There is an old saying, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"... while I do not believe in the existence of a place called "hell" for the eternal torture of human beings -- even for those who failed to live up to their good intentions -- is there perhaps not a smidgen of value to the saying?
Let's start by re-creating the saying: "The road to transformation is created by steady intention." That doesn't roll off the tongue very well, so how about this: "Your feet mark the path, your heart is the goal." Okay, maybe that's still not it, how about: "If Love is your goal, then Love must also be your way." In other words, intention is not only a good thing, but it is everything! As you intend, so do you will: as you will, so will you transform: as you transform, your intentions gather increased power and begin to radiate possibilities: one intention after the other, sort of "leap-frogging" into the lusciousness of ecstatic delight!
The key to intention is to keep it simple -- so you will begin to establish a sense of motion, of movement forward. If you intend to run a summer marathon you don't begin practice with a fifteen-mile training run! You instead start with a do-able schedule of a few miles at a time: adding on vigorous sprints: adding on more miles: giving your body sufficient rest and nutrients: building up to... you get the picture: you build upon your initial intention with a string of success. Each success adds depth and courage to your character. Each success adds a vivifying power to your essential person-hood! And you begin to know that you are different: you are changing, transforming before the eyes of your family and friends: as it is in regards to running, so it is in regards to the soul and mystic awakening.
Begin with the intention to give attention: first to the unconscious stream of your thoughts, and then to a gentle, but firm and consistent, intention to "massage" that flow into the constructive and positive: no more unconscious swearing (save those words only for the surprise of really special occasions -- like when Yeshua called King Herod a fox). Secondly, begin to utilize the power of positive affirmation: make it a part of your daily practice to notice and affirm the people in your life: make gratitude your new identity (not just an attitude -- but your identity!). Every time that you notice a negative thought entering your mind -- go to the "bank" and deposit an affirmation: so, the thought "I'm an ugly piece of crap" comes into your mind -- unbidden from your past -- as soon as your notice it, affirm "I have been created by Love, for Love, to become Love. I am choosing to be Love now. I am choosing to affirm my everlasting Beauty right now!" In short order, you will discover your "bank account" has a significant savings!
At this point it is vital that you take the next step: ultimately, transformation is not about "you". Instead, it is always about the "other". A lot of folks wonder after years of "walking the path" why haven't they made any evident "progress". Somehow they just forgot this essential point: you've got to bring everyone along with you! No one gets left behind! Nothing gets left behind! So now your daily practice is firm "do-able" intention, built upon the steady use of affirmation: and you are including others in your embrace: you volunteer in a soup kitchen, you mentor teen girls, you do something important for others... Now your meditation has the uplift of love-in-action: your heart is fully engaged with your life. An important "bonus-step" is the deliberate working on reducing the difference between your vision and your reality: in other words, if you want love in your life, you must become love: if you want peace on earth, you must become peace: if you want a just world, you must practice justice. You must give evidence to others that it is possible to change! (And then, again, look behind you on the path to lend a hand... and if you are intending to a total transformation into your true self, into your secret identity: go to the very back of the line and work from there, ushering everyone before you into Paradise...)
So, "the road to bliss, is straight through your heart, opened and shared for everyone in need"... all flowing from your good intentions...
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.