The simple acts of kindness are far more powerful
than thousands of heads bowing in prayer.
I love the idea of simplicity in spiritual pursuits. What a delight to know that you can start from where you are at this very minute. Right now! While you are reading these words! You don’t have to embark on some major change in your life. Just this small one, and you are on your way.
Everyone wants to feel good and experience joy in everyday life. When embarking on a spiritual path, we may have visions of what this entails. Maybe we think we will need to sit in meditation for long periods of time. We may expect going on retreats or to workshops, doing yoga poses or studying and chanting. Perhaps we will need to pray more or be silent at certain times of the day. All of these are powerful means in themselves. Yet, it is important to start from where you are now — in the world of interaction with others walking the planet along with you. You can be kind. Right now!
The prolific writer, Henry James, said this:
Three things in human life are important; the first is to be kind;
the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
Even the smallest gesture of kindness can have a transformational effect on someone else and, in so doing, on you yourself . How about this:
Do something nice and unexpected for a spouse, a co-worker, your child
Send an email to a friend you know who is facing a rough time right now
Pick up the phone and call an elderly friend or family member and spread some sunshine into their day
Say something kind and uplifting to the person checking you out of the store
Offer a warm smile to someone you pass on the street
Leave an unexpected note complimenting someone
Look in the mirror and say kind and loving words to yourself
Even the smallest act of kindness will resonate, and you will feel good at that moment. String them all together, and you might feel good all day.
I recently attended an event at which the Dalai Lama spoke. It was me and 3500 other people, all gathered to hear this venerable Buddhist teacher speak about compassion. Tickets for this event were not easy to obtain. The night before, just by chance, a friend happened to have an extra ticket and invited me. What impressed me the most was the simplicity, humility, and gentleness of the man. While he did not utter these words on the day I saw him, here is a quote from His Holiness The Dalai Lama XIV:
My religion is very simple.
My religion is kindness.
What if we all made this our religion? What a wonderful world it could be! And you can try it out right now — with a simple act of kindness.
Pass it on!