Be kind to every living creature

Be kind to every living creature

Today I will be kind to every living creature.

What is kindness? It is tenderness, compassion and generosity. When we act kindly we are acting warm heartedly and with forgiveness.

In short, kindness is showing love through our thought, words and actions. This principle feels very special to me at this moment. One month ago we had a very bad house fire, but luckily we all escaped. I know in time my greatest memory of those first few days after the fire, will be the many acts of kindness that we received from our neighbours. Both those we knew well and those who were almost strangers to us. They saw people in need and offered their help.

But before we can show kindness to others we must learn to love ourselves. Without self love our actions stem from a place without light. We may feel unable to truly love another as we will have little understanding of the true nature of love. We all have a great capacity for love, but in some of us our capacity is unused.

When love flows through us naturally we can’t fail to show love, patience and kindness to all those around us.

All those around us include those people, animals and insects that we may not like or feel an affinity with. Kindness is not about liking someone or something, it is about acknowledging another’s right to the same freedoms, respect and right to live that we expect. This acknowledgement is central to the act of kindness. We are merely a piece of the puzzle that makes up this universe. We are no better, nor worse than any other creature or person. Whilst the drug user, thief or murderer may appear of less value than a charity worker or doctor does not mean it is so. Who are we to judge? How can we say who or what does the most good and brings the most benefit to the world. Simply because at our moment in time we cannot see the purpose in something, does not mean it lacks purpose. And as Jesus pointed out, “Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone.” We do not need to be a practising Christian to see the beauty of those words.

We find also that kindness comes easily if we realise that we are all connected. The energy of every living creature is connected via the divine source; universal energy. So when we hurt another we are really hurting ourselves. By showing kindness to another we show kindness to ourselves.

How often have we let a car pull into the queue in front of us, only then to find that someone repays us later with the same kindness. Smile to a stranger in the street and you will find the smile returned with even greater enthusiasm. Whenever and wherever we show kindness we will always find a great reward waiting for us.

However, this act of kindness does not mean we must all become vegetarians and never pick a flower again. It does mean, however, that we should regard meat as a treat rather than indulging in it unthinkingly, and taking it for granted. Whenever we eat meat, we should, in our minds, be honouring the animal or the fish and thanking it for having grown up in order to feed us.

If we apply kindness to all our actions, then we will find ourselves naturally drawn to sources of meat, fish, eggs, plants and vegetables that are organic and sustainable. Before we pick a flower, we should first, in our minds, ask the flower for permission to pick it so that it may give us pleasure indoors. Therefore - should you pick blossoms from a tree, ask its permission, and then take only what is necessary and don't be wasteful. In this way we can live in harmony with the world around is.

We must always be grateful for the opportunities that are brought to us in which we can practice kindness. If we live respectfully and acknowledge the beauty and wonder of all the living things around us, then we will treat them well.

I want to finish with an idea from an American Bishop. He encourages his parishioners to perform one random act of kindness each week. Perhaps taking chocolates to a neighbour who is feeling down, or mowing the lawn of an elderly friend. The size of the act is irrelevant and it is something in which we can all take part.

Let’s spread a little kindness.

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