Several times in the last week, I’ve run across postings in classes I’m taking, as well as postings on Facebook, that speak to something that offers what, for me, is a source of support during these challenging and distressing times. Unfortunately, at the moment, my brain won’t give me the names of the people or places where I’ve run across these postings, so I’ll share some general ideas about what has touched me along the way.
I’ve written before about the importance of not going into collapse in the presence of what seem to be overwhelming circumstances. One of the ways to avoid collapse is to feel able to act in ways that meet, ameliorate, or change what causes suffering to our brothers and sisters of every species all around the planet, and to the planet itself.
In two recent articles, the authors talked about the importance and the impact of small acts that any of us can do in the course of our daily lives, even if we are unable to engage change on a larger scale. What touched me about these articles is that they reminded me that every small act counts and, with my belief in collective consciousness, this makes a lot of sense to me. Small acts by many people add up. Within our collective consciousness, whenever we do any act of kindness or decency, we add to the collective expression of these qualities and that’s no small thing.
Unfortunately, we have seen example after example of what can only be described as cruelty and a stunning lack of empathy by a surprising number of people all around the world. It’s no surprise that humans are capable of this degree of cruelty. Our history books are filled with examples similar to what we see happening today. What causes even deeper distress than we might have felt before, though, is the fact that these days we have the Internet, which allows us to see so many more examples of this aspect of human consciousness than ever before in human history.
Because of the news we encounter every day, we may lose sight of the many examples of compassion, creativity, care, and love that express every day, as well, all around the planet and on behalf of all life. It can be hard to find these stories, but they abound if we look for them. As I’ve said many times, it’s important to offer ourselves the nourishment provided by stories that speak to human kindness, to alleviating—rather than causing—suffering. Looking for good news not only offers your heart some ease and hope, it can also support this week’s practice. One of the websites that offers an abundance of good news is kindspring.org and its affiliated group, dailygood.org.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to offer yourself an opportunity to do, as one article suggested, “one act of decency” per day—just one, although there may be opportunities to do many more that you also do. The key here is to make sure that each day reflects at least one act of decency, one act of kindness, one act of compassion, or one act of some other kind that reaches into your environment and offers support to others.
As you do these small acts, notice the response you have in your body, the quality of your thoughts and feelings. It’s helpful to remember that our heart space, our heart intelligence and perception, are oriented to connection, relationship, and oneness. Doing acts of decency and kindness nourish the heart in powerful and important ways and can keep us from feeling impotent and helpless in the presence of forces that seem larger than our ability to counter them.
Remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion, as you never know what new awareness may arise as you engage a practice. And, as always, be sure to gently pat on the head any judgments that may arise, allowing them to continue to move on through in the same way that leaves floating on the surface of a river float on downstream.