“If man really becomes human – not only in name but in reality – he will not need any rules. Very few people have realised that up to now.” OSHO
Today I have a proposition for you. Let’s make the next seven days until December 29, an extra special week — I am calling it Random Acts of Kindness Week.
Deepak Chopra wrote that one thing human beings find hard to do is to love their neighbour as they do themselves.
And if you think about it, it’s true. If we practised this simple phrase instead of being philosophical about it, no one would go to sleep hungry or walk with holes in their shoes because we would share what we have.
The shopping frenzy has already started — the next time you are in a busy place like a mall, take some time to observe.
Just watch the frantic spending on food, drink and clothes, oftentimes much more than is necessary.
But have you ever stood behind someone in the supermarket queue and seen them battling to decide which one of their 10 or so basic items they should leave behind, because they are short of money?
Imagine the chain of positive events that you could set off by offering to pay for those few extra items?
They would go back to their family and recount the story of how a stranger was kind to them that day.
If you have ever wondered if there are any benefits to giving then The Institute for Research into Unlimited Love (www.unlimitedloveinstitute.org) has many of the answers.
It is dedicated to the scientific examination into the “power of unlimited love in human moral and spiritual experience”.
According to the Institute, “the essence of love is to affectively affirm as well as to unselfishly delight in the well-being of others, and to engage in acts of care and service on their behalf; unlimited love extends this love to all others without exception, in an enduring and constant way. Widely considered the highest form of virtue, unlimited love is often deemed a creative presence underlying and integral to all of reality: participation in unlimited love constitutes the fullest experience of spirituality.”
They have research papers on various topics such as facial and physiological correlations of compassion and others that I could never have imagined.
Central to their work is to try and answer the following three questions: Does the sincere love of neighbour contribute to the happiness and health of both those who give it and those who receive it?
Do small acts of unselfish love give rise to hope, joy and resilience in the giver, especially in times of disappointment, loss, illness and other hardships?
Does the self-reported spiritual experience of an unlimited love result in increased benevolence, compassion and philanthropy?
So what can we do during Random Acts of Kindness Week?
Giving to friends and relatives is the easy part – most of them expect it and it’s within our comfort zone. The key word here is random and that implies giving to someone who doesn’t know us and is not expecting it.
If you look out for opportunities you will find them. Acts of kindness can be anything from giving someone way in traffic, smiling and greeting a stranger or giving something material which makes a difference to them.
It could involve buying some food for the homeless guy who lives above the flyover. Or on the long drive to the home village or a resort, stopping and surprising a rural family with a plastic bag of goodies which would make their holiday extra special.
How about your favourite security guard or that guy you buy the newspaper from every week? And the car guard too.
If you are not comfortable giving money maybe a food hamper will do. We can become the change that we seek by taking time out of the busy days ahead and performing just one random act of kindness.
Let us take heed of Kahlil Gibran’s words “All that you have shall one day be given. Give so that the season of giving shall be yours and not of your inheritors.”