The Verb of Being Kind

by | Mar 31, 2022

Be Your Basic Dignity

People recognize an inherent dignity in a man or woman who has shown a genuine sense of kindness to others. Kindness is the very essence of all things good about people. And the amazing thing is that almost everyone responds positively to being kind and to receiving kindness. This fundamental trait of humanity is acknowledged by all societies, religions and spiritual pathways. This is why the Dalai Lama said “My religion is kindness” and Jesus taught that we should “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted and forgiving”. Kindness is basic human dignity.

The activity of kindness puts you in touch with that quality we share with all people: the powerful ability to express loving-kindness in body, speech and mind. It is truly a wonderful feeling to be able to recognize when we are about to say or do something that is unkind, and then transform that moment into the blessing of kindness. Unkind emotions are more prevalent in spring

Essence of kindness

Spring is a season of ups and downs for us because the weather is turbulent and we are always affected by weather. There is an uptick in rising energy – the qi – throughout the natural world. The longer warmer days inspire us to get things done, but then the next storm locks us inside and we get frustrated and a litte upset. We can become irritable and unkind.

Emotional turmoil will block the natural flow of qi which then becomes stagnant and causes problems. Chinese medicine assigns to each of the major organs a positive virtue that promotes well-being. For the Liver this is ren or “human kindness”—the virtue that produces acts of benevolence toward oneself and others. Confucius said “Ren consists in loving others”. So everything that benefits the liver – meditation, qigong, diet – will support the expression of kindness and allow us to be more affable and pleasant.

Kindness is shown in speech and action. The next time you feel yourself going along the spectrum of event > frustration > anger, take a slow deep breath, and from your heart extend the feeling of kindness toward your self. If the source of the event is another person then send them thoughts or words of kindness. The active meditation of Inner Nourishing will help you be calm, kind and relaxed, this is part of the Spring Qigong practice.

There is a magic that happens when you go beyond the thought of being kind. When there is no object like I am being kind, and no subject like to that person you drop the egotistical sense of being a nice individual. That self-centered separation of Me and You drops away.

The late zen master Dainin Katagiri commented that when you go beyond that duality of separation, “What’s left? Just the state of being completely kind: your life is just the pure activity of kindness itself”. That is remarkable: to show the beautiful human dignity of being the activity of kindness. You are no longer a self-obsessed noun, you are now a verb of kindness. Everyone will benefit.