Leaves Institute – Kindness is Key

 

 

Why Kindness is Key

 

In a world where you can be anything, be kind… so the expression goes. But why is kindness so important and how can we cultivate more kindness in a world that can sometimes feel the opposite?

 

Unconditional love

Anyone who is treading the path of spiritual development is likely to find themselves striving to be unconditionally loving. It is our natural state of being – the basis of our true identity – however, life often gets in the way and unconditional love can feel like an abstract concept to grasp. Kindness is far easier to relate to. All of us can recall an act of compassion or kindness that touched our hearts.

 

Kindness is an expression of love. When we empathise with another and experience compassion for them, we are choosing to connect. This is our natural state of being and it is the basis of unconditional love. If we weren’t able to put ourselves in another’s shoes and understand their needs, we wouldn’t experience the impulse to be kind.

 

Self-compassion

Kindness isn’t just about doing nice things for others, however. It is also about self-compassion and self-care. For some of us this can be challenging and by recognising and responding to another’s needs we can learn to better meet our own needs. The practice of kindness is both good for others and good for ourselves.

 

Hope

Even a small act of kindness can have a profound impact. This is because it offers a glimmer of hope – a hope of greater connection and love in a world that can feel disconnected and sometimes harsh. Sometimes it can be easier to give than to receive acts of kindness because the latter can make us feel vulnerable. In accepting kindness from another, we are showing a wish for greater connection. Choosing to receive it is an act of trust and it can take practice but there is something in it for both giver and receiver, both of whom can experience positive feelings.

 

An act of kindness is unconditional, with no expectation of anything in return. The impulse to make another happy just for the sake of it is unconditional love in action. It serves to confirm that the world is a good place and the positive ripples from even a small kind of act may extend far beyond what can be predicted. If you experience kindness from another, it can kindle a kind instinct in you and, in this way, kindness (and therefore unconditional love) can spread.

 

One kind act every day

In Japan, where our founder Yumiko comes from, children are taught ??? Ichinichi Ichizen, which is the practice of doing at least one kind act every day. Yumiko won a school essay writing competition at age 16, writing about helping an old lady with her shopping bags on her way home from school.

 

No expectation

She learned kindness from her grandmother, who was a very loving and giving person. Even as a small child, Yumiko learned that you don’t have to understand the other person or be in the same circumstances as them to be able to connect at a heart level. This is a good practice for all of us. As well as kindness to strangers, bringing more kindness to our homes and workplace helps to make the world a better place for all. This can be as simple as asking our workplace colleagues how they are and sincerely wanting to know. The secret is to have no expectation of anything in return.

 

If you see a homeless person on the street and you are moved to help them, then act on this impulse. However, doing this because you think you should or because you are concerned about what others think about you is not true kindness, it is more an act of duty and the other person will ‘feel’ this.

 

A wave of love

Kindness to oneself can be the hardest to practice, particularly if it is unfamiliar. A good place to start is acknowledging how you feel and listening to your inner self, tuning in to what s/he needs. The ability to be kind to oneself and to others lies at the heart of deep happiness and contentment. The more you appreciate kindness in yourself and others, the easier it becomes and the waves of love can spread far and wide.

 

 

If you are interested in learning how to heal yourself and others head to the Leaves Institute Website

 

Dr Herbert Benson - The Summary of an Incredible Life

Dr Herbert Benson - The Summary of an Incredible Life

Herbert Benson was born on April 24th 1935 in New York and
was the son of Charles and Hannah Benson. ...

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