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“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.”
—Kahlil Gibran

“It’s always that way with periods of crisis: people you expect and want to be there for you are incapable and/or unwilling, and others you never imagined would be there for you show up with exactly what you need, exactly how you need it. And there is almost no way, alas, no way at all, to predict which people will be which.”

–Elisa Albert, After Birth

Kindness

“Kindness is not an act. It is a lifestyle.” –Anthony Douglas

“She did not need much, wanted very little. A kind word, sincerity, fresh air, clean water, a garden, kisses, books to read, sheltering arms, a cosy bed, and to love and be loved in return.”

–Starra Neely Blade

A moving video about how one simple act of kindness can lead to a virtuous cycle of kindnesses. Idealism? Perhaps. But as Helen Keller said, “No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.”

 

Noah And The Whale “Give A Little” [excerpt]

“…Well my heart is bigger than the earth
And though life is what gave it love first
Life is not all that it’s worth
‘Cause life is fleeting
Yeah, but I love you
And my love surrounds you like an ether
In everything that you do
But if you give a little love, you can get a little love of your own…”

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - JULY 30:  The Tib...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

“When we speak of a calm state of mind or peace of mind, we shouldn’t confuse that with an insensitive state of apathy. Having a calm or peaceful state of mind doesn’t mean being spaced out or completely empty. Peace of mind or a calm state of mind is rooted in affection and compassion and is sensitive and responsive to others.”

–Dalai Lama

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Day 175: Be kind, originally uploaded by Jewdar.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” –Plato

Everyone has a story. Someone may seem to have everything, but secretly they struggle with pain, loneliness, or addiction.

The nature of the human condition is that we all suffer in our lives at one time or another. What other response can their be to another’s pain but compassion?

Last week, I had a bit of head cold. And while it was quite mild, it was enough to slow me down a bit. One morning, for instance, I was leaving my house and kept fumbling for the keys in my pocket, lost as they were among coins and cough drops. I finally got my front door locked and made it to the top of my hill just in time to see the bus drive by.

As I frowned and started to recalculate how to get to work, I saw that the bus had stopped just a short distance away. Dashing across the street, I climbed aboard thanking the bus driver effusively. I was running late, and she would have been well within her rights to just keep on driving by. She smiled, almost embarrassed by my gratitude.

But this is the same driver I make a point of saying hi to every morning. And I couldn’t help but wonder if that somehow made a difference. Had my modest efforts of acknowledging her presence made an impression on her? Had she gone out of her way to be helpful as a result?

I don’t believe in karma, not as it’s been presented to me at any rate. There’s far too much injustice in this world for starters. Bad people live long and perfectly comfortable lives despite how much suffering they’ve brought about.

But I think that many of us Westerners get the concept of karma wrong anyhow. To my understanding, there are two basic approaches to karma. The first is a spiritual framework in which you actively try to acquire good karma in order to improve your lot in your next incarnation. It is (one hopes) a linear process, wherein you continue to evolve and ultimately achieve a higher state.

In the second version, you don’t want any karma at all — good or bad — because it keeps you tied to this world and, hence, illusion. Neither of these views is particularly attractive to me.

What I do believe, however, is in building a better world, often one small step at a time. We are active contributors to our culture, and we constantly shape it by the choices we make. And I want to live in a world where people greet bus drivers and return lost wallets and practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

We cannot possibly know the outcomes of our actions. I wasn’t nice to the bus driver to “bank” her goodwill for a time when I might need it. Our actions have to have meaning in the present as we perform them. And the meaning they have is only what we can give them, infusing them with our values and intent whatever these may be for each of us.

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