"intentions" are something i've been thinking about lately. as i've examined my actions and the reasons for them, i've discovered much of the time i do things because they seem to be the "right" thing to do. the reason i perform the "right" action isn't as much because i want to help another, but because i feel duty-bound in act in the right way. i wonder if doing the right thing out of a sense of duty is beneficial to me and if the receiver of my action perceives that i'm not acting out of love, but instead am acting in what i perceive to be my own best interest. after all, if i fulfill my responsibility to act in the right way, to perform the caring action, aren't i putting "stars in my crown," amassing "good karma" to my own credit?
the right intention is probably as important as the right action. when i act primarily because it helps me, the receiver of the action is not the one who is the center of the action, but rather the focus is on the doer: me. i've spent some time praying that my heart would become that of a servant whose focus is on the person being helped, not on the person doing the helping. perhaps that is why right intention follows immediately after right view in the eight-fold path. right action comes further along the path and right effort even further along. if i am to act in true loving-kindness, i must set "self" aside in favor of focusing on the "other" toward whom loving-kindness is directed.
my prayer for myself and for others continues to be that we will all be transformed, becoming true servants, serving others out of love for them, not serving others because it is beneficial for us. isn't this what jesus was teaching peter when jesus insisted on washing peter's feet over peter's protests? shalom.