Seems like I’m always thinking. Generally during meditation my thinking stops, but even then ideas occasionally pop through. One thought that arose through a recent morning meditation was this – “what are you really trying to do with your writings and teachings?”
In other words, why do I write Conscious Bridge or my books? Why do I partner with others or go out and teach workshops and classes? Sure, as I write about on my “visions” page – my efforts are to assist in the creation of a “world that works for everyone”. I even describe what that means on that webpage.
So when this question came up in my meditation, my immediate thought was all about creating this world. But the thought persisted. Like a young child, my mind kept asking over and over “why?” Every time I answered the question, I had to push behind that answer. Ultimately, I got to the space of saying that I “wanted to create a kinder world.”
What I realized when I reached this mental plateau was that the concept of a “kinder world” was seen as tangible evidence that we were moving humanity collectively in the right direction. In those moments when I look out at our world and feel that we are moving in the wrong direction, the things that I point to as evidence are acts of “unkindness”. These include war and violence, bullying, arguing, political intransigence, corporate greed, lack of care for the planet, social and economic inequities and so on. On the other hand, a kinder world is one where we treat each other (and our world) with dignity and respect.
I do experience evidence that we are becoming kinder. I notice when people open doors for others, let them go ahead of themselves in line, give to charity, say “thank you”. I notice stories in the media where someone’s misfortune opens the hearts of others who then reach out to assist their fellow human. I notice when groups band together towards some project designed to uplift those in need.
One such example occurred this past week within walking distance of my house. Popular recording artist Katy Perry asked high schools to submit videos based on her recent song “Roar”. She viewed and narrowed down the submissions to the top five – all worthy contenders. Eventually she chose the winning selection from Lakewood High School (here’s a link to their video) here in Colorado and came to the school to do a free concert.
I noticed several acts of kindness embedded in these events. First, there was the kindness shown in each school’s efforts in production of the video. For instance, Lakewood’s showed their students working together towards a common positive goal. Second, there was Katy’s kindness in honoring all of the schools publicly and doing the concert here at Lakewood High. Third, the Lakewood students used to the event to raise money for flood victims in Colorado and to encourage other schools to raise money for worthy events.
Everyone acts with kindness towards others at some time or another. If there were a measuring stick which checked the “times we acted kindly”, I suspect each of us would vary from day-to-day on our rating. If each of us considered the circle of people that we consistently show kindness towards, we might recognize that there are many people who fall outside the circle.
If I truly want the world to be a kinder place, then it starts with me. Each day I need to expand the time I act with kindness towards myself and others – I need to push up the rating on my measuring stick. Each day I need to expand that circle of kindness to encompass more and more people.
So how can we be kinder? Here are three simple keys:
One: Set the Intention to Be Kind
Everything starts in our consciousness. Each of us must visualize that kindness yardstick and see our measurements growing. Each of us must visualize the circle of people towards whom we express kindness and see our circle expanding. Began each day knowing and affirming that you are kinder and kinder. The world out there is going to be that world, but in “your world”…in your sphere of personal influence, know that it is getting kinder.
Two: Turn Away from Unkindness
Most days we experience someone being unkind to another. Sometimes they are being unkind to us. There’s an old saying “what we resist, persists”. If we push against unkindness, we only grow more unkindness. Jesus said to turn the other cheek and that’s what we need to do in such moments. We must let go of the need to “win” or “be right” or “get even”. Our egos push us to defend ourselves. Yes, it benefits us to have healthy boundaries, but we can have those boundaries in most cases without energetically pushing against negativity. Treat unkindness kindly by walking away from if at all possible.
Three: Turn Towards Kindness
The more kindness we see, the more kindness we will see. What we give our energy to is what grows in our life. Be on the lookout for instances of kindness. If appropriate, acknowledge it verbally. If not, at least bless it silently. Use these moments to remind you to be kinder. Consciously introduce “acts of kindness” in your day-to-day affairs.
That’s it! Three simple steps!
The Dalai Lama says that kindness is his religion. Let it be yours and together we can create a world that is kinder and one that ultimately “works for everyone”.
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!