“If there’s one thing Covid-19 has shown us, it’s that what happens in one part of the world affects what happens in another.”

The choices I make today may affect you tomorrow, which is why we’re practising “social distancing” to prevent the spread of the virus.

This interconnectedness has got me thinking. Suppose I were to imagine the earth as one entity containing all beings, just like I think of myself as one entity with one body containing all of me. How would that change the way I treat other people? If we are all parts of one entity, then what I do to you, I’m also doing to myself.

From this perspective, kindness is the only thing that makes sense.

“I like to think of myself as a kind person, but when it comes to unkind people, I must admit I have a hard time.”

I can get so full of righteous indignation at people who are righteously unkind. How can I not be? Do I really have to be kind to them? Isn’t that just condoning their behaviour?

In the same way, there are parts of myself that I dislike because they are unkind, my inner critic for one. But what I’ve found is that rejecting any of these parts of myself only serves to make them stronger. The more I resist, the more they persist.

         Rumi says, “This being human is a guest house.”

“So many guests, knocking on the door of my psyche every day—joy, worry, love, shame. I welcome them all; if I don’t, their knocking just gets louder.”

What if I were to welcome the people who cross my path in the same way? What if I didn’t fuel anger with anger and instead channelled this anger into acts of kindness? It seems like a tall order, but when I think of the world as one entity, my perspective shifts.

“Being unkind to others and being unkind to myself become the same thing.

Likewise, compassion and self-compassion become two sides of the same coin.”

Some of us are quite good at being kind to others but struggle with being kind to ourselves. Perhaps we’ve been taught to “love your neighbour” and we’ve forgotten the second part of that line, “love your neighbour as yourself.” The fact is, to truly love someone else, we must love ourselves first.

Rumi closes the poem The Guest House with these words:

 “Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

What guests do I want to welcome today, and what gifts might they bring? For they all bring gifts, whether we like those gifts or not.

One of the gifts Covid-19 has given me is the gift of a new perspective. Now I understand what Rumi meant when he said there’s a field “beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing” where “even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense.”

Beyond these black-and-white ideas of self and other, there is simply life—one living organism.

By Marianne Ingheim

Source: The Kindness Blog

Leave a Reply