Courage to be Kind

Aren't we always doing our best - trying to maintain some kind of balance (homeostasis), accommodating, adjusting & reacting to all that's going on in our life? In this sense, whatever we think, say & do, seems, at least at the time, not only reasonable & appropriate, but necessary. Yet, a third party may well observe our behavior and judge it inappropriate ("desperate measures"). Of course a third party has little or no idea of our context ("desperate times"). In adverse circumstances, actions that might be rejected under normal circumstances, may be the best choice.

“If you’re a human being living in 2017 and you’re not anxious, there’s something wrong with you.” Sarah Fader, 37-year-old social media consultant in Brooklyn

Some of us grew up coping with constant fear, anxiety & anger, and so became experts at survival skills, and prepared to use these for life. Others may have grown up nurtured in unconditional love, safety & security, where they learned to explore, savor, create & play in the infinite wonders of life. Most of us probably fit somewhere in between.

For these and many other reasons (natural selection, trauma, negativity bias, intolerance for vulnerability, etc), some level of fear keeps us mostly in a survival level of consciousness. Evolutionary psychology deals with this, and is skillfully reviewed in: Robert Wright. "Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment." Simon & Schuster, 2017.

One PIVOTAL problem with being in survival mode: it's not possible to be kind.

One is EITHER fearfully, anxiously, angrily, impatiently striving to survive OR one is being love, peacefully nurturing. The two states of being are qualitatively distinct, mutually exclusive. Being peaceful, kind, love, nurturing are not "shoulds", but our actual nature, our authenticity, the fabric of our being. So while we're NOT being authentic ie while we're in survival mode, which is most of the time, IT ALL FEELS WRONG. Neveretheless, it takes a LOT of honest self-reflection to recognize the degree to which survival mode dominates our entire approach to life, moment-by-moment.

“It takes courage to endure the

sharp pains of self discovery,

rather than choose to take the

dull pain of unconsciousness

that would last the rest of our lives.” Marianne Williamson

“The cave you fear to enter

holds the treasure that you seek.” Joseph Campbell

"There comes a time

when you start making choices from a very different place . . .

And if a choice lines up so that it supports truth,

health, happiness, wisdom, and love,

it's the right choice." Angeles Arrien

Loch Kelly. “Shift into Freedom. The Science and Practice of Open-hearted Awareness.” Sounds True, 2015.

Brené Brown PhD “The price of invulnerability.” at TEDxKC

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