Everyone appreciates it when someone is kind to them. In a relationship, if one is kind and respectful, it strengthens the bond. Knowing one will be treated with kindness helps to foster bonds of trust, whereby one can be more open. Kindness is the glue that holds us together in a society.
Being kind as a spiritual practice is popular in the Buddhist tradition. It starts by being kind to oneself, then to someone in trouble, then to someone you don’t know well, then to someone you don’t like, and eventually to all beings.
The Art of Behavior
In his book, The Science of Being and the Art of Living, the founder of Transcendental Meditation, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, states:
“The basic fundamental of behavior should be to give. When you are going to meet someone, think about what you are going to give him, whether it be a concrete gift of a beautiful object, words of greeting, warm sympathy, praise, adoration, love, elevating advice, or good news for his mind, body and soul…”
The art of behavior is such that the first moment of the meeting should have a real value of the meeting of two hearts.”
These fundamentals of behavior are the practice of kindness when we meet people.
However, we can only give what we have or what we are. If we are tired, stressed, anxious, or depressed, it is difficult to give or be kind to others. If we are fulfilled inside and happy, it is easier.
Transcendental Meditation is a powerful technique to help reduce anxiety and stress. In addition, the experience of transcendence is one of growing fullness, inner peace, and joy. I have seen many people who learn Transcendental Meditation grow in softness and kindness to others.
My Song Be Kind
The idea of my song Be Kind came the day after my mother died. I was going for my usual morning walk on the beach and smiled at some people leaving the beach. I am sure they thought I looked happy. How would they know, I was feeling raw, tender, and emotional?
This experience at the beach was a reminder of the importance of being kind to people, as we don’t know what is going on in their lives. For a few days after my mother passed, when I was in town or around other people, I felt this surge of empathy wondering if they were OK and if they were struggling with someone or something in their lives.
The first lines of my song are:
“You don’t know if one is hurting, you don’t know if one is in pain. What if his insides are churning with the sadness of the pouring rain?”
Being kind to someone can literally save their life if a person is in so much pain, he or feels he/she can’t even live. Being kind at the moment can be just enough to lift him or her out of despair.
The Be Kind chorus says:
“Be Kind, be kind, it’s not that hard to be nice. You might just save a life, so be kind, be kind.”
Music and the lyrics of a song can go round and round in your head like a mantra, especially a chorus. Singing “be kind, be kind” can be a gentle reminder of the importance of being kind to others.
Being kind to your friends, family, strangers, and community, and can also have a ripple effect and inspire others to do the same. Spreading kindness is more important than ever in the world today.
Ann Purcell is a philanthropist, award-winning author, and songwriter. Her latest publication is Tender Flower of Heaven, which is a collection of 130 poems.
Ann has been a full-time teacher of Transcendental Meditation since 1973, teaching Transcendental Meditation and advanced courses in many countries around the world. In addition, she has worked on curricula and course development for universities and continuing education programs.
Ann is also an international leader of the TM-Women Organization and oversees the teaching of Transcendental Meditation in girls’ schools and communities in several countries in Africa. Ann founded Enlightenment For Everyone in 2012
She donates all proceeds from her photography, books, and music to its educational programs.