Okay, it’s time! It’s time to let go of your need to be right. It’s time to release your need to feel superior. It’s time to stop being judgmental towards those who think differently from you. It’s time to notice when someone upsets you so you can allow your negative emotion to evaporate away. It’s time to be kind.
The Dalai Lama has it right – he says his religion is kindness – period. That ubiquitous commercial asks us “what’s in your wallet?” I’m asking you “what’s in your consciousness?” Is it kindness? If not, time to get some religion Dalai Lama style!
By the way – whether you realize it or not – you do have some kind of “religion”. By that, I mean you hold a set of beliefs about the world and how it works. You have a worldview that drives your decisions and actions whether you are a member of an “organized religion” or not and whether you believe in God or not. That worldview is your “religion”.
Does your religion allow you to “be kind” to those who believe differently from you? Folks, we are talking the “Golden Rule” here – do onto others as you would have them do onto you. Treat others like you want to be treated. Sounds good until someone pushes our buttons.
Okay – who pushes your buttons? From my observations, depending upon your particular beliefs, here some known button pushers:
- Anyone on Fox news
- Anyone on MSNBC
- Anyone who says Sarah Palin was responsible for the Arizona tragedy
- Anyone who protests at funerals
- Sarah Palin
- President Obama
- Anyone who has to describe healthcare reform as “Obamacare”
- Fundamentalist Christians
- Fundamentalist Muslims
- Scientists who mock religion
- Militant atheists
- Fanatic NRA supporters
- Those who want to take “our guns” away
- Anyone making too much money
- People asking me for money on the street
- “The powers to be”
- Male chauvinists who objectify women
- People with tattoos
- Kids riding skateboards on the sidewalk
- People who are “in our country” illegally
- People who want to build a wall between the US and Mexico
- People who cut you off in traffic
- Loud people in restaurants
- People talking on cell phones in elevators
- People who brag
- … I could keep going but you get the picture…
Did you find someone in this list that pushes your buttons? I know I did. How can you move to kindness in regards to these people? How can you have your buttons pushed and still live by the Golden Rule?
First, let me be very clear, I am neither condoning nor asking you to condone any inappropriate behavior. Nor am I asking you to be any kind of doormat that allows people to walk all over you. You can be kind while maintaining healthy boundaries towards people who act differently or are unkind.
Here are some simple steps (which I admit are not necessarily easy) to move you into greater levels of kindness:
Be aware: Notice who upsets you. Recognize the situations and people who take you away from your inclination to be kind.
Pause before acting: Don’t jump to any normal negative reaction. Consciously create a small gap in time between the upsetting situation and your reaction. This small gap is like hitting the pause button giving you time to choose.
Consciously choose kindness: Ask yourself no matter what the situation, if I were the other person, how what I want to be treated? What is the most loving, honoring response in this situation? You can still give your opinion, you can still disagree – but your response even in such cases can be kind. Wayne Dyer says that when he’s given a choice between being right and being kind, he finds the best choice is always to be kind. I agree.
If each of us could practice these simple steps and be kind towards one another, then we could move away from this angry political rhetoric and violent behavior that has risen in our country in the recent past. Some of you may be thinking “well, it sounds good, but I’m not going to be kind while the other person is being mean”. If you’re waiting on the other person to go first, kindness might not happen. They might be waiting on you! But whether they are or not, it takes someone to be brave enough to go first.
Be brave! Be kind! The time is now! The choice is yours…
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!