Good morning to you all,
The Kind Voice
There is a voice within us, a small and quiet voice. A voice that is a part of our deepest, fullest selves, not a survival instinct or a thought trail or feeling, but a deep grounding upon which to stand. . There is a feeling, an urge and almost a need, to have oneself suffer, if not at the hands of others, than at oneself. This attitude runs contrary to instincts of survival and self-preservation, and seems to exist only as stopper to happiness, a painful drawing out of the present moment into areas and situations of past and future pain.
However, below and behind this self-destructive howl, is a quiet yet much firmer voice of kindness. Through thousands of years of survival and evolution on both the level of atoms and cells, animals and now humans, we have adapted and continued to survive and thrive. And I, as a modern man, inherit these thousands of years of changing natures, situations, energy and culture. And so it is no wonder that the mind or the self often feels divided unto itself, wanting some things, needing others, demanding some and hating others.
I feel that it is possible for a kind of social evolution, for want of a better word, that transcends the needs of survival and comes from the individual. This has been occurring over thousands of years, through the improvement of medicine and care and shelter and social attitudes of tolerance and compassion. Though it is indeed true that there is much work to be done, it cannot be denied that in the past two hundred years, great strides have been made in tolerance and empathy towards the attitudes between people of different races, sexuality and religious beliefs. I call for a surging continuation of this, which begins by returning to what I call the voice of kindness.
Deep within is the voice that allows you to rest at home in yourself, to know that you are not rubbish, you are not a failure, and you do not deserve to suffer needlessly.
I think that the need to survive on a physical level as a living being, can co-exist with much deeper notions of what that can mean, and the happiness and acceptance that can be found within this. Due to increasing medical advances, those who may have died due to diseases are living longer, and this has led to a much deeper and richer picture of what it is to be alive and a human in today’s world. Beyond discussions of the right to life and looking more at the quality of life, I feel, can lead us forward; and again it is driven by this generator of the kind voice within.
To know oneself as much as possible, is a goal for many. Yet for myself I have often struggled with balancing the physical needs of my existence, with understanding who I am, and my right to life and happiness. And yet I feel that the kind voice within holds the answer. As a living thing, the body has needs which cannot be denied, or we will die. On that very simple level of existence, one becomes forced to look after the body, or die. It is that simple. And so, notions of knowing oneself, happiness and suffering are almost temporarily abandoned to the importance of making sure that the body survives as an entity.
And yet, the great moments of life through art, sport, religion and so many others are not to be found in this singular taking care of a body and its physical needs. The yearnings of the soul, of solidarity and purpose must also be satisfied. So, if we agree that the basic starting point is to care for the body’s survival, one must exist on in spite of one’s self, to care for the outer shell, despite the inner conditions of the passenger. It is like driving a car to a destination, there must be fuel in the tank in order to arrive at any destination worth going to. So in caring for the bodies’ needs, there is a grudging acceptance that the person is living in this body and it must be cared for, and there is great solace both individually and collectively in this. We are all as humans enduring the same physical condition of humanness, one of solitary bodies, and yet a mass collective experience, and this is where the exciting possibilities lie.
So to begin by looking after the body offers an opportunity to thrive. If the body must be cared for, then the person arrives at a question of the balance of care. How much food shall be eaten? When? What exercise should be performed? When? Etc. Simply put, the answers to these questions can be found, tweaked, changed and re-found through a lifetime.
As long as the inner voice is one of kindness and care towards the individual, then the car is travelling along the right roads, again, regardless of the individual’s destinations or lack of them.
My inner kind voice now guides me towards balance, wellness and a feeling of personal care and not of relentless driving and relentless ambition. Now moving beyond the bodies’ needs, the inner voice of kindness as a lens for interpreting the world, can be incredibly beneficial and enabling. For situations and choices, relating them back to the inner voice of kindness makes sure that one has a welcome home in oneself. Here one can be kind in ones’ thoughts and actions towards oneself, and simply be. From here we can interpret the world and make decisions that will benefit both oneself and others, as the truths of the human condition of love, care and compassion are universal. For example, a kind and loving attitude in one’s work can allow others to feel enabled and cherished by their very being. This has astronomical effects on one’s relationships and practises, if one always begin by listening to the voice of kindness towards oneself and applies this same care and affection towards others. Equally with sexuality, if one practises kindness in thought and deed towards oneself, then that will allow a health and fulfilled aspect of oneself to grow and develop with no need for guilt, shame and hatred of the self.
I do not mean to sound metaphysical or whimsical at all. This notion of the inner voice of kindness is incredibly practical and can be practised every day, with no need for resources or even other people.
To simply sit and know that kindness towards oneself will benefit both the self and every single living thing is powerfully affirming and a cause for great joy.
It is my hope that I can continue to listen to the inner voice of kindness when the world seems to wear me down, to allow it to permeate through my relationships and into all my practises while I am alive. I believe that the human condition currently offers incredible opportunities for the development of love and acceptance inside the everyday human condition. To know that one is loved and treated kindly by oneself, allows one to feel valued without the need for another to do so. And yet in doing so, one simply has to treat the other as one has been treating oneself and the chain will continue to grow strong. I think personally, that by treating myself kindly and fully embracing this, I have been able to understand and extend compassion towards others. This I have done from a place of knowing that allows for our different yet shared human condition which shares the needs of love, nurturing and affection. With careful care towards the self and others, I truly believe that the shared human condition can be led to a place which is richer, deeper, unchartered and truly fantastic.
Daily repeated kindness can work wonders.
Be kind to yourself this Advent