A syncretic approach to esoteric teachings - the golden threads that connect Pagans, Yogis, Rosicrucians and Masons.
(Introductory Disclaimer: As usual, please remember that this blog is an expression of my own personal opinions, based on observations gleaned from my own peculiar experience. At no point do I claim to speak for all Neopagans, nor do I insist that any reader must agree with me.)
It hardly seems fair, does it? Why should the road to hell be paved with our very best motivations and aspirations for this life?
Who it was that first presented this proposition has been lost in the shadows of history. But his message rings true: whether or not you believe in hell as an actual place, unjust actions are an offense to dharma - Divine law. Such decisions never work out well, even if they are executed with the intent to do good. Therefore, we need to be incredibly careful as to how we make our choices.
The Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism is a wonderful teaching tool for understanding this dilemma. Its philosophical precepts are worth attending to, no matter what religion you follow.
Right Intention, by itself, is not enough. We must also have a Right View of the situation, and Right Mindfulness of our place in relation to it - in other words, we must be sure that our intentions are pure and not just rationalizations of our personal likes or dislikes.
And then we must be very sure to exert Right Effort - because (contrary to the prevailing attitude of our greed-driven culture) no honest goal can ever be achieved through dishonest means. This includes engaging in Right Livelihood – for we cannot ethically advise people against a practice or product if we secretly derive support from it ourselves.
We must also use Right Concentration, to be sure that we employ only Right Speech when describing the situation to others - lest we fall into slander, exaggeration or false accusations. These manipulative strategies are all too pervasive in today's media.
If we can successfully lay the groundwork with these preliminary stages (finally understanding how much more complicated this proposition was than we had first imagined), we may at last perform Right Action. And if our action is right, our good intentions may bring good results. At the very least, they cannot engender any bad ones. Dharma will be preserved, and the road to hell will have been spared another paving stone.