Sunday, February 3, 2008


Glinda writes:

I am always looking for lessons in Nature (including among my Human friends). These little snapshots provide some very important teachings in my life. They gift me with insights and understandings. They guide my steps along the path so that I might be all I am intended. These are some of my musings on Kindness:

When I was a little girl, I was fascinated with throwing rocks on the water. I would throw them in 1 at a time. Then, I would sit mesmerized at the ripples extending gently and persistently across the water. How far would those ripples go? I did not know. In my child's mind, they went on forever. I knew they would reach the distant banks of the pond which seemed huge.

About 10 years ago, I worked in the same building as a Native American who became quite a teacher for me and for whom I shall always be grateful. Bill Bray was the last language speaker of his tribe at that time. He said that among his people (the Natchez), it was known that whatever energy you cast into the world is ultimately what comes back to you. That made sense. I began to watch this in my life.

Kindness seems missing in our world today. Sadly, we live in a time when spirits bringing energies of meanness, fear, rage, greed, selfishness seem rampant. These spirits are like germs, those nasty flu or cold bugs that extend all too quickly across the Human family. On contact, we catch meanness, fear, rage, greed, selfishness. Somebody does something mean to us and we feel entitled to pass that meanness on to the next most unsuspecting subject who passes it on to someone else. Just as that rock cast upon the water by little me extended ripples into the far reaches of the pond, my actions (and the actions of all of us) cast ripples into the world. With such spirits on the loose, it becomes a crazy world. And those actions ultimately come back to us.

Through my observations of these things, I knew something had to change. For a long time, I focused on what someone else should do. Yet, the only actions I could change were my own. Unlike flu or cold bugs on contact, I choose whether I will catch these icky things. I choose not. In my own simple way, I offer a solution, an anti-dote to these things, plus a way of being more peaceful in some pretty mixed up times.

So what is my solution?

My encounters with Buddhism over the years with its focuses on intention, meditation, compassion and loving kindness have helped immensely with these things. However, I do believe that Humans' quest for relationship with the Divine probably brings most of us to this same place.

Let me offer my own humble definition. Kindness is that tender space of meeting and greeting with an open heart. It is the space where we encounter all beings (Human and Non-Human) with love and compassion. It is that exquisite space that shows in the face of our differences we care. We know the effects of words and deeds that hurt and those that do not. Rather, I choose to speak and act in ways that celebrate our being.

We must not horde kindness or keep it exclusive to a narrow range of those we know. By its very nature, it is meant to be given away. The more we give the more that comes back to us and the more we have to give. However, we do not give it away so we will have more. We give it away because it is the right thing to do.

Like those ripples across the water, kindness washes across the world and creates a community that has no beginning and no end. It may take a while, but drop by drop, water wears away stone.

Kindness could be considered contagious. Catch it and pass it on.

This morning, clouds of fog left gifts of frost on every living thing. The world softened with the brush the Master paints.

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