The word “action” isn’t ambiguous for our actions are there to be seen. It has been said: “Hell is full of good meanings, but heaven is full of good works”. The action, the “ good works” is what matters to most.
Nevertheless, there is a difference between the word intention when used in society in general and the one related with spirituality, with Life.
Our society believes that there are “good” actions and “bad” actions. Therefore, our mind is conditioned to obtain a certain defined result; and many times, the means we use do not matter to us. That sort of action is programmed, an individual only needs to comply, without “thinking.” It is mechanical by all means and repetitive and in that repetition, there is no zest for Life.
Helping the little old lady to cross the busy street, is considered a “good action,” but it is mechanical, it is expected so long as we do it out of duty, out of conditioning. Just like Pavlov’s dogs; we salivate at the sound of the bell and not because we smell food or see it, or taste it.
Observe that I am not interested in the “moral” value of that action, although that action may get me brownie points to “go to heaven.” I am interested in having zest for Life. Therefore, we need to take a look at what is behind that action, the intention of it.
Where does my intention come from? Many will say, it is a matter of checking our thoughts. “If I am thinking that the old lady needs help and I help her, then that is a “good intention” transformed into a good action.”
Let me disagree. Thinking is conditioning. Rather than showing who we ARE in a naked way, we are dressing up and using that same gray suit tailored by society to be worn by us, every time. If I am in a real rush to get to work and the old lady wants to cross the street, observe the engine of my “good action.” It is duty, conditioning. A different scenario would be if the intention of “helping” is out of FEELING compassion or out of my feeling that we are all one. No thought involved.
In the hypothetical scenario of God “judging” us if we should go to hell or heaven; the action of helping out of duty gives the same result as out of compassion: To help the lady to cross the street. Could God choose someone to go to heaven based on his rehearsed, mechanical “good actions” or perhaps for what that person truly IS? That is a mechanical person vs. a compassionate person. Food for thought.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions”, meaning that individuals may want to act in a certain way, nevertheless; nothing happens due to procrastination or some other reason. Observe that this is a different meaning of intention. There are many people who indulge in pretty talk: – Yeah. Let us do that! Let us help “others”! But nothing happens. Look at what that person IS: A blabber, perhaps a social climber but he IS not compassionate.
In Life, what we ARE is the intention, the engine behind our actions. That is not what we have been taught in society.
There is a difference between a saint caressing the hair of a child and someone else DOING the same action. What is the intention behind? What is the feeling in the heart? God will surely look at that, while humans get caught up only in the action.
A wolf dressing as red riding hood through the robes of “good” actions; is always a wolf.