When my daughter was just a little girl, I asked her if she knew what I taught in my classes. She responded, “How to be nice and not be mean.” That was so sweet, and in a very profound sense, so right.
What’s on the inside shows up on the outside. If deep inside we are peaceful and wise, then on the outside that ‘goodness’ shines through. If on the inside, we hold anger, resentment, etc., then that is what emerges on the surface.
Decades ago, it was just considered good manners to express one’s self politely and with dignity. These days, it seems vogue to do the opposite. Some say social media is partially responsible. Accusers no longer face the accused. Social media keeps people at a distance, free to lash out and vent at will.
Some say the drug and hippie wave from the 60s and 70s inspired people to act poorly, letting whatever was inside to be openly expressed. Manners and decorum were rejected. Indignant behavior was considered being true to one’s self. I say that is not being true to oneself. That is being true to one’s issues, inner demons, and inner distortions born of unresolved emotional wounds. Negativity, judgement, anger, and rage are the result of tired darkness within the human soul. We can learn how to express ourselves, but do so constructively with dignity, honor, and respect.
In this regard, being ‘nice’ means having a healthy soul unencumbered by inner emotional wounds. As the soul heals, we spontaneously express ourselves in a positive, not negative, manner. We behave constructively, not destructively. Character assassination of those we judge gives way to wise and reflective speech and behavior. We learn “how to be nice and not be mean”.
To do this properly lies far beyond the realm of suppression of our impulses. Rather it is a matter of purification of our hearts, of our souls, of our minds. That is called by various names: human evolution, psychological health, spiritual growth, etc.
Certainly, there are times when anger may be an appropriate response. But in this world, there is far too much of it rooted, not in wisdom, but in unresolved emotional issues. Certainly, it is normal and natural to have moments of anger. However, there is a problem when life-damaging bias and negativity do not soon quiesce into helpful, positive, useful, kind wisdom, communion, and understanding—what my daughter called: “how to be nice and not be mean”.
Feeling and even expressing anger is natural at times. However, if it is used to verbally attack, offend, ridicule, gossip, degrade, or condemn another, then it has crossed the line into simply being mean. To be nice is not to suppress one’s self, but rather to constructively articulate and express oneself with supportive and loving kindness, sincerity, wisdom, and understanding. Which is to say, to be in a state of oneness with all that is—in other words, the highest meaning of the word “love”—what my daughter called: “be nice and not be mean”.
Expressed in the words of an innocent young child, “how to be nice and not be mean” is the ultimate accomplishment of human evolution.
Of all that was said and done after the passing of President Bush, what had the most impact upon me was his son telling us that his dad is now in Heaven holding the hand of his wife and hugging his daughter Robin, who passed years ago. Karma separates us from the ones we love in so many ways. But Karma, though so often overwhelming in life, is, in the final analysis, superficial. Love resides deeper than Karma.
It is only the unfortunate who cling to the Karma of life. For most, at least upon passing, such superficiality drops away. The traumas, toils, conflicts, and hardships drop away. We might say they melt away. What moves to the forefront is the love we have within us. There we commune with all we love. That place within us all is called Heaven.
We love so many. We love our family, those living, and those who have passed. We love our friends and those with whom we have shared a common cause, a common community, a common stream of life. For Karmic reasons, we can, in life, find ourselves estranged from those we love. It may be due to loss of life, distance, time, misunderstanding, conflict, or circumstance. But even if, during the toil and haste of life, we are unable to recognize it, what remains after the body and story drop away, is that which underlies it all. And there, in Heaven, we all reunite through that enduring fiber of love.
What a precious gift is kindness. Don’t we all wish there was more of it in our lives! Isn’t the idea of a truly kind friend something we all cherish, but all too often simply long for?
Kindness sees, kindness understands, but kindness doesn’t judge. Understanding is not blind; judgment is blind. Understanding need not be all knowing. In fact, understanding knows that omniscience is the domain only of the divine. Yet, understanding is inherent in the kindness we mortals are capable of. We don’t have to look far to see that judgment and negativity seem to be the way of this world. Agni (fire) and Soma (water) make up this world. There is an excess of Agni in the world these days. It is the Soma nectar of loving kindness that supports and upholds the very fabric of life. Mount Soma was created to cultivate that nectar of peace and kindness. May we all hold one another in that light of kindness.
Jordan Peterson is a professor, psychologist, author, and lecturer with perspectives on many things… masculinity, religion, etc. If you would like, you can sample some of his many YouTube videos. I do not agree with everything he says, but do find some of his talks interesting and useful.
The Huffington Post just published one of my latest articles. It begins:
While recently giving a lecture in the San Francisco area, I was asked: “Would you please talk about the need to feel needed? It seems to be a very important, fundamental instinct.”
I responded by first saying it was one of the most beautiful questions I’ve been asked in a long time. I began by telling the story of two beautiful, white, draft horses owned by a friend. The horses were inseparable. Their worlds revolved around one another. They loved each other. When one of them passed away, the other, although perfectly healthy, also died within two weeks. We hear stories of long-term married couples having a similar scenario. So, let’s take a deeper look at what is actually going on here…
I just published a new article on Medium.com. It begins:
“I attended undergraduate school in the late sixties and early seventies when the hippie movement was at its peak. As a conscientious student, I didn’t have time for anything other than my studies. However, today I long for those peace and love ideals.
“Realistically speaking, what is peace and love anyway? Isn’t it far more than non-violence and free love? Doesn’t it include more than being respectful, compassionate, polite, and dignified toward all people, not just the ones you agree with?”…
Entrepreneur.com just published one of my new articles. It begins:
“Think about the last argument you got into. Did you win? Did you lose? Did it matter? Did you get angry and did it end uncomfortably? How did it make you feel and how did it make the other person feel? If you won the argument, how much did you really gain, and how much did you actually lose?”…
I just posted a new article on LinkedIn. It begins:
“Are you thinking about constructing a team for your business? The following principles are typically not employed, which is why I am presenting them here. As you apply these principles, there will be less turnover, both you and your team members will feel more fulfilled, and your business will run more smoothly. In short, you will positively transform your workplace…”
Entrepreneur.com just published another one of my new articles. It begins:
“Wilhelm Reich, a colleague of Sigmund Freud, laid the foundation for five classic personality types which, to this day, are well recognized in the field of psychology. Dr. Reich actually identified the body builds of these five types first, and then identified the personality types… By knowing about and working with these five classic personality types, you can understand yourself better and become more effective at working with others…”
Though it’s tough to admit, if we could take a step back and look at difficult situations we encounter, we would realize we are creating our own problems. “I knew that guy was unhappy, but I just didn’t want to deal with it. I had enough on my plate as it was. After all, it was clear to me that I was right. I just figured he would be able to sit down, think about it, and come to his senses. How wrong I was. He even went so far as to hire an attorney and declare war! A great deal of time, stress, and money later, he finally backed off, but the relationship was compromised and there was, of course, no apology. If only I had had a heart-to-heart conversation with him, the whole hassle might never have occurred”…