"The surgeon working in the operating room on a major operation, and the burglar stealthily going from room to room, have something in common. Both show an extraordinary degree of mindfulness from one moment to the next. Both remain completely absorbed in their work. What separates the surgeon and the burglar is the intention — and that intention makes all the difference, even though in both cases the quality of focused attention is extraordinarily high. The burglar generates suffering that an insurance policy cannot redress. The surgeon, on the other hand, works to relieve suffering for a patient.

"Authentic mindfulness takes into consideration the intentions behind our actions. Intentions matter as much as mindfulness. Together they have the power to transform our lives. Our intentions act as a governing force behind our actions. Even if we make mistakes and the results do not work out the way we want, we can take note of our intentions. If we know deep in our heart that our intentions are wholesome, then we should take comfort in this knowledge. . . ."