Friday, February 20, 2009

Some thoughts on Kindness

I was thinking about the word "kindness" today. When most people hear this word, myself included, they tend to think about "being nice" or some such thing. This is no doubt basically true, but as I break down the word today it also appears to me as "like-ness". As in something of the "same kind". An interesting thought. To be kind is to recognise a kinship between yourself and the object of your kindness. Looked at this way kindness becomes a much bigger word for me. Much more "spiritual" if you will.

I recall a favorite quote of mine from the Dalai Lama where he says:

There is no need for need for temples
No need for complicated philosophy
Your own mind, your own heart is temple
The philosophy is kindness.

How can anyone not agree with that great piece of wisdom? Can you imagine what the world would look like if it internalized that lesson?

In a very real way this simple quote is the secret to life in fullness. Kindness is the answer!

Getting back to my observation above, we could then also say that "sameness is the answer". The "other" is no different from "me". We are of the same kind. One of the logical conclusions that can be then drawn is that there is, in the ultimate dimension, no difference between "enemy" and "friend". This is deep and also difficult teaching. Is it saying that, to use a current example, that the suicide bomber is my friend? Ponder that one for while....

And if your answer is "No, the suicide bomber is not my friend". Then consider this quote, by someone called Jesus of Nazareth:

"Love your enemies, bless those who curse you" Matt. 5:44

Good luck arguing with that guy! From my observation the "Jesus got it wrong" crowd is a pretty small and lonely group.