Choosing Kindness…Now

Have you ever wondered why we refer to certain people as saints?  What makes a person a saint in the eyes of others?

It seems to me that the difference between a saint and an ordinary person relates to the fact that a saint has decided to live in the world as if the structures, rules, and expectations laid down by their society are not the guiding principles of life; a saint puts love ahead of all else in this world. Saints trust their inner guidance above external projections of how they ought to behave, and they unflinchingly set their heart’s compass to love’s True North.

Saints plunge deep within themselves, figure out what brings them joy, and then deliver their gifts to the world without conditions. By moving through this world as only they can do—by living richly, openly, and in a constant state of trust in life itself—saintsironically wield more power to influence reality than the most self-satisfied or successful of billionaires. Having renounced social conformity and surrendered all hope of meeting the expectations or demands of others, saints set themselves free to express the wondrous gift of who they are.

We find ourselves either drawn to (or repulsed by) saints because they serve as a mirror for what we too might accomplish, should we choose to take our own life to the extreme, the way they have. That’s because saints discard the vanished past and ignore the nonexistent future; they choose instead to be present and alive in the only moment in which they hold any power to make a difference: this holy NOW moment. Deep down, each of us knows we possess that same ability to decide how present we wish to be in our own lives. If we accept that about ourselves, we may be drawn to saints as positive role models. If, on the other hand, we live in denial about our power to choose (because it means we might have to change the way we live) we may poke fun at, or even denigrate, the saints.

The thought of surrendering all our attachments to history and all our desires to control the future can terrify our minds; which likely explains why all of us aren’t saints! Yet if each of us simply chose to do a few nice things for others every day—without passing judgment, without fear of lack, and without expecting some comparable form ofpayback—this world would become a nicer place for us all. And if each of us chose to be just a teensy bit kinder to everyone we met, we’d live in a far more compassionate reality.

The thing is, we can always choose right now to be kind, compassionate, loving, receptive, patient, supportive, open, courageous, generous or giving. Conversely, we can choose right now to be fearful, withdrawn, irritable, impatient, close-minded, reactive, judgmental, violent or cruel. It truly costs us nothing (other than our own unexamined beliefs) to practice and discover which way feels best.

When I began my own investigation into how I wanted to behave toward other people, I began to experience reality in a new way. I discovered this world to be far less harsh and cruel than I’d once imagined. And when I realized this world was less harsh and cruelthan I’d perceived it to be, I developed the courage to be kinder and even more loving. I started to notice that no matter how much I gave away, the whole of life remained right here—flowing within me and bursting out all around me—available to address my every need.

Joy and peace replaced fear and stress as my default life experience. How strange it was to realize how long I’d been clinging to money and material possessions out of fear of future lack, when in truth there is no such thing as scarcity! How can anyone live in scarcity, when there’s nowhere else for anything to be, beyond here and now? Scarcity, it seems, exists only in our fevered imaginations, in our thoughts of the past and our fears of some unknown future. We create it by behaving as if it’s real.

With that realization I discovered life’s open secret, which I will now share. This holy moment of NOW is life’s only constant; it will never abandon us in our hour of need. Now truly is the greatest present that we have ever received, because now is all we need to be alive. The moment we embrace this present we can walk in loving kindness with grace and ease, because this present is filled to overflow with everything there is!

You here—yes you…right now—exist as an integral part of this present, so why not open wide the gift of yourself, and see what that opening brings? You have nothing to lose, for there’s nowhere else for anything to go beyond here and now.

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