Kindness is the Light that dissolves all walls between Souls, families and nations.
- Paramahansa Yogananda
We are born into family. No human bonds are stronger, more important to our survival, and longer lasting. Throughout history, people all over the world value the importance of family. Some have even called it the nucleus of civilization.
If family is at the core of civilization, and kindness is the light that dissolves all walls between Souls, Families, and Nations, then logically, it is in our best interest to exercises kindness at every opportunity.
Many of us are most kind and tolerant with our immediate family members, even if we might choose otherwise should they be strangers, then to our extended family, then to our religious or spiritual family, our social or ethic group family and so on. As relationships move farther away from the nucleus; however, so do our levels of tolerance and kindness.
Generally speaking, we are not as kind or tolerant with strangers as we are with our friends. In some instances, there might exist a predisposition for a lack of kindness towards certain groups of people, perhaps due to perceptions based on history or associations between a group of people and the actions of specific members of that group. For whatever reasons, people sometimes withhold kindness in situations where it is obviously needed.
How can we step into the light of kindness and dissolve walls? It’s very simple: Treat everyone as if they are a member of your family. In the Hawaiian culture, this concept is called Ohana, meaning ‘Family.’ Many cultures around the world share this idea. It is up to us, as individuals, to create the reality of Ohana.
One way to expand the kindness of Ohana, is to reframe the way you think about other people. For example, you may think of anyone who is in your peer group as your brother, sister, or cousin, rather than as a stranger. You may think of anyone who is in your parents’ peer group as Uncle or Auntie, and people in your Grandparents peer group as Grandfather and Grandmother, “Tutu” in Hawaiian. You may think of any child as your son, daughter, niece, or nephew.
It’s not necessary to use these labels out loud. They can remain private and still be very effective in dissolving walls, reducing tension, and improving relationships. When you meet a stranger, think “hello, Brother.” It will change the way you feel and the way you treat people. If everyone practiced this, just imagine how quickly the world could change.
The key is to practice Ohana, even when others are not. Waiting to offer kindness until you first receive kindness is not practicing kindness at all. You may offer endless amounts of kindness and never run out. Give it freely and your heart will open and be filled. It is that which we withhold that we often feel denied by others.
When you meet a stranger on the street, be the first to offer kindness, to look at and greet them, to show the unconditional support of family. It’s not important that they respond in a way that meets your expectations. The scent of the rose remains on the hand of the one who gives it.
Be the person who offers flowers wherever you go. Be the one who shines the light of kindness on everyone you meet and everyone you could meet. We are all one family. Let our actions provide evidence of this belief.
Your practice: Treat every person you meet with the same kindness as you would your most beloved family member. Then share this idea with as many people as possible. This is how we get to live in the world we want.