Wise Words – The Simple Road of Kindness

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”

George Eliot


It may be as simple as this. We’ve made it harder than it has to be.

We’ve spent the span of human existence tussling with the basic dilemma of humanity: how do we stand in relationship with the wonderment of this living cosmos and our fellow beings in a world where we also feel threat and danger? In the past, we sought guidance in misguided corners with a checkered history of success. We fostered argument and violence, forgetting the underlying reason we are here.

Maybe there is a day in the future when we will arrive at the crux of the matter:

when all the philosophies, doctrines, and treatises have been cataloged and shelved;

when the hierarchies and reformations have made all their arguments and counterpoints;

when the zealous believers of every stripe have finished shouting their convictions at each other and exhausted their passion for certitude;

maybe then, after all the building up and tearing down, our common wisdom will distill into a note so clear it rings the inner chambers of our hearts, a light so pure we cannot help but turn our heads and stare.

I believe that day will come when all of us hear the note, see the light, understand the true message. The debates of right and wrong will evaporate because we will realize they cannot feed us.

The basic human dilemma will not resolve on that day. We will still have doubts and griefs, we will ask unanswerable questions and face impossible decisions. We will still feel threatened and hurt each other. But we will seek guidance from a higher source. Our struggle with the dilemma will no longer revolve around doctrines and treatises. Our decisions will arise as we enter into the body of our wisdom in its purest form: to meet each situation with kindness, to relieve the burden of another, “to make life less difficult for each other,” as Elliot puts it.

Does that day seem far away? It does to me, too. When I see our current human capacity for inflicting immense suffering on the planet and each other, I can easily drop into despair. The path to any future where we are guided first by kindness seems like a long, long road of broken glass.

It would be easy for me to be distracted by despair, to say, “I’m just one person trying to live my solo version of this impossible human life; my tiny actions cannot make a difference.” And yet, the instant I frame that thought, I feel a tingling in my chest and a voice within me gently says, “You don’t believe that. Your actions matter. These things take their own time. The long road gets shorter with every act of kindness.”

If I don’t add my piece, the work is left to others. I don’t want that. I want to do my part, no matter how long it takes. Each time I let kindness guide my actions, I help the universe take another step toward goodness.

Photo by Laura Gilchrist on Unsplash

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