The middle way. The way of kindness
I truly wish that I could be kind. To have the intention and passion to want to and the wisdom to know what to do. But how can I be sure I am being kind with thoughts, words or actions? One mans kindness is another mans irritation. I’d say we all think we are kind people, in our own special way. If at minimum, we have a kind intention, most of the time. Well, at least I think I do.
We may wish to do good and be kind and have the best intentions but if we are not wise enough we may end up doing more harm than good. In our research we have found two key components of being kind. Wisdom and compassion that are like the two wings of a bird. The birds flight, is the flight of kindness.
So many people think of the middle way as a balance between good and evil or poverty and riches or even not to work to hard or too little but rather to work smart to name a few. People think that finding a balance in eating is not eating too healthy or eating too unhealthy but rather something that is somewhere in between. The middle way in a relationship could be to find the common ground or the compromise that suites both in a win win strategy.
The middle way that I am talking about here is the way in between compassion and wisdom. Being caring and wise at the same time. If you invited all the homeless people into your house, soon you would be without the means to help them and would have to close your doors. If you invite no-one so as to save for the right time, you may end up helping none.
The path in between wisdom and compassion is the path of kindness. It is where you can truly know what to do and have the courage, passion and intention to do so. What I can tell you is that if you develop this capacity, the capacity to be kind your world will change. Your world will be massive!
Lets agree that we all have one thing in common. We all want to have pleasant feelings and be free from unpleasant ones. We want our experience of this world to be a positive one while avoiding or removing any negative experiences. Right? Basically, we all want to be happy. I don’t mean we want to be satisfied, I mean true happiness.
When a thorn is lodged in the foot the hand naturally and spontaneously helps relieve the pain by removing it. It would not be wise for the hand to leave the thorn in the foot for it would shortly fester and poison the whole body. A perspective to ponder on.
When our perspectives include the whole body (our entire race and all living beings) we are on the right track to being able to be kind. What we also realize in this situation is that we are also part of the entire system and that if you cannot love, appreciate, care for and think of yourself you will not have the capacity to help others. Wisdom is needed in every step we take towards kindness.
As you become more wise and have a greater perspective you understand how connected you are to everything and everyone. You also understand how everything and everyone is connected to you and by doing this, you become more compassionate.
To be kind, endeavour to expand your perspective and increase your wisdom. But how? To be discovered…
You can either wish for others to be free from suffering, pain, irritation or any kind of discomfort or harm or you can wish for them to be happy. Both of these wishes are supreme good intentions and will ultimately grow the capacity of your heart and your ability to be kind.
The more you wish to do good for others the more you will find the wisdom and understanding to do good and be kind. With a true virtuous intention, all the wisdom in the world will come.
As you learn and understand more about yourself so too will you learn and understand more about others.
If all you are inspired to do from reading this is to wish for other peoples good fortune, you have taken a massive step in the path of kindness. The middle way.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- What does it mean to be kind?
- What does it mean to be kind to the people in my life?
- What does it mean to be kind to my clients and customers?
- What does it mean to be kind to my enemy?
- What does it mean to be kind to my community?
- What would actually happen if I was kind?
- What impact would I have in this world if I could, with wisdom and compassion, be truly kind?
- Is kindness that thing that hippies do? Is kindness for the weak and for those that easily get trodden on, or is it for the brave and those that are making a positive difference in this world?
- Are my hero’s kind?
- Are my mentors kind?
- When someone is kind to me, what does that make me feel like and does that person gain anything by being kind to me?
Technically speaking the middle way is actually an understanding that nothing “Actually” exists and nothing does not exist. It’s the path between existence and non-existence. This is an incredibly subtle and complex topic that it will be discussed in detail in another post but for now I will simply introduce it by saying that nothing exists inherently, or from its own side, or from its own power. Everything depends on its parts, previous condition, name and the minds that are engaged. Nothing in this world exists without being dependent on something else. What does this mean to us? So what? Well, that is another discussion to have on another day.
When you fully realize that we are not independent (self existent), that our language, our bodies, our clothes, our jobs our ideas our culture and everything that we know exists because of others or something else we feel far more connected to the world. This connection combined with the understanding that we as beings all want to be happy and free from suffering forms the basis of our compassion. How can I free myself if I am actually a part of this system. To free myself, I need to also free others.
This is an incredibly in depth subject matter and will be discussed at length in the future.
Both wisdom and compassion lead to one another and only with both can you be truly kind. If you were to let the homeless into your house and feed them all, soon you will have no more resources left and will end up disappointing everyone and putting yourself on the streets too.
My challenge to you today is: For one day, all day, think about how or what it would take for you to be truly kind to the people in your life. Does it mean doing things for them, buying them things, talking to them, spending time with them? What does it truly mean to be kind to others.
Now… I would propose that truly being who you are in this world is the greatest gift you can give, and the greatest kindness you can achieve. Then the greatest question for me is: “who am I and how do I move with wisdom, compassion and courage to become me”.
If you are not familiar with meditation, please see my Free Simply meditate course here: Meditation foundation
Meditate for 5 minutes on the following:
Just as I want to be happy, and free from pain and suffering. So does everyone else in this world, without exception.
To be truly wise is to be compassionate. To be truly compassionate is to be wise.
What a difference it would make if I could be truly kind. I wish I can be wise enough, compassionate enough and have enough courage to be truly kind.
If the wish to be kind arrises in your heart/mind, place your mind on this feeling/state. Gently hold this state/wish as the object of your meditation.
If your mind wonders, gently remind it with the words: I wish to be truly kind.
If your mind looses the meditation object completely, contemplate again and generate the wish again.
Attempt to fill your whole mind, body and heart with this wish.
I dedicate and commit the positive energy I have generated today to becoming less of who I am not, and more of who I am so as to be truly kind to this world.
Cheers! and good luck in being you! Good luck in being kind!