares, “You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”
What is an intention? Well, as we have established its not a goal. An intention is different than a goal, in that there is no required result. With an intention, there is nothing to achieve. An intention, rather, is a commitment to connecting to a chosen course. It is seeing the direction you want to go, and opening yourself to going down an unknown path to get there. Inherent in intention there is curiosity, a sense of play and experimentation.
We get in our own way when we begin struggling to achieve mindfulness as a goal directly, rather than allowing it to happen to us. An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create. Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them.
A lot of people like to write down their intentions in order to get very clear on what they are. Once crystallized, those intentions can be brought to your meditation practice or other mindfulness practice, and then released the the Universe, your God, Spirit - or, simply, released from your own mind. The big game at this point is trusting and knowing that the intention will manifest in its own way and its own time.
It isn't easy for our ego to let go of the need to figure out all the details, or cease and desist from ablindly battling our way through all the perceived obstacles in our lives. But remember, the outcome that you try so hard to force may not be as good for you as the one that comes naturally. We really aren't in control of it all of anyway -- are we? And after all, the traditional "goal" of meditation is to relieve suffering! So, give yourself a break and let go of the struggle.
Put quite simply: get quiet, get clear, believe it, and release it!