Kindness as Cure

Super Hero w heartI’m writing this from the Manchester/Boston Regional Airport as I wrap up another visit to New Hampshire where I spoke at an annual professional meeting.

My talk, Rock Your Super Power at Work (no cape necessary), highlighted the research that exists on the link between choosing to be kind, and our well-being mentally, emotionally and physically.

I was further suggesting in my talk that anyone – regardless of title, position or salary – can impact change for the better in any organization by simply being kind.

The data in numerous research studies strongly suggests that there is a “positive feedback loop” between being kind to others and feeling content and happy in our own lives.

Performing random acts of kindness helps boost our sense of well-being in part because they activate the release of dopamine in our brains. When we are kind to others, our brains produce endorphins. These in turn induce a physical feeling similar to an opiate “high”.

In other words, if we’re feeling down, a little depressed or otherwise “meh“,…we should do something nice for someone – and science says we’ll turn our misery around. According to research summarized in a fact sheet published by Dartmouth Wellness, active kindness (being kind in word and deed) decreases pain, anxiety, depression, cortisol levels (which raise under stressful conditions), and blood pressure.

But there’s even more reason to up our Vitamin K(indness): it seems we really can change the world – no matter who we are or where we live.

“The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to pay it forward.” [Dartmouth Wellness Fact Sheet]

Kindness is Catching

image from kindness.org

As I shared with the group I today, this means that we don’t have to be a CEO to make positive change at work; a mayor or council person to make positive changes in our community.

We can begin where we are right now, and plant seeds of kindness that will impact the people around us and ultimately, the world.

I’ve always liked Wayne Dyer’s counsel on kindness: “When you have the choice to be right, or to be kind – choose kindness.

And so it is.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

Kindness research/references:

 

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Enough for everyone’s need

In the meditation group that I lead we will be pondering the concept of greed this week. I was initially inspired to explore this with the group as I was reading the Isha Upanishad, beautifully translated by Eknath Eswaren.

The Isha opens with this text:

All this is full. All that is full.
From fullness, fullness comes.
When fullness is taken from fullness,
Fullness still remains.
Om shanti – shanti – shanti

In the translation, Eswaren shares that Gandhi felt that the Isha Upanishad in many ways, holds the core truths of Hinduism. Interesting as this is the shortest of the known Upanishads,  but it communicates a great truth – that our wealth lies not in what we amass, but in realizing spiritual abundance.

This time of year there is always a push in New Thought centers and churches to teach prosperity. While I agree that most of us can use regular reminders on thinking in a more abundant way; too often these prosperity classes focus on demonstrating dollars and cents, which according to many major sacred texts is a way to poverty – not abundance.

In the Christian Bible Jesus says to a crowd that is following him:

“…take care, and be on your guard against all greed, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12)

In the Hebrew scriptures, from Proverbs:

A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched. (Proverbs 28:25)

In the Tao te Ching:

There is no crime greater than greed
No disaster greater than discontentment
No fault greater than avarice
Thus the satisfaction of contentment
is the lasting satisfaction. (46.5-9)

And from the Isha Upanishad:

The Lord is enshrined in the hearts of all.
The Lord is the supreme Reality.
Rejoice in him through renunciation.
Covet nothing. All belongs to the Lord.

 

Avoiding greed is common guidance across cultures and ethnic peoples and the materialism that pervades Western society today makes it hard NOT to fall into a greed mindset.

Materialism reinforces a “paradigm of scarcity“. If we can count what we consider to be our wealth, and lock it away, or use our resources to buy more than someone else,… we can lose it.

If we count our wealth as dollars, when someone takes some or we spend it – we have less.

If we count our wealth as those gifts of Spirit, or “resources of consciousness” such as peace, love, meaning, respect – we can never run out. No one can take what is ours, and no matter how much we give away, we remain full.

From fullness, fullness comes. When fullness is taken from fullness, fullness still remains.

In my own pondering of the topic I found that it was easy to point out greed in others, but a little more challenging to look directly at the greed I express in my own life.

If we accept the unity consciousness theory that we’re all connected, and that we can really only control our own actions; we do have the ability to impact greed in the larger world. We simply must begin where we are right now.

As we ponder this topic, here are some areas to consider:

  • food waste
    • how often do we pick up carry out restaurant food on the way home when there are viable, if not as exciting, options at home?
  • retail therapy
    • how many times do we spend money on clothing, or other items to “feel better” instead of limiting our purchases to acquire something that we need?
  • compliments and praise
    • how often do we sit quietly when someone is criticizing another person at work, when we know that they, too, have value and contribute to the team efforts?
  • power grabs
    • how often do we insist on doing something in a certain way, citing the rules, the regulations, the guidelines – when in truth, what we want is for us and not the greater good of the group or organization?
  • traffic etiquette

mahatma-gandhi-31

Gandhi is quoted as saying:

“There is enough in the world for everyone’s need;

there is not enough for everyone’s greed.”

As we enter the welcome 3-day weekend made possible by federal recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, I will be pondering the role of greed in my own life choices; in the larger society (racism is clearly rooted in a belief that there’s not enough) and looking inward for how I can make changes that will contribute to a leveling so that we can realize for every man, woman and child – enough for everyone’s need.

And so it is.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

 

Motives and manifesting

LaoTzu

During his life, Wayne Dyer taught from many spiritual texts and traditions, including the Tao te Ching. This holy book is attributed to someone named Lao Tzu but scholars now think that it is a collection of wisdom that was common in the period and geography (China) from which it emerged.

One of the many profound lessons in the Tao te Ching is repeated in other sacred texts and involves the perspective we take toward the goals in our lives.

Wayne Dyer described it as an energy that asks not “what’s in it for me?” but “How may I serve?” In a blog that was posted before his death and appears to still be maintained,  Wayne wrote of this concept.

Lao-tzu says that doors don’t open while we have attachment to physical things for ourselves. What he calls the angelic guides or Source energy doesn’t enter our lives until we take the focus off “what’s in it for me?” and instead focus on “how may I serve?”

This is a clear coaching moment on examining our motives in the things we are trying to achieve. What is our end-goal?

This is always important but especially so if we are in a leadership position where “what we want” can set a tone for the direction of an organization or business. Are we pushing hard toward a goal that serves the larger organization or is it something WE want; something that serves primarily our own personal agenda?

We’ve seen this play out on the national scene such as with the Enron debacle and other major business implosions, but the lesson remains the same in situations large and small. We cannot hide from spiritual law.

…Source energy doesn’t enter our lives until we take the focus off “what’s in it for me?” … and instead focus on “how may I serve?” Take the focus off scarcity and lack and visualize service. That’s how Spirit works—when we’re letting go, when we’re not trying, not chasing.  ~Wayne Dyer

And so it is.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

A blessing for the New Year

KathaIn reading and studying the Upanishads, I have especially enjoyed the verses that precede each body of text.

Coming from the Judeo-Christian perspective that I was raised in, it is fascinating to me how much in common there is between these major religions (Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity).

Yes, there are significant differences, but there’s more alignment than fundamentalists on any side would care to admit.

Here is the opening to the Katha Upanishad which is known as a favorite across time.

May the Lord of Love protect us. May the Lord of Love nourish us. May the Lord of Love strengthen us. May we realize the Lord of Love. May we live with love for all; may we live in peace with all.

OM shanti shanti shanti

In Hindu tradition, the word ‘Lord’ is used as much as it is in the Christian tradition. If the semantics of that bother you, simply replace the word ‘Law’ for ‘Lord’ (“May the Law of Love,…” etc.)

As we bid 2017 adieu, I can think of no more important seeds to plant in the New Year than seeds of love and peace.

May we indeed live with love for all and in peace with all.

And so it is.

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path

A prosperous New Year

I wanted to share an online opportunity to “step up” to spiritual prosperity in 2018…

These principles work – and I have demonstrated their efficacy many times in my life, but it’s important to understand that they are not tickets to jackpots; so be prepared for deep learning, spiritual growth & yes, increased prosperity!

Start your New Year off with a gift to yourself!