Meditations on Kindness, Part 2: What is Your Life Hat?
Whenever we experience kindness, it lightens us and it quite wonder-fully enlightens us to more. I see it all the time. Many of us are often privy to feel this huge, boundless and humble wonder fill us in an uplifting pleasantness. The healing energy of kindness connects us to matters of love.
What if every person’s religion, regardless of faith, I wonder, was just about being kind? If so, every conflict we experience would banish. I daydream about this very possible reality often. What if kindness were the only spiritual practice out there to better found my life and yours and root each precious day we have and grow the world? Would not a kindness field disband and better sort and heal the mass of confusion? After all, kindness and light is what we all most crave.
I wonder if that is just exactly why we as a species are called mankind or humankind. We were made and put on earth to be kind humans first and last. Yes, I believe our primary role and sole purpose of being here is to be kindred spirits and beings who are kind one to the other. And I also believe each individual’s purpose on earth is nothing greater than that. No matter your belief system, somehow it’s a force of kindness that created us being here.
Welcoming that foundational truth to our creation alone would give everyone’s life a great deal more love and meaning than it already has. After all, as human beings, we are kindred spirits in what creates our biology and we are as much connected to one another within the family of life events whose very energy of weight and affect shape our hearts, touch into our skin, and inhabit our breathing cells. We may not live each other’s experiences entirely but we will know in our core the emotions across everyone’s life quite acutely within our own life experience at some point.
My teacher and I often talk about this a lot: Spiritual wealth is then enhancing those qualities that bring happiness within ourselves and to the people around us. But there is a singular difference between happiness and satisfaction. Money is fleeting and it comes and goes and needs replenishing. So do material goods. So does food. They need attention. If not careful, also, the need can soon control your life. When you attain contentment though it is unlikely that you lose it because it comes from an understanding that doesn’t go away. In such connections, love and attention grow on themselves. So the key, it would seem to me, is to deepen this understanding and contentment to better flourish the connections we most appreciate; and the only way you can grow such spiritual wealth in your life is through the avenue of kindness.
The reason why material wealth can at the end of the day never make you rich is because it relates to matter, and more precisely to relying on attaining a power in things that are fleeting and insubstantial. It is a space in which your world and your security becomes dependent on what does or doesn’t show up.
The spiritual space of inner wealth resides in a puissance of authentic core strength within, and so an inviolable space that is independent of outcome. Spiritual wealth is thus removed entirely from power and matters of gain and it’s all about what truly matters. All that lives in this paradigm of wealth is how we show up.
What people do remember is how you wore your life hat. It is the how of things that supplants any what if, why, which, when or what. It’s in the being in how people go about things that stays with us and endures. It’s not what the life-changing teacher taught us that made impact but how he or she taught and what she transmitted by way of care. What we do around kindness, you see, is actually quite secondary. And this is a life truth we too often more boldly get when we lose someone we cherish.
What about that dash that marks our life’s totality? No one takes their external assets to the grave and not their children or their jobs for that matter. It is how we go about doing whatever we do really that elevates us in a true wealth. And it is the kind humans out there, at least to me, regardless of age, money, education, or the wheel of good fortune, who are the very ones, carrying the greatest spiritual wealth across life, and even after it, at all times.
I remember so vividly when a writing mentor of mine seeing me wrought with overwhelm in managing my thesis asked me if I wanted to be a great writer who sacrificed all human learning to her art or if I wanted to be a good and practiced writer who cared about people’s hearts in art and in life and who was known more for being a person of good works? In split seconds, and positioned to me that way, I knew my answer. And I also knew instantly what my priority in life would be to found everything else I would agree to do.
Spiritual wealth, I realized then and there, is when you can accept the dark and the light within each situation and dive deep to appreciate your own strength while focusing on the richness of the virtue to be gleaned in each lesson. Success and money cannot give you this. The lessons along the way may. The lessons along our journey of life are our living classroom into spiritual wealth.
So how do we honour and bank on our word? How do we show up to our personal commitments? How do we honour those we love? How do we honour ourselves? When we show compassion to others, do we then show judgment to ourselves? How do we behave to others and to ourselves in situations of inconvenience? How can we refine those growing pains and choices? Do we take joy in being accountable and kind in our relations for the sheer pleasure of being kind? Or, do we become pained by the conditions and possible expectations that we set? How caring is our speech and what motivation expresses our thoughts and ideas with others? When we examine our day, how truly loving and caring are we? How and in what ways do we accept and embrace into our lives that kindness as a currency is creatively endless in growth and that kindness as an asset is also invaluably free? This is the book of spiritual wealth.
Photography by Marina Mashaal