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.
What we ARE, displays in inner INTENTIONS (feelings underneath intellectual rationalizations) which later manifest into outer actions (DOING). This is the “natural way” without struggle.
BEING-→ INTENTION → DOING (Action)
However, the spirituality of “practices” and “training” are placebos for they only focus on ACTIONS.
“Our teachers are trained in compassion”. That is fake compassion.
“Our practices will lead you into being a more secure individual”. That is a fake security.
Practices and training have a place in our society where we are trained to become “something” in Life, but those have no place whenever we deal with inner knowledge, self-realization.
The “spiritual market” selling tips, training, practices, master classes, etc. are only focused on the outcome, the DOING. An actor is DOING something on the screen, nevertheless; that is fake DOING. It is just a script. In that, there is no spontaneity in Life.
Our social conditioning, our “training” deals with structure. That structure is a construct of a controlling mind.
CONDITIONING → Training → DOING
That is the path taught in our society.
BEING “good” or “better” in Life, is not the outcome of performing certain actions which we have been conditioned to believe to be “good.” That repertoire of repetitive actions, takes away the joy of living by feeling Life, but rather supports the pre-arranged script of the mind.
Is drinking alcohol “good” or “bad”? OBSERVE that we are concerned in labeling an ACTION with some moral label. That is the religious conditioning tinted with heavy social traumas. We forget about the people involved and the quality of their intentions which shows their BEING. In our society we are conditioned to simply judge things based on ACTIONS.
Although that formula may work in our society, in “spirituality” or living Life in harmony; that social practice is pointless, childish.
OBSERVATION, AWARENESS, being AWAKE, STILLNESS, TRANQUILITY… those are words pointing to what could be useful in living Life in harmony. We need to discover that ourselves.
For some, that may be the chance to make those words into some profitable “practice” or some best-seller “training” book.
The inner experience of those words are not “practices.”
When the mind is empty of our “busy-ness,” the worries concerning running “profitable business,” and our daily “fill the day” activities; then there is space to sit, relax and smell the roses. Then, there is room for no-mind. Emptiness is a requisite for newness.
The experience of those “keywords” above, will appear all by themselves little by little, without rush. If we “catch them,” then we will be practicing without practice. We will be trained without having training. We will be “better” without “making effort.”
Those are “real” practices. For it is through uncovering BEING how our intentions and actions cannot be fake.
We become “real.”
Is Euthanasia “good or bad”?
Isn’t that killing?
There is a big debate on that. Different laws in different countries will say different things. In Nature, to kill is neutral.
A falcon will kill to eat. The intention is to feed himself, to survive. It is not a business “for profit.” It is not to keep carcasses for another day and sell it or to teach that animal a “lesson.” On the other hand, humans have cynical reasons when it is about killing.
For instance, humans will kill deer (The nice label used is “hunting”) to manage the growing population of deer. Humans have killed the natural predators of deer as well.
Humans believe that human lives are above any other species.
Nevertheless, Humans will suffer the effects of those actions, as Nature requires a balance of species, which happens naturally without the thinking “help” from humans.
For Nature, there is no difference between a human life and an ant’s life, for those species are not seen as separated but are interdependent.
It is the belief of human beings to be “superior.” Thus, the intention behind the activities of humans will be tinted with that “superiority.”
That “Superiority” complex is depicted in human thought and belief systems.
As the intention behind human killing is hiding behind “economical reasons” or to preserve their own species overlooking others, then Nature will respond to balance those issues with a Natural disaster or humans themselves will kill each other as in a war.
Paradoxically, the “economical progress” and all perceived benefits in killing other species will be, washed away once Nature does its “cleaning job.”
It is called “zero balance.”
Of what help is human morality in “real life” (Nature)?
Not much. But yet, as a society we have selected a particular view of the world. We have created the “Office World.” That point of view is not an absolute by any means.
One last item: An intention is not a “whishy washy” thought. Something like: “I had the intention to help you, but something happened.”
That is not what I am referring to as “intention” although the dictionary may say so.
An intention is a feeling. It is what some will define as “inner voice.” That feeling which is the real drive to perform an action could be dressed up with thoughts and rationalization.
That is what thinking humans are good at. Rationalization is to come up with reasons to justify as to why we are acting in a particular way even though that inner feeling, feels otherwise.
For instance, John may voice how much he likes cows. Although his real intention is not to keep the cow alive but to kill it so he can gain profit. That greed is his real intention which could be rationalized in different ways to “look good and proper.”
Once we observe how tricky it could be for a society to pinpoint the real intention in an individual, then it becomes easier to come up with a line between “good actions” and “bad actions,” and to make a story as to why something is “good or bad” and thus “karma.”
When we understand that our human tendency is to “dress ourselves up” to look good, then spirituality is no longer a “practice” or something “to do to groom ourselves” but rather it becomes an issue of stripping down every belief, every learned story, every point of view, every thing that we could hold on to as a “savior” for the sake of being completely naked… then we could see that Nature is not separated from us, but us.
“Truly, one becomes good through good action, and evil through evil action.”
—Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 3.2.13
“Karma” is not fully understood.
Karma means “action” and from that word, we could establish a system to define what is “good and bad.”
If we do “good actions,” we will receive “good things.”
If we do “bad actions,” we will receive “bad things.” Or in religious words, If we do “good,” God will reward us. If we do “bad,” God will punish us.
Here comes the controversy…
Are lies “bad”? 🙂
What about “white lies”? Not bad…huh?
Is to lie an “action”?
Then, if to lie is not action, why is it “bad karma”?
Framed in “bad actions,” “good actions” and “neutral actions” we forget about the underlying force behind any action or thought.
That is our intention.
It is so evident that the intention of a lie is what makes that lie “good” or “bad.”
“The law of Karma” as it is mostly explained, brings by necessity the labeling of some actions as “good or bad.”
That is inaccurate.
“The law says, we must stop on a red light while driving. If we don’t do that, we will be punished by paying a steep fine.”
In that “black or white” statement, there is plenty of “life in between” that could happen: The red light may not work properly, there is an emergency in the road, someone’s life is in danger, etc. There will be plenty of scenarios but our intention is the driving factor for experiencing the return of our activities.
In life, there are those individuals who will stop on a red light no matter what happens around them. Their belief is to be “righteous” by following words to the dot.
The irony is that we do not follow life and its changes, but words and their “static reality”…
An action performed by itself does not determine how life will give a return. Please experiment with this. Don’t merely accept it.
As expressed many times already, life is not interested in complying with our petty “black or white” morality.
Intentions hide behind actions.
Someone may say “ to rape someone is bad. Rape is a bad action.”
Rape is a sexual act by force. Notice the intention of the action: Force, abuse, domination, selfishness.
Q:Is the sexual act in itself “good or bad”? 🙂
A: Depends on your belief.
Life is not about beliefs, it is about intentions.
A sexual act is neutral until the intention of the “doer” arrives.
It is the intention what gives the quality of that action and thus the return.
To be continued….
The intention behind the action is the determining factor in the consequence of it.
We cannot hide our intentions to life, although we could dress them up with pretty words to defend our “morality.”
That is how “Being” is before “Doing” and Karma is not understood unless the intention, the feeling behind that action is identified.
For a religion or a society it may be easier to judge individuals according to their actions. That will give them some objectivity.
It is easier to punish someone and call him “bad” or “evil” in that way, but it is very difficult to pinpoint the feeling the intention behind it.
Being virtuous in life is not a matter of “working on a virtue” or “making effort.”
In that realm of understanding, we are caught up with conceptual living.
Love is “good” but love is not a definition to practice, to be “better at.” To work on “being loving” or to “make effort” to love is just strengthening the “I.”
Unless there is a change in consciousness, that means opening our own limits to life itself, we may not be able to grasp a new consciousness.
There may be plenty of pretty words and rules to follow to give us the idea that we “are being good,” but a concept cannot do the trick.
When we open ourselves to the experiences that life is bringing, we will be out of our comfort zone. That means, the “I” will be challenged.
Any ideas, beliefs or preconceptions of the “I” could be challenged.
If there is no selection coming from an “educated” trained mind, but rather; there is the feeling to flow with life without “making decisions,” our journey will be aligned with “what is.”
“What is” is not the understanding of the “I.”
To live in a “box” of comfort is the tendency of most human beings.
That “box” has “life insurance” for us. There is a step-by-step path to follow that humans have made up to get someplace, even to get to Paradise after we die.
Ahnanda is saying that it is not like that.
Every individual has its own path based on his own experiences in life and his own consciousness.
Life presents different flavors to taste. Humans like to think that by tasting all, the “I” could select what he likes and what he does not, creating in that way a duality which rejects life by rejecting one side of the duality.
Ahananda is saying that every flavor is to be tasted and appreciated when it is happening. That is, enjoyed in that moment to the fullest.
For that a tremendous ability to be open and accepting to life is needed, something which there is no religion or commandment that could teach.
To honor life, to trust it, to live it, to enjoy it, to appreciate it… to be in awe and wonder, to be open without armors… to dissolve the “I.”
That is all.