Recently I was posed a question by a good friend about actions versus intentions. It got me thinking. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we have the greatest intention to do good. However, when we take action to do good we get a response that is quite the opposite of what we originally intended for. Now before I dive in, I want to preface this by clarifying that we should never be looking for gratification or recognition for our good deeds, as it only feeds the ego. A true good deed is selfless, and is best done anonymously.
Being in situations where you receive a poor or negative reaction from a positive and well intended action can be highly frustrating. This actually happens quite often, even in loving relationships, if not more so. As a practitioner of Buddhism one may wonder what is more important when it comes to Karma, the action or the intention. In order to answer this we have to look a little deeper at Karma.
What is Karma?
Karma is the movement of the mind and what is motivated (thoughts, actions, speech… etc).
This means that we are the keepers of our own Karma, and when all is said and done the judgment lies on us. If we have positive intentions we are planting positive seeds in our subconscious, and the same goes for negative intentions planting negative seeds. Due to this, I would go as far to say intentions are more important because they sew the seeds for our present and future thoughts, speech, and actions.
As for others responses to our well intended actions, we have little control. What we do have control over is how we choose to perceive their response. Instead of viewing it as a negative response, we can view it as a teaching. We can learn how to better ourselves, our actions, and our speech to help them or others in the future. Always remember that anything can be a teaching if you know how to listen.
I welcome you to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.