Kindness is Your presence

(Once in a while, as I am writing my morning pages, along come thoughts that emerge fully formed. Here is this morning’s gift.)

Yesterday evening, coming home on the tube, I tried to practise kindness towards the other commuters. In the midst of all our jostling for position and selfish desire to claim a space in the train, I had a little success. If I see each person as one, like myself, who is struggling to get by in difficult, confusing, painful, uncertain, vulnerable circumstances, then I see that each of us is just doing what we think we need to muddle through. Each person on that tube is another myself just doing their best to scrape by. If, as they say, the opposite of love is not hate but fear, then this insight is the shift from fear, defensiveness, and competition, to love, kindness, and identification.

The feeling lasted when I got home. I was able to work on some outstanding emails and personal bookkeeping matters with the same quality of kindness towards myself and the task. I am trying to practise it now.

Kindness is embodying. While it originates in my heart, it is held by my back, and spreads throughout the rest of this body. It is a quality, or aspect, or condition of presence, which is also embodying. To be kind brings me present. To be present requires kindness. As I invoke the quality of kindness, I relax and come home to myself, and I open my eyes to what is here right now. True kindness, embodied, is also self-kindness.


I have just read:

Should You remain silent in me,
    I walk as in a desert waste.
Psalm 28

We want You to speak in us. When we don’t feel Your presence we feel bereft, as in a desert waste. The mistake we make is waiting for You to work some magic in us, to touch us, to speak, to make Your presence felt. When we practise kindness towards ourselves, towards others, towards the world; when we open ourselves in trust to You; when we lift up our hearts in a gentle stirring of love: this is Your voice; this is Your presence.

This longing
you express is the return message.
Rumi

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