Upcoming / ongoing:
Daylong: “Moving into Stillness”, Sunday, September 17 from 9:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. [MORE INFO]
Ten-Week Study & Practice Program: “The Ten Perfections: Bringing Qualities of Wisdom & Compassion to Life”, Mondays, September 18-November 20, 6-8 pm. Retreat on Saturday, November 18, 10:30 am – 5:30 pm. [MORE INFO]
Daylong: “The Four Heavenly Abodes: Opening the Heart-Mind.” Saturday, October 28, 2023 from 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m.. [MORE INFO]
I may not know my original face but I know how to smile.
I may not know the recipe for the diameter
of a circle but I know how to cut a slice
for a friend. I may not be Mary or Buddha
But I can be kind. I may not be a diamond
Cutter but I still long for rays of light
that reach the heart.
I may not be standing on the hill of skulls
But I know love when I see it.
~ Not Knowing, by Stephen Levine
What is real kindness? In our day and age, these words really translate as paying attention to the moment in a gentle, friendly, loving way. When we practice meditation and we take the time to bring a kind attention to the body — feeling tones (pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral), emotions, and our thoughts — that is an act of kindness.
The option is to live in oblivion, spacing out, neglecting, or ignoring ourselves, others, and all the animate and inanimate phenomena that inhabit our planet and life. This can leave us quite lonely, separate, in isolation, and disconnected. From this, a sense of great sadness and unhappiness can overtake our psyche and being.
So we pay attention on purpose to stay engaged experiencing the unfolding of each moment. This is where life is happening!
Real kindness is inclusive and embraces all parts of life. It does not choose to pay attention to what we like nor is it pleasant, and it does not deny what is difficult. It engages all facets of living and, out of this is able to be an antidote to negative mind states.
To aversion or ill will, it brings caring and softens our dislikes; to greed, it shows us what is fully present so we see that what we need is right here; to sleepiness, it brings energy so we feel safe being in the here and now; to restlessness and worry, it brings patience, acceptance, and generosity; to doubt, it shows us where we really are and that we can make wholesome intentions and choices.
We cultivate our values, contact our intentions, feel our motivations, and plant seeds for the fruition of actions to manifest for the benefit of all beings. Real kindness is free of an ulterior motive; it’s not dependent on what we get back in return. And it does not change when another’s behavior changes. It remains constant and does not play favorites. It is a cultivation of a deep and profound caring and consideration for all. We see the good in things and we contemplate good qualities.
I was so fortunate to spend the weekend of August 25-27 in Oregon at my oldest granddaughter Hannah’s wedding to Rayik. It was an occasion filled with love, energy, praise for the bride and groom, dancing, celebrating with amazing food and drink, and the space was outside in nature. This is a match of all who were there to share and enjoy. What I felt was real kindness between them all.
Please join me in my classes of “The Ten Perfections” at The Sol Center beginning Monday, September 18, 2023, at 6-8 p.m., and daylong practices at TCMC on Sunday, September 17 from 9:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. as we birth and practice, in an ongoing manner, these teaching of real kindness. They are part of all the Buddhist teachings.
Take good care, enjoy the continuing beauty of summer’s ending, and open your heart to others when you can.