To be wise, we have to examine our intention to ensure that it is free from delusion. The ends do not justify the means. If our actions will bring harm to others, even in the service of some "good," they are almost certainly deluded. If our actions do not come from a kind heart, from loving courage and compassion, they are deluded. If they are based on a distinction between "us" and "them," they stem from delusion. Only to the extent that we act from the wisdom of no separation, understanding how we are woven together, will our intention bring benefit...
As Oriah Mountain Dreamer describes, we are all in this together. As we undertake this journey, first we need to set our compass on a course of compassion. When we dedicate our actions with positive intentions for all, we begin to transform the situation. Our dedication gives us the authority and freedom to act out of love no matter what. We start with the results of our past karma. But the canvas is incomplete. Now we can add to it. We can step out of unconscious habit, connect with our wise heart, and freely choose a new response.
One practitioner described this discovery with tears in her eyes. "I'm so grateful. I want you to know how freeing these teachings have been. I've been in psychotherapy forever, and I've been sober for twenty-two years. For all these years I was still caught by the pain of the past. I healed in some ways, but I never believed I could change. Meditation taught me to begin again. It gave me a window I could fly out of. I'm not that suffering person anymore." No matter what the situation, we are offered the freedom to choose our highest intention, we are given the opportunity to set the compass of our heart and dedicate ourselves to our highest intention. This is what will transform the world.
- Jack Kornfield
Excerpted from The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal
Teachings of Buddhist Psychology