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Mindful : February 2015
February 2015 mindful 55 Developing Kindness and Generosity Engage the grocery clerk When you shop at a grocery store, stand in line for a movie ticket, or get a tank of gas at a full-ser- vice station, engage with other people. Internally, ex tend wishes of goodwill to them. Listen when they talk and gently smile. Such small gestures make people feel more open and kind. By engaging with them, you engage with your best self. Connect with someone in need Establish the inten- tion in your mind to respond with kind- ness and generosity whenever you meet someone on the street who asks for suppor t. Pause to make contact with him or her and ask how they’re doing and give some money if you like. Or if you believe it is more helpful to give funds to a group that suppor ts the homeless, commit to writing a check at the end of the week or month. Pause at the stop sign Every time you come to a stop sign or a red light, take a full breath, notice how you are feeling and then wish yourself or another well. “May I be happy and safe. May I live with ease.” Continue saying the words or phrases internally until you are ready to move on or the light changes. When you come to the nex t stop sign or red light, repeat the practice. With sufficient repeti- tion the stop sign and the red light become cues for cultivating kindness and help establish a habit of kindness. Listen for the ping We get tons of emails and calen- dar aler ts ever y day. Use them as reminders to be mindful. On many computers, you can even set the sound to be that of a meditation chime. Every time you hear the aler t or see the reminder, pause, take a breath or t wo, and send yourself thoughts of kindness. You can do the same in the shower. Simply feel the water on your body, pause, take a deep breath, and send yourself and others thoughts of kindness. Extend to your fellow travelers If you use the bus, train, or airplane on a regular basis, let the act of taking your seat be a cue to practice kind- ness or compas- sion toward your traveling compan- ions. Bring all those traveling with you into your awareness and reflect on how they, like you, have their share of joys and sorrows and want to be happy, peaceful, and free from suffering. Express your wish for their happiness. “May you be happy. May you be safe. May you be free from harm. May you live with ease.” 12345 By noting some simple everyday triggers or cues—a stop sign, say, or a red light—we can pause, take stock, and strengthen the muscle of kindness and generosity.