We talk about intention in magic and people. And it matters. But is it all that matters? Let’s talk it out!
I’m not a huge fan of the saying “Intention is everything.” I think it is missing some important pieces.
Whether we are interacting with pure energy or interacting with other people, intention is only part of the equation.
But before we get into some specifics, let’s lay out the foundation first.
An intention, is the aim of something. It is the purpose behind something. Sort of like the why. It isn’t the act of doing the thing, but why or what brings us to do the thing. And sometimes it can be less direct, (intention to action) but one of many goals we have behind a single action. Usually this is something we have in our head and is not communicated before the action.
That leads us to the next part of the equation, the action. Here is where we act out the intention or intentions. This is the part that is communicated to other people.
Then there is the result. This sort of fits into cause and effect – the cause was the action, the effect is the result.
So, because this is a spiritual blog, let’s start with the energetic side of things!
With energy, there is what you intend AND what you do – intention and action. Let’s use “Getting a job” as an example.
You want to get a job. That is your goal. So you send in some applications, follow up on some leads, work some magic, and then say “yes” to a job offer. Now you have a new job that you start next week.
Take a moment to think. What is the intention? What is the action or actions? What is the result?
The intention is to get the job. The actions were sending out applications, follow up on leads, working magic, and saying “yes” to a job offer. The result was a new job, in this example.
So, you can intend to bring more of something into your life, and then there is the guided action of bringing said thing into your life. And then whatever result occurs from there.
Let’s move into the people side of things.
With interactions with people, there is what you intend (intention), what you do (action_, and the perception of the other person (the result). We can intend to do something nice for someone, do the thing, and then the perception from the other person’s side is that it was helpful! Or maybe it wasn’t helpful for them.
There is a Vine of two kids in a kitchen. One has a pizza pan and accidentally smacks their friend in the face with it. They didn’t intend to, but they still did. And they appear to take some responsibility for their actions as the vine ends.
Intention: Make a funny video together. Action: Accidentally smacking friend in the face. Result: Friend is hurt.
I’ve been given gifts of Christian religious novels. The intention was to get me a gift. And they did. But I am not Christian. I am a hard polytheist. So what this action said was that they weren’t entirely listening to my beliefs or respecting them.
Intention: Give a nice gift. Action: Give Christian religious novels. Result: Feeling disrespected, not valued, and unheard.
I don’t remember what it was, but I was attempting to plug in something for my husband. My intent was to help him as he had been working on a paper for some time. But in the process of plugging something in, I also accidentally shut off his computer. And he lost all the work he had done. He was pretty upset. As I would have also been. And I had to take responsibility for my actions.
Intention: Help. Action: Accidentally turn off computer. Result: Loss of work. Not help.
Then, there is the perception of the person on the other end. In the examples above, someone was the intended or unintended receiver. I was intended to receive a gift. The person did not intend to hit their friend. And I intended to help my husband.
Let’s stick with the example where I was intending to be helpful and plug something in for my husband and accidentally turned of his computer and he lost all of his work.
He was still understandably upset. He just worked hard on what he was writing. He put a lot of time into it. And then it was just all gone.
Sure, my intention wasn’t to do that. I felt super bad a bout it. And that may have mitigated some of the emotions he was feeling, but he would still have to work on it again. It was more time he was going to have to spend on it.
So while my intent was not to get rid of his paper, I did. And it was my responsibility to address it. To say “that wasn’t my intention” would be me dismissing my responsibility and leaving it all on him, creating even more of a burden on him. And to act in a way that says “I’m so hurt that I hurt you, you must make this hurt go away by forgiving me” is one more way of shifting the responsibility onto the other person.
Even if you didn’t intend to hurt them, didn’t you still hurt them?
So the point is, intention is important, but it is also only part of the equation. We must remember our own part in this equation, the action, and our responsibility in the result.