(mental event 3:51, omnipresent mental event 3:5)
སེམས་པ་ (sems pa)
impulse: the expression of mental function in the phase when the mind moves towards an object
Third on the list of the five omnipresent mental events is impulse. Impulse is defined as the expression of mental function in the phase when the mind moves towards an object. Impulse is sometimes translated as intention; as such, it directs the mind. It is the most important of the mental events! Because of impulse/intention, a primary mind can move toward its designated object. Without impulse, a primary mind and its attending mental events would not engage an object. Impulse is like a magnet which automatically attracts iron filings. Impulse can be categorized according to its six supports, the six sense faculties (from the eye sense faculty to the mental sense faculty).
The fact that impulse/intention is the most important of the mental events explains why there is so much emphasis placed on making intentions and aspirations. This inspires me to try to remember to make aspirations in every circumstance, when beginning a practice, when starting a new endeavor, when falling asleep, etc.