I was asked what kindness is during an interview a few weeks ago. It’s something I’m rarely asked as most of us assume we know what kindness is. So I’ve turned it around and since asked a few groups what they think kindness is. The answer I receive the most is about doing helpful things for people, like acts of kindness.
That is absolutely a huge part of what kindness is, but I think we should also remember that there is much more to kindness than this. Kindness is also in how we think about people, whether we judge people in our minds, or the conversations we have with people in our minds that might not be so kind sometimes.
Of course, we need to vent and process issues. It’s not helpful to just pretend that everything is great. Doing so can just bury emotions.
However, I’ve found that if we have a willingness, just a willingness, to allow kindness to colour part of our thinking, it actually helps us to find softer, kinder, even more peaceful thoughts. It widens our perspective, and in so doing it allows us to see issues, and what might have been annoying us, from a wider, deeper, or clearer perspective. It helps us to heal, at times.
A good way to do this is to say, “Is it possible for me to find a kinder thought here? If so, what might it be?”
It doesn’t always work, and we’re all in different places in our lives, with different circumstances and different issues, but it can help … and more often than you might think.
As I said, it’s not about thinking kind for the sake of it. It’s simply about allowing kindness to be part of how we heal, allowing kindness to be like a fine rain that washes away dirt, to reveal what is underneath.
And what I’ve found to lie underneath is a sense of warmth and connection. Many people have asked me about the ‘best’ spiritual practice and often it is because people are seeking peace, freedom from their suffering, or enlightenment in some form.
Honestly, to think kindly is what I would say. It helps you find that warm, connected, non judgmental and expansive space. From here, peace is much easier to find.
Copyright 2019 David R. Hamilton PhD.