Motivation Mondays: KINDNESS #mondaymotivation
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop
The mission of the World Kindness Movement (WKM) is to inspire individuals and connect nations to create a kinder world. TheWorldKindnessMovement.org
A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. William Arthur Ward
When autumn darkness falls, what we will remember are the small acts of kindness: a cake, a hug, an invitation to talk, and every single rose. These are all expressions of a nation coming together and caring about its people. Jens Stoltenberg
A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love. Saint Basil
What does kindness mean to you? How motivated are you to add kindness to your vocabulary and daily routines? Even though November 13 was the official World Kindness Day celebration, it can’t hurt to be reminded during this coming holiday season that kindness is an everyday affair. Each of us can perform acts of kindness to help others; our loved ones, cohorts, folks in need, strangers and those exhilarating random acts of kindness that create love and harmony around the world. We can share our food, shelter, goodwill and even a smile. Every kind act we perform will be multiplied because goodness spreads in a ripple effect that touches many people. Sadly, the same can be said for unkind actions so, choose wisely. In case you’d like to know more, World Kindness Day is the brainchild of the World Kindness Movement which originated in Japan in 1997. WKM’s purpose remains to bring people and nations together by creating communities of kindness and caring globally.
Today, over 25 nations participate in events organized by TheWorldKindnessMovement, and you can join in and share your goodwill too. No one is an island unto him/herself and we all benefit from the kindness of others. In a world that has grown rift with violence and anger, we need to remind ourselves, and those around us, to be kind, to be compassionate and to be grateful. If there is anything we need more of in the world today, we can say that kindness is sorely missing and needed. Kindness should definitely be one of the top 5 on our list. It is up to us to choose to be/act kind. We can start by thinking kind thoughts and matching them with actions that uplift us and others.
Are you kind to yourself? While we are busy being kind to others, we must not forget to be kind to ourselves. Some of us are very good at giving but we forget that the key to kindness is to give and receive with an open heart. We all know people who complain about how much of themselves they give to others and how unappreciated they are. Kindness is a conscious act and to pretend that it’s only random and/or forgettable is foolish. We give because it makes us feel good; because we remember how we were helped; and because, if we are honest with ourselves, we hope that the karma credits will benefit us and our loved ones down the road. To truly offer kindness to others, we must be open to receive same…. Think about it deeply and honestly. Kindness doesn’t require martyrdom. The truth is that kindness/giving is a two way street. As the Zen story and the Elephant story below show us, it is in our hands too. How do you plan to express yours in your community?
A Story: Buddha & The Angry Elephant
Nalagiri was an elephant with a bad attitude. One day, Devadatta, a nephew of the Buddha who was jealous of him and wanted to kill him, made Nalagiri purposefully very angry and set the poor elephant loose on the street that Buddha was walking on with many other monks. As Nalagiri, running wildly and trumpeting, came closer to the Buddha, the Buddha mentally directed his loving kindness and friendliness (metta) to Nalagiri. Nalagiri calmed down, and subsequently rested at the feet of the Buddha as a way of showing respect. Story via Wikipedia
A Story: Kindness Is In Your Hands
A young man caught a small bird, and held it behind his back. He then asked, “Master, is the bird I hold in my hands alive or dead.” The boy thought this was a grand opportunity to play a trick on the old man. If the master answered “dead”, it would be let loose into the air. If the master answered “alive”, he would simply wring its neck. The master spoke, “The answer is in your hands” Via Zen Stories on Goodweb.cn
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” Princess Diana
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Mark Twain
Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. Lao Tzu
Truth is a deep kindness that teaches us to be content in our everyday life and share with the people the same happiness. Khalil Gibran
Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people. Dennis Prager
Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what preserve the heart and secure comfort. Humphry Davy
What comes to mind when you think of Kindness? There are many words that come to mind that connote the simple act of kindness we all crave from each other; Altruism or selflessness, Compassion, Empathy, Generosity, Paying it forward, Random acts of kindness, Reciprocity, goodwill/good faith and more. In our daily interactions, we are motivated by events and challenges that make us behave a certain way. Whichever way we choose to express it, what matters is that we are extending a helping hand to others and encouraging them to do same. Sometimes, we have bad experiences that make us bitter and then it becomes hard to be kind. However, it behooves us to not allow our experiences to harden us. We can make an effort to be kind and develop a spirit of equanimity. The story below helps us understand that we don’t have to be swayed by accusations and ill-will. We can choose to do good and to be kind. I know it is easier said than done, but we can try. Practice strengthens our actions, doesn’t it? Can you maintain a spirit of kindness and equanimity in the face of discontent? The story below is a great lesson to help us to remember kindness/goodness in the face of discontent.
What about False Kindness? Earlier, I had mentioned that, sadly, unkind words/deeds/actions have a ripple effect too and whilst it is important to help our fellow men and women, in some instances, we must do so with a discerning spirit. This is the season for celebration and gift giving and unfortunately, it is also a time when identity theft, scammers and duplicitous operators fill the airwaves with their deception and tales of woe. It would be unwise to paint a picture of kindness without reminding us all to act with care, and to share our largess without feeling pressured to give under duress or led to contribute to a cause or organization that doesn’t ring true to our spirit. Give joyfully and carefully. There are many folks and groups that need help in our communities and elsewhere. Do your homework to ensure that the gifts are going to those in need. Every glittering pitch isn’t always what it claims, so, act wisely. I added another story below to elucidate the point I’m making here. Kindness is a great way to help our communities but don’t fall victim to a scam.
The four pictures above tell stories about kindness. The top left photo of two woman giving alms to children is described as being in the manner of famous painter, Francis Wheatley but the true author is unknown. Next to it is The Buddha calming, Nalagiri, the elephant. Below it is the story/legend of the Roman General Belisarius begging for alms after being blinded and deposed. Last, but not least, is a photo based on the popular biblical parable/story of The Good Samaritan…
A Story: Is That So?
A beautiful girl in the village was pregnant. Her angry parents demanded to know who was the father. At first resistant to confess, the anxious and embarrassed girl finally pointed to Hakuin, the Zen master whom everyone previously revered for living such a pure life. When the outraged parents confronted Hakuin with their daughter’s accusation, he simply replied “Is that so?” When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who now was viewed as a pariah by the whole village. They demanded that he take care of the child since it was his responsibility. “Is that so?” Hakuin said calmly as he accepted the child. For many months he took very good care of the child until the daughter could no longer withstand the lie she had told. She confessed that the real father was a young man in the village whom she had tried to protect. The parents immediately went to Hakuin to see if he would return the baby. With profuse apologies they explained what had happened. “Is that so?” Hakuin said as he handed them the child. Via Zen Stories on Goodweb.cn
A Story: Killed By False Kindness
Once upon a time there were two merchants, who were friends. Both of them were getting ready for business trips to sell their merchandise, so they had to decide whether to travel together. They agreed that, since each had about 500 carts, and they were going to the same place along the same road, it would be too crowded to go at the same time.
One decided that it would be much better to go first. He thought, “The road will not be rutted by the carts, the bullocks will be able to choose the best of all the grass, we will find the best fruits and vegetables to eat, my people will appreciate my leadership and, in the end, I will be able to bargain for the best prices.”
The other merchant considered carefully and realized there were advantages to going second. He thought, “My friend’s carts will level the ground so we won’t have to do any road work, his bullocks will eat the old rough grass and new tender shoots will spring up for mine to eat. In the same way, they will pick the old fruits and vegetables and fresh ones will grow for us to enjoy. I won’t have to waste my time bargaining when I can take the price already set and make my profit.” So he agreed to let his friend go first. This friend was sure he’d fooled him and gotten the best of him – so he set out first on the journey.
The merchant who went first had a troublesome time of it. They came to a wilderness called the ‘Waterless Desert’, which the local people said was haunted by demons. When the caravan reached the middle of it, they met a large group coming from the opposite direction. They had carts that were mud smeared and dripping with water. They had lotuses and water lilies in their hands and in the carts. The head man, who had a know-it-all attitude, said to the merchant, “Why are you carrying these heavy loads of water? In a short time you will reach that oasis on the horizon with plenty of water to drink and dates to eat. Your bullocks are tired from pulling those heavy carts filled with extra water – so throw away the water and be kind to your overworked animals!”
Even though the local people had warned them, the merchant did not realize that these were not real people, but demons in disguise. They were even in danger of being eaten by them. Being confident that they were helpful people, he followed their advice and had all his water emptied onto the ground.
As they continued on their way they found no oasis or any water at all. Some realized they’d been fooled by beings that might have been demons, and started to grumble and accuse the merchant. At the end of the day, all the people were tired out. The bullocks were too weak from lack of water to pull their heavy carts. All the people and animals lay down in a haphazard manner and fell into a deep sleep. Lo and behold, during the night the demons came in their true frightening forms and gobbled up all the weak defenseless beings. When they were done there were only bones lying scattered around – not one human or animal was left alive. Contd Below! Via Zen Stories on Goodweb.cn
The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for October and November are:
11/02 – LEGACY/REMEMBRANCE – All Souls/All Saints Day (11/1)
11/09 – HONORING VETERANS – Veteran’s Day (11/11) &
11/16 – HONORING ALL/OUR CHILDREN – Universal Children’s Day/World Children’s Day (11/20) & Great American Smokeout Day (11/19)
11/23 – GIVING THANKS – Thanksgiving Day! (11/26)
11/30 – REVISIT KINDNESS – World Kindness Day (11/13)
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” Scott Adams
A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money. John Ruskin
It’s not our job to play judge and jury, to determine who is worthy of our kindness and who is not. We just need to be kind, unconditionally and without ulterior motive, even – or rather, especially – when we’d prefer not to be. Josh Radnor
Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. Og Mandino
Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Who have you shown kindness today? While we might not always be able to perform random acts of kindness, we can all remember to extend a smile, a kind word and a conscious act of goodwill to all life forms. Instead of always trying to be first or disrespecting the earth and others around us, we can make a conscious effort to be considerate of all around us. When our acts of kindness are sincere, they water the earth with rich deposits of goodwill that nourishes the soil and all who come in contact with it. Give with an open heart and a sincere spirit. What we practice becomes second nature. What we resist persists, and what we remember stays fresh in our hearts. Stay motivated on the path of kindness and it will bear great results for you and all around you. Here’s wishing all a very happy and kind holiday season. Who have you helped today?
A Story: Killed By False Kindness Contd!
After several months, the second merchant began his journey along the same way. When he arrived at the wilderness, he assembled all his people and advised them – “This is called the ‘Waterless Desert’ and I have heard that it is haunted by demons and ghosts. Therefore we should be careful. Since there may be poison plants and foul water, don’t drink any local water without asking me.” In this way they started into the desert.
After getting about halfway through, in the same way as with the first caravan, they were met by the water soaked demons in disguise. They told them the oasis was near and they should throw away their water. But the wise merchant saw through them right away. He knew it didn’t make sense to have an oasis in a place called ‘Waterless Desert’. And besides, these people had bulging red eyes and an aggressive and pushy attitude, so he suspected they might be demons.
He told them to leave them alone saying, “We are business men who don’t throw away good water before we know where the next is coming from.” Then seeing that his own people had doubts, the merchant said to them, “Don’t believe these people,
who may be demons, until we actually find water. The oasis they point to may be just an illusion or a mirage. Have you ever heard of water in this ‘Waterless Desert’? Do you feel any rain-wind or see any storm clouds?” They all said, “No”, and he continued, “If we believe these strangers and throw away our water, then later we may not have any to drink or cook with – then we will be weak and thirsty and it would be easy for demons to come and rob us, or even eat us up! Therefore, until we really find water, do not waste even a drop!”
The caravan continued on its way and, that evening, reached the place where the first caravan’s people and bullocks had been killed and eaten by the demons. They found the carts and human and animal bones lying all around. They recognized that the fully loaded carts and the scattered bones belonged to the former caravan. The wise merchant told certain people to stand watch around the camp during the night.
The next morning the people ate breakfast, and fed their bullocks well. They added to their goods the most valuable things left from the first caravan. So they finished their journey very successfully, and returned home safely so that they and their families could enjoy their profits.
The moral is: One must always be wise enough not to be fooled by tricky talk and false appearances. Via Zen Stories on Goodweb.cn Source: Buddhist Tales – Jataka Stories
A Story: Remembering To Honor All Life Forms
Once there was a monk who specialized in the Buddhist precepts, and he kept to them all his life. Once when he was walking at night, he stepped on something. It made a squishing sound, and he imagined he had stepped on an egg-bearing frog. This caused him no end of alarm and regret, in view of the Buddhist precept against taking life, and when he finally went to sleep that night he dreamed that hundreds of frogs came demanding his life.
The monk was terribly upset, but when morning came he looked and found that what he stepped on was a overripe eggplant. At that moment his feeling of uncertainty suddenly stopped, and for the first time he realized the meaning of the saying that there is no objective world. Then he finally knew how to practice Zen. Via Zen Stories on Goodweb.cn Source: Zen Essence
As we gear up for the holiday season, let us not forget all the families in need, families hurting, and those who have lost lives/loved ones around the world. Happy Holiday Season!
Positive Motivation Tip: Kindness makes the world a safer and loving place for all of us. Share yours now, today, tomorrow and every day!
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PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: Stories via Zen Stories on Goodweb.cn & Wikipedia, All Photos: Cosmos (WKM official flower) by Hugo Arg, Buddha & The Elephant Nalagiri, Belisarius begging for alms, the good Samaritan, Spirit of Compassion, Alms to children, Kindness Barnstar, Seeking Human Kindness, Acts of Randomness, Every life a delight, via Wikipedia