I hear so much about intention, especially in the religious sense. If you intended (i.e. you had good thoughts) to but didn't, you still earn heavenly points. If you intended to hurt, but didn't, you win heavenly points.
Here's the thing, though: though I love the purity of these teachings, I think simple minds make thwarted logic of it all! It's so easy to progress from the above to the following: If I intended to be good, but I lost control of myself and hurt someone, I still earn points for my good intentions. Err... excuse me? You the reader may frown, but I come across this kind of thinking all the time.
NO! NO! NO! Good intentions manifest themselves in good action - there is no other way. If you don't create that action, well, then you still have your good intention, unacted upon. But don't try to justify the crap side of you with your "good intentions" once you've done a crap deed!
Still, things are more complicated than that. There are people out there who do bad things because they had misguided or horrible childhoods. Or they are terribly poor and have had grossly unfair lives. But at some point in their lives they will have the opportunity to choose between doing a bad thing and not doing it, and that choice is completely their own to make and has nothing to do with their past or their circumstance. This is the choice that religion is supposed to teach us: a God-given right to choose to do bad or good.
And this choice is an active one which most of us must make every day, about actions which carry various levels of "good" or "bad". For example, when we eat too much, we make the choice to be greedy. Stopping ourselves seems like denial of the gift of food. But harming our bodies is a direct attack on the gift of our being and life. So how serious is this act against ourselves (God?). Another choice could be: today my child is starving. Do I steal the food? Do I steal the food and attack the person from whom I am stealing? I see a very big difference here. Stealing, yes terrible. But if someone stole from me something I didn't need or could replace, ad I knew that person needed it more than me, I think my choice would be clear. (Yes, I know, it is far more complicated than that). But what of hurting the person you steal from?
I read recently that a 73 year old woman was raped in her home for putting up a fight against a burglar. Read MM's take on it. Don't anyone dare say she was asking for it. Don't anyone dare even suggest what she should have done to prevent it. We should be thinking what is it about the burglar who couldn't stop at just taking her things, he needed to take away part of her self, her dignity, her humanity? Because she stood up for herself? What is it about him and his life that suggested to him that it was his right to do what he wanted to do to her? Rape is a disease of the mind, the psyche. It is the malnutritioned and deprived soul that feels it needs to take something to feed it's hunger (for power, control, revenge).
It is NOT a sexual intention. And girls (children, married, widowed, old, young, ugly, beautiful, dirty, pure, whatever girls there is on this earth) NEVER EVER INTEND TO GET RAPED.
So stop talking about good intentions. Instead, ask about good actions. Good deeds. Why are there so many people talking about how they intended to be on time, they intended to be caring, but time, traffic, money (shitty little excuses in the grand scheme of life) got in the way.
Wars with good intentions? To teach people lessons? What is that?
Every time we come across bad actions or bad behaviour in our lives, no matter how small, we should start asking, why, if there were good intentions, no good has come out of it? Yes, yes, it all gets far more complicated than that.
I say to anyone who comes my way, don't tell me your good intentions. Don't tell me you're my friend. Don't tell me you care.
And if I have failed you, tell me. I have enough of a soul to know there is no hate in pointing out what you don't like. There's more than enough laughter and forgiveness in me to get over it.