A few weeks ago I bought a notebook in which to scribble my thoughts and ideas for poems etc. On the front were the words that form the title of this short article.
At first sight it may seem a trivial sentiment, but is it so?
The present Dalai Lama has said that; “There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.”
I remember reading something by HP Blavatsky (HPB) in which her students complained that rather than giving them instructions on how to develop their psychic powers and produce phenomena, she was instead giving them advice that they could hear in their ‘grandmother’s sermons’. HPB replied that if they could not live by that advice then they could not be trusted with psychic powers of any kind as they would be sure to misuse them.
It is obvious that the injection of a little kindness in society today would make a big difference. A Russian proverb says that “a kind word is like a spring day”. This is further reinforced by a Buddhist precept:
“Condemn no man in his absence; and
when forced to reprove, do so to his face, but gently,
and in words full of charity and compassion.
For the human heart is like the Kusûli plant: it opens
its cup to the sweet morning dew, and closes it before
a heavy shower of rain. “
Kindness softens the human heart and provides a loving insight into the suffering of others; not just humans, but also all sentient life that shares this planet with us. In Sanskrit the word Maitri is translated as “loving kindness” and encourages active goodwill towards all beings.
Jesus taught that we should love our enemies and bless those that curse us and the Buddha was reported as saying that “hatred does not cease by hatred, hatred ceases only by love.” This makes sense as to send out angry thoughts to someone we believe is doing wrong will only increase their store of anger and make them worse, whereas loving thoughts may actively help them to overcome whatever makes them act in a negative way. Most people respond to words and actions that touch their hearts and souls in a positive and uplifting way.
This of course is easy to write and not many of us are able to exercise such self-control in certain situations but it gives us something to aspire to at least!
Leo Tolstoy wrote that if humanity had been able to live up to the teachings of Jesus in the “Sermon on the Mount” then there would have been no need for the police, armies or the sort of governments we have now. The rule is not kindness and compassion, but coercion and often violence. The Indian Politician Rahul Ghandi states that: “What we see before us is a politics devoid of kindness and truth…today politics is not being used in the service of the people: it is being used to crush them, not lift them up.” In many ancient civilisations, like India, rulers were once chosen for their ability to exercise kindness and compassion and to inspire their subjects to live a spiritual life.
It is easy to see the power of kindness in the actions of the many people and organisations that work for the amelioration of the suffering of humans, animals and even the plant kingdom. They are very aware of the destruction of the environment being brought about by the actions of those to whom money is the only god and who will go to any lengths to obtain another bauble in the busy market place we call society. Do not reports of the compassionate actions of others often reduce us to tears and the cruel incidents of life dampen our spirits, proving how inwardly we are all brothers and sisters and what affects one affects all that are sensitive to such things?
Conscience is a sign that our Inner Self is awakening at last and kindness is certainly a stage to making that a reality in our lives.
There is even a movement dedicated to random acts of kindness. These do not have to be great charitable actions, even a cup of cold water given to someone who really needs it can have a wonderful affect on the recipient. It is all a matter of showing that in this often-cruel world there are people who still care and as long as there are such there is always hope, despite the negative news that we hear all the time. If you have a light, don’t hide it under a bushel, please!
Amongst my favourite lines in the “Voice of the Silence” by HP Blavatsky are these:
“Let thy Soul lend its ear to every cry of pain like as the lotus bares its heart to drink the morning sun.
Let not the fierce Sun dry one tear of pain before thyself hast wiped it from the sufferer’s eye.
But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain, nor ever brush it off, until the pain that caused it is removed. “
These of course, again, are not easy words to put into action in our lives, but they are something to think about and perhaps aspire to. It is this kind of attitude that is sorely needed to help to bring an end to the insanity that seems to be running through the world at the moment.
Let’s take the singer Annie Lennox’s advice: “Ask yourself have you been kind today? Make kindness your modus operandi and change your world.”
So, in conclusion it seem to me that “kindness above everything” is a very good place to start!