“The ‘renunciations’ we have already considered, sacrifice, purification, and charity, are the three highest of human activities. You should never give them up.” –The Bhagavad Gita, A Walkthrough for Westerners by Jack Hawley.
I just finished reading this epic and ancient poem. Despite the fact that it wasn’t altogether 200 pages, there was so much to learn from it that I found my head exploding from all angles.
One of many important lessons I took away from it was that kindness is the gateway to pure, untainted love, or Godly love. Compassion is a trait that we tend to admire and venerate, but how many of us truly keep it at the forefront of our operating systems on a daily basis? I definitely don’t.
What’s more, when we are compassionate, are we being kind for the sake of being kind because it’s right and loving, or because we want want something — whether it be a material, emotional, or a spiritual reward.
This was a big ‘aha’ moment for me. Be kind to be kind. Period. Full stop. It ends there. What a simultaneously freeing and terrifying idea!
In one sense, it simplifies things because it gives you an internal compass to follow. When in doubt, be kind. But in another, it complicates things. How can you know if you’re truly being selfless? How do you know when to stop being kind, and when you’re being overly presumptuous or invasive?
As I attempt to walk the path of compassion, I’ll try to remember that my intentions will guide me no matter where I find myself. Simply refuse to give up being kind for the sake of being kind, and you’ll be helping yourself as well as everyone around you!
How do you practice compassion and kindness? Let me know in the comments!