Be Kind to everyone...

Posted by Tandarin Nike Wednesday, July 28, 2010 2:18 AM
There’s something so powerfully simple, profoundly beautiful, about the Dalai Lama’s quote: “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

It’s a philosophy I’ve been exploring for awhile, and though I don’t claim to have even come close to mastering it, it turns out this is a single word that can become the central tenet of your life, if you let it: “kindness”.

Kindness can guide every interaction you have with others, can guide your life’s work, can give meaning to your life, can even guide your eating, parenting, marriage, and more.

All else will melt away, if you let go of it, and leave only kindness.

Doing to others IS doing to yourself

The Golden Rule goes something along the lines of, “Treat others as you’d want to be treated (in their place)”, but in another conception, how you treat others is how you treat yourself.

Consider: when you react to others with anger or meanness, you are putting yourself in an angry mindset, a bad mood. You’ll likely feel pretty crappy for at least an hour, if not all day.

When you are uncaring or indifferent to others, you also create an empty, blank feeling in yourself, a void that cannot be filled with gadgets, social networking, shopping, food, or possessions.

When instead you are kind, you build a good feeling within yourself, you make yourself happy. In effect, you are being kind to yourself.

Other outward-facing actions have a similar inward effect: if you want to learn, teach. If you need inspiration, inspire others. If you’re sad, cheer someone up.

mindfulness + kindfulness

It is near impossible, in my experience, to transition towards kindness without being mindful. Thoughtlessness leads to unkindnesses.

You must be mindful of every interaction with another human being. Approach each person mindfully, with your full attention, smiling, seeking to understand them, trying to interact with gentleness, warmth, compassion.

When someone comes to talk to you, when your kid tugs on your pant leg for attention, when your spouse or best friend starts speaking, turn to them without distraction, putting everything else away, and give your full attention. Listen.

Here’s something beautiful: by treating others with kindness, you will create a happy feeling within yourself, effectively creating a positive feedback loop for your mindfulness. This will encourage you to be more mindful throughout your day, which will help you to treat others with yet more kindness, and so on.

Mindfulness and kindfulness feed on each other in a wonderful cycle.

Practicing the religion of kindness

This all, of course, takes careful practice, and the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it.

There’s an evolution in kindness, a process in which I’m still only near the middle (more likely in the beginning and just don’t know it), where kindness can slowly infuse your life, transform everything you do.

Relationships: Your interactions and eventually your relationships with others, including friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, will slowly grow more positive, stronger.

Parenting: If you are a disciplinarian parent, learning to make every interaction with your child one centered on kindness will create a new type of relationship, and will teach your child how to be kind to others, by your example. Your actions are a much better teacher than your words.

Work: It might seem unrealistic, but it is possible to center your work around kindness. Gradually and purposefully make your work a living expression of your kindness, your love, in your interaction with your customers, co-workers, colleagues, the world … in what you produce and put out there.

Eating: A vegan diet is perhaps the kindest diet, all things being equal. This is from the belief that animals suffer when we put them in miserable living conditions, maim and shock them, kill them, for our pleasure.

I’m not saying this to be self-righteous, or to make anyone feel guilty, but only for your kind consideration — to consider the animals as you eat. Consider also, as you are contemplating kindness, your eating’s effects on farmers and workers, on your health and the health of your family, and on the environment.

It isn’t easy to be kind on every possible human transaction, on every interaction we have throughout the day. It’s far easier to be thoughtless. It can feel better to get back at someone when they are unkind to you (at least, it feels better at first). It takes less effort to not care.

But when we touch another person’s life, our lives are being touched as well.

What shape do you want your life to take? That will be completely determined by the effort you take to be mindful, and to be kindful.

Remember... “Wherever there is a human being there is an opportunity for kindness.”

3 Response to "Be Kind to everyone..."

  1. shivani Says:

    Your post comes in an appropriate time when i needed it. i thought i was being kind to my husband's driver by offering him tea and snacks only to realise it later that he started expecting it as his right.Then without letting my husband have any inkling he started asking small amounts of money.Initially i didn't realise what was going on but when he made it regular i started questioning myself.Where did i go wrong?i thought i was being kind.

    Help me out with ur view on this.

  2. Tandarin Nike Says:

    That’s a tight spot you are in and many of us get into similar situations in our daily lives, especially in India. Kindness as shown by you is a very good thing and you should retain this trait always. The problem in your case as I see, is that you are not as assertive as you should be. Many of us say yes because we’ve created a scenario that forces us to say yes. If we seek outside approval to feel good about ourselves, then when someone asks us to do something, we feel obligated to say yes in order to stay in their good graces. When we make our own value and worth dependent on what others think of us, then we’ve created a scenario that doesn’t allow us to take care of ourselves.
    My take; offer him tea but no snacks (may be once in a bluemoon). Giving money is a clear 'No' 'No'. Be very firm about that and keep your husband informed.

  3. shivani Says:

    Tandarin thanks a lot and you have dispelled my doubts and shown me the right way.Last night when i told my husband about Perumal(His driver from the office)my husband reiterated the same.
    Shall try and make these changes as you suggested...in myself.
    :)

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