Faith Factor | Live with kindness in your heart | SierraSun.com

Faith Factor | Live with kindness in your heart

Special to the Sun

During our summer days, full of activities, friends and family, let us remember to be kind and generous with our loved ones, with those we don't know and with ourselves.

There may be times when we encounter people whose behavior is less than what we'd like it to be. What do we do in these situations?

We need to be aware we often don't know what is happening in other people's personal or professional lives. I believe most people have some sort of challenges, perhaps physical health, finances, relationships or work. A little bit of kindness shown to another can make a great difference in that person's life.

A paradigm shift occurs when we open our awareness, as depicted in this excerpt from Stephen Covey's book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People."

"I remember a mini-Paradigm Shift I experienced one Sunday morning on a subway in New York. People were sitting quietly — some reading newspapers, some lost in thought, some resting with their eyes closed. It was a calm, peaceful scene. Then suddenly, a man and his children entered the subway car. The children were so loud and rambunctious that instantly the whole climate changed.

"The man sat down next to me and closed his eyes, apparently oblivious to the situation. The children were yelling back and forth, throwing things, even grabbing people's papers. It was very disturbing. And yet, the man sitting next to me did nothing.

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"It was difficult not to feel irritated. I could not believe that he could be so insensitive to let his children run wild like that and do nothing about it, taking no responsibility at all. It was easy to see that everyone else on the subway felt irritated, too. So finally, with what I felt was unusual patience and restraint, I turned to him and said, 'Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn't control them a little more?'

The man lifted his gaze as if to come to a consciousness of the situation for the first time and said softly, 'Oh, you're right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don't know what to think, and I guess they don't know how to handle it either.'

"Can you imagine what I felt at that moment? My paradigm shifted. Suddenly I saw things differently, I felt differently, I behaved differently. My irritation vanished. I didn't have to worry about controlling my attitude or my behavior; my heart was filled with the man's pain. Feelings of sympathy and compassion flowed freely. 'Your wife just died? Oh, I'm so sorry. Can you tell me about it? What can I do to help?' Everything changed in an instant."

As we open up our awareness to that which we may not know, we can choose kindness as our guide and recognize its power. Being kind is a gift we can always choose to give. Experiment and focus on being kind and see how much more joy and ease you have in your life!

SUNDAY CELEBRATION

Join Sunday's Celebration service at the Center for Spiritual Living Tahoe Truckee, 700 North Lake Blvd., Tahoe City and deepen your connection with the divine.

With blessings always,

Rev. Liz Luoma

ABOUT THE CENTER

Center for Spiritual Living Tahoe-Truckee is a spiritual community that honors all paths to God and can help you experience a personal relationship with God. When God is the focus of our spirituality, then other areas of our lives fall into place – we are happier, we can do more for others, be better stewards of the Earth, and help bring peace and harmony to the world. Visit http://tahoecsl.org for events and information.