Meditations on Kindness, Part 3: Can’t Buy Me Love
What makes a family of happiness within? A significant person in my life harped it into me quite young that money does not grow on trees. I shall always love him for it. It’s my dad. I am thankful for the early education that taught me to appreciate what I have and to not take things for granted.
My dad taught me about savings and earnings and spending and how it is important to be selective where you expend your hard-earned efforts and to not give everything away. He explained interest and gains and losses to me and other interesting things of how family growth happens. He taught me about caution and wisdom as much as appreciation and vigilance. My dad gave me lessons on how it took care and extra attention to help anything he did bear fruit so it could become a strong garden. I would see all these dollar bills and shiny golden coins of all shapes and sizes hanging on the leaves as a little one whenever my dad talked about it. I still can. And when I listened to the Beatles song Can’t Buy Me Love quite deeply, I often wondered about the value of kindness as a power of currency also adding up.
Is the wealthier man the one who is kind or unkind in the hand of whatever money or success has been destined for him? Is spiritual wealth everything to do with strength through challenges and showing your authenticity? What to you makes a meaningful life book? What to you makes a solid accountant?
It seemed to me back then as now that a money tree requires dedication, caring, and some good luck to thrive. This wasn’t any different in outcome to me than my trials and successes of putting a seed into a little paper cup by the window. My dad said that a money tree needed good water, smart sunshine and air to grow, also. But somehow I couldn’t really see any real magic of love glistening on any of the coins in my imagination. The coins didn’t come to life on its own. What then gives money and any asset its true power? But doesn’t kindness, I thought, grow endless gardens with irreplaceable flowers and beautiful forests of helpful umbrage and not just trees?
As a youngster, I could daydream about kindness trees exploding for quite a happy while. A contentment would seize my body to feel those kindness roots hug from the ground and burst out rainbows of offering to the animals, the people, and the skies. And to think it could all begin from someone’s smiling water-can trusting the sun and how it kissed the earth. My dad could give me a security that I would not be without and many beautiful things. Yet, the kindness tree, I realized, was creating more beautiful kinds of lasting connection. I liked my dad’s money tree but I loved the special feeling of my kindness tree much more.
My dad was often humbled by my natural kindness as a youngster if not one-part exasperated by it and another two parts concerned. As a little one, I would have this winter holiday game with my dad in which I would routinely ask to go to the 31 Flavour Best Boy across the hotel, just before he paid the family dinner. It didn’t take too long for my dad to get that I wasn’t really interested in the ice cream at all.
We would go as a family and I would take a few licks of my peach flavor cone to indulge him and I would as quickly go outside and offer it to the children selling Chiclets no bigger or older than me who didn’t have as much even by way of a kind hello. “What are you ever going to do with my pockets?” he would ask me in gestures or with voice. I was dedicated to my ice cream mission of hugs with all the fortitude of learning from a good Beatles song in my pocket. “I’m going to fill your pockets with love, Dad!”
Eventually, my dad would offer me his unfinished ice-cream cone for me to also pass on. Watching me work, he could never satisfyingly finish it. Proud in his deep of my answer, my dad would often then put some extra pesos in my tiny hand when everyone’s unfinished ice-cream cones were distributed and next set me on a new game course of bringing back more Chiclets than one family ever needed to hold for the night. “Practice your Spanish,” my dad would say, “Don’t be shy and watch your pesos.”
In that game I constructed with my dad, no one was tied to matters of luck and everyone around was free from destiny. Those sweet balmy nights, I watched how love on an ice-cone created a more fun and new ripple flavor into many hearts and I was proud to be a team with my Dad. “So will you buy the world that way?” my dad joked. “Well, since money doesn’t buy you love, Dad, I don’t see why not.”
Kind and attentive speech, I learned early on, and stopping to say to another that I see you and you count, was as great a hug as an ice-cream cone, if not so much more satisfying, and I loved the wealth of how it all felt and how I saw the happiness of being valued fill out the eyes of another. It would take quite a while for my family to get back to the hotel because I wouldn’t leave without saying a good night or sweet dreams to every mother and child even if my Chiclet pesos ran out. The gang soon left but my dad stayed on with me and watched. I would then run to my dad who would take my little hand to cross the street and he would tighten his hold a bit some nights and often tell me in his own way that to watch me at work had him feel amazed.
It feels good to be kind when the world is not. It feels good to join with others in what we both know as wise truths in our hearts into a new, more powerful and transformative education. It feels good when the joy of awareness also feels too good to give away; and it feels good because it’s so much more fun being present with kindness to the journey over the destination. What can be more freeing?
The kindness approach, you see, automatically enriches because it heaps an attention in your heart that then heaps a positive attention on what you already have. Spiritual wealth, you see, is as much appreciating a simple wisdom in kindness matters.
Being kind as a way of life, I have learned across the years, also more quickly dispels difficult circumstance and uncomfortable emotion and in such a healing way that it refocuses you to add all the more meaning into your life. This “kindness” energy becomes its own inviolable asset that holds a peace and joy and loving calm that then rewards you to build a wealth of spirit into other areas of your life. Kindness enhances you.
The ironic power in kindness is that it heals the giver more. If my dad was laughing back then at my childhood antics, it is because he felt the energy of added kindness healing his heart and filling his bones along with me. Our love was free and it hadn’t any expectation of return. Unconditional kindness is more than being positive and optimistic. It’s as much being sincere to your action that you can better hold to a peace through things.
A kindness consciousness is a kind of wealth that fills your bank. With kindness as your armour, your pockets are always stocked and your heart is always more than half full. You really needn’t anything much of concern to hold you to your to-do list when kindness is in everything. Best, with kindness in your pocket the best lists do not matter! Kindness as your currency of expression always keeps you high in the field and most on top of your game.
It’s very true that love and gentleness through things can make the world go round. Love is actually a big free energy made up of many little kindness steps. Give it thought and be playful. And what if people only decided to become competitive on matters of kindness over material accumulations? I daydreamed it often as a little one. Oh, what a spiritually wealthy world we would be.
Photography by Marina Mashaal