Spiritual Practices in Times of Crisis: Kindness
The spiritual practices we have talked about so far in this series all share a common goal: to awaken the spirit within.
They lift the veil of illusion so we can clearly see that we are more than our earthly selves: We are powerful souls connected to Divine Love.
The practices enable us to see the world through sacred eyes. And to lead our lives from this higher perspective.
Everything looks different from here, right? It's kinder. It's clearer. It's more loving.
As we continue our series on Spiritual Practices in Times of Crisis, (find the previous posts in the series here), we look outside of ourselves to those who will cross our paths and our minds. Today we look at:
Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you're already in heaven now.
- Jack Kerouac
All of us want to know that we are here for a reason and that our lives will make an impact on other lives.
It's not too much to ask to want to change the world.
And we can. What we do and think matters. A lot.
Especially when we practice the transformative power of kindness.
I know. It sounds like a small thing. But don't underestimate this superpower of virtues.
Kindness changes the world one heart at a time.
SILENT KINDNESS: BLESSING OTHERS
Each one of us holds a light in the center of our being that is connected to all other hearts. It has the power to lift and to transform.
I think that's why this simple thought was Every Day Spirit's most shared post last month: When someone crosses your mind, bless them.
It's quiet. It's easy. It's gentle. Yet it changes things.
My friend, Maria, after reading the Every Day Spirit pages about blessing others, made this part of her spiritual practice. While walking to the store, preparing to teach yoga class or gardening - she is constantly showering people and events with the quiet hum of Bless you.
Most of you know how I try to answer most of the comments on the daily Facebook posts. Each morning as I write back to you, in my heart I am showering you with light - blessing you and all of your intentions for the day. As my fingers tap the keys, my heart says, Bless you.
When given generously from a heart of love, this humble act shines the light of comfort on the receiver.
In his inspiring book, The Gentle Art of Blessing, Pierre Pradervand tells us that, “To bless means to wish, unconditionally and from the deepest chamber of your heart, unrestricted good for others and events.”
And this: “To bless all without distinction is the ultimate form of giving, because those you bless will never know from whence came the sudden ray that burst through the clouds of their skies…”
We can be that ray of light.
Whenever anyone crosses our path or our mind, we can get in the habit of offering them a quick blessing.
It's a powerful silent kindness.
(More on blessing others on the April 28 page of the Daybook.)
I think of kindness as love in action. Small things with great love.
Like kind words of encouragement. A genuine smile. A gentle compliment. Inviting someone to go ahead of you. Picking up something that dropped. Opening a door.
Easy and powerful.
Our words and actions wield power, especially the beautiful, kind ones.
We lose nothing by spreading them liberally throughout our day, and as these loving beams of light come through us to others, we find ourselves in the path of that gift of healing too.
Look for the possibilities, the chances, the openings, the opportunities, the small words, the humble moments—to be kind.
Make it a habit.
Instead of negative words that might open wounds in ourselves and others, let’s contribute to the healing of ourselves and of our world.
We mend and we knit with one kind word at a time.
Every act of kindness, each loving word, every peaceful thought, changes the energy of those around us. And now there’s proof.
James Doty is a Stanford neuroscientist who conducts studies in the field of neuroplasticity—the ability of our habitual thoughts to change the brain—in the context of compassion and kindness.
His research shows that when a person sees someone act in a kind way, they are far more likely to engage in that behavior themselves. When we are kind to someone in the presence of others, our kindness is multiplied—perhaps infinitely.
A few years ago, there was a kindness campaign in our area, and my daughter and I heard on the radio that people were picking up the tab of the person behind them at drive-through windows.
The next time we found ourselves at a drive-through, we told the cashier that we’d like to pay for the car behind us. “Tell them to have an amazing day!” we said with obvious joy from our small anonymous kindness.
A few months later, Maya was a new driver. One day after school she burst through the door with, “Guess what I just did?” Yep, she had repeated our act of kindness, on her own, with her own money, and with the same feeling of joy.
We heard later that one particular sequence of paying for the next car continued, spontaneously, for over thirty cars.
Our actions speak volumes. When we create a world based on kindness and love, we unsuspectingly model that to others, lifting the consciousness of all—spreading peace, love and light to the world.
THE HARVEST WITHIN
Kindness begins within. We can't offer to others what we can't offer to ourselves.
Like a farmer, we can think of every act of kindness toward ourselves as an investment in the harvest of kindness that we have to give to others.
Let's let that sink in: Every act of kindness toward ourselves.
Like the process of preparing the soil, we can be loving to ourselves, even in moments of doubt or failure, when no tangible result of our effort is visible.
Like the process of watering and nurturing, we can nurture our spirits when we thirst for encouragement, self-worth and grace.
We can admire the strength and courage it took to get through this day.
We can forgive our missteps and notice the small victories. So be kind to yourself today, lifting, encouraging, and loving yourself in thought, word and actions.
You are a beautiful, precious spirit deserving of great love.
Recognize your magnificence by planting kindness within, and you will have a bountiful harvest of kindness to give.
Kindness is your superpower. It lifts you. If lifts others.
One of my favorite passages from Rumi reads:
Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone's soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.
Use kindness as a spiritual practice today, nurturing the soul of yourself and others.
Practice this joyfully, remembering that we will create more of what we practice doing.
In times of challenge and change, our spiritual practices are more important than ever.
Let's take deliberate actions to decrease our stress levels and enhance our spiritual connection bringing hope, peace and perspective to all aspects of our lives.
We can do this. Really we can!
I'm practicing kindness right beside you. There's no place I'd rather be. So much love and many blessings, Mary xo
Previous posts in this series, Spiritual Practices in Times of Crisis, are here.