'The road to hell is paved with good intentions'! This familiar phrase, though probably not as popular as it once was, rings as true today as ever. Although it should most definitely be understood metaphorically, since 'hell' is simply reaping the sour fruit of bad seed, this phrase tells us that even though we might mean something in a good way, the recipient of our actions, whether words or deeds, may not receive it as such & in many cases, the exact opposite! This, according to their own personal choice, of course, can set them on the 'highway to hell' & we, then, must be careful with OUR choices, lest we join them there. This is all personally speaking, of course: when we allow our human nature, our Ego, to determine our course, most often, we end up on 'the highway to hell', or in other words, to use another example from the Hebrew Scriptures, filling the shoes of Cain, who murdered his brother, simply because his ( Cain's ) offering, made with 'good intentions' ( ? ), was not accepted, while his brother's was.
The Ego, as we've discussed in this blog previously, is not a 'bad, or 'evil' thing; It just IS! An integral part of our human nature, it's what enables us to make ( manifest ) choices, but when we allow our Ego to determine those choices, we often end up playing the part of Cain & metaphorically ( ? ) murdering our brother. On the other hand, the Ego is actually necessary for us to be able to choose! Being, as we've seen, an integral part of our humanity, we use the Ego ( our individuality ) to decide which is the better choice ( for us ). This again, following the rabbit trail, is not always 'good' either, for sometimes, what seems 'best' for us is not so for others. Individuality, in the same 'vein', is not 'evil' either; like the Ego, It just IS. As human beings, we HAVE an Ego; we have Individuality, but we are defined by neither! Both ( one is very nearly the same as the other ) are necessary constituents of our humanity, but when we allow either to determine our conscious ( or unconscious, for that matter ) choices, then is when we begin to tread the aforementioned 'highway'!
As long as we inhabit this biology, we daily run the risk of traveling 'the highway to hell'! No, the 'hell' of which I write is not some place that sinners go when they die, which was probably the intention behind the phrase; the 'hell' of which I write here is the 'hell' of ones own choosing. Whether through 'bad' choices, or simply our reaction to others, we tend to heap coals of fire on our own heads, allowing our Ego to convince us that somehow we have separated ourselves from what is 'good' & 'right', simply because the 'other' did not react well! This is NOT, though, to say that we should do whatever we can to avoid this risk ( drastic measures? ), simply that, knowing the risk is there, we must exercise great care in knowing ourSelf, for if we truly know ourSelf, we KNOW that we are More; More than our Ego, More than our Individuality, More than our Humanity!
Being More than our Humanity, we nevertheless, through whatever means, are consigned to living with it all, the Ego, the Individuality, the whole nine yards. This is not to say, either, that just because someone IS Ego-driven, their choices are always 'bad', though this is often, if not usually the case; sometimes, Ego-driven people make 'good' choices, not so much because of 'good intentions', though that is often the case, but because their true nature, which is Love, cannot help but shine through! That said, going back, not to the Hebrew, but the Greek Scriptures & in particular the writings of the apostle Paul, we must not needs escape this 'flesh & blood', as some ( still ) think was his intention in writing, rather we must learn to transcend this mortality, realizing that it is simply our 'vehicle' in this thing we call 'Life', though a necessary constituent of it!
'Good Intentions' will take you far in life! If ones intentions are truly 'good', anyway; a person can say 'I didn't mean to do that' or 'I didn't intend any harm' & if/when harm transpires, did they actually intend no harm or mean not to do that ( whatever 'that' is )? Speaking of childhood experiences, most of us can probably relate, in one way or another, but I can recall a saying that went the rounds in my family: when faced with the excuse, 'I didn't mean to do that', the reply, most often, was, 'well, you didn't mean NOT to, did you?' Most often in this life, whether you ascribe to something like The Wiccan Rede, which says, 'an ye harm none, do what ye will' or follow Jesus injunction to treat others like you want to be treated ( IOW ), when we live with good intention, no matter others response to them, we will find ourselves, not just going the opposite direction ( from THTH ); we will find ourSelves living in that 'place' called 'Heaven'!
In Conclusion, though it may be seen as a daily 'battle'; it need not be viewed as such. We do what is right, yes, but we need not engage with the Ego as our enemy in order to do so. As More than our Ego, we simply USE our Ego for what it was intended & make ( manifest ) our choices from our Higher Nature. rather than our Lower ( or animal ) Nature. Easier said than done, I know, but it is what it is. As above, so below; the Ego is NOT our enemy, it is a necessary constituent, part & parcel both with our Humanity & our Individuality.
Namaste' & Blessed Be!
Charles Haddon Shank