Recently I presented a talk on kindness. It was very interesting how people view their ability to show kindness and to be kind. The most telling point was that almost everyone in the class agreed that they needed to be kinder. There was lots of ideas about what kindness is, what it looks like, things to do to be kind, and how to increase the ability to be kind. Kindness was compared to being compassionate and some believe that compassion is kindness.
What was interesting is that no one said, “I am kind.” Everyone appeared to feel they needed to increase or potentiate their ability to act in kindness.
We took a break and afterwards I asked everyone to comment on what they wanted to gain from the talk. Almost everyone said, “I want to be kinder and show more kindness.
My response was, in a kind way, “OK Go ahead, what’s stopping you?
You see, my Dharma bothers and sisters were only judging and criticizing themselves for not being kind enough by comparing themselves to a story about being more kind than they remembered being in the past or trying to find a way to be more kind in the future. We do that a lot, compare how we have been to what we want to be somewhere up in the future.
Here’ s the immediate solution. If you are interested in being kinder then go ahead and be kinder. You know what kindness is or you wouldn’t want to be more of that. There isn’t a single thing you could do to insure that somehow you will be kinder than you are right in this moment. So be kinder. Go ahead. There is absolutely nothing stopping the process except thinking there is something you need to do to get ready to be kinder. That means you can’t be kinder until you find a way to be that way. Why bother with that?
Attend to being the kindness you already are and you will find a world of you being kind to yourself and others. Believing in your current kindness means more that the ego making plans for being “kinder” in some imagined future. How are you being kind right now?