A Level Of Commitment – The Value Of Kindness

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Image: Harris Rosen with young girl in Tangelo Park.

The purpose of our human life is to help others as best we can.  Research indicates that those who consistently help other people experience less stress, enjoy higher levels of mental health, feel more connected to your spirit, feel more grateful for what you have and less invested in the ‘rat race’ that causes stress for so many of us. Religion begins with an obliging nature. Happiness begins from the moment we do something for others. I cannot see why on earth we are born if not to help others. Okay, there are times when we can’t always do our best, but when we do, it is like a light going on.

I remember a sweet story from Sathya Sai Baba that dealt with this very topic. The story goes like this: A married couple asked him what was the most important piece of advice he could offer. He replied. “To serve. It does not matter what your station is in life, as long as you help others. It does not matter what career you have, what house you live in, large or small, none of these material gifts matter. All that matters is how much you have loved and how much you have shared.”

There are many times  when people need our kindness and at other times we need kindness from others. To withdraw kindness from another person is like turning off the light.”


I read in the Dalai Lama’s book – Ancient Wisdom, Modern World, (1999) the following: “On a recent visit to New York, a friend told me that the number of billionaires in America had increased from seventeen just a few years ago to more than 350 today.  So clearly the number of rich people in the world is growing. Yet, at the same time, the poor remain poor and in some cases are becoming poorer. This I consider to be completely immoral. It is also potentially a source of problems. Whilst millions do not even have the basic necessities of life – adequate food, shelter, education and medical facilities – the inequity of wealth distribution is a scandal. If we were the case that everyone had sufficient for their needs and more, then perhaps a luxurious lifestyle would be tenable. If that was what the individual really wanted, it would be difficult to argue that they need refrain from exercising their right o live as they see fit. Yet things are not like that. In this one world of ours, there are areas where people throw food away while others – our fellow humans, innocent children among them, are reduced to scavenging among rubbish  and starvation.

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Thus, although I cannot say that the life of luxury led by the rich is wrong of itself, assuming they are using their own money and have not acquired it dishonestly, I do say that it is unworthy, that it spoils us. Moreover, it strikes me that the lifestyles of the rich are often absurdly and pointlessly complicated. One friend of mine, who stayed with an extremely wealthy family, told me that every time he went swimming, he was handed a bathing robe to wear! This would then be changed for a fresh one each time he used the pool, even if he did so several times in one day. Extraordinary! Ridiculous even. So complicated! It is not as if living like this adds anything to one’s comfort. As human beings we only have one stomach. There is a limit to the amount we can eat. Similarly, we have only eight fingers and two thumbs. We cannot wear a hundred rings. Whatever extra we have is to no purpose in the moment when we are actually wearing a ring. The rest lie useless in their boxes. The appropriate use of wealth, as I explained to the members of one very prosperous Indian Family who came to see me long ago, is found in philanthropic giving. In this particular case, I suggested, since they asked, that spending on education is perhaps of most use. The future of the world is in our children’s hands.Therefore, if we wish to bring about a more compassionate, and fairer society, it is essential that we educate our children to be responsible, caring human beings. When a person is born rich, or acquires wealth by some other means, they have a tremendous opportunity to benefit others. What a waste it is when that opportunity is squandered on self-indulgence.”

 

Harris Rosen: “Tangelo Park does not have to be an exception, it is possible to help communities all over America. “

I See You Mara – Metta Teachings

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We can be very hard on ourselves, can’t we? It’s as if, sometimes, we’re watching out for any tiny hint of a mistake, and then we pounce on ourselves, getting angry, or frustrated, or ashamed. I suspect it’s because we can be. When people are allowed or encouraged to be cruel, they often will be. There’s some inherent cruelty in all of us (to varying extents) and this is kept in check by social norms. Change the social norms so that cruelty is encouraged, and it soon emerges. Here’s the Buddha tells us of another way. We don’t need to be demons to ourselves or others.  We simple need to ask the demons to tea.


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I see you Mara, stay for Tea!

“One of my favorite stories of the Buddha shows the power of a wakeful and friendly heart. On the morning of Buddha’s enlightenment Mara, the fearsome demon who symbolizes the shadow-side of human nature, fled in defeat and disarray. In Sanskrit “Mara” means “delusion” – that craving and fear that obscure our enlightened nature.

But it seems that he was only temporarily discouraged. Even after the Buddha had embarked on his teaching career and become a revered figure throughout Indian, Mara continued to make unexpected appearances. Instead of driving him away, however, the Buddha would calmly acknowledge the demon’s presence saying, “I see you, Mara.”He would then invite him for tea and serve him as an honored guest.

Offering Mara a cushion so that he could sit comfortably, the Buddha would fill two earthen cups with tea and place them on a low table between them. Mara would stay for awhile and then go, but throughout, the Buddha remained free and undisturbed.

You see, when Mara visits us in the form of troubling emotions or fearsome stories, we can say, “I see you Mara,” and clearly recognize the craving and fear that persists in each human heart. The objective is to see what is true and to hold what is seen with kindness….

Our habit of being a fair-weather friend to ourselves – of pushing away or ignoring whatever darkness we can – is deeply entrenched…. We truly befriend ourselves when, rather than resisting our experience, we open our hearts and willingly invite Mara to tea.”

From Tara Brach’s, Radical Acceptance

beautiful sharing!!♥!

The Excellence of Bodhichitta: The Value Of Kindness

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Wherever we are, we can train as a warrior. the Practices of meditation, loving kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity are our tools. With help of these practices, we can uncover the “soft-spot” Bodhichitta. We will find that tenderness in sorrow and in gratitude. We will find it behind the hardness of rage and in the shakiness of fear. It is available in loneliness as well as in kindness.

A Warrior-in-training 

A few years ago, I met a man who thought all women were evil. What a sweeping statement, I thought. There are people of both genders who do evil deeds.  Evil has no preference to gender or race, not to my way of thinking.  I tried to befriend this person whose aloofness should have been a warning that I was stepping on stony ground. Yet, I was compelled in some odd way to try,  although we had little in common. Still,  I hoped to  offer some sort of  support,  perhaps just  a smile, or a cheery hello when we met. Perhaps a cup of coffee to break the ice now and then.  I had no idea at the time, that  I had entered forbidden territory altogether. Any attempt to be friendly would be met with difficulty and finally failure for, I would soon find  out  that trying to be of help to him , I was in fact,  a repellent of sorts, a “persona non grata .”  A better Warrior than me would not have tried. They would have let well alone.  I guess in Warrior training it is not all about how we avoid uncertainty and fear but how we relate to the discomfort of  the outcome.   Yes indeed!

Another Warrior-in-training

For Pancho, the whole World, every moment, is his field of Metta practice.When he was recently asked what nourishes him, his response was clear: meditation and small acts of kindness. Meditation deepens his awareness while small acts of kindness deepens his inter-connectedness. Or as Pancho would sum it up, “Meditation is the DNA of the kindness revolution.” Ever since he first went to a meditation retreat, he has continued to meditate everyday.”Pancho 2.0″ is what he calls himself since then. It was as if he discovered a new technology to battle our burning world.

Spirituality often sees activism as unnecessarily binding, while activism often sees spirituality as a navel-gazing escape. For Pancho, though, the two paths merge into one. Meditation is internal service, while service is external meditation.

In Arizona, when Pancho was arrested for protesting immigration laws that President Obama called unconstitutional, he smiles peacefully for his mug shot. The Sheriff yells out an order: “Stop smiling.”Immediately, it mirrors the ridiculousness of the request. Several years ago, some of Pancho’s friends lived in a tree to ignite a conversation around “chopping down 300 year old trees in 30 minutes.” When the authorities put a barricade around the tree to starve the tree-sitters, Pancho showed up to meditate and spread “Metta” (loving kindness) to all those around him. While sitting peacefully under the tree, he was arrested. His offense quite literally read: “Disturbing the peace.”

I suppose one could say being a warrior-in-training is a form of disturbing the peace, ha! 

 

source: small excerpt about Pancho was originally written for Parabola Magazine, by Nipun Mehta . 

A Well Done Deed! – The Value of Kindness

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We know that life is a Gift. This exceptional man chose the path of a beggar but one with a difference. In another day and age, he would have been known as a “Fool for Christ”.   A Fool for Christ is another kind of Hero. Dobrev’s ingenuity  is living the life of a  beggar, although he does not actually beg. He tells stories to people and they give him money,  then  he donates to the church.  Dobrev’s life seems a mixture of both  “life and myth,”  bordering on  the legendary prankster. As it does, he reminds us all of the Divine prankster that lurks within each of us.. Dare we act on our own  prankster nature? Probably not. First the call has to come.  

(Foolishness for Christ:  refers to behavior such as giving up all one’s worldly possessions to deliberately  flout society’s conventions to serve a religious purpose – particularly of Christianity. Such individuals were known as both “holy fools” and “blessed fools.”)


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The Story:

 

Dobrev’s fame is now spreading outside of Bulgaria as his story is disseminated via the Internet. For example, one laudatory web description of Dobrev states: He is called a saint, an ascetic hermit, a man who doesn’t take money, an angel, a divine stranger, a traveler from the past, a beggar. Few Bulgarians have not heard of Good Old Dobry Dobrev, many are those who do not have the faintest idea of the true holiness of his cause. This year Elder Dobry turned 98 and still continues to give selflessly to the others his only treasure – kindness and humanity. And at this advanced age he can be spotted from time to time throughout metropolitan streets in search of generous people to implement his cause.

Elder Dobry has been raising money for decades to restore churches throughout Bulgaria. He is not afraid of cold and bad weather, does not worry that he will remain hungry. He is not angry at people’s indifferent to his work. The old man radiates kindness and meekness. He is ready to kiss the hand of a child who has dropped a coin into his box, to talk about God with every passerby, to give thanks for the charity. But Elder Dobry is not a beggar. He does not rely on strangers to save his body, but he wants to save their souls. A man like him cannot be called a beggar who has forgotten his needs and is raising money for a lofty mission, far from the material benefits of life. To donate to the church means to bestow to the generations, to faith in a godly future to build a benevolent Bulgaria. This is what Elder Dobry thinks he does without expecting gratitude. He respects people. He sees the world around him is selfish, but he doesn’t get upset and instead provides an example with his donations. So many people worship the faith of the man who doesn’t take money. We don’t know much about Elder Dobry’s life. He does not want fame and does not want to divulge details of his daily life. It’s enough for him that people know he is a good person who collects money and donates it to the Bulgarian churches and monasteries.  

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You Don’t Have To Be Perfect – The Value Of Kindness

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The Dalai Lama stands for achieving peace and kindness by way of peace and kindness, and since Gandhi and Martin Luther King aren’t around, he’s a placeholder for that kind of position. He describes himself as  a ‘simple monk,’ but that’s wishful thinking. He’s a monk that’s been saddled with the responsibility of shouldering the hopes and dreams of millions of Tibetan people. … He’s doing the best he can with that, and frankly, these are the kind of people we admire. Recently another good soul entered  on to the world’s  arena,  taking on the herculean task of restoring the hopes of millions of Catholics.  I am speaking of the new pope, Francis..

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His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi during their meeting in Prague, Czech Republic on September 15, 2013. Both Nobel Peace Laureates are in Prague to attend the 17th Forum 2000 Conference on Societies in Transition. (Photo by Jeremy Russell/OHHDL)

An excerpt from You don’t need to be perfect to have a happy life!

A Happier Life by Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD

When the Dalai Lama and some of his followers began to work with
Western scientists, they were surprised to find that self-esteem was
an issue, that so many Westerners did not love themselves and that
self-hate was pervasive. The discrepancy between self-love and love
for others—between miserliness toward ourselves and generosity toward
our neighbors—simply does not exist in Tibetan thought. In the words
of the Dalai Lama, “Compassion, or tsewa, as it is understood in the
Tibetan tradition, is a state of mind or way of being where you extend
how you relate to yourself toward others as well. ” When the Dalai
Lama was then asked to clarify whether indeed the object of compassion
may be the self, he responded:

Yourself first, and then in a more advanced way the aspiration will
embrace others. In a way, high levels of compassion are nothing but an
advanced state of that self-interest. That’s why it is hard for people
who have a strong sense of self-hatred to have genuine compassion
toward others. There is no anchor, no basis to start from.

There is much research pointing to the importance of self-esteem when
dealing with difficult experiences. Recently, however, psychologist
Mark Leary and his colleagues have illustrated that especially in hard
times, compassion toward the self is actually more helpful than
self-esteem is. Leary explains, “Self-compassion helps people not to
add a layer of self-recrimination on top of whatever bad things happen
to them. If people learn only to feel better about themselves but
continue to beat themselves up when they fail or make mistakes, they
will be unable to cope nondefensively with their difficulties.”

Self-compassion includes being understanding and kind toward oneself,
mindfully accepting painful thoughts and feelings, and recognizing
that one’s difficult experiences are part of being human. It is also
about being forgiving toward ourselves if we perform poorly on an
exam, make a mistake at work, or get upset when we shouldn’t. Leary
notes that “American society has spent a great deal of time and effort
trying to promote people’s self-esteem when a far more important
ingredient of well-being may be self-compassion.”

http://www.kripalu.org/article/1357/


Metta – The Value Of Kindness

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I have always felt that kind people are the most down-trodden. They seem to have a certain way of attracting the most unkind to them.   

It all comes down to something called the “Law of Effect”, which refers to the way people interpret and understand the behavior of others. For example, if someone treats you poorly and you treat them kindly, the effect produced by their bad behavior is your affection. By being nice to mean people, you’re essentially creating a reward system for bad behavior. It is true Kind people often end up as doormats for those with less than good intentions.. Perhaps though,  as the image suggests, being kind to unkind people is a lesson in itself.  Although I would not recommend anyone be a doormat for long, best to walk away, knowing you have done your best. Just remember that each kindness changes the world a little. And who knows perhaps one day, the unkind person you spent time on, just might change..   

Linnaea Bohn wrote in Tiny Buddha the following:

When I’d started an MBA years before, I’d dreamed of changing the world in some significant way by helping others. There was no major in that, so I did an independent major: marketing for not-for-profits.

It was hard to find a job after graduation, since arts organizations in the mid 1970s didn’t see the need to hire an MBA. I realized that if I wanted to share knowledge and skills to change the world in some way, and do it while being kind, I had to go solo.

I went on a solo trek to the Himalayas to clear my mind and spent a month meditating at a small monastery near Kathmandu. I then journeyed to India for a healing purification retreat.

Months later at a Buddhist initiation, I heard the Boddhisattva vows. They were about putting others before self, being kind, keeping’s one’s word, and more. I breathed a sigh of relief. I felt like I’d come home.

I wanted to put those vows into practice in a practical way. At first I thought I would return to Hong Kong as an entrepreneur and send my earnings to Tibetans to start refugee schools. I learned, however, that it would be more beneficial to help refugees create opportunities for work. So I did.

I made the Himalayas my home, and volunteered to help Tibetan refugees develop small enterprises based on their skills and suited to their temperament and culture. This way they could become economically self-sufficient, eliminating the need for charitable donations.

My neighbors in the village where I lived were Punjabi widows—refugees themselves, without any income. Yet they could knit well. I helped them turn their lives around by teaching them designs, colors, and sizes that were in style. I also showed them how to sell these sweaters locally on their own.

It felt so natural to be kind and help others there. Kindness was a way of life for many.

A story that comes to mind involves a woman and a dog.

Dogs that are not used as shepherds in the Himalayas are feral. They look for scraps and fight a lot. People are terrified of the packs.

One day I heard a puppy whimpering. Village children, who had taken it as a temporary toy, helped me retrace their path to place the pup near a sibling. The mother dog came out of hiding to wash and feed the pup. Her bony body somehow produced milk for five puppies.

From that day I cooked brown rice and eggs for her, concerned that she herself would starve from feeding them. I would leave the food near the home she’d dug for her family under a log in a small wooded area.

One day that spring there was a long, slow snowstorm that prevented me from feeding her.

At daybreak the next day I placed some food near her shelter, but she didn’t come out. I waited and then slowly approached the hole. There was a snow-covered burlap sac covering the mouth of the shelter, but not one dog. Someone had been kind to protect the family from the storm, but the dogs were gone.

As I walked though the small woods looking for them, I noticed a house. A woman came to the door. Using hand signs and imitating the whimpering sounds of pups, I asked if she had seen the dogs.

She took me by the hand to a tiny abode. On the veranda of this one room structure was a woman cooking a small copper pot of rice on a stick fire. Around the fire were the mom and pups, lying comfortably and soaking in the warmth. The woman’s own children and husband were inside under a blanket on the single rope cot.

This frail bodied woman from Rajastan, in her thin cotton sari and shawl, shared her family’s only pot of rice with the dog family.

She and her husband were day laborers, carrying boulders on their heads as roads were being excavated through the mountains.

They earned less than a dollar a day for their combined work. In a bare room with a doorway as the only opening, they lived with clothes suited for the 120 degree heat of the desert, eating one meal a day.

This woman unflinchingly shared her food with this female dog and her puppies. She didn’t have much to give, but that didn’t stop her from giving what she could.

I had come to India to help others, with a vision to change the world in some small but significant way. Yet without intent, education, or desire, this woman changed my life in a very significant way. Her instinctive kindness that received no appreciation, let alone results or rewards, softened my heart.

 I see that being a kind human has value in any walk of life. This is what I took with me into future work. Even though I many not be the manager other people want me to be, I am valuable in any organization because I am kind.

I care about the people who work around me. I care about each individual client, customer, and colleague. This may not be a prerequisite for a successful career, but it’s my prerequisite for a successful life.

Each kindness changes the world. Being kind is what makes my world significant.

Whatever values you hold dear—whether it’s kindness, gentleness, calmness, or honesty—live it. Be it, even if the people around you don’t seem to value the same things; especially if the people around you don’t seem to value those things. That might be the very reason you came into their lives.

p.s. want to thank all you people that like my posts.. I do appreciate it and your kindness is helping me over quite a serious illness. So hugs from moi… Merci.  Might add, that I have changed the theme, so will have to go through back posts and delete all photos that are too large or bold for the new layout… bear with me…

The Starfish Story – The Value Kindness

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“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”  ~  Mahatma Gandhi

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
 
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
 
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,
 
“Well, I made a difference to that one!”
 
The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved. – adapted from the Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley

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Perseverance against great odds and against the criticism of others is the very hallmark of value-based idealism, as is refusing to accept failure. The understanding that we hold in our hands the power to change a life, a mind, or a circumstance today – right now – is a powerful insight and motivator.

Giving and Receiving – Value Of Kindness

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“Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift. Your sister may be able to see the future, but you yourself can shape it, boy. Do not forget that… there are many kinds of magic, after all.”

~ Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

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The Tale:

Once upon a time it happened—where, then, was it? Yes, where indeed was it not? That is the correct beginning of a fairy tale,  and every myth must end with—”I once saw this; and if what happened in the spiritual world did not succumb to death, if it is not dead, it must still be alive to-day. Every story has a consequence.”

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The story of Psyche goes, she is fated to be married to a horrible monster. By day she lives in luxury in a glorious palace, and by night she shares her bed with an invisible bridegroom. All her wishes are granted as long as she does not seek to uncover her husband’s identity. When Psyche’s sisters come for a visit they are consumed with jealousy and give her bad advice. Their intentions are hateful and destructive. They convince her that her husband is a terrifying beast, that he will eventually consume her and that her only chance to save herself is to kill him.

Giving her an oil lamp and a dagger, they poison her mind against the one who, though invisible, has always been a gentle lover and a generous provider.

Once night comes and with it her unknown spouse, Psyche waits until he is asleep, takes up the oil lamp and the knife to kill him and to her shock finds a beautiful young man there, indeed the god of love himself. When a few drops of burning oil fall onto him, he wakes. As her punishment for doubting him, he flees from her and it is only after undergoing many arduous tasks for Cupid’s mother, Venus, that Psyche can finally redeem herself and be reunited with her husband. What began as a hostile gift from jealous donors ends happily with the gift of redemption and reunion. These are themes that have been repeated down through the centuries to our own times.

However, it is how we receive the gift that makes all the difference. As the tales remind us, we must approach mystery with respect, wait patiently for its gift, and accept with gratitude that which has been given. But we must also never forget to give thanks for our wits, whose sources lies somewhere between the domestic and the divine…

end on a quote:

“All you are unable to give, possesses you.”  ~ Andre Gide

~excerpted from Parabola Magazine. Theme:  Giving & Receiving.