Karma of Kindness
Kindness is more than behavior. The art of kindness involves harboring a spirit of helpfulness, being generous and considerate, and doing so without expecting anything in return. Rather than viewing it exclusively as an action, we can cultivate kindness as a quality of being, a value we ascribe to live by, an INTENTION. We cultivate this value, like any value, in practice. Giving kindness is simple, free and good for us! Research has shown that kindness is literally health-enhancing.
Karma is the Sanskrit word for the concept of action, work, or deed and its effect or consequences. Rather than seeing Karma as the payback for poor choices or imperfect habits, Yoga invites us into a relationship of circular energy, an invitation to begin again as often as needed. In this way, Karma becomes an investment in our future, for the benefit of our future self and our descendants. When our intention aligns without our actions, Karma becomes the feedback loop for deeper reflection and introspection.
I love this image of the Circle of Kindness. It reminds me that Kindness can begin anywhere within this circle, by sharing a story to inspire, offering a seat at the table, or inviting a new voice to the conversation. Kindness is the motivation behind doing acts of good, and avoiding those that have the potential to cause harm. Kindness is a means to grow beyond practicing Ahimsa as non-harming so contributing good. Karma is a reminder that our behavior has consequences in real time, and over-time.
“A person of good acts will become a good person; a person of bad acts, bad.
One becomes pure by pure deeds, bad by bad deeds.
Whatever deed one does, that is what one will become.”
based on the translation by Max Muller
Be kind to others:
Acts of kindness can make the world a happier place for everyone. They can boost feelings of confidence, being in control, happiness and optimism. Acts of Kindness also encourage others to repeat the good deeds, they’ve experienced themselves – contributing to a more positive community. These random acts of kindness being lauded in Social Media as “Paying it Forward.” When practicing kindness, it might simply begin with gratitude. Expressing appreciation or simply sharing a smile.
Be kind to yourself:
Studies have found that acts of kindness are linked to increased feelings of well-being. Helping others can also improve our support networks and encourage us to be more active. This, in turn, can improve our self-esteem. There is even some evidence to suggest that when we help others, it can promote changes in the brain that are linked with happiness.
When sharing kindness, it’s not just how you treat other people — it’s also about how you extend those same behaviors and intentions to yourself. I believe we can all practice being kinder in our own self-talk and by prioritizing self-care. We may even live longer. Kindness also helps reduce stress and improve our emotional well-being.
Self-care is about doing those things that support our well-being physically, mentally and emotionally. Connecting with others can be a kindness we receive as we give of our attention to another. When we offer kindness and compassion, we experience clear benefits to our well-being and happiness.
Kindness in Action:
If you are ready to contribute kindness in your community, consider these suggestions:
- Volunteer for a local community organization
- Offer your expertise and support as a mentor for those who are struggling
- Check-in on an elderly neighbor
- See if there’s anything you can do to support your local school or nursery – offer to read stories for example
- Involve your friends and neighbors in community projects
- Offer to skill-share with a friend – you could teach guitar, dance or a new recipe
- Call a friend that you haven’t spoken to for a while
- Tell a family member how much you love and appreciate them
- Offer a listening ear to someone who simply wants to talk