Mindfulness Monday – Kindness

water scene2“Three things in human life are important:

the first is to be kind;

the second is to be kind;

and the third is to be kind.”

~ Henry James

 

What does it mean to be kind?  Often kindness is confused with compassion, but there is a difference.  Kindness is simply being friendly to a person whether they are suffering of not.  Compassion is reaching out to someone who is suffering. 

When I read Toni Bernhard’s book, How to Wake Up, (and later an article she wrote about kindness) I was touched by what she calls “friendliness practice”.

She describes it like this, “As I turn the front doorknob to leave my house, I consciously resolve to maintain an attitude of friendliness toward all the strangers I see…If I’m waiting in line, I look at each person around me and silently say to each one: ‘May you enjoy this day’; or ‘I hope you have fun today.’”

I have tried to do this practice and have found that it lifts my heart, simply sending loving kindness to those around me fills me with joy.  

I find it so fulfilling to see the joy on a stranger’s face when I am nice to them, whether it’s a complement or simply saying having a small conversation, kindness can make your day so much more joyful.

However, there are times when I find myself automatically judging people I don’t even know.  For example, recently we were riding in a “questionable” part of town and were suddenly stuck because someone pulled out in front of everyone, just to go from one convenience store to another on the opposite side of the street.  The man was driving a new Cadillac that was all tricked out, and when he smiled you could see gold teeth.  We both automatically thought, drug dealer. We knew nothing about this man except what we saw on the outside, yet we found ourselves judging him.  This is something most of us do, and I’m sure I’ll do it again, but I’m trying to be kinder.  When I find myself having these judgments I’m trying to follow Toni’s example and silently say something kind to this person anyway.  Just as Toni said, I found that this action normally stops the judgment…but sometimes it doesn’t, it’s at those times I need to be kind to myself and continue to try my best.

 

“Kindness is within our power even when fondness is not.” ~ Samuel Johnson

 

I’m certain that no one is fond of everyone, but being kind to someone doesn’t mean we have to like the person.  In this day of political tensions, prejudice, racism….I know I have never been surrounded by so much hate.  The Buddha taught, “Hatred does not cease by hatred, only by non-hatred.”  We can “not hate” someone without liking them.  When you don’t hate it’s much easier to be kind.

It has pained me to find out that some of my ‘friends’ have such differing views than I have, many of these views are, in my opinion, unethical and morally wrong.  Because of the extreme differences in our views, and often the venom that I hear spoken by others voicing their opinions, I’m finding that I don’t really like many of these people any more, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be kind to them.  I try to find what we have in common, I think we all want to be happy and to stop suffering, when I look at someone in that light, I find it much easier to be kind.  I don’t have to agree with someone to be kind.  That doesn’t mean I’m okay with their views, it means I can be nice to them, that’s a lot more than I sometimes think I can do, but let’s face it, being kind to someone feels a whole lot better than hating them, hatred makes me feel really bad.

 

That brings me to this quote:

 “Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.” ~ Eric Hoffer

The more often you are kind, the more natural it will become.  Kindness becomes a habit and it grows within you, by being kind to others, you are in turn, kind to yourself. 

 

** I hope you enjoyed this different take on Mindfulness Monday, be sure to remember to be kind to yourself.

I highly recommend Toni Bernard’s books, especially “How To Be Sick; A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers”.  This book changed literally my life, and I refer back to it over and over.  If you, or someone you know, is dealing with chronic illness, do yourself a favor and check this book out.  (This is completely my opinion, no one asked me to post this, and I’m not being compensated for it.  I simply love this book.)

 

(image created by Wendy Holcombe using Autodesk Sketchbook, please to not use without permission)

 

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Mindfulness Monday – Pain

water scene

painting by W. Holcombe 

“Pain can change you,

but that doesn’t mean

it has to be a bad change.

Take that pain and

turn it into wisdom.

~Dalai Lama

“To diminish the suffering of pain,

We need to make a crucial distinction

Between pain of pain,

And the pain we create

By our thoughts about the pain.

Fear, anger, guilt, loneliness and helplessness

Are all mental and emotional responses

That can intensify pain.”

~Howard Cutler

“Pain is not wrong.

reacting to pain as wrong initiates

the trance of unworthiness.

The moment we believe something is wrong,

our world shrinks and

we lose ourselves in the effort

to combat the pain.”

~Tara Brach

 

 

*painting by W. Holcombe.  All rights reserved. Please do not use without permission.

Mindful writing – sharing an article from Mindful magazine

I have a bad cold so today I’m changing things up a bit.  In lieu of Mindfulness Monday I’d like to share with you an article I read in Mindful magazine.  I found it very interesting and plan to put this practice to use.  So you may find me doing a lot more blog posts in the future, as I meditate while writing.

A Writing Practice For Those Who Like To Keep Doing by By  

I don’t want to copy the whole article here, it’s a short article, but it’s not proper to copy someone else’s work, so I’m going to give you the highlights. However, you really need to jump over and read the article to understand what this entails.  It’s fun!  go do it!

Shamash starts by saying: “I’m writing this article in a state of meditation. And there’s no editing required (for the first round, anyway). How am I accomplishing this? And how could you join in the fun?”

He gives us instructions on how to find out just how we can do it.  I’m listing just the highlight of each point, you will have to read the article to find out more.

  1.  Set a timer for 30 minutes.
  2. Keep your eyes closed. if you can touch type, if not, then write long hand with your eyes open 😉
  3. At the end of every sentence, stop for a full in-breath and out-breath.
  4. Begin with no clear aim.
  5. Try to find time to write regularly

He answers the question “What’s the point of journaling…..?”  Here are the benefits he says he enjoys as he writes:

 

  • “My body feels happy and relaxed.”
  • “My mind feels calm and peaceful.”
  • “I’ve gently entered into a meditative state without having to fully stop “doing stuff.””
  • “I’m doing something different, so it feels fun and exciting. And having fun is a really important value and experience for me.”

 

Go ahead, what are you waiting for, jump over to Mindful and find out more about mindful writing.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

 

 

Mindfulness Monday – Eckhart Tolle

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“Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behavior.

You are beneath the thinker.

You are the stillness beneath the mental noise.

You are the love and joy beneath the pain.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

 

“In today’s rush,

we all think too much-

seek too much-

want too much-

and forget about the joy

of just being.”

~Eckhart Tolle

 

“The ultimate truth of

who you are is not

I am this or

I am that, but

I AM”

~Eckhart Tolle

 

 

*image by and of W. Holcombe.  do not use without permission

Mindfulness Monday – Light

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“We have a light inside us.

The oil of the lamp is

our breathing. our steps,

and our peaceful smile.

Our practice is to the

light up the lamp.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

“Be a light unto yourself.”

~Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

“Find the light and

it will show you the path.

The path that is shown by

your own light is the

only path that is right.”

~Osho

 

 

*photo by W. Holcombe.  All rights reserved.  p

hoto first used in the 2018 Chronic Pain and Illness Photo Project, subject light

Mindfulness Monday – Beauty

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“In every bend of time

there is some surprise,

joy and beauty.

Mindfulness is the

light to discover it.”

~ Amit Ray

 

“Beauty surrounds us.”

~ Rumi

 

“Because of your smile,

you make life more beautiful.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

“Everything has beauty,

but not everyone sees it.”

~ Confucius

 

* As I was walking into the doctor’s office, I saw this flower; it was all alone in the middle of a parking lot, sharing it’s beauty.  I had to share it with you.

photo by Wendy Holcombe.  Please do not use without permission.

Mindfulness Monday – How to

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“Respond; don’t react.

Listen; don’t talk.

Think; don’t assume.”

 

~ Raji Lukkoor

 

 

“Begin at once to live,

and count each day as a separate life.”

 

~ Seneca

 

 

“The way to live in the present is to remember that

‘This too shall pass.’

When you experience joy, remembering that

‘This too shall pass’

helps you savor the here and now.

‘This too shall pass’

Reminds you that grief, like joy, is only temporary.”

 

~ Joey Green

 

 

** Early Spring Daffodil photo by W. Holcombe.  All rights reserved.