Wednesday, January 12

Kindness. Is it Overrated?

"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. "
- Dalai Lama

I read a comment on a message board today that dismissed the world's response to the Indian Ocean tsunami victims as racist (?). According to this guy and others like him, the world was ambivalent about assisting the victims of the terrible Iranian earthquake last year and have been slow to help the victims of the ten-year, Sudanese civil war.

So, if Americans, especially, show any caring or kindness to the tsunami victims today, it's because the devastation is in prime tourist areas. His logic implies that American kindness is bogus and overrated because we don't show the same level of caring for all disaster victims. I suppose he either doesn't realize or doesn't care that Somalia is black African and receiving US aid and Indonesia is 82% Muslim and is receiving US aid which disproves his racist arguments. He also conveniently overlooks the fact that the US regularly sends aid to places like the Sudan and Iran who often don't want to accept it.

I really don't know why I'm wasting brain cells on what this knucklehead says or thinks. I didn't realize that there is an "opposing view" about kindness!

Some say that kindness is love in action. Everyone agrees that acts of kindness will make a better world (hmmm, except a few knuckleheads, I guess). I am learning that holding out a helping hand to strangers, or smiling at a repulsive person, or giving time and attention to a difficult knucklehead is rewarding for me first, and hopefully to others. I never used to extend myself or be kind unless I got something in return. There were always conditions on giving and I was disappointed or discouraged pretty often.

Then I discovered unconditional love. I am learning to do things for others without strings attached, without judgment. I am learning to look for the things that I have in common with people I meet or seek to meet. I am learning to focus on the love I have for myself and how it transforms everything. I am learning that if I focus on love, the fear that disconnects me from everyone and everything loses its power.

I just realized that I am connected to knucklehead, and he's actually a pretty good teacher. It's because of him, that I refocused on the concept of kindness and that's a really good thing.