“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
Maya Angelou (1928-2014)
Poet, novelist and activist for American civil rights.
Today words abound until they become a noise, in the eagerness for communication the real connection can disappear and in the presence of excessive stimuli the capacity of wonderment can dissolve away. We speak, write and receive information like never before in history; our world is broader than that of our ancestors and we have developed amazing capabilities and devices for rapid and efficient communication. However, the times when we listen attentively, when we have a real communion or when there is the complete presence of our being in a dialogue, today are even more rare.
Even with this panorama, on occasions moments arise when we establish genuine heartfelt meetings that remind us that we came into the world holding each other by the hand. These connections are characterized, by their sincerity, equality and understanding. In other words, they make us transparent and open the way to quieten our judgements and invoke compassion. The experience of these events produces plenitude, meaning and serenity in our existence.
But beyond the individual dimension, meetings of this nature have the power to heal and transform others. And if one is capable of perceiving the underlying profoundness of a dialogue or a sincere connection (the intangible value), one will be in the presence of a Unity and harmony beyond the apparent separation between others and oneself.
In spiritual paths and moral systems, acts of goodness, care in the use of words, charity and the cultivation of empathy (in general terms, kindness) hold an essential role. In the first place, these paths look to establish a code of individual and collective conduct that guides us towards self-control and guarantees a social order. In second place, the diverse paths for self-development put an emphasis on kindness as they are looking to re-ligare (in latin); this means, to reunite the human being with his essential nature, and with Others (people, creatures and his surroundings).
This last objective of unity reveals to us two valuable aids by practicing kindness. Firstly, that the conscious pact to act with kindness directs our will to dispossess us from egotism, arrogance and indifference. It guides us to new forms of being and self-expression in the world, in logical ways that are distinct from individualism. In a sincere meeting it is fundamental that we are completely present, and with the dynamic force of kindness we can unite our physical, emotional and mental being to be open to receive others. This integration converts us into a channel for the expression of surrender and compassion. In conclusion, the will to express kindness unites us with our essence of goodness and generosity.
The second aid, transcends the individual’s sphere and takes kindness to a field where it is capable of connecting and moving other hearts. In buddhism even gazing upon a person in the spirit of goodness is considered a valuable offering, and it is on this argumentative line that we can say that the word, the gesture and the symbol that manifests a truly friendly act are homages to the existence of others. An action that is offered in this way sows seeds of consolation, healing and transformation in others. It stays in the memory and it is capable of harmonizing what was dissonant, giving us hope about the future of the world.
True meetings and the power of kindness, have their essential value in the fact that it takes us back to our identity as loving beings, capable of empathy, comprehension and sacrifice. The apparent simplicity of acts of kindness can be contrasted with the effort required from our nature to always manifest ourselves with compassion and goodness. And the subtlety of the impact of kindness in the world defers with its capacity to propagate in the hearts of others when faced with their suffering.
Today we can initiate a pact to accept kindness as a practice and make our nature more luminous. Today we can express it on more occasions. We came into the world with Others and it depends on each one of us to make this reality a place for realization and mutual care.