How to love someone you don’t like!
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said, “My only religion is kindness.” I really like that. It is an expression of transpersonal love that anyone can practice because it is so simple and only requires the awareness of the Divine Guest (even if denied!) in somebody else. I notice it comes spontaneously in children. My 9-month-old great-granddaughter eats a cookie and holds it up gleefully to her mother holding her.
Not long ago, on my walk, the school bus stopped and seven-year-old Max got off holding a bunch of flowers for his mother, who was waiting for him. When he saw me, he ran and picked some buttercups by the roadside, which he gave me with shining eyes. I truly believe that kindness is built into our psyches until something inhibits it, like fear.
Today, especially, with so many predators abounding in the news we have to rob children and ourselves of innocent trust in strangers, so the following remarks need to be read with that in mind.
This is for us grown-ups. When we meet strangers, neighbors, or even relatives, most of us have a gut reaction that determines our ego response to the other. From a Jungian perspective, what we meet generally is the persona, the mask that we wear as our protection. Consider, as I had to, the grave solemnity of the funeral director, who came to discuss the preparations for the disposal of my darling husband in a special room at the hospital. He surely needs to remove that mask when he goes home to his family supper!
My teacher M told me the following story. He had a patient who came to him with severe depression. He was a small man, with tragic eyes. This was in New York and M tried to cheer him up. He recommended to the man to go to the circus that was performing at the Hippodrome and raved about the antics of the lead clown. The patient looked at him amazed. “I am that clown,” he said. “I know,” said M.
My own father, a Pisces, who had Jupiter conjunct his Ascendant (the persona in the chart) was one of the most successful international salesmen going, sincerely friendly and beloved by all the many people whose lives he touched. He was still hand addressing 2000 Xmas cards when he retired. What they didn’t see was the man who came home to my mother in the hotel rooms all over the world. As he had Saturn conjunct his Moon, all his pain and emotional suffering, was poured out onto her, awaiting her patient and consoling comfort, as I observed as a child but did not understand at the time. These are extreme examples.
The second encounter is with the ego of the other, and this is the level of friends and/or adversaries. As you read this, go back to a school your first day and how you felt about a teacher. If you disliked her, your psyche contracted like a camera lens, but if you felt you could trust her or him, that lens opened wide. More real learning could ensue. I had many teachers in many schools in several countries, and four of them changed my life. It was not what they said but who they were. Today, thanks to Bronson Alcott and Jung, I know the reason why. They were reaching out from Self to the Self in us. My defense as a young child was to be a rebellious brat but they saw through that and all my defenses melted. They taught me the love and magic of learning and how to find out. They treated me as a grownup. As Jung said, The unconscious psyche of the child is truly limitless in extent and of incalculable age.
I may have written of this example of kindness before but it is worth repeating. About fifteen years ago, my beloved husband and I were scheduled for a very early flight from Hartford, Connecticut, so we stayed overnight at the airport hotel. At about 5 a.m. we went to the breakfast room. It was a grey day and we were surrounded by sleepy disgruntled salesmen, each sitting at a plastic table on a cold floor. Silence reigned. But as each grabbed a briefcase and got up to pay the cashier, a small miracle would occur. The cashier, a grey-haired lady with a warm voice, would engage each man with a cheery bantering comment either about the weather or the prospect of a smooth flight or a question about the guy’s wellbeing. In a matter of minutes, she gave them their change and a friendly “Well bless you! Have a great trip!” or something similar. The man would smile at last and leave with a firmer step. I nudged Walter and we sat back and paid attention. When it was our turn to pay, Walter beamed at her and remarked that she brought the missing sunlight into the room. Her face lit up knowing that we recognized her intentions. I am still basking in the memory of her kindness.
The word courtesy comes from coeur, the French word for the heart, the source of both life and love. It’s not just a matter of good manners, it is an opportunity to really look and see the stranger and transmit a pook of Spirit! A recognition of the Divine Guest in others and a gratitude when it comes your way. It doesn’t cost a thing and you can’t buy it. On a grand scale, it is lying all around us in the freely given beauty of nature and the boy Max’s buttercups!
P.S.: The word “kind” comes from the old Anglo-Saxon word kinde meaning natural. Dame Kinde was their name for Mother Nature and our word “matter” comes from the Latin mater. It seems incredible that for 2000 years the sacredness of matter was considered a heresy by some Christian denominations! Pantheism today is fortunately slowly being superseded by panentheism – Spirit is in every thing. Every atom has a nucleus of divine energy.