The other day on retreat Krishna Das pointed out that if we really want to see things accurately–and not just our projections–we must polish the mirror of our heart.
Only then, he says, can we act and RE-act differently, and not through the filters of our fear, anger, greed and self-centeredness.
This profound Sufi concept holds that only by removing the veil over our hearts can we achieve both personal and spiritual growth –and get closer to the Divine.
That means recognizing and gaining control over our lower instincts. This is even MORE important in today’s world, when we see so much low stuff all over the place–and we are tempted to respond in kind. I’ve succumbed to that temptation, too.
Our challenge is to polish our hearts so we can shine a light on these dark places. We must work hard to stay in a place of compassion for all beings. Harder than I’d like. And yes, even the ones hardest to love. This takes constant vigilance and effort.
Until it doesn’t. Until love and compassion become who we are.
That’s the aim.
I am a work in progress.
Aren’t we all?
I hope that this reminder inspires us all to practice kindness today and ever day. If you know someone who could use a little extra kindness, especially as the holidays approach, please consider these affordable gifts.
Last week I attended a lecture that was all about civility, peace, love and kindness.
I walked out of this warm and fuzzy session en masse and straight into something that challenged the messages of civility I’d heard in a big way. A small group was gathered around another. Voices were raised. The tone was ugly. The “protesters” weren’t getting what they wanted and they didn’t like it.
Our lecturer had just taught us ways to handle just such challenges–just minutes ago.
Yet, several who had heard the same lecture I had went off on an ugly rage, in public. Made a scene. A BIG, loud scene.
My first response was to feel assaulted. The rage wasn’t directed at me, but it was an assault on the peace of the morning.
My second response was to wonder how not a single word of the lecture we’d been at had gotten in. How just minutes later–less than five minutes later–they were unable to put it to use.
They were tone-deaf, you might say. And lots of people are like this.
Most folks hold a view of themselves as kind and loving, even as they do things like this, acts that are unkind or rude..Their view of themselves isn’t congruent with the reality they present. I know this well as there are people in my family of origin just like that.
What’s that about?
It’s about feeling insecure and “less-than.”
It’s about vulnerability and feeling that they must defend themselves against a hostile world.
And it’s about wanting what they want, regardless of the feelings of others.
But it CAN feel like an assault: a personal one or an assault against the senses.
I’m not going to lie: it’s aggravating. But it’s also sad and it’s that sadness that I try to connect with and remember that those who act out need our loving kindness more than anything. They need us to hold them in love and in kindness, because their behavior reflects their void in that area.
There’s little we can do when people act out in unkind ways that hurt or offend, but holding them with love and light is one thing we CAN do. I use it a lot. And there’s a way to do it.
I wrote about how to do a lovingkindness meditiation in April 2017 at my other site here.
In the post, I referred to Jack Kornfield’s writing on the subject; Jack actually spoke at Ram Dass’ Maui retreat last year. He was amazing.
It’s an important technique. I’m not going to say it isn’t a challenge, because our knee-jerk response to being hurt is to lash out. But that gets us nowhere.
We can only be responsible for ourselves, and I think we would all agree that the world needs more loving kindness. Try using compassion to view those who act out. And try the meditation. You might be surprised at the results.
We clean out our closets periodically, right? (At least theoretically…some of us are less diligent about that than others. Like me.) But what does kindness have to do with closets?
Our lives are sort of like closets. Things build up over time, get hidden away and remain there, stagnant, past their useful life.
Not everything in our closets is worth keeping and the same is true with things in our lives: jobs, activities and sometimes, even relationships and people.
We assume that everyone will be with us a lifetime, but that may not be their role. They may be here for just a season and then, having done what they arrived to do, move on.
I love the idea of letting go of things that have outlived their usefulness kindly. Without judgment. It can be hard to do but then again, once you’ve done it you see how easy it is to hold no grudges.
Was talking about this the other day with one of my nephews–about something big I’d let go of. It was so big my spirit guides had a lot to say about it in great detail. They don’t often advise directly but in this case they advice me to let it go immediately because it wasn’t mine to carry. “It had to be a big weight off you,” my nephew commented.
It’s surprising how much old baggage can weigh us down and even, at times, suck joy out of our lives. Even when we don’t realize it.
But for me, it’s helpful to evaluate everything in my life and determine what’s worth keeping. The rest? I let fly off into the wind in a breath of kindness.
And that’s the key. No harm, no foul. No grudge.
Speaking of kindness, check out all of my wonderful gifts to support those who are grieving or working at healing.
Movement raises our vibration.
You’ve probably read that we should be “raising our vibration” and you may be wondering what that means. That was MY question the first time I saw the term. What IS my vibration, why should I raise it and how? Here’s what all that means:
Everything is made of energy and vibrates at its own frequency. Our personal energy has a lot to do with what we put out into the world and from that, what we attract into our life. Put out good stuff, attract good stuff.
Our vibration is our universal life energy–our state of being, directly reflecting our inner thoughts, feelings, the things we choose to say and do. The goal is to hold more light.
High vibrations are associated with feelings of peace and happiness, euphoria even. Life is fulfilling and satisfying. We feel that we have enough and maybe even more than enough of what we need. (Not the same as wealth –more on that in another post)
I’ve read that the ancient Greeks introduced the concept of energy and especially the healing power of high vibration food and loving thoughts.
Higher vibrations open our intuitive and psychic channels, bringing us closer to Spirit. It becomes much easier to hear the guidance that’s always available to us, that inner voice that helps us make decisions. Higher vibrations also calm us and our body responds with lower blood pressure and fewer stress-related symptoms.
Lower vibrations are dense energy. You might notice fear, negativity and even boredom. Depression. Stress. Tension. Those symptoms are a sign that we need to detox the body and mind to release negative emotions and let go of limiting beliefs that keep us from feeling at peace with ourselves and the world.
The good news is that we can detox the body and raise our vibration. When we do that, we’ll notice positive changes in our well-being and even what is attracted into our life. It’s not that hard to do, either–we can raise our vibrations by taking care of ourselves and Mother Earth.
Here’s how: (and this really is just common sense)
Don’t consume TV news, which is full of negativity. Lots of news is like this so I rarely engage with it.
Don’t insult others, even politicians, on social media and don’t read others’ insults.
Open your heart.
Think loving thoughts. It’s not so hard.
Forgive. This is a big one.
Breathe deeply. Meditate or do 3 deep breaths often through out the day. Instant stress relief.
Move. Walk, hike, move.
Drink water. Lots of it to detox.
Eat high vibration foods, such as green, leafy vegetables, organic nuts, beans and legumes, spices, sprouts and especially fruits and vegetables fresh off the tree, bush or vine. Whole, organic food is a good guide.
Make acts of kindness and service. Whether you let a car cut in front of you to turn or you help the homeless, every little act of kindness counts.
As you raise your vibration what you’re doing is taking in light and also emanating light for the benefit of others.
There’s never been a greater need to send out in the world peace, love and tranquility. Even if it didn’t have an impact (and it does, but even if it didn’t) it makes us feel good. And that, alone, is a blessing..