Dedication to Yoga and Meditation Does Not Make You Happy
This article is not about how to practice kindness. We all know what ordinary kindness is. But we may not know that kindness is fundamental to happiness. Kindness should be our mantra, the sound of connection to others. We might put kindness on the back burner, thinking that it is not important, and that there are far more effective methods of fulfilling ourselves. We may try sophisticated meditation practices, faithfully dedicate to a yoga regime, strive for perfection. But dedication to yoga or meditation, or anything for that matter, does not produce happiness.
The Water of Kindness
The simplicity of everyday kindness is like fresh water running through all our relationships. Just being kind in an ordinary way washes away the dirt of unhappiness which sticks to us. It is instantaneously refreshing and cheers up the giver and receiver of the kindness. Actually in that moment of kindness we lose the importance of ‘me’ as we feel our connection with each other. ‘Me’ disappears. The water of kindness washes away the fear caused by ‘me’ feeling separate from others. Kindness overcomes fear, and it is fear which is the cause of unhappiness everywhere.
Remove Fear with Kindness
Kindness is really the base ingredient for being happy. Happiness is caused through the good connections that we have with others. It requires no preparation. Kindness is just a simple and ordinary gesture. It could be a timely smile, a random act of helping someone, a word that expresses care and concern. We all know what kindness is, and it is easy to forget this most basic element of our humanness. We get caught up in the speed and stress of busy lives, and our naturally expressive kindness goes out the window. That kindness is automatically replaced with fear. Fear is caused by feeling separate and distant from our heart, from others and from nature.
When we are always looking for the thing that’s going to create that amazing life — the answer, the secret ingredient — we miss out on this essential ingredient. It does not have a lot of fancy packaging. The answer is not necessarily hip and up to date. It does not cost anything, and is always available no matter how we feel. We can practice kindness when we feel bad, and we can do it even with people or animals that we find challenging or repulsive. We discover that wherever the water of kindness flows, it’s the cause of happiness.
The Water of Kindness and the Ripple Effect
Once I was given a gift by someone whom I did not like at all. There was tension between us, and suspicion. I received the gift quite unexpectedly, and it was something that helped me to accomplish a major project. The gift also didn’t seem to have any strings attached. It was just a gift. After that time, whenever I thought of this person and her kindness, any anger I felt towards her always melted away. The effect of her gift produced peace that rippled way into the future.
Kindness produces peace and happiness. Unhealthy societies, organisations or families have conflict, special interests, excessive consumption, fear, suspicion, hatred, special interests, injustice, aggression, quarrels, you name it. Political parties come into power based on promoting fear and separating people from each other. These groups have forgotten kindness. Within these unhealthy environments we can be and do kindness anytime, always and everywhere. Especially when we feel bad or hurt, vulnerable, the kindness can be there. We feel our hearts, and then kindness shines out from there. Then meditation and yoga work to remove ‘me’ completely and we come to embody kindness.
Join us for the our New Year Meditation and Yoga retreat, 28 December 2017 – 3 January. Warm sun awaits at the foot of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.