What does kindness mean to you? Where do you feel that to be the case in this very moment for you right now? What qualities in humanity remind you of kindness, and all that it encompasses?
Think of a gentle animal, or a stranger lending a helping hand to someone in need. Or maybe a calm sunrise? Where do you see and feel that kindness?
Compassion, consideration, courtesy, attentiveness, support, guidance, integrity, patience, lack of entitlement, lack of coercion, lack of manipulation, simplicity. This is a short list of mine, what is yours?
We very often have a higher likelihood of demonstrating kindness to others than we can to ourselves. But this is selective, more often than not. Selective to those closer to us, those who we stand to benefit from their receiving of our kindness. Have you felt kindness with ulterior motives before? Have you felt kindness without it?
Rather than waiting for the world to lead with this approach, kindness can be what we as an individual, ourselves, choose to embody. To consider if this is the person that you are already, consider, ‘have you expressed kindness with nothing to gain by doing so?’
If we can lead from this, and when we do, the world feels different, it feels like a more gentle place. When kindness and its many components are expressed, given and shared without any reason other than the shear gift of kindness, a person, who may have never experienced it before has the opportunity to feel into what that means for them. It can invoke a sentiment that, though familiar or not, they consider what it means for them. They may also consider ‘paying this forward’ recognizing the inherent benefits that kindness invites in.
A human that receives kindness has a higher likelihood to express kindness over time. A human that expresses kindness over time has a higher likelihood of having an impact that’s exponentially effective since it reaches into different facets of their attention to self, to others and to the World. Kindness that pervades brings community among those who were once separate or had invisible social, societal barriers between them. Kindness extends even further reminding us of the greater cohesion that exists with ourselves and nature, too. Reciprocate the kindness that has always been inherent to a nature that respects us when it is respected for its vastness and power. Has a tree ever been mean, standoffish or manipulative to anyone? Has a mountain ever stolen a view by its own accord?
Kindness is a quality that if an intention is set to bring it into your own life, you will notice it more, too. The world you exist in will mirror that. As it’s your intent, you will seek to have it mirrored. It will connect with others, who, if they allow themselves to see and feel, will be caught in one of the most beautifully humane crossfires. One of kindness.
What a weapon. A shot of kindness can bring the weep on. Tears of remembering the feelings that envelope a human being expressed or seeing kindness. We remember our humanity a little more. We remember ourselves. We remember life. If, for but a moment.
In the book The Last Train from Hiroshima, one of the last words from Akizaki, a man who passed from radiation-related blood cancer having witnessed the devastation that war brings including surviving the dropping of the bomb itself, simply proclaimed “be kind”.
Be kind. Feel into it. And if you can’t, explore why.