DAY 22: DISCOVERING THE SECRET OF KINDNESS
How to set yourself free from the past – and create a beautiful future.
Welcome to week four!
This week is the final week of the 28 Day Meditation Challenge. Can you believe you’ve made it through 21 days already? Well done!
How has it been going? Which bits have you been enjoying? What have you learned? Got any questions?
Here’s the week four discussion thread: Week Four: How Are You Getting On?
This week we’re going to be moving on to a meditation that is about resting in your heart. It is about accessing the calm kindness, the loving kindness, the gratitude that exists naturally within each of us, but is often drowned out by our voice of worry and stress. It’s also about creating a sanctuary space that you can go to, whenever life feels stressful or you’re worried, anxious or scared.
But what is kindness?
It’s an abstract concept. How do we feel when somebody behaves kindly towards us? And how do we feel when we behave kindly towards them? Often, in our modern western society, we behave kindly, with an ‘agenda’. We might be kind to somebody because we want something back from them.
“If I am kind to him, he will say yes about such and such.”
And yet true kindness is unconditional. It’s about behaving in a way that we know is kind, even if there is no direct benefit for us. Kindness comes from love. It comes without attachment. It comes without agenda. We do it because we choose to.
The Dalai Lama shares a lovely quote:
“Whenever possible choose kindness. It is always possible.”
What interests me about this quote is that he doesn’t talk about ‘being’ kind. He talks about ‘choosing’ kindness. He is telling us that kindness is something we can choose. It is always within our power. It is an option that is always open to us. In those few words, he shines a light on all our excuses and habits for not behaving kindly – to others or towards ourselves…
It is perhaps one of the most challenging things we can think of: if somebody behaves really unkindly towards us, responding with kindness. That doesn’t mean we are accepting their behaviour. But it does mean that we can choose to allow our thoughts, our feelings and our reactions to come from our heart, rather than from the pain or fear that might have been caused.
We are allowing ourselves to feel compassion towards the actor, even if we strongly disagree with their actions. The two are separate.
There is a difference between the person and their behaviour.
Regular meditation helps us to calm our Monkey Mind, making it easier to respond to unkind behaviour from a place of wise equilibrium, rather than emotional pain. It helps us to detach from the drama and the story. It helps us to develop compassion towards the other person, who must be in a place of emotional pain, in order to behave in that way.
When your body and mind are at peace, behaving kindly towards others becomes easier. When body and mind are at war, kindness becomes a great challenge. Meditation helps you move towards your place of inner peace.
Being kind to ourselves, as well as towards others, is essential if we’re on a journey towards inner peace.
Accepting who we really are, letting go of trying to change ourselves, letting go of beating ourselves up, ceasing to pretend that we’re someone we’re not, behaving kindly towards our bodies, behaving kindly towards our minds – all of these choices are open to us, when we are making the changes in our life that meditation brings.
If you’ve been beating yourself up for decades, it probably hasn’t done you much good. How about changing tack and being kind to yourself, instead? And just notice the difference it makes!
When you focus on kindness and the many, many different opportunities we have in a day to practise it and experience it, kindness can become the filter through which we perceive our experience of life. And that can be transformational.
Week 4 Meditation
You can find this week’s meditation here – right click and choose ‘save as’ to download and listen to offline.
I really hope you enjoy this week’s meditation. It’s one of my personal favourites and it’s an honour to be able to share it with you.
Day 22 Affirmation
Today I choose kindness: kind thoughts, kind words, kind deeds.
P. S. Tomorrow we’ll be looking at the most dangerous word you can use when you’re learning how to meditate.
P.P.S. The key links you need for week four are:
Week 4 Meditation: