I have just been reading an inspiring article in The Times newspaper with this title 'Random Acts of Kindness'. Out of a very depressing and worrying time, so many heart warming stories are emerging which truly do bring hope for the future. I was talking with a friend the other day about the second world war and how difficult it must have been living through the blitz, for example. My friend commented that people seemed, looking back on that time, to have coped rather better than some people are managing with yet another lockdown, especially in these gloomy winter days. My thought was that in the war people were not isolated from one another - they were indeed all in it together, in the same streets, clearing up together after bombing, and in the same queues for rationed goods, chatting together, with no social distancing. I think it is the isolation from our usual friendly social meetings; not being actually together physically, rather than talking by Zoom or Whats App, which is proving the challenge.But the great thing is that people are finding ways around the isolation without
breaking the law! The 'Random Acts of Kindness' article tells the story of a young mother finding a bouquet of flowers on a park bench, with the note 'Hello stranger! If you find these flowers they were meant for you. Please take them home and enjoy them, you deserve it.' Of course this really made her day, and the article goes on to describe more about the local 'Kindness Project' which was behind this gesture and how it is growing and spreading to other towns - all the initiative of one individual wanting to cheer up her sister who had been working long hours as a hospital surgeon.
This article has made me start to think even more about the
quality of kindness, called in Buddhist philosophy 'metta' and described as 'a
strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others...an altruistic attitude of
love and friendliness, as distinguished from mere amiability based on
self-interest!' This quality of metta is inherent within White Eagle's teaching. In the Quiet Mind, for example, the
second chapter is entitled 'The Master Soul is loving, gentle and kind', and a favourite saying of mine in this chapter highlights the quality of giving
without any thought of return - like the gift of flowers for someone you do not
'To love is to give the Christ spirit within without any thought of return. You are all so apt to think that you must have a return for your love, but the soul has to learn to give love. Love is an inward beauty which flows from the heart, from the life.'
And this Love is something we can all give because it costs nothing and we all have it within us.