It is oft times said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This statement is one I have heard most often used when someone is attempting to convince themselves that they shouldn’t pursue a goal or desire they have, even though it is good. What sort of discouragement is meant by this statement? It evokes in the mind at first glance the premise that all good intentions lead only to hell. This does not make sense to a logical mind.
As hell exists as the dichotomous opposite to heaven, one could conclude that the opposite of what takes one to hell would therefore take one to heaven. This does not work in the lens of good intentions leading one to hell. For how could bad intentions lead one to heaven? How can evil desires make one happy? It can be said that some people in human history have derived pleasure from the misery of others, but this is not the norm, and closer examination of said individuals would reveal their suffering. So why then do we associate good intentions with suffering, if we too associate bad intentions with the same penalty?
Let us examine the happiest person to ever live. Is there such a person? According to the science of happiness, there is: his name is Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk. Tests on this man’s brain reveal that he experiences an almost constant flow of positive, happy energy in the left brain, generally where the feeling of happiness is linked. According to Ricard, and a number of other monks also part of the test, this control of their happiness comes from the amount of meditation they do daily. They control their thoughts, and cause themselves to be happy.
An intention is a plan. It is something which you decide in your mind that you want to do. In essence, you could say that an intention is a thought. Of course, it is more than just a thought, as an intention is something on which you plan to act. A thought alone can be something which never leaves your head unless you choose to act on it. In that moment of wanting to act the thought becomes an intention, and once the action is completed or begun, it is no longer an intention; it has become tangible, measurable. It has become a result.
So, what does it matter if the intention is good or bad, if both conceivably lead to hell or unhappiness? The answer lies in the action. A bad intention acted upon, or a good intention left undone will ultimately have the same effect. Let us say then that the nature of the intention is not important in the pavement process. Whoever was laying the road when the moral concrete was being mixed probably used both good and bad intentions without regard. Let us say then the road is simply paved with intentions.
So if the road to hell is paved with intentions, what does this mean? Consider again that roads often connect between two destinations. Especially since it can be inferred that the road to hell would be one which you could travel, then it makes since there isn’t a dead end on either side. So for the sake of this argument, let us say that heaven is at the other end of this road. We could say for this instance then that the road to heaven is also paved with good intentions, and bad ones. The important thing about intentions is what to act on, and what not to.
So, therefore, you should act on your good intentions. Even according to the laws of physics like matters attract. Iron atoms hold to other iron atoms. If you act on a good intention, and remain within your moral code in its execution, then you will arrive at a good result. If you act on a good intention, and do anything to achieve it, even hurt others, then the action is bad, and so taints the whole intention. Do not let yourself think it is humble to deny yourself success simply because a good intention is the road to hell. This is not so: the road to anywhere is based on your intentions. Take hold of your thoughts, control them, and direct yourself toward whatever you desire to achieve.