As part of my monthly focus, this past August I chose Kindness! I had to ponder on this one for a little while. I know the health benefits of kindness, I definitely know that I can be kinder to myself and others but to know how I can be kinder, I needed to make sense of it from within. Kindness is not just being nice to someone, it is much more than this. How do I understand and explain kindness? I have come to the conclusion that Kindness is an innate quality that we all have. However it seems that there is often a disconnection that happens. In these moments we are limited by our senses (what we see, hear, feel, taste, smell…) which create thoughts that pulls us in the opposite direction of our true nature. So how can I reconnect and activate the energy of kindness within me and allow my energetic self to continuously vibrate at this loving-kindness frequency? Experiencing kindness is the best way to completely understand and embody it. I concluded that the below acronym convey my understanding of kindness and act as a guide to keep me on tract: Knowledge Intention Nurture Define
What I am calling knowledge here is really Awareness. A deep knowing of who we Really are. An understanding of how the human mechanism works, because when we understand how it works, we can change the perception we have of ourselves and others as a human being. Eckhart Tolle talks about the false sense of self and the true self, calling the false self the Ego, which he describes as “complete identification with thinking and complete absence of Awareness”. Most of us identifies with our Ego, our false sense of self, and we also identify others as their Ego. The Ego is the conditioned mind, conditioned by the past (e,g upbringing, culture, family background, past trauma, experiences etc…) Eckhart Tolle adds that the main activity of the mind consists of “certain repetitive and persistent thoughts, emotions, and reactive patterns that you identify with most strongly”. Spiritually speaking this is Unconsciousness. Therefore if we are not aware of this, we mistake the Ego for our true self and the true self of others.
Sadhguru explains, “What we think, we feel” So if I meet a dog who is barking at me and trying to bite me, I may think that this dog is nasty, bringing emotions of fear/anger…. But if the same dog was waging its tail at me… My thought of this dog would be that it is a nice dog, bringing a happy emotion. My perception of the dog is then based on a very limited perspective. I am perceiving the dog only from one information send to my brain by my sense of sight and hearing and which is thus interpreted based on my programming (my notion of good and bad from my past experiences etc..). However if I encounter the angry dog but I was told that he was beaten a few times before and was mistreated by previous owners, now I have an additional information and this could change my perception of the dog again. I won’t perceive the dog to be “nasty” anymore but a wounded dog that needs help to heal. Suddenly rather than anger, fear and judgement, I can have compassion for the dog.
Sadhguru states, “Everything you know of ‘myself’ today is just accumulation of impressions and physical body. What you accumulate can be yours but can never be you”. Therefore we must be more than our conditioned mind and physical body. What is this other part of me?Awareness/Presence/Consciousness! This dimension of us is pure and whole and we all have access to this, however we disconnect from it, as we connect with all the distractions in the outer world, and get sucked in the material/physical world. It is no one’s fault it is just a function of the collective unconsciousness. When we are connected to Consciousness, we can see clearly, we see the bigger picture of life. Sadghuru calls this being “receptive“. He talked about Newton’s discovery of Gravity as he noticed the apples falling, however Sadhguru added, “what Newton didn’t notice is that a whole big tree has grown up against gravity”. He added, “there is Gravity and there is Grace!” To be receptive to Life, we have to live beyond the limitations of the physical world. So, when I connect with this other dimension of myself, I am able to “see the bigger picture” and I become available to Grace. I am able to separate from my Ego (the Unconscious/the false self/conditioned mind) and see my Highest self (the Consciousness/the true self/the spiritual being/the soul), and therefore see others through this same lens.
When we understand how our body, mind and spirit works and we are open to live from this understanding, and open to see the world through the lens of Spirituality/Consciousness, life gets much easier. When we embody the practice of being kind, loving, compassionate, we can change the world around us. When we become available to Grace, we can see that everyone is doing the best they can (including ourselves). We cannot change things positively if we are coming from a place of anger/frustration/fear/lack/separation… (in survival mode), we can only do this from a place of love, compassion and kindness (in total Awareness). When we understand that a person’s behaviour (including our own) is not a reflection of his/her/our true being but simply a disconnection from the good/god within, we are able to see the truth and have compassion. Hence creating a space for healing and spiritual growth.
“All doubt, despair and fear become insignificant once the intention of life becomes love” Rumi
To walk into life with the intention to be kind, slow down the Ego’s urge to judge and assume the worst of others or ourselves. To choose to be kind is choosing to believe that everyone is doing the best they can, including ourselves. I intend to be free and at peace with others in my life and with life itself. Intending to be kind, create a space between me and that to which I am connected, the Source/God/Life. Through this space I walk into life with a mid-set of peace vs war, of collaboration and cooperation vs competition, a mind-set of Oneness vs Separation. Oneness meaning we are all already whole, coming together as one Consciousness, we all connect to the one source whatever that is for each person (God/Life/Nature/etc….). Ever noticed a school of fish or a flock of birds in unison? There is no leader, there is no rehearsal , there is a One Consciousness. When we can connect to the Source, being kind is much easier, it is simply the obvious choice of action. It is the space between the Awareness and the response. Michael Beckwith states that, “Choice is a function of expanded awareness and reaction is a function of limited awareness”.
When I am connected I can choose to see the truth, I can choose to let go of judgement or self-righteousness or any of these addictive negative thoughts that comes from the Ego, our false sense of self. That doesn’t mean I go around giving people or myself a pat on the back for behaving poorly but just knowing that every one acts at the level of their consciousness, help me to let go of anger, fear, frustration or resentment and make room for compassion and kindness. I can take action from there, whether its moving away, have a heart to heart conversation when the time feels right, ask a person to leave, call the police, seek help, just listen…. all depends on the “acting out/disguise” of the person. Eckhart Tolle reminds us that we don’t need to “(re)act” what the person is acting, but just hold the space, be the valley. This is not the easiest task when we have a difficult human in front of us. It is not easy if our default program is controlled by the Ego/the conditioned mind as we are triggered.
Being triggered means that the Ego is protecting its identity, the things that is familiar and comfortable even if it is something we don’t like or that is causing us harm, destroying our relationships etc… The Ego (our false sense of self) doesn’t want us to change or do anything different because it is unknown. But the more practice we have at connecting with Consciousness and becoming aware that we are the Awareness itself, the easier it gets. The more we contemplate the Intention of being kind, understanding and compassionate, the more we are likely to act that way. I am still practicing being the observer of my own Egoic pattern (some days I can see it coming other days I see it after the event). I wanted to focus on kindness because I wanted to be less reactive at home and more responsive. I now purposely connect with this innate quality and it has indeed proven to work a lot of times. Of course I have not mastered this completely and still react to my husband comments and/or reactions to things when I don’t have to etc…but because I consciously choose to be connected, I can make the right choice more often than not and when its really hard, I take a moment for myself to bring myself back to a neutral state of mind and then amend my behaviour, with an action that is in alignment with my Intention. So that at the end of the day, I can say to myself I have done my best today and when there are days that I wasn’t able to shake things off, I review the scene in my head and think of a better ending. Eventually we all want peace but we have been so accustomed to certain ways of being and doing in the world that being at peace seems to be a whole new learning process, something almost out of reach to some people. “When you have the choice between being right and being kind, just choose kind” Dr Wayne Dyer. This implies being kind to ourselves as much as to others.
“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.”
― Marvin J. Ashton
By Nurture I mean to not only nurture ourselves and others but also to nurture our connection to kindness. Continuing to practice kindness as we strive for a better world. As a teacher I know that nurturing is important in the development of young children. And I also understand that those who have not had a nurturing environment in their childhood make a big part of those who need help and support in adulthood. I watched this video from the Compassion Prison Project which is call Step inside the Circle and this touched my heart so much. To be loved, helped, supported, cared for and connected is very important to build an Emotional Intelligence. Therefore nurturing is an important part of life which I believe starts with ourselves. There is no way we can give to others what we don’t have. I can’t give loving-kindness if I don’t have that for myself. Caring for ourselves is loving and accepting ourselves deeply and completely. It is recognising that we need help, it is asking for help, it is tuning in and noticing our deeper needs and addressing them… It is taking responsibility for our life, it is being accountable to ourselves for a life that we desire. This is not an easy path but it is sure to be liberating. It all start with compassion, by replacing anger, fear, frustration, resentment with compassion, we make healing possible for us and for others. Through our own transformation/shift we can change what’s around us, we can create a loving-kindness-compassionate world. I want to share with you an experiment that I did based on Dr Masaru Emoto discovery in his book “The Hidden messages in water”. I wanted to experiment with this idea of the power of thoughts/intentions/blessings and energy. I had to say I had some reservations of whether or not this will work and my very skeptical husband was curious. The below picture demonstrates what happened after spending every morning saying hateful words to the hate jar and loving words to the love jar.
You can find the rest of the details on my FB page. My point here is that if we nurture ourselves with the right thoughts/feelings/words we can create the best version of ourselves and hence contribute to and co-create a world with best versions of people.What we give out comes back to us on an energetic level, so if we give out more love, that’s what will be coming back to us.
This was a “Satori” moment for me, a great insight! If there is one thing that was missing so far in my life is having Boundaries. To tell you the truth, I didn’t understand it really until I heard Brene Brown talking about it. I always had a battle within about what I my kind actions. I think I know why I had the battle within. I empathise with others and always give people the benefits of the doubts but because of my own upbringing and the lack of understanding about my own needs, I never had my own boundaries. I was always tuned in to others pain and needs (mainly my mum) but my own. I am of course talking about emotional needs. You see I believe my mum didn’t have them either. She stayed in unhealthy relationships (no doubt that she did the best she could!) and I witnessed this. As a child, I didn’t understand her reasons and so I probably made up one for myself. Perhaps it was: “When people hurt you, just keep being nice, they will stop” or “My needs come second, first I address the need of the other” I am not sure what could have been the exact belief/s in my head, but what I know is that I never really have my own boundaries and wasn’t taught how to have them and why I need them.
I have always rather make peace with the other than with myself. So when this news hit me, this epiphany, this “satori” moment, I felt that I unlocked something within. Yes, Boundaries! I got myself in situations I wasn’t comfortable with but I stayed rather than speaking my truth which I guess I didn’t even know what the truth was. So my thought here is to be clear on that truth is, what is OK and what is not OK. Having healthy boundaries means that sometimes we have to say No, refuse to do something and interact in certain way e.g Gossiping, Complaining about others behind their back, blaming etc…. I think it is also important to define the line between what we think is kind and what is kind. Sometimes we may think that providing excuses for someone’s poor behaviour is kind but it is not because we are only allowing the person to continue his/her dysfunctional pattern. Having a consequence to our behaviour is an important step to awakened, sometimes it takes a lot of consequences to reach the awakening phase and other times it may take one big consequence but it can also take a life time of consequences without awakening. A consequence to one’s behaviour can be done with compassion of course, there is no need to dehumanise the person into an enemy that we need to destroy at all cost.
I can see the go(o)d in people (most of the times as I am still working on this), I can forgive people’s unconsciousness but I don’t have to accept their poor behaviour. Therefore knowing my boundaries, makes it easy for me to be compassionate. May be it is ourselves that we need to be kinder to, and having and knowing our boundaries will help us in this direction as we make decision to be kind to ourselves. E.g eating a whole block of chocolate in one go may seems like a kind thing to do as we tell ourselves we need/deserve it, but the truth is, it has nothing to do with kindness. Don’t worry, I LOVE chocolates and a few pieces of an organic dark chocolate can be healthy but a whole block in one go isn’t and we know it but we do it anyway because we lack that self-discipline. Why? Because we don’t have the courage to say No to ourselves, because its too hard, we don’t have clear boundaries for our wellbeing… Going to the extremes such as punishing yourself for indulging by doing more workouts or starving yourself are not effective either. Compassion is what is most effective in my experience. Looking deeply inside and seeing the truth, accepting the truth and take action. Draw the line and be the best version of yourself spreading loving- kindness, performing with compassion in the world. When we have clearly define that line for ourselves with ourselves, it will be so much easier to define the line with others as well. And for us parents we are also teaching our children to have their own healthy boundaries as part of being kind.
So this is my definition of kind: I see you/me clearly, I see the consciousness through you/me pass your/my behaviour, I can assume the best intention from you/me, I can have compassion for myself or others but I also have a clear boundary to ensure we are all safe/supported/cared for… Questions I ask myself to be kind: Do I really know the Truth? Is my Intention to be kind/compassionate? Am I nurturing my thoughts and actions? Am I nurturing myself? Am I clear on my boundaries? Have I define the line clearly and in a kind way to others? Digging deep into kindness has been a meaningful adventure and I feel that I am a better version of myself after practicing and cultivating more kindness in my life this past month and more.
What is the best act of kindness you have ever received, given, or witnessed? Do you think everyone is doing the best they can including yourself?
With much love and TO THE BEST IN YOU
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