One of the curious things about the period of depression and anger I've recently come out the other side of, is that the Buddhist Dharma (teachings) would have been a huge help through that process. While I still considered myself as a Buddhist through all of that dark period, in reality my practice and my reading of Buddhist teachings dropped away to almost nothing. I'm not sure why, maybe because not dealing felt like a failure and rigorous self analysis felt too painful. Totally not what the Dharma teaches, in fact gentleness and kindness towards yourself (as well as others) is a cornerstone of the teachings. But it is what it is, and now I feel it's time to move again.
So, I spent some downtime this afternoon revisiting the website for my old Dharma centre to get back in touch with what courses and meditation classes are coming up. I think I'll dip my toes back into the waters by volunteering at a Vipassana meditation retreat weekend with a teacher with whom I did an 8 day silent Vipassana meditation retreat way back in 2005. There are also some drop-in meditation sessions I might attend.
So thoughts of kindness were on my mind this afternoon when I hopped on the bus to head home, only to be greeted with the loveliest, friendliest "Good afternoon." from the young bus driver. In fact, he said a warm and friendly "Good afternoon." to everyone that got on the bus. Every single person. Sydney bus drivers are not well known for their friendliness, so everyone was just as surprised as I was.
But the results were dramatic. It at least put a smile on everyone's face, and many people visibly lit up. One old chap made his way to the front of the bus as he was getting off, and thanked the driver for his friendliness and his "beautiful manners". Such small gestures of warmth and kindness, with such big results. Everyone's day got a little brighter and that was an important lesson to remember.