"You cannot do a kindness too soon,
for you never know how soon
it will be too late.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Treasure of Kindness
by Cynthia Overweg
How might our lives be different if we were more kind to each other? Would we learn to care more deeply about the planet and all the creatures who share it with us? Could we transform our world into a place that is welcoming and peaceful by simply giving away one act of kindness each day?
I don’t know the answers to those questions, but I do know that when I’ve been genuinely kind to someone, I feel good inside. Something happens to my state of being that momentarily transports me outside of myself and into a loving space. In that loving space, I feel whole and at peace. It seems reasonable to me that if enough of us intentionally expressed one act of kindness per day, it could multiply exponentially, and carry with it the power of transforming the way we respond to each other and how we care for the planet. We could start a kindness revolution!
An impossible dream? Maybe. On the other hand, by being kind as often as we can, we are intentionally co-creating a better world within the context of our own lives, and that has a potential for good that cannot be measured by any conventional yardstick. It has to be experienced to be understood.
Being kind can take many forms -- a smile of appreciation to a weary waitress; helping an elderly person cross a busy street; holding the hand of someone who needs emotional support; serving a meal at a homeless shelter; giving a lost or sick animal a place to stay. There are countless ways to express kindness to those we hold dear and to those we don’t know. Intuitively we know how much our world needs more kindness, burdened as it is with the relentless pressures of the profit motive at the expense of the welfare of millions of people, not to mention the Earth itself.
Kindness is a treasure far more valuable than any stock market rally driven by high speed computers and a ruthless devotion to the bottom line because being kind is good for the soul; it nurtures our spiritual development and brings us closer to our true Self; to the Good; to God. While wanting a comfortable, safe and happy life is a universal desire, how can we have those things in their truest form if we cannot be kind? If by acquiring our desired comforts, we do it at the expense of others or the environment, the world suffers and we cannot separate ourselves from the world we live in, no matter how much money we have tucked away. The looming consequences of climate change is just one example.
In the quotation at the top of the page, Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, (the 19th century French novelist who used the pen name George Sand) suggests that we protect the treasure of kindness within us. Perhaps she is suggesting that being kind is the way to internal freedom from the smallness of “me,” and the divisions it causes in my life and in the world.
Wishing you every Blessing,
“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness.
Know how to give without hesitation,
how to lose without regret,
how to acquire without meanness.”
Essays & Reflections