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Mindful : February 2015
54 mindful February 2015 It’s easy to be misled when we think about trying to be kind. And that’s half the problem right there: thinking about it too much. Here are some simple reminders to help us be clear, and recall, what genuine kindness is, and what it is not. Kindness Practice 101 WHAT IT IS It is empathy—the willingness to see the world from another’s point of view. It is recognizing that we all can choose to feel good or bad, and that our own feelings can influence how others feel. It is an understanding that bad behavior often comes from a place of suffering. It is the wish that other beings be well. It is friendly, considerate, kind, generous. It is the basis for shared joy. WHAT IT IS NOT It is not sappy sentimentality. It is not saying “yes” to bad or inappropriate behavior. It is not pretending you like people you don’t like. It does mean that even if you don’t like someone, you can still wish him or her well. It is not the same thing as feeling good. It is not something mysterious or unknown. Ever y time you take pleasure in seeing someone do well, for example, you are experiencing kindness. It is not denying your experience. It is not all or nothing. Kindness can be expressed simply as politeness and cour tesy. Getting Started: Kindness was compiled by writer Teo Furtado with information from: Sylvia Boorstein Psychotherapist, author, and longtime teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center Hugh Byrne Senior teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, DC Paul Gilbert Clinical psychologist, best-selling author, and founder of Compassion Focused Therapy Tawanna Kane Yoga teacher and MBSR instructor in Baltimore, MD. Founder of the Inner Resources Project getting started: kindness