As I mentioned in my last blog post, the focus for February 2016 in my SoulWorld® Community Membership Program is all about spiritual kindness, and how it relates to karma and past lives. When it comes to kindness to others, most of us have no problem doing the right thing. At least we think we don’t. We feel good when we’re kind to others. However, kindness is a two way street. And, there is a significant spiritual component.
Let me give you an example: I spent most of my life thinking kindness was something to be given, not received. I had an easy time helping out, lending cash, giving gifts, offering kind words, and generally being a good human being. I was raised in a family where being stoic was the default mode, and the words, “I don’t want to be any bother” should have been on the clan crest.
Almost 20 years ago, I ended up in San Francisco where, through a friend’s act of kindness, I had a small apartment for a month. With no rent asked for or expected, I felt extreme discomfort. I could give until it hurt, but taking was torture.
The month I spent in my friend’s apartment, in the shadow of the Fairmont Hotel, was formative for me. In my first book, The Instruction, I wrote about a major epiphany I underwent when I heard the voice of a psychic from years before telling me California was where I’d end up. That transformative event happened on the first night. The following four weeks were ones of deep soul-searching and spiritual exploration that ultimately led me to my current path as a psychic guide.
To say I was grateful for the roof over my head, and a place to reassemble my nerve endings after the break up of a major relationship would be an understatement. For the next few years, until my friend died, I felt I had to return the kindness. I insisted on buying her meals, drinks, and gifts, and anytime we went out, I’d say jokingly, “Your money’s no good here.” She never took advantage of my largesse, and would sometimes adamantly insist on picking up the tab. Which only made me feel I had to make up for it by dropping off flowers the next day, or turning up with a bottle of bubbly.
One day, she called up and said to me, “Are you free tonight. I want to try that new Italian restaurant in North Beach.” I’d just been stiffed by a client, and my bank balance was less than zero. I hesitated. She said, “My treat!” And because I couldn’t receive without giving, I told her I was busy.
Now I can look back on those times, and recognize a missed opportunity for giving. I understand now that there was no question my friend had the means to treat me to dinner, and that she just wanted to spend some quality time together. It is obvious to me now that something as simple as my acceptance of her offer would have been a spiritual act of kindness.
Are you truly offering kindness to others if you don’t let them express kindness back to you?
Or to put it another way:
Are you really being kind when you receive a warm, fuzzy feeling from doing things for others, while denying them the opportunity to do the same for you?
Kindness to others is a two-way street. Give and take.
In my past, I didn’t want to “be any bother,” by allowing someone else to do the kind of thing that gave me pleasure. Is it possible that while I saw myself as being generous, I was, in some way, being selfish by denying them the opportunity to show generosity to me?
Had I allowed myself to accept the offer of an Italian dinner, not only would I have given my friend the opportunity to give, I would have also had a few extra hours with a friend whose company and conversation I miss.
Kindness to others is a deep – and spiritual – topic, and something worth looking at from various perspectives, which is what we’ll be doing all February in my membership program. So, I’m curious:
- How do you respond when someone offers an act of kindness towards you?
- Are you able to easily accept their offer, or are you more inclined to tell them no thank you?
I would love to hear your answers below!