[Monday Message] Kindness in action

There is a difference between niceness and kindness.

Niceness is being a doormat. Nice is keeping sweet in the face of abuse. Nice has no boundaries. In kabbalistic terms, nice is being all the way over on the pillar of mercy. Its energy is scattered, wasted, feeds nothing.

Kindness is being willing to tell the uncomfortable truth in the moment in order to prevent greater discomfort. Kind is telling your friend she has broccoli stuck in her teeth, the woman coming out of the public restroom she has toilet paper stuck to her shoe, or “no” to your teenager. Kindness may require you to overcome fears or bad training, but it acknowledges the humanity in everyone involved. In kabbalistic terms, it is firmly planted in the middle pillar, a balance between severity and mercy, it is the same energy as compassion.

Acting kindly places us firmly in our heart center, because it affirms the connection between all things. Kindness asks us to offer our seat to someone who seems more tired than us, to let someone merge more easily in traffic, to go ahead of us in line at the grocery store if they only have a few items and we have a full basket. Being in our heart center, we are more at one with the Divine, and we experience a sense of peace. That experience allows us to take peace out into the world and share it with others, simply by being.

Being nice is as much out of balance as being aggressive. Both come from a place of ego and, therefore, fear. Kindness is the most empowering position to take in any situation, because it acknowledges boundaries and still comes from a place of universal love. It honors the appropriate needs of all involved. It comes from Godself.

The next time you want to roll over, or you want to lash out and push something or someone away, pause. Bring your attention into your heart center. Get in touch with your Divine Self. Reach out from that space to the heart space of the other person(s) involved, as if in a spiritual handshake. This is the action of Namaste or Gassho or Aloha. Feel the soles of your feet. Acknowledge your boundaries and needs as being equal to the other person’s, no more, no less. Allow your heartspace to guide you to Right Action.

This post is part of a series called Monday Message, based on that day’s reflection from 365 Days to Enlightenment (authorized versions are currently out of print, working on a new edition). Check back next Monday for another one! You can also sign up for the Daily Message on my mailing list if you’d like to receive a new reflection every day. I also often post them to Instagram and Twitter, if either of those is a medium you enjoy.

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