This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”
Today is World Kindness Day and, I am reminded of how important kindness is. Kind acts can be small and often go unnoticed and unrewarded. But they are significant nonetheless. A good deed does not have to be a dramatic self-sacrifice, there is everyday goodness that can be achieved daily with seemingly unremarkable and random acts. Kindness can be a smile for those around you, or a helping hand to your colleague. It can be the acknowledgement of someone’s pain, listening to someone’s story or lending someone a shoulder to cry on. I have experienced kindness many times, from the bus driver that waited while I ran the last meters, to the colleague who cancelled her plans for the evening to stay and help me finish my work.
Next time you stand in the queue at the supermarket, exhausted after a long day at work, try not to take your frustration out on the student working behind the register. She may be fumbling and getting everything wrong. She does not know the price of your special roasted peppers and has no idea what to do with the discount coupon. So what? What is 5 more minutes at the register compared to your life-time. So instead of rolling your eyes or mumbling something disparaging under your breath, why not smile instead? Why not thank her for her help, so that maybe she can go home and feel that her first week at a new job was not a complete disaster? And maybe your smile will give her a smile to pass on to the next customer, who will pass it on to whoever happens to cross their path. And if enough smiles spread around the world it will be a happier place for all of us.
I believe that kindness inspires kindness, that smiles are contagious, and that small gestures can make a bigger difference than we think.
World Kindness Day is the initiative of the World Kindness Movement.
Text about World Kindness Day by the Australian Kindness Movement
Other Kindness Resources:
For literature to inspire kindness I cannot but turn to Winnie-the-Pooh and the Moomin trolls but also to the Dalai Lama whose book Ancient Wisdom, Modern World: Ethics for the new Millenium I remember being inspired by (until I borrowed it to a friend who never returned it). At this link you can also find a poem on kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye.
For music try Foy Vance playing Indiscriminate Act of Kindness.