The convergence of kindness, spirituality, and inspiration is not a surprise. Dr. Robert Cloninger, a psychiatrist at Washington University, says true well-being comes with the convergence of body, thought, and soul. “We must live meaningful lives,” he says, “which means meaningful work, relationships, and spirituality.”
Kindness is one of the most poignant source of connection with others. It inspires joy, faith in humanity, and for many, carries a transcendental quality. Some call this love, others, spirituality.
There’s a power out there that drives us as humans to want to help each other and want to be good and to be connected.
It is said that the landscape of spirituality is textured and sometimes complicated, but what inspires people is not. For individuals throughout the world, kindness is a social imperative - and a spiritual one. But getting there can be hard.
Kindness is a healing balm for improving health and happiness that will work on everything from starved stray animals to grandparents, who are suffering from different kinds of infections, and even on suicidal individuals.
Rule number one:
Whether a plant, an animal or a person; If it's alive it's much more likely to thrive when you give it lots of loving attention.
Rule number two:
Isolation kills. You don't have to believe me, just check the statistics on death rates of babies in orphanages versus in homes, and the death rates of geriatric patients in nursing homes versus home health care. The numbers speak louder than words.
A person who is depressed may be unintentionally pushing people away. Everything they see and hear and everything they think, say, and do is being filtered through that depression. Anytime information gets filtered through a negative emotion it gets distorted some. You can see their depression when you let them talk about it sometimes, it just depresses them more. They may withdraw. They may become irritable.
What can you do to help them want to come back and enjoy life again?
These suggestions will sound too simple. They are simple and they can be profoundly effective. Although kindness can be applied to plants, animals and people, for now I'm only going to apply it to situations where someone you know and care about seems depressed or down in the dumps.
What if we all did more of the following with more people from this day forward? Imagine what our world would look like then....
- Visit them often.
- Looking into their eyes, smile at them more.
- Pat their hands and their shoulders more.
- Listen to them more.
- Entertain them more.
- Tell them things they've done that impressed you, made you think, made you feel better, and made you change for the better.
- Get them up and moving towards pleasure, a walk, a movie, a drive, a pretty or unusual restaurant, etc. just get them moving.
- If they won't budge, bring in the cards, the monopoly, the chess game, rent a hilarious video.... don't force anything, but a little gentle loving nudge doesn't hurt.
- Get them touching things, bring in various textures and colors of materials and ask their opinions, borrow a puppy or kitten for a few hours, cook something they'll eat that's beautiful and delicious, bring simple healthy pleasure into their present moment more.
- Tell them aloud: You are important to me. I care about you. I'm not giving up on you. I miss you. We miss you. We want you to come back and have fun with us again. Say: You know what I love about you? Then tell them.
- Do things you only do to people you enjoy and feel comfortable with like: give their arm a little nudge with your elbow or bop them lightly on the head with a rolled up piece of paper. Basically, in the ways you normally do it, express your camaraderie with them.
- Rather than ask how they feel, ask what they want to do today to have fun. Get them to having fun. Tell them they look like they're doing better. Then ask them how they're doing. Really listen.
- If they're embarrassed or ashamed, tell them an embarrassing story on yourself and follow that with the most embarrassing stories you've ever heard of, get them to watch practical jokes. This by the way is one of the few situations when even the tabloids can have a healthy value.... So far nothing I've ever encountered reduces the pain of embarrassment more than seeing others embarrassing moments. It is an immediate perspective adjustment.
- If they're depressed then they're experiencing overwhelm. The problem may appear hopeless to them. After you've helped reduce the intensity of their depression, if they're open to talking about it, help them see how they can break the problem into separate pieces. Figure out which piece of the problem is the most important, focus on coming up with healthy solutions to that one problem, so they can resolve the difficulties rather than continuing to suffering them.
The important thing to remember is that most people who commit suicide are ambivalent or undecided or rather contemplating between doing it and not doing it.
They are contemplating between the pain of living and the pain of dying. If we increase their connection to pleasure in living and we increase the pain they connect to suicide, we can make a difference. You can make a difference.
People are less happy or healthy if they - or those around them - are guided by selfishness. The problem, according to Dr. Robert Cloninger, is that, when it comes to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, sometimes we get stuck in the self, never quite making it to the transcendent. Experiences of kindness, compassion, honor, and justice help us get unstuck.
The good news is that simple acts of kindness can have a positive long-term impact. We each have the power to help foster hope and harmony for the collective.
A demonstration of kindness can inspire faith, not just in a particular moment, but as part of a direction.
In conclusion, each generation conducts its own investigation into long-standing wisdom. Language changes, new music becomes popular, and rituals evolve. But the relevance of spiritual insights around compassion and the call to love our neighbor is timeless.
Question: Do you know of anyone facing some sort of challenge at the moment; what act of kindness can you render to help ease their pain? Or do you have any contribution to this article? Please leave a comment below.