Earlier this weekend, I read an older editorial cartoon from Farid Ben Morsli, titled ‘Good Intentions,’ quoting, “The American might consider their presence beneficial, but reality paints a sad and bloody picture.” There’s an old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but that’s not really the case. The road to hell is paved with intentions that are careless, lustful, or mean.
A much wiser man, I can honestly state that not all my good intentions were especially skillful. Though well meaning, they were misguided and inappropriate for the occasion. Thus the resulting scenario ended in pain and regret. I also realize, one tends to misunderstand the quality of our own intentions. We believe our intentions are better than the other guy, mistaking mixed motives for good motives.
After a while, we believe our excuses and fail to admit our own less than noble intentions. Thus, we don’t completely vet our intentions when faced with a choice; we refuse to consider consequences, and in many cases, deny the choices readily available. Laced in bad thought, good intentions result in dire consequences. We make bad decisions, as they’re easy, convenient, and familiar.
in the end, you can’t make something right by doing something wrong.
As in life and in the afterlife, the decisions we make will be difficult to escape, as it permeates a person’s being and soul. Bad decisions prey on the vulnerable, they’re ruthlessness and uncaring. Empowered by numbness, we begin our lives’ as idealistic determined children, yet ending as slaves to the world and coveting nihilistic leaders we hate.
On a weekly basis, lay people the world over place the fruits of their intentions upon God’s alter. Hoping for encouragement, many receive little, if anything. Herein I openly acknowledge my cynicism. I believe we come before God with our confessions, not because God is acknowledged as all forgiving, but we rather we want understanding and forgiveness from someone we respect. Still, I doubt many really respect God at all, for we wouldn’t do what we’ve done.
Buddha revealed how intentions are the main factors that shape our lives. However, should one subject these thoughts to the qualities of mindfulness, persistence, and discernment, we can perfect them to the point where they will lead to no regrets or damaging results. Ultimately, they can lead us to the truest possible happiness.
We must present intentions into a mirror and reflect only the quality expected. Before acting, we are called to reflect on the results expected and ask ourselves: “Is this going to lead to harm for myself and others, or not?” Focus on our intentions so we can see how they shape our life and master the processes of cause and effect. Doing so provides an opening to the dimension of unlimited freedom that lies beyond.