Just Be Kind
"Very simple. Just be kind.
Only on this breath."
Often we can find ourselves trying very hard to cultivate peace and happiness in our lives. We try meditation, we pray, we read books and go on retreats, yet despite our heroic efforts, the joy and bliss we long for seems to allude us, except for brief moments when we forget our search, and simply relax with the way things are. But what if the key to being joyful and at peace is to simply be kind to others, even when we don't feel like it (especially when we don't feel like it!)? What if we were to make our spiritual practice about cultivating this one quality, and to commit ourselves to practicing it in every moment of our lives?
Of course, before we can begin to be kind to others, we must first cultivate kindness toward ourselves. Usually, we hold back affection for ourselves because we feel we aren't quite yet good enough. But as the Buddha once said, kindness toward others is impossible until we have learned to be kind toward ourselves, just as we are. This can be very difficult for most people, who feel they are not worthy of their own affection and love. But what if we just begin to focus on each mindful breath we take as the highest act of kindness toward ourselves? What if we begin to 'feel' the breath as pure joy, and open to each moment as an expression of that joy?
What we might find is that it is then much easier to express kindness, not only toward ourselves, but toward every being that shows up in our experience. Through this practice, our lives will begin to feel much lighter and happier, and this joy will radiate from us like a million suns, touching everyone who crosses our path. All that is ever required is to just be kind, on every breath, and open our hearts to whatever shows up in our lives, without holding anything back.