2022-03-14 Kindness Makes a New World
5:01AM Mar 16, 2022
So thank you all for coming here this evening. And I'm still marveling at what it's like to be together with groups of people in this way. have now done a few on in person retreats at our retreat center, and then a few of the Sundays and fewer, much fewer of the Mondays. And on and off since November, we've met a little bit, but I still marvel at it. And I don't take it for I don't take it for granted. I feel like it's a pretty wonderful thing that we come together. The first time I came together with people after begging, I think was back in August, I had to I had an occasion to meet outdoors with Pete group of people. And and I was surprised that I was surprised. Surprised by how surprised I was at the wonderfulness of being with other people this way, three dimensionally. I knew it'd be special, I knew it was special to be with people in person. But I was surprised that I was so surprised. It was like I'd forgotten something. It was like I understood, being together with people that are new way that I hadn't known before. I take it for granted, or it'd be kind of it was invisible because it was so common. So I kind of Māra I kind of marvel at being together with you all here and appreciate it. And it's very nice. And then there's a group of people also on participating. Exactly more people participating on YouTube than is here today. And so it's I find it delightful that we have this extended feeling of connection. And we live right now at a perilous time for this world. I don't know if in my lifetime, I felt so much peril in the world at one time. I do wish that I have memories of some of you may be old enough for this memories of 60 years ago doing atomic bomb drills. And was that they had very special desks for students back then. Because they had these desks that protected you from a nuclear bomb. They went quite nearby if you just ducked underneath it so that we would have these surprise ducking exercises in the middle of this in the middle of classroom, but they were no no, no, no, no expectation of it, suddenly the teacher yelled out duck. And we were supposed to just dive under the table and put our arms over our heads and, and survive. So there was you know, it had a formative impact on me that this possibility of nuclear holocaust and 19 early 60s that we had my parents went through, they were young, but they went through World War Two. My grandparents went through it. Parents in law went through it some of them in very difficult circumstances. Some of the most difficult and I grew up in lots of stories of war and I always felt like world was close by and so we have you know, not just the war in the Ukraine, but that's the most that's in some ways the most dramatic for us but there are other wars in the world. People are busy and engaged are kind of overwhelmed by local wars that they probably don't even know what's going on in Ukraine because they're just dealing with their own and it seems that war is a phenomena of hatred and competition greed power which doesn't bring out the best that human beings and the sad thing is when it brings it window where a war brings out the worst in human beings people otherwise who would have been nice but and and it just perpetuates awful ways in which people are together
my I think coming out of these yours many years decades now of doing Buddhist practice. I have a strong sense that the world that I live in begins with me. Not that I don't think it's a conceited sense that begins with me like that, but we're all sort of start to end through through my experience, the way that I kept contact with, through my senses with the world around me and reading and learning about things far away. And, and so in my consciousness, it radiates from here that contact with the world, then the way that I perceive the world is not a is not an indifferent bystander or innocent bystander, just seeing it as it actually is. The way we experience and see the world is very much connected to how are we the eyes through which we see the world. And if we see the world through the eyes of anger, we see it one way, if we see it through the eyes of kindness, another way, if we see it through the eyes of greed is one way. If we see at the eyes of generosity, we see a different world. We are tuned to different experiences. So different sights and sights and the sounds and different things we notice. Step down studies of people who were actually encouraged to be kind. And when they are encouraged to be kind, they saw more kindness throughout the day and more opportunities for kindness. But when they you weren't told that the control group that wasn't told anything about kindness, they noticed fewer, less kindness in the world. And so the world begins with us, then how do what do we? What do we offer this world. And I feel very strongly that if we want to live in the world that's peaceful. Don't be expecting other people to make the peace. If you want to live in the world, where you want a peaceful world, be peaceful yourself. Be the big saving the world, save the world. But that BeSafe begin with you don't look elsewhere for it. For one thing, that means that if you look elsewhere, someone else to do it, then you're not engaged. And it's a kind of despairing not to engage and kind of makes us discouraged and gives up our agency and and then we get disappointed when other people don't behave the way they're supposed to or not successful. It just so good for the human heart, to be active to be engaged, making a difference. It doesn't matter how big it is, you're not gonna chances are none of us here today are going to stop the war in Ukraine. But maybe we can help a little bit. So I know, you probably know, but I emcee this week as a fundraising drive. To for money tour, Save the Children at one of the highest rated charities to help them in their work with the refugees and Ukrainian refugees. And so that's something we can do. As of I think this morning, we've created 43 $43,000. It's, you know, it's a drop in the bucket for the billions that are needed. But it's something and, and for the kids in the refugee camps, who don't have water or don't have food or blankets or something. I don't know what their needs are. That's a pretty big deal for them. So to do, to engage. And it's kind of one of the remarkable we don't do more of it this way. Because it turns out, it's good for the heart. It's good for us. To be kind to be generous. There's been studies done on kindness is kind of phenomenal. Finally, I think they did studies on anger first, me years ago, but now slowly, slowly, they're getting to these more positive emotions and studying them and kindness. So one of the things people researchers say is what many of us already know that if you're kind, I can feel good for the other person but it can feel good for yourself. The other day I took a taxi
and As a taxi driver was not a good driver, the taxi driver wasn't particularly pleasant to be with. And at some point, I was talking a lot in a way that was not so pleasant. Also didn't wear his mask, except under a chin. I thought that's kind of strange. Still, it's time of day, this this this kind of time. And all kind, you know, it didn't quite know where he was going exactly it, kind of tell him where to go. And so it's a little unusual. And but when I really when he got to a place where I was going, I just felt delighted to be able to give him a big tip. The big tip was not like, Oh, you did a good job. It was like, Oh, you're a human. My tip was you're a human being who's struggling in life trying to make life get by. And I felt that I got a sense from this as a man who things weren't easy. at it, oh, you're you're a human being who's trying to get by and struggling. I don't know why that pandemics been hard for him. And I just wanted to kind of do that just felt kind of cozy and friendly and kind and has a here. And he was quite surprised to get a nice tip. And I was, and I was happy. Again, I was happy to be kind of filled nice to have that kind of instinct of generosity. But when he reacted, so like, wow, it wasn't that big. But, you know, it just wasn't putting his kids through college or anything. But you know, just just like, oh, he helped him, you know, he kind of lit up and and they're all great. I did such a good day today. I just cheered him up a little bit. Did he deserve a tip? Big tip. That was not how I was thinking that was not interest that I kind of way of thinking was maybe if he had done like go an extra mile that did something really special, something maybe I would have done the same or more something. But my generosity was not contingent upon him deserving it. It was contingent, but here's a person who it can make a difference in this person's life and to care for him and, and to express some kind of goodness and kindness and do it. And I felt good. There was a I kind of feel kind of cozy in my heart. Oh, that was nice. I wasn't proud. It was just like oh, and I didn't think about it again, until I was thinking about giving a talk on kindness. Today, I remembered the other day. It was a surprise. This is the way that being kind or compassionate or caring can produce a very good feelings for the person who's kind of it's automatic, but I but I think that works best to be kind if we feel confident and safe and comfortable with the situation. And if that's the case, then I think kindness creates a kind of mood or goodness or a warmth or softness and ourselves if we do it in a nice way kind of we're kind in a kind way. The capacity is good for us. And I remember the first time I really felt this in a strong way was I was in a kind of hike in a desert kind of area with a group of people I think was a lead group. But it was a little bit difficult because somebody had to climb over these little boulders and like little in through these little valleys that they had allegedly had to get up and over. And there was a person on the hike who had trouble with that. So I just kind of stayed behind to help this person up the ledges and over the boulders and it was just I didn't think much about doing it just seemed like the thing to do. But then after a while I started feeling how good it felt. I started feeling so good inside. And I couldn't wait until there was index ledge. And after a while, like, you know who was benefiting? Who here? Was I helping her? Was she helping me or was either one who was fortunate to be helping because I did such a good thing to me. Or was she the one who was fortunate to be helped? I don't know exactly how she felt by the by it but but I felt isn't it I've had a pretty cool, pretty amazing that if you want to be happy. One of the ways to be happy is to help other people. Be kind to other people generous to other people.
If you don't want to be Happy, then it's recommended you don't be kind to anyone, you'd mess up with your lack of happiness, if you if you start being kind. But the fact that we can be kind, and and it does good things for us, and that is self perpetuating. Once we start being kind, we start seeing the world through those, those eyes, we start seeing the world through those softness in that, that orientation. And we start seeing more kindness in the world, we start to people do a lot of good things for each other with small things. And the
and big things. And so you're seeing and they start living in a world, that's not only you know, the horrific things we're seeing and reading about in the Ukraine. That's still true, we don't want to deny it and pretend it's not there. And but that's not the whole story. Even in the Ukraine, there is a lot of people who are trying to help a lot of organizations who are rushing with their, their work and their money to provide for the refugees, a lot of people who are they're going to help the people who are wounded. And you can see, you can see sometimes horrific pictures of someone being helped out of a building that been bombed, and there's blood on their face. And it's kind of horrific to see. But then do you notice the person who's helping them as their arm around their shoulders and leading them out? That that's pretty phenomenal, that people are doing that. And in some ways, it's me, it's kind of that helping is more dramatic, it's probably dangerous to help in that way. But the helpers are the people who are making the world, a good place to live in the kind of world that we want to live in. So one of the principles I like to live by is I want to be live my life as if I'm living in the world I want to be in. So what I mean by that, I want to live in a world where people are kind to each other and supportive and generous and caring. And that world begins with me being that way, being kind and generous and supportive. And that's the world I want to live in. It's so much that we're all tucked back prefer that or the value of that. I don't want to live in a world of violence. But I don't want to turn my back on the violence and pretend it's not there. I don't want to be the ostrich and I'm putting my head in the sand and ignoring it. But I don't want to succumb to that, to anger succumb to despair, succumb to greed, succumb to violence. I don't want that to come out of me into the world. I don't I don't want that to be the influence I have on this world. I don't want to live in a world that's like that. And I would like to suggest that that Take That sometimes takes a tremendous amount of bravery to do that. People who go to war to fight said to be brave. They risked their lives. Sometimes they risk it for great causes.
What about risking our lives? For the sake of kindness? What about risking our lives for the sake of peace? Is it worth is it appropriate? Is that worthwhile to have that kind of bravery as well? To have such a high value on on love and care? That if we want to have the a world like that maybe we do have to sacrifice something maybe dates bravery. Maybe it is that is it then foolish even to put our lives in danger going out into the battlefield to bring back the injured or to stand in front of the tag so that they don't bomb some people. Don't think that kindness is, is avoiding to live with dedicated to kindness or love or care, generosity, I think they really do it realistically, for this world that's so horrific. We almost need like a kindness, core, you know, people who are so dedicated to it that they're willing to really give themselves over to it, and perhaps even rest their lives with it. So it isn't just to be, you know, well, okay, that's good with I'll be kind to my cat. Now when I go home. It's nice to be kind to your cat. But But it's, you know, I think I'd like to think if you want the world to start with us, and how we are as what creates the world to some degree? Do we have the bravery to hold on to the values that we would like to have in this world, to experience this world to if you want to live in a world of peace? And you're contributing to it? How brave you need to be.
If society struggles with some of the difficulties of effects of the war, like with something like dāna, rising gas prices and energy prices? Do we just complain? Do we have to be brave and wise and clever about how to not use more so much gasoline? Rather than be complained about gasoline prices? Do we find people to give them money so they can give them gasoline? People who need it more than we do? How do we live in a world? How do we make the world the world that we want to live in? That's the that I think is one of the principles that I've learned from Buddhism. And one of the reasons one of the reasons one of the ways that's represented the teachings of the Buddha is this with a world with the word world. In the his language, it's got its ello K loca has the same varied meanings as the English world. We're English word world, it can mean the Earth Kind of. But you can also say, the world of my senses. Now, just what I'm aware of in the moment, or the world of my emotions. And in the field of Buddha, the word loca sometimes just means the direct world of your immediate experience here in this body, that's the world. But also the globe is the world as well. And here we have the same word used for both. And I think that there's something very profound about this, that they're not so separate. And so just from this kind of idea that if you want to live in a kind world, a supportive world, a caring world. Well, there's a world where you in which you can do that, which is your world. And your world is connected to that wider world spreads from you. And who knows who you will touch, who knows, where are you? Where are you Where it'll take you. So what I'd like to propose to you all, is that if you are despairing about what's happening in the world. If you are angry with what's happening in the world, and you spend a lot of time and despair and anger, you're wasting your time. It's a kind of indulging. It's reasonable that we feel these that stuff. But it's also possible to act differently. It's possible to do an act. So that is The what the world needs, what you feel the world needs, comes from you out into the world. And it makes a huge difference for your heart. Huge if you do something if you're only reading the news, that's all you do. You know, that's not good for the heart. The Buddha was a man was a man was the Buddha taught action in a way that sometimes is not so obvious when we're teaching Buddhism through a meditation tradition. We're coming, meditating, be quiet. But that Buddhist teaching was really about action. The world begins with your action. Every day when you wake up, you create a new world for yourself. What's that world that you want to create? And each of us is capable of agency. Each of us is capable. Even if it's small things. Saying hello to a neighbor
picking up the trash someplace where no one's picked it up for a while. I have a friend one of her things is such she goes with periodically on the weekend, down around, I don't know exactly downtown River City, but somehow, somehow somehow east of El Camino and she collects trash, like from the train tracks and other places. And that's what she does. All kinds of things that are possible. Now, if you're not despairing and not angry, maybe that's a different, different. I don't know what you know. But if you're if you are dispiriting and anger and angry, I think it would probably do you a world of good if you acted in the way in the ways that create the world that you want to live in, in ways that are good for your heart, feed it and support it and nourish it. So that you benefit from the goodness that you do. There's just wonderful mutuality that we do good for the world. If you do it the right way. Then we benefit from it sets of inputs fantastic. So almost like we should all be selfish in this kind of way, because this very particular way to, to what the heart hearts to be radiant and glowing and warm, loving. What a great way to be. And if you can be selfish around that, why would you do good in the world. And you wouldn't be able to stay selfish or very long. Because selfishness is it limits the glow of the heart. So you're welcome to start selfishly, that's okay because it'll melt away if you're what you're doing is benefiting yourself from love with love, care, kindness. So I would say the world needs kindness now. More than any time that it's needed in my lifetime that I've known, this is the great need we have. There probably is no hope for us. Unless we have people who care and act on that care who love and act on that love. So I hope that this practice that we do our meditation practice or mindfulness practice. I hope that's a support for you to empower you to cleanse you of the what gets in the way of your love and empowers you to act on that your kindness or goodness and so, those are my thoughts for today. Any of you have any thoughts you want to share about this topic?
Yeah, I could use the mic. And I see that something funny happened with the people for YouTube. I thought I look like one of those mirrors. Since the amusement parks, it's all stretched out. I think it's a problem with our software here.
I had a occasion earlier today where I was doing something helping the community. And this isn't about me and like what I was doing, but there's a lot of rote doing something over and over again, where my body kind of gets tired and, but there, there's a larger community that I can interface with, and be with. But while I was just mindfully just doing something over and over and over again, to do something was good, cause my brain came up with a song I haven't sung in decades. zippity doo da subid my Yamaha wonderful day, I kind of had a headache. My body was doing rotator cuff was bugging me, but this spontaneously song just came up that I haven't sung truly in decades, and I don't know where it came. Nice. But there was just this upwelling of a
song. Yeah, very nice. Yeah. I love it. The one of the one of my ideas of reference points for being happy is having our heart sing. What makes your heart sing. And so to live live, live that way and so you can get your heart started singing
beautiful Very nice. Very nice. Thank you
Hello, I'm waiting. In my neighborhood. There is some very strange thing happened. I was going for a walk. And then I see the pile of flowers by the wall. Andrews take a hold it like this. So so another is a teddy bear. And I have no clue what was happening. And then, a few days later, somebody told me that this was a homeless guy. And I asked the lady about homeless but we literally had only one homeless guy hanging around neighborhood. I gave him sometimes money and but I never seen him interacting with anybody talking with anybody. But you see, person dies and people's hearts open to him. People brought him flowers. It was very surprising in just like I don't know it's act of kindness, or definitely empathy. Very strange.
It sounds like it sounds like people were touched by him. Yeah, so some deep way.
Yeah. And it was not just two, three, it was a pile of flowers.
Nice very nice.
Someone on YouTubes wrote, today I helped a neighbor whose electric wheelchair ran out of charge near my house. It felt it felt good, even though I was busy. But the connection was super sweet. I bet that person didn't wake up in the morning thinking they were going to do that. Who knows what will come our way. Sometimes I like to think that it's good to be ready. It's good to be in the world ready to be kind ready to be loving or caring. And sometimes we don't and we're not in those states. We're harried and busy and trying to do too much. And then the question is what is what's most valuable way to be? I guess. Again, it's kind of the theme of the talk. I think one of the most valuable things to two ways to be, is to be the world that you want to live in. And if you want to be in a world where you're running, running after your to do list, try to do as much as you possibly can through the day and just being harried busy. Well, that's the world you want, I guess. There's a lot of a lot of people around here who can help you do it well. said, sir, that people are skilled. And, but that's not I don't think that's the world we want to live in. So please, your life is so important and so valuable and and each of you are so important, and important part of this world important for making a difference for this world. And who knows who you're going to touch? Who knows whose life you save or close to it? Who knows what your smile your care your goodwill can do? Who knows when you give a little more than it's expected. And someone smiles and is delighted and feels Wow, there's good people in this world. It's not all people who just try and take advantage of me and argue with me because they feel like I was charging them too much for driving them someplace. There's other people to this kind. The world has kind people that has helpers. So when you see the photographs from the Ukraine, be sure to recognize the helpers as well. Maybe they're the ones who are the most brave. So thank you for this evening. Thank you for being here. And I look forward to our chance to sit together again.