Most people today think that kindness is a kind of sentimental gesture, or something we do to show favor to someone else. But I am here to explain how it is much more than that — and I will go as far to say that it is critical for your spiritual success.
You see, to get ahead in the material world, you typically have to take the approach of “kill or be killed.” This attitude is enforced with the belief that there are only two kinds of people in the world, the cheaters and the cheated. In a very broad sense, every single human on earth fits into one of these categories. You are either being cheated by someone else, or you are a cheater. Granted, you could also argue that we move between each category circumstantially. In other words, while we (the 99%) are often being cheated (by the 1%), we too sometimes cheat others for survival. Of course, this does not mean that the 1% cannot be charitable because obviously many of them are.
The self-righteous among us may balk at such a statement, but it is true. When you sell something for a profit you are essentially cheating the other person, because that is just how the commerce works. In this case, you could argue that you are “killing with kindness,” in that the person is receiving something of value in exchange for their money, but I hope you get the broader point — the material world necessitates some kind of exploitation for it to function.
Contrary to this is the spiritual world, where according the ancient Brahma Samhita, “every word is a song, every gait is a dance…”
The full verse reads:
TEXT 56: I worship that transcendental seat, known as Śvetadvīpa where as loving consorts the Lakṣmīs in their unalloyed spiritual essence practice the amorous service of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa as their only lover; where every tree is a transcendental purpose tree; where the soil is the purpose gem, all water is nectar, every word is a song, every gait is a dance, the flute is the favorite attendant, effulgence is full of transcendental bliss and the supreme spiritual entities are all enjoyable and tasty, where numberless milk cows always emit transcendental oceans of milk; where there is eternal existence of transcendental time, who is ever present and without past or future and hence is not subject to the quality of passing away even for the space of half a moment. That realm is known as Goloka only to a very few self-realized souls in this world.
The critical difference between a materialistic and spiritual consciousness is defined in the service mentality. In the material realm, we hanker for others to serve us, whereas in the spiritual realm, we hanker to serve others. Whereas, it is necessary to push others down to get ahead in the material realm, it is the complete opposite in the spiritual realm, where actual progress is made by serving others and pushing them closer to God!
So how does this relate to kindness?
Well, we first have to understand the source of true kindness and how it pertains to charity.
According to most spiritual traditions, kindness is an innate quality of the soul — the seat of consciousness. In other words, to be kind is as natural as it is for sugar to be sweet or for the sun to share light and heat. The problem we all face, however, is how this natural inclination of the soul is perverted when filtered through physical form and the layers and layers of mental conditioning, false ego, karma, and genetic programming that contaminate that intention.
The question then is how can we extract this pure intention so that it truly benefits others and ourselves at the same time?
The Bhagavad Gita offers some insight…
According to the Krishna, there are three kinds of charitable giving, one done in ignorance where there there is no consideration to the qualification of the recipient, or time and place.
charity performed at an improper place and time and given to unworthy persons without respect and with contempt is charity in the mode of ignorance. — Verse 17.22
And charity that is done with selfish gain is considered charity in passion.
But charity performed with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood, is said to be charity in the mode of passion. — Verse 17.21
However, the best charity is that done in goodness:
That gift which is given out of duty, at the proper time and place, to a worthy person, and without expectation of return, is considered to be charity in the mode of goodness. — Verse 17.20
So if we direct our charity to a worthy recipient, at the right time and place and have no selfish agenda like personal recognition or financial gain, then such kindness is liberating for the soul. In other words, indiscriminate charity is not recommended.
And this is the point I wish to make today, random acts of kindness where there is no discrimination are not ultimately beneficial. What is needed is un-random, or purpose-driven acts of kindness that are done selflessly to deserving people and animals at the right time and place.
Yes, animals too, because kindness should be universally applied.
This kind of intentional and thoughtful charitable giving (kindness) is both beneficial to the receiver and spiritually enriching to the giver.
And this brings me to a new social enterprise, myself and a great team of likeminded people have co-founded, The Kindly Ecosystem, a purpose-driven enterprise that aims to make it easy for anyone to do un-random acts of kindness that benefit the giver and the receiver.
Most people like the idea of kindness but sadly many are being misled on how that natural quality of the soul should be channelled. I hope this short essay gives some clarity.
To learn more about The Kindly Ecosystem and our first product visit www.KindlyCoin.com