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Healing through Kindness: Seeing beyond the darkness and finding the soul light

About a week ago, I stood affixed in front of my dining room window. My intuition was calling my attention to look out my window at the dark sky. It was already almost 10pm, and my bedroom is also calling for me to bed. Yet, I stood affixed staring into the horizon. After a few moments, the contours of a full moon begin to emerge from behind the clouds. The moon only showed itself for a brief moment. I disappeared once again when the wind brought back a cluster of heavy clouds between me and the moon. As the river of clouds travel rapidly across the sky, a light show with the moon as the backdrop unveiled before my eyes. I stood in awe, eagerly waiting for the light show to emerge every time the moon disappears again.

The moon is always there even when we can’t see it. Its luminance is constant.

Our soul’s good nature is always there even when we don’t feel it. Its divine power is constant.

In times when we feel defeated, depressed, and polarized in conflict, we can remind ourselves that the good nature is always present in ourselves and in others, even though layers of clouds may be covering its presence at the moment. The clouds are layers of fears and trauma, and so often in conflict, one’s trauma is talking to another’s trauma.

In these moments, fight or flight, as well as the need to feel heard and be right, block out the light of our deep seeded goodness. At the core, we all want the same thing – safety, love, and joy.

  • How can we start the conversation from this deep knowing of our shared needs?

  • How can we see through the lens that everyone, including ourselves and our perceived enemies, all have good soul nature?

  • How can we make every conflict an opportunity to practice tapping into our goodness?

My own journey in cultivating kindness – being accepting of all parts of myself and others, is hard and humbling. This past year has shown me how easy I react with anger and frustration, even contempt and desire for revenge. I want to reject these limitations. I want to transform. Yet, the healing process is slow. Every transformation require a deep healing of a past wound.

The healing process is not a straight-forward formula. However, one pattern I notice is:

  • First, let all the ugliness be fully expressed, which often looks like behaving in a childish unreasonable way (i.e. acting out)

  • Second, people impacted respond in a kind and patient way. They are able to give up their needs temporarily to attend to my needs.

  • Third, I give myself the space and patience to let the emotions rise and fall away naturally. Usually at the end of this process, I recall a past event that originated a wounding/coping tactic. I can see how my reaction is coming from past trauma, and that I am acting from habitual pattern.

  • Fourth, people impacted forgives my behavior and respond with love. I forgive my behavior and respond to myself with love.

  • Over time, I see my pattern more clearly. I also gain more capacity to see the current situation from multiple angles instead of only from my trauma. I begin to see the current situation/person I presume is hurting me, is actually not the culprit. I am the culprit responsible for reenacting my trauma; thus I am my own liberator.

  • My anger and sadness stem from the fear of helplessness, but in reality, the helplessness is an illusion of my own creation.

One story shared by S. N. Goenka reminds me of this wisdom:

One day, I painted an ugly monster on a canvas. Every time I look at it, I feel so scared. I decided to carry this picture with me and every time I look at it, I tell people: “It’s so scary! It’s so scary!” All the while, I could have put down the canvas or paint a different picture.

We all have these heavy clouds that blocks our moonlight, these monsters we carry with us – ready to attack. Can we compassionately see behind the clouds and monsters in ourselves and in others?

What I realize is that healing myself is difficult in isolation. Often, we need other people to accept us as we are before we can accept ourselves. This insight shows me how important it is to practice kindness, especially when other people are acting out of stress.

Kindness is easier to practice when we pause.

Kindness is also easier to give when we fill whole.

The path to reconciliation, unity, and oneness is laid with kindness.