Written by Michael J. Chase
The Dalai Lama once said, “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” What a simple yet profound creed! Having adopted this same philosophy, I’ve discovered that this belief system supports not only my own spiritual journey, but more important, all of life.
Unlike some religions that reject people for a variety of unkind reasons, the doctrine of unconditional kindness leaves no room for judgment or exclusion. No person, creature, or part of this planet is left out. As a way of life and our daily intention, this commitment becomes our greatest vehicle for consistently experiencing happiness and the energy of love.
Created as just one word (because living and kindness shouldn’t be separate), Livingkindness has three main principles for establishing a heart-centered life. By adopting each one, you’ll notice positive changes in yourself and everyone around you.
The three principles are:
Kindness toward yourself. Self-kindness means nourishing your life with healthy food, exercise, laughter, a career you love, and personal and spiritual growth. It also means making room in your schedule for activities that inspire you, spending some time alone in silence, and always choosing kind thoughts about yourself.
Kindness toward others. You’ll encounter dozens of opportunities each day to be kind to others. Practice kindness toward your family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. Speak kind words about people, be a good listener, smile often, and give sincere compliments.
Kindness toward the earth. Make time each day to be kind to the earth. This practice starts with simple things that you may already be doing. Ride your bike or walk (rather than drive), recycle, pick up trash, purchase environmentally friendly products, and be compassionate toward animals and all living things.
By asking, “am I being kind toward others, the earth, and myself?” you’ll find it possible to stay on a genuine path of kinder living. There will be days when it’s difficult to adhere to this philosophy, to say the least. Existing in a world that often feels complex and stressful, most people simply can’t sustain this practice 100 percent of the time.
Know that you don’t need to become perfect or act like a programmed “kindness robot”; a much more achievable goal is to change your kindness-to-unkindness ratio. For example, if you feel that you maintain a kind lifestyle only half the time, consider new ways to live benevolently 70 percent of your day. A 70/30 ratio is a powerful step toward changing the consciousness of this planet. Just imagine if all people were at 70 or 80 percent! This collective energy would undoubtedly cause the negativity on the planet to implode.
To believe in the possibility that you could consistently live at 90 or 100 percent is quite unrealistic and will ultimately only lead to frustration. Go easy on yourself. If you feel that you’re currently living 30 percent from your heart and 70 percent from your head, and tomorrow you increase to 31 percent from your heart, that’s wonderful! Your only goal should be to improve and move forward each day. Of course, the more you grow, the happier and more at peace you’ll become; but it doesn’t benefit you to spend time judging or, especially, comparing yourself to those around you. Just make it your intention each day to consciously do a little more for others, and watch how quickly your life begins to change.
Perhaps our best-known teachings at The Kindness Center are the 9 Elements of a Kind Heart. These nine Components have been instrumental in teaching at schools, talking to businesses, and working with individuals. Each one reveals what kindness truly looks like when it’s broken down into specific qualities and applied to our daily lives.
Students have used these elements to become kinder in the classroom, while employees have discovered their power in both customer and co-worker relations. Each one can be likened to a piece of a heart-shaped puzzle; when only a few of the pieces are put together, it appears fragmented, with many empty spaces. But when the puzzle is completed, the heart is vibrant and fully alive!
By applying the 9 Elements of a Kind Heart to everything you do, you’ll discover the secret to communicating with love and inviting endless blessings into your life. These elements are instrumental to living a life of kindness.
A kind heart is...
... Attentive. An attentive heart recognizes the needs of others.
... Authentic. An authentic heart is genuine and acts from truth.
... Charitable. A charitable heart gives yet expects nothing in return.
... Compassionate. A compassionate heart is sensitive toward all living things.
... Courageous. A courageous heart acts from love rather than fear.
... Enthusiastic. An enthusiastic heart displays limitless energy and passion.
... Grateful. A grateful heart is content and filled with appreciation.
... Inspirational. An inspirational heart encourages and motivates others.
... Patient. A patient heart waits and responds at the proper moment.
This article was excerpted with permission from the book:
am i being kind: how asking one simple question can change your life...and your world
by Michael J. Chase.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Hay House Inc. ©2011. www.hayhouse.com
Affectionately known as “The Kindness Guy,” Michael J. Chase is an author, inspirational speaker, and a powerful voice for creating a kinder world. At the age of 37, following a life-changing epiphany, Michael ended an award-winning photography career to found The Kindness Center. After gaining extensive media attention for his 24 hours of kindness event, he quickly became a sought-after speaker and workshop leader throughout the world. Considered an expert on the subject of kindness, Michael has inspired thousands to make positive choices that not only impact their own lives, but also those of others. Visit his website: www.TheKindnessCenter.com.