Recently, someone was asking me about being kind. He was frustrated in his life and wanted to become a “better person.” I told him, “Don’t try to be a better person, because you already are. The kindness that you want to feel, you have. Ask a farmer how they prepare the field. It’s not by frustration. When you get frustrated, you have the want, the desire, but you don’t know what to do with it. So, prepare the field.”
You’re the field. Prepare it. How? Whatever you do most in your life, you will become good at it. Maybe you are good at being frustrated. If you practice this the most, you will become very good at it. So instead, start practicing kindness.
To practice kindness, just become a little more conscious. When you’re going to talk to somebody, first think, “Who am I talking to?” Many times parents really want to tell their children, “I love you,” but that’s not what comes out. Instead they say, “Why did you do that? Why can’t you be like this? I’ve told you so many times. . .” What they really want to say is, “I love you.”
Being conscious has many benefits. I know this because when I am not conscious, I say things that I regret. So I’m not coming to you as an expert. I’m coming to you as a person who has a lot of experience.
Consciousness. This is your life. Don’t let circumstances run your life; you run your life—what you want, how you want to be. Do you want to be angry? Sometimes it is good to be angry. Sometimes you want to be kind.
You are like a painter. There are many colors on your palette. You don’t have to use only one. It’s your life. Kindness is in you. Unconsciousness is in you, and consciousness is in you. The only thing you need is to take a moment to be conscious. This is easy to do. Just take a little moment before you do something and think, “What is it I am about to do? What is it that I want to do? I’m going to have this conversation—how do I want to feel afterwards?”
These are little things that you can do. And of all the little things you can do, the easiest one is just to take a little time.
What about the “reality” of all the things you have to do? That’s not reality—that’s fiction. To me, there’s no difference between thinking about all the things you have to do and thinking there was a monster in the closet when you were little. There’s no monster in your closet. Do all the things you have to do have to be done now? Maybe you wake up at 6:00 in the morning, and the office doesn’t open till 9:00. But you think, “I have to do this. I have to do this. I have to do this.”
Take a little time to be conscious. It only takes fraction of a second. If you are in the cockpit of an airplane, you don’t want to be unconscious and hit the wrong switch. Hitting the right switch just takes a fraction of a second. And if you want to be conscious, it only takes a fraction of a second to think, “What am I about to do?”
Kindness is in you. You don’t have to create kindness. There’s more kindness in you than you can possibly imagine. There’s more love in you than you can possibly imagine.
Why should you be kind? When you are kind, it makes you feel good. A lot of people want to be kind so that people will approve of them. But when you are kind, it makes you feel good. A very good incentive. And it’s very contagious.
You want to be kind? Be kind to you. Yes, people get angry and this and that, but you need to forgive and to forgive yourself. This is where kindness begins. If you cannot be kind to yourself, being kind to other people is arbitrary. We all make mistakes and will continue to make them. If we did not make mistakes, we would not be able to learn from them. But we need to learn from them and move forward, whatever it takes. As long as you learn from them, making mistakes is not a problem.
So, you have kindness; you have everything you need. Practice it. And what you practice, you will become good at. It’s very simple. It really is.