An exploration of Kindness

be-kindFor the 6 weeks from early September to mid-October Tuere will be on retreat. During that time we’ve decided to focus our dharma practice and discussions around our experience of kindness in day-to-day life. We’re not necessarily talking about metta meditations here, although someone may choose that as a weekly focus.

Tuere left us with the exhortation to go beyond what we imagine kindness to be or feel like to the space within everything in which kindness actually is. She suggested we imagine the stillness of our meditation hall before we arrive and how that stillness is present even while we are there, moving, talking, eating. In the same way, kindness is always with us if we can lean into that place.

Each week another member of our group will “lead” the exploration. Any “homework” will be posted on this site so even if you are just coming for a meeting or two, you’ll know what is coming. This will all be in the comments section of this post. We’ve also setup a calendar tab so you can see who is leading each week. We will still be doing a sutta on the 4th Thursday.

Please respond with insights, suggestions, questions, or comments at any point during these 6 weeks. We are helping each other on this path.

If you haven’t subscribed to this blog yet, now would be a great time to do so. There’s a spot on the bottom right of the page to “Follow us by email”.

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13 responses to “An exploration of Kindness

  1. Spencer here. I’m kicking off our kindness month with a piece of “homework”. For the next few days, notice when someone has been kind to you. There is a one page form you can fill out (or not) on the Handouts page of this website. Although it has a section for kindnesses you did, that’s not part of this homework. We’ll explore how kindness feels and how easy or hard it is to even notice when we meet.

  2. Thanks guys, nicely organized!

  3. Thanks to Spencer for a great first night without Tuere. We’re going to pick up where he left off and continue to use the homework handout to bring awareness to kindness in our daily life. Please consider setting an intention and watching for both kindness you receive and that you give during the week.

    Also, the promised link for the Compassion Games is http://www.compassiongames.org. You can sign up to receive a daily email through the 21st with suggestions. And if you’re on Facebook you can sign up to be a Secret Agent of Compassion at https://www.facebook.com/SecretAgentofCompassion

  4. Our dear friend Karin in Eugene writes poetry. Here is today’s…entitiled:
    “Kindness and blessings” a koro poemos…

    The kinder the heart
    the more beauty emanates
    the more we are healed

    Such gifts have come my
    way, I thank God for each chance
    to give something back

    In giving even
    silent blessings to those we
    pass, the matrix mends.

  5. Here’s an interesting monologue from Conan O’Brien. It was when he left the Tonight Show and guess what? He says kindness rules……more or less.
    http://www.wimp.com/conanwords/

  6. Hi Everyone, So this is the what I’d like to spend my time discussing on Thursday. If you have an hour to listen to this great. But it’s about kindness to yourself, and a practice of the 3 Gestures of Love. If you have time, please apply this practice to yourself, and when you thank yourself, please thank the space within. We’ll go over more on Thursday! Hope this gets to everyone! Kamal http://ec.libsyn.com/p/c/c/a/cca0d1fd5bb4195a/2013-07-24-Three-Gestures-of-Love-TaraBrach-hq.mp3?d13a76d516d9dec20c3d276ce028ed5089ab1ce3dae902ea1d01c0873ed8cd5e22f0&c_id=5907235

  7. Here is an exercise I would like you all to do this week. I hope you will find it to be fun and insightful.
    This is from a book by Jan Chozen Bays “How To Tame A Wild Elephant & other Adventures In Mindfulness”

    Secret Acts of Virtue:
    Each day for a week engage in a secret act of kindness. Do something nice or needed for others, but do so anonymously. These acts can be very simple, like washing someone else’s dishes that were left in the sink, picking up trash on the sidewalk, cleaning the bathroom sink (when it’s not your job), make an anonymous donation, or leaving a chocolate on a coworker’s desk.

    Reminding yourself:
    Place a notebook on your bedside table and use it to make a plan each night for what your secret act of virtue will be the next day.

    Discoveries:
    It’s unexpectedly fun to plan and do nice things in secret for others. Once you take on this task in earnest, you begin looking around for new ideas, and the possibilities begin to multiply. “Oh, tomorrow I could have a cup of hot tea waiting on her desk, or I could clean the mud of his running shoes on the porch.” It’s like being a superhero named Secret Virtue, who, in the dark of night, creeps about doing good deeds. There’s the excitement of trying not to get caught, and, as some people admitted, there can also be a bit of disappointment at not being caught or acknowledged. Even more interesting is remaining silent as someone else is thanked for the gift we gave anonymously.
    Have fun with this and see you Thursday.

    • Here it the Forgiveness Practice I used during our sit.
      I learned it from my teacher Arinna Weisman during a retreat.

      We offer the practice of forgiveness to ourselves:
      May I forgive myself
      May I allow myself to be a student of life and still learning.
      May I allow myself to be imperfect and make mistakes.
      I understand that I am on a path where learning does not stop and I am always a student.
      May I forgive myself.
      May I unburden my heart and body of the judgements I have about myself.
      May I forgive myself and if I cannot forgive myself right now, no problem.
      I am on the right path and I may be able to do so in the future.
      May I forgive myself.
      May I allow myself to be a student of life and still learning.
      May I allow myself to be imperfect and get lost in reactivity.
      May I forgive myself.

      Forgiving someone who has hurt you:
      May I forgive you for triggering me; I know it was not your intention.
      May I allow you to be a student of life and allow you to be imperfect.
      May I forgive you.
      If forgiveness is not possible now, no problem.
      I know I am on the right path by setting the intention.
      If my healing progresses I may be ready to forgive.

      Asking someone who you have hurt for forgiveness:
      May you forgive me.
      May you too allow me to be a student of life and to make mistakes.
      If you are not ready to forgive me now, no problem.
      May you be able to do so in the future.
      May you forgive me.

      Here is the poem I read at the end of the evening.

      Clearing
      Do not try to save the whole world
      or anything grandiose,
      instead create a clearing,
      in the dense forest of your life,
      and wait there patiently
      until the song that is your life
      falls into your cupped hands,
      and you recognize and greet it;
      only then will you know how to give
      yourself to this world
      so worthy of rescue.
      Martha Postlewaite

  8. I am asking all of you to try this equality practice during this week, as a way of supporting kindness. When you walk out your door whoever you encounter- bus driver, bus passengers, UPS driver, hurried pedestrians or bicyclists, fellow employees, store clerks… think “just like me, this person wants happiness and doesn’t want suffering. Just like me, this person doesn’t want stress and illness and misery. Just like me, this person wants comfort and safety and ease. When this person has a headache she/he wants to be free of it. When he hurts, he wants relief.” –Look forward to working further with this practice next Thursday. Nora

    This is from The Path of Transformation (Equality Practice), by Pema Chodron
    Really allow yourself to be touched by the awareness that each one of these people is just like you in these wishes. The more personal we make it, the more powerfully it will move our heart. I really appreciate this practice, because it lifts the barrier of indifference to other people’s joy, to their private pain, and to their wonderful uniqueness. I really appreciate this practice, because it lifts the barrier of indifference to other people’s joy, to their private pain, and to their wonderful uniqueness.

    This equality practice works well in our daily life. Instead of going through our day caught up in our own world, we can take a few minutes, or a few hours, to focus on the practice of equalizing. It is so simple and direct, and yet it’s a real eye-opener to consider others in this way. Just like me, this cashier who is looking tired wants happiness and doesn’t want suffering. Just like me, this parking attendant who seems impatient wants happiness and doesn’t want suffering. Just like me, all the people standing in this long line getting restless want happiness and don’t want suffering.”

  9. In our discussion Thursday last, Candy suggested flipping through cards listed with possible feelings as a practice Tuere had used. I’ve found a great list of feelings at http://www.naturalawareness.net . Click on the “Resources” link, scroll down to “Looking” then click on “Awareness of Feelings”. I can’t make the link take you directly there. Net gremlins at work.

  10. Thanks Spencer. Here’s a direct link to the PDF file so you don’t need to navigate to it: http://www.naturalawareness.net/feelings.pdf.

  11. This link is great. Thanks! Here’s one a bit off the topic of kindness – but an amazing neuroscientist’s experience very much related to mindfulness…..at least I thought so.

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