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  1. #1
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Red face How do you expand kindness?

    I've been curious about this for a while, as I've started to absorb the relationship between kindness to others, kindness for one's self, well-being, and calmness. I recently bought a book by Pema Chondron called Start Where You Are. The premise is that by accepting the pain and difficulty in your own life without pushing it away, and by sharing the things you already have (as opposed to pushing away your pain and clinging to your happiness) you can increase kindness and compassion. I think she's onto something.

    What are your thoughts on kindness? on Pema's advice? Challenges associated with being kind? Benefits? Stories? Whatever?

    One of the pitfalls I see is in being a fake and exhausting yourself. The balance between honesty, genuineness, and kindness has always interested me. I suppose it points to the fact that even in one's quest to be more kind, people have to be patient and kind to themselves.

    Who's the kindest person you've ever met in real life?

    For me it's probably this bass player I played with in college. Kinda-nerdy, but really soft spoken and you could tell he was really listening to you when you talked to him. Super-chill guy.

    What can a person do to expand kindness?

  2. #2

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    Kindness towards all is great. We should strive to expand it as much as possible. Dare we go to the point of Jesus' level of kindness and love?

    But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-28).


    I have trouble with this but realize its value. I am not familiar with Pema Chondron but a really good book on this subject is Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh. This book changed my life and it is really pretty simple. Simplicity is often the best anyway.

    As far as the kindest person I have ever met, well, I know it is cliche but that would have to be my mother. She really is an example of a person that loves all. It amazes me.
    Happy colored marbles that are rolling in my head..." - Ween

  3. #3
    ♪♫♪♫♪♫ luminous beam's Avatar
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    Red face yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    I've been curious about this for a while, as I've started to absorb the relationship between kindness to others, kindness for one's self, well-being, and calmness. I recently bought a book by Pema Chondron called Start Where You Are. The premise is that by accepting the pain and difficulty in your own life without pushing it away, and by sharing the things you already have (as opposed to pushing away your pain and clinging to your happiness) you can increase kindness and compassion. I think she's onto something.
    What are your thoughts on kindness? on Pema's advice? Challenges associated with being kind? Benefits? Stories? Whatever?
    from what you say, the premise of her book and the advice she gives makes sense to me. it sounds like she's teaching how to let yourself feel and accept pain, the hardest feeling to accept of them all. it is probably the hardest because it humbles you to know that you're flawed and hurting and makes you vulnerable addressing and accepting this. in other words, she is teaching you how to re-attach yourself emotionally (for those of you who are pros at emotional detachment aka a defense mechanism). if you can handle being vulnerable around others, you will most likely treat them w/kindness because exposing yourself to emotion reminds you that you're human. emotion is universal, if you can identify with your own you can identify w/others' (this is known as empathy). if you see others as equals and can relate to them, i don't really see how you couldn't be kinder and nicer to people.


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    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    I think true kindness and compassion are supposed to come from empathy and concern for others and not from ego? And definitely not from a sense of obligation.

    Or maybe it is, when you realize people are connected and need to look out for each other.

    I think the worst place for kindness and generosity to come from is fear of karma or fear of loss of social standing or need to prove publicly to judgemental people that you're generous, etc.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

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  5. #5
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    In a horse race, I always back the horse called, "Self-interest" -

    Because I know he is trying to win.
    Last edited by Mole; 06-27-2008 at 07:35 PM.

  6. #6
    seor member colmena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    I think true kindness and compassion are supposed to come from empathy and concern for others and not from ego? And definitely not from a sense of obligation.

    Or maybe it is, when you realize people are connected and need to look out for each other.

    I think the worst place for kindness and generosity to come from is fear of karma or fear of loss of social standing or need to prove publicly to judgemental people that you're generous, etc.
    Do you think that just because the intention isn't of the utmost integrity, that people can't learn through experience?

    Surely compassion comes from experience anyway (whether that be from self-development, or rubbed off from others), fulfilling a sense of obligation might just be a forceful way of starting a presumably more rewarding experience. Although I would state that it shouldn't be short-term for a bit of piece of mind.
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    Senior Member helen's Avatar
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    I find it difficult to extricate my ideal of kindness from my faith and religious beliefs, so I'll have to express it in those terms.

    Believing in Christ's sacrifice for me should fill me with such humility and gratitude towards him, that these feelings flow over naturally into kindness and empathy for others, knowing that he made the same sacrifice for them. I am more or less kind depending on how focused my thoughts are on Christ.

    When you go through a spiritual conversion (especially to Christianity, which is what I am familiar with) there is this whole process of coming to realize your weaknesses, failings, and that you are generally unacceptable. After hitting bottom like this, you realize that if Christ has accepted you anyway, you must have the humility and courage to accept yourself. Tillich said that one must have "the courage to accept that you are accepted despite being unacceptable." I really like that. I don't see how it could fail to lead to more kindness towards others and oneself.

    Perhaps the ideas you mentioned in that book are a secular version of what I am trying to describe?

  8. #8
    Member Mercurial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    I think the worst place for kindness and generosity to come from is fear of karma or fear of loss of social standing or need to prove publicly to judgemental people that you're generous, etc.
    Agreed. People that view and use kindness as currency invoke my ire.

    True kindess is self-fulfilling and doesn't need outside approval.

    Social protocol can have a positive effect in that a person's underlying reasons for their actions can shift as they get older. The initial protocol can put the external habits in place until age and wisdom catch up. I guess that's my way of saying I'm not entirely against synthetic kindness--especially since it's better than social standing accomplished with machetes.

  9. #9
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    Kindness, to me, is about allowing someone to be his or her self while at the same time maintaining your boundaries. It's listening and being 100% present when they're talking to you. It's being accepting of the person, but not necessarily the behavior. It's making them feel comfortable while also making sure you, yourself, are comfortable. Kindness is love for your fellow person.. suspending judgment when they open up to you. It is never charity.. it is just as much a gift to he who gives it than to he who receives it.

  10. #10
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colmena View Post
    Do you think that just because the intention isn't of the utmost integrity, that people can't learn through experience?

    Surely compassion comes from experience anyway (whether that be from self-development, or rubbed off from others), fulfilling a sense of obligation might just be a forceful way of starting a presumably more rewarding experience. Although I would state that it shouldn't be short-term for a bit of piece of mind.
    I think as with many social behaviors, kindness can be encouraged or learned in childhood. Just like 'good manners'. Whatever gets the ball rolling.

    Ideally children and adults also think about why they do what they do and why certain behaviors are encouraged and others not.

    I guess in response to the OP it also depends on how you define kindness.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

    "I'm outtie 5000" ― Romulux

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