Where Does Kindness Come From?
Discover true humility and gratitude
“Be willing to be used by God; be willing to be used by Truth. Be willing to be an instrument through which Truth reveals Itself, but do not attempt to use God. Never try to use God, Truth. If you understood the nature of God, never would you pray to God for any thing.” ― Joel S. Goldsmith, The Art of Spiritual Healing.
The greatest act of kindness that you can show another is allowing them to be the way they are. Kindness is not about acting out an idea of goodness. Goodness cannot exist in the division. I’ll be good to you only when you align with my ideological leanings, religious beliefs, and political affiliations. That is not kindness, but an idea born out of divisive thinking.
Religious and political leaders have been doing that for ages, but not much good has come out of it. On the contrary, we find ourselves more divided than ever. We still suffer from wars, inequality, discrimination, racism, and poverty. Earlier, we had reservations about other religions, organizations, and ways of thinking; today, we are divided within our own communities and groups. The fragmented mind finds ways to divide, and divisions breed conflict.
We offer conditional kindness. Conditional love and support. We enthusiastically inform people how they can find salvation in Jesus, Allah, Krishna, and Buddha, without taking a look at our own manipulative propensities and covert dispositions, where it has landed us, and what type of relationship we have with ourselves and others.
We love to give prescriptions, while we ourselves feel sick. We are conflicted and divided, with never-ending chaos ensuing within our minds. We tell others to surrender to the divine and let go of desires, declaring them evil and hell-worthy, while we struggle with our own identifications.
Believing our method and teaching to be superior to all others, we become fixated on them, not realizing how such binding is causing suffering within. This is what religious propaganda has done over the centuries. It has destroyed our ability to think critically. We live in magical and wishful thinking, believing some messiah will come to save us and give us the salvation we desire. Not just religion, the same happens with any philosophy or ideology that is a product of thought.
Once, I was talking to a girl who declared with great vigor, “I’m free now as I have learned to let go. Now I teach others how to do the same.” To this day, she struggles in her relationships and is desperate for help. She goes from one teacher to another in the hope of relief but ends up in the same loop of despair and frustration.
This is the problem. The ego cannot surrender or let go. Letting go happens as a result of seeing the futility of trying to manipulate and control things. No one can teach you how to let go. Letting go happens when one is able to see things from a bird’s eye view. That seeing does not come from thinking or analytical analysis of the situations.
The seeing happens when the mind makes a 180-degree turn rejecting what’s projected in the outside world. Turning inwards, it realizes its own illusory nature. In vipassana meditation, we are told to keep awareness of the in-and-out movement of the breath. As different thoughts arise, a change is detected in the rhythm of breathing.
That change brings about an insightful awareness - not a product of thinking but spontaneous knowledge about our relationship with thoughts and the bodily sensations they create. When this happens repeatedly, the grip of the thinking mind loosens, and we feel relieved. For that matter, this happens with any kind of self-inquiry or reflection; one becomes aware of the afflicting content. The awareness destroys the trishna (craving or longing) without the pseudo-subject (“me”) trying to do anything.
The ego cannot let go because its nature is binding by creating identifications. While identifications, in themselves, are not bad or undesirable, their grasping and creating knots cause suffering. Therefore, the mind’s idea of detachment is not a solution to the unconscious attachment. Both of these are a part of the same movement.
Freedom from grasping comes by being totally present to them. Once the knots are seen, they dissolve. The seeing is not a personal phenomenon but happens in the impersonal awareness of being or I AM. The seeing is complete knowledge, whereas, thinking is limited. Critical thinking works beautifully in the world, but it fails to see its own limitations. For self-knowledge, the mind has to turn inwards. Then the thought patterns from the deepest trenches of the mind become visible.
The in-turned mind, after seeing its illusory nature develops true humility and gratitude – The two qualities without which no kindness is possible. It’s not about being “nice” to people. It’s simply being at ease with oneself. Being comfortable in your own skin with gratitude for what you have. It is the end of hate, resentment, malice, cynicism, and other self-centered thinking. When I am comfortable with myself, I become comfortable with others, irrespective of their beliefs.
Just as I have the freedom to be as I am, I recognize that even others have the same freedom. I don’t see things from the conditioned and limited lens of righteousness. Everyone is on their own journey in the quest for truth or self-knowledge. Let them discover it on their own rather than enforcing your personal beliefs and views.
While I necessarily don’t have to be “loving” or try to get along with everyone. Kindness is not about being a people-pleaser, but being compassionate enough to allow others the space to discover their own truth. Then I am not in conflict with the world. It is the freedom that we give ourselves to allow others to disagree with our point of view, something that is a rare phenomenon nowadays.
Offer help only when they ask for it; give it unconditionally. In the majority of cases, just being there for the other is a great act of kindness. In the silence of being, one recognizes (or sees) that, behind appearances, it is the same essence that powers everything in life. True kindness comes from the divine union where the separation between “me” and the “other” comes to an end.
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