What is kindness, does true kindness really exist?
What is kindness? kindness can be defined as an act of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Also, the act of kindness can be expressed through empathy, acceptance, kind gestures, thoughtfulness, the possibilities are entirely up to an individual. According to cognitive psychology, “cognitive kindness is a generosity of spirit toward others’ minds and one’s own mind that proceeds from a fundamental valuing of our individual and collective cognitive abilities.”
Is true kindness possible? Is it possible to treat others with kindness without expecting anything in return? Yes, if I had to answer these two questions based on my personal experience.
It was tough for me to be kind without expecting anything in return until I started meditating. Because it caused me a lot of worry and anxiety, my kindness toward others was not genuine. I remember hearing elders say this great Swahili proverb when I was growing up: “Tenda wema nenda zako usingoje shukrani” which means “Do your best and go your way” It is a simple proverb, but it is difficult to put into practice in our daily lives. “
When I was younger, I was taught kindness at home, school, and madrassa, and I had an inner desire to be a good person.
I observed my father being gracious to his parents, relatives, neighbors, and acquaintances. When we visited my father’s hometown, we would bring a large amount of food and clothing to distribute to the poor. They always praised and complimented my father. I once asked him why he is so nice to everyone. “When you are kind, you will receive blessings from God,” he replied.
And he insisted on our being polite and helpful at all times. In religious school, we also learned how to be polite and helpful to the less fortunate. I come from a poor country where the poor do not receive government assistance. As a result, it was the responsibility of financially capable people to assist the poor, particularly families, neighbors, clergy, and community members. As a result, compassion and kindness were based on physically and financially assisting or supporting others in times of need.
So I attempted to follow in my father’s footsteps, always being kind, so whenever I did a “good deed,” I applauded myself and hoped for blessings from the almighty.
I remember my stepmom always talking about the people my dad helped and succeed and eventually they never helped back, it stressed her a lot. She complained and she was sad about it. But from my dad’s side, I never heard a lot of complaining and he never cared, he did what he could because he believed it was his responsibility. Because I spent more time with her(stepmom) compare to dad, I learned a lot from her words. So I believed people were supposed to always be kind and helpful once they are helped. So this became my mind.
I had a lot of expectations toward others and myself too. I had a lot of responsibility towards helping the people I am close to especially my relatives.
When I grew up, living alone, I worried a lot about people’s problems and was eager to help out either advise them or comfort them and sometimes shelter them. Whenever I could not help, I blamed myself and worry how will people think of me. I had a lot of stress, worries, and anxiety.
So I start meditating, and I realize I’m following in the footsteps of my father. I thought everything he did was wonderful, and I believed that if I couldn’t be kind to others by assisting them, I was a bad person. Because I wanted to be like my father all the time, it caused me stressed and worries.
At the meditation center, I learned that people suffer because they are trapped inside their minds, which are made up of the lives they have lived/experienced, the habits they have received from their ancestors, and their bodies. My anguish and fears, I was told, are caused by a fake “self” that believes it exists.
As a result, one must entirely erase and discard this false ego, revealing only the truth. Then one can be born as a true self and live an everlasting life of happiness. Because one has Truth and the land of truth within, one can be kindhearted without even realizing it. Furthermore, because Truth exists inside one’s mind, one will do genuine good deeds without expectations or remorse.
I let go of my human sense of kindness, my expectations of people, particularly the people I helped the most, and also my burdens toward those who have been always around me.
The wave of anxiety and stress faded away. I now see why people had high expectations of me, particularly my stepmom, who had raised me since I was four. Our disagreements and misunderstandings stemmed from our high expectations of one another. So I used the great meditation approach(method) to get rid of them, and they gradually faded away, leaving me feeling light and free. I can now do what I am supposed to do without any sense of expectation in my mind.
I’ll share with you a video, and hopefully, you’ll get a better understanding of True Kindness.