Cultivating Kindness

Kindness. We hear the word all the time, perhaps on a daily basis. We do our best to be kind; say hello, hold doors, and exchange niceties. But, what if kindness goes beyond simple niceties, and formalities of day-to-day existence. What if I told you that true kindness dwells in your heart, and is not necessarily accessible without constant practice? I know that we all (most of us) would like to think that we are being kind to others, so how can we cultivate that kindness from the depth of our being? How can we be kind souls?

Jealousy, anger, greed and resentment, are very surface level, secondary reactions to stimuli. These feelings have been conditioned into us through media, school, and everyday existence on Earth. It is not uncommon for us to feel a ping of jealousy when a friend receives a promotion, or announces they are expecting a child. When we are not engulfed in a practice of gratitude, mindfulness and loving-kindness, these visceral responses to the joy of others are conditioned to respond in this negative way. Although we may still exchange pleasantries, and congratulate those on their good-fortune, our heart feels hurt and resentful. How can we change this? How can we make kindness come from the depth of our soul, from our heart? How can we make our heartfelt congratulations more honest?

Through a practice of mindfulness and meditation, we can begin to see the achievements, and joy of others as a direct benefit to ourselves and to humanity as a whole. If someone you love, on a very personal, and close level, is embarking on a journey of improving their life, and touching more people, they are in turn improving all of society, all of human-kind. Their successes are not limited to themselves, these successes and triumphs are for us as a whole. We, the Earth, are a living, breathing organism. Each and every human being on earth, is part of a greater whole. Their triumphs are our triumphs, their joys, our joys, their sorrows, our sorrows. Kindness is deeply rooted to this idea of compassion. If we can be truly compassionate to others, and their experience, right here, right now, we can begin to influence others to do the same, and this is how true, heartfelt kindness grows and flourishes.

Once we can start to hard-wire our hearts and minds to turn to kindness and compassion as our default reaction to others pains and triumphs, our propensity to be kind during these scenarios will continue to grow. If we continue with the common niceties, that stem from the feelings of being hurt or resentful, these will continue to be the default, internal emotions. We are all in this together, with the same fate. Rather than hurting one another with dishonest niceties, we can love one another, and love one another’s gifts to the world with a depth of love that is unparalleled!