There’s nothing more heartbreaking to me than when people are unkind to one another.
When we are young, we learn the most fundamental teachings about being human: be nice to one another, share, clean up after yourself, don’t take things that aren’t yours, etc. But it seems that when we become adults, we often forget everything that was a part of these original lessons of life. Even the yoga community is littered with heartbreaking exchanges. If unkindness is evident in a community dedicated to conscious living, I imagine it is even more insidious in other spheres.
Let’s go back and give ourselves a crash course in being kind:
In Hindu mythology, one of the most fundamental teachings is oneness; this principle suggests that there are not millions of individual bodies, but one universal body that we are all a part of. This means that the same essence that resides in the core of your being pervades the entire universe. There is a creative force that has given birth to everything in the world, and everything will eventually dissolve back into the hands of that creator.
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says it best: “A lump of salt thrown in water dissolves and cannot be taken out again, though whenever we taste the water it is salty; even so, beloved, the separate self dissolves in the sea of pure consciousness, infinite and immortal. Separateness arises from identifying the Self with the body, which is made up of the elements; when this physical identification dissolves, there can be no more separate self.”
If we are all essentially the same, where do judgment and hurtfulness come from? It seems that the root cause of this comes from the feeling of separateness. Mending this sense of separateness might be the most simple and profound offering we can give as human beings. Since we are all in this together, a collective endeavor to see ourselves in the eyes of another would do wonders in this sometimes-unfriendly world. We should all endeavor to treat each other with the kindness we would bestow on our 95-year-old grandmother or a six-month-old baby.
There is a tenderness to being human, and as keepers of the greater whole, our contribution to the collective should come in the spirit of being sensitive to the somewhat fragile state that comes from simply being in this world. So share a smile with a stranger, do a good deed for someone that you dislike, forgive someone you never thought you could, say good things about everyone you meet, support each other, uplift each other, and above all, be kind.