I’ve been reading a lot about social justice lately, as well as the challenges of moving out of the assumptions and institutions of white supremacy. The process has been yet another reminder of the importance and impact of unexamined perceptions and beliefs. I’ve written many times about engaging in acts of kindness and my recent reading has brought to the foreground of awareness the importance of cultivating and orienting to thoughts and self-talk focused on and arising from kindness.
Our habits of mind matter more than we may realize. In a sense, they are a form of ongoing self-hypnosis through which we program ourselves and emit the quality and tone of awareness and being that characterize how we move through the world and how we feel about, and treat, ourselves. The goal of the following practice isn’t to create an internal battle, argument, or conflict when noticing the unkind thoughts and actions that we may do without awareness. Because I have such a deep belief in wholeness, I understand that there will always be things arising in me that I may not enjoy experiencing, but they are part of an unbroken wholeness that is true of everyone.
Many times, I’ve written about the foreground/background dynamic of our wholeness. Sometimes something pops into the foreground of our thinking or behaving that we don’t particularly like, something that arises as one of the habits of mind that comes with years of conditioning. The good news is that anything that pops into the foreground can be invited into the background and replaced by something we would rather experience and/or express. It’s a matter of cultivating the kind of awareness that can compassionately notice when we’ve gone off track and that can then gently call us back to ourselves.
Read More “877th Week: Cultivating Kindness As a Habit of Mind”