Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Kind Mind

Sometimes, without warning, I can become quite emotional. I cry, not so much when I'm sad, but when I'm really moved. This can come on almost instantaneously. Yesterday, while dealing with some stressful stuff, I came across a quote by someone I'd not heard of, one Susan Cain. It struck me deeply. And. I cried.

The universal longing for heaven is not about immortality so much as the wish for a world in which everyone is always kind.

I think the reason I cried was that she pointed out the fact that we could live in the world we want if only we were the people that we could be. But we aren't so we don't. The enormity of this tragedy was suddenly overwhelming. And. I cried.

Today when I went out I was helped by someone on the elevator. He held the door open for me as I backed up. He was kind. But he minded being kind. I admit there are moments that I mind being kind.

I don't like that about myself.

Today when I was out I dropped something on the floor as I was paying for groceries. The woman behind quickly leaned down and grabbed it, I thanked her and she smiled saying, 'No bother, I don't mind at all.' She didn't mind being kind.

Both were kind.

But each felt vitally different from one another.

Today when I was out, I stopped and carried some groceries for a woman from my building who was struggling home. I just put them on my lap and rode alongside her. She thanked me, I didn't mind. I was in the mood to be kind, I had the time to be kind, so kindness came easily.

But I'm not always that guy.

I try to be kind, I try do what I believe I should do, I just sometimes don't feel like it, don't want to, and therefore I sometimes am grudgingly kind. I mind being kind at times.

I don't like that.

It's like I have to power of heaven in my hands and my heart and, moment by moment, I have a choice to make. If I can just get my mind to be kind then I won't mind being kind.

Why is that so hard?


Anonymous said...

Because wie are human and have to struggle between the satisfaction of our own needs and cravings and those of others.

Well thats how I feel.


Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

I have to agree with Julia - because we are human. But I will add that famous quoatation from Ghandi - we have to be the change we want to see in the world - so keep struggling with kindness.

You work with people who have been bullied, assaulted, abandoned, exploited, so I think that you see more clearly the absence of kindness and its devastating results. Perhaps you also can see more clearly what heaven would be like if it meant we were all kind to each other - without minding being kind.


Anonymous said...

Beautifully put, Colleen.


John R. said...

Kindness ultimately rests in the deepest and most radical understanding that I am you and you are me and we are each other. It is deeply existential if examined. The struggle with being kind occurs when we see others who aren't "deserving" of it yet we have an obligation to be kind if we are truly to get to "heaven" indicated in the quote you reference...whew...heavy stuff for a St Patty's morning....but really important considerations....whew...

Anonymous said...

'Kindness, yes, that same old song
But don't stop singing
There's so much strength in kindness
Can we be the promise we promised to be?'

Labi Siffre Listen to the voices.

Thank you for this post. I was thinking today that the demands of loving are unrelenting. I had a go at meeting those demands like the waves rolling in but after a while, I got to a fail. Like the sea drew back from the shore. When that happens, usually follows a really really big wave or even a tsunami.
This says to me that the fails are part of the striving and doing.
After reading your post I'm thinking when I’m minding being kind I can have in mind to be kind to myself when I fail and that keeps the waves rolling in.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone's comments. I think that you too have been on the receiving end of unkind words and actions, and on a deep level, when you think of a world where everyone is kind, it maybe stirs-up (in a flash moment) all those snowballed feelings you have ... which are related to those memories of unkind experiences (whether it's things they said or did or even things you spoke over yourself; such as putting yourself down, etc.)

I think one is lost (or standing still) when they don't recognize that they need to change. I think we are all changing until we breathe our last breath.

I like music a lot, and one of the songs that relates to this is Michael Jackson's song "Man in the Mirror". It challenges us to change the world by starting with our own selves. That's why I advocate for my son, so strongly. If I'm not going to do it, why should I expect others. The same goes for being kind .... we need to start to be kind, in order to expect the world (in general) to change.

Here's a few lines from the song:

"I’m starting with the man in the mirror, oh yeah
I’m asking him to change his ways
Better change, no message could have been any clearer

If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make the change
You gotta get it right while you got the time
’Cause when you close your heart, then you close your mind"

Songwriter(s): Ballard, Glen; Garrett, Siedah

I guess being kind is a battle, especially when we have many challenges in life (particularly when it is related to basic needs and rights), so it's kind-of easy to not "want" to be kind. But, we have to make a choice, every day, every moment, and no, we'll never be perfect; but, at least we're changing and growing.

Take care,
Elizabeth & Andrew