Thursday, July 07, 2011

Kindness

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.

7 comments:

campbell said...

So.......how was the Wednesday night date?!?!?!?!?!!?!?

Krin said...

Interesting that you should have this realisation. I've experienced a similar thing coming out of depression in the past.

At one stage (probably when we first met) I would not have described mysefl as Buddhist, believing I didn't have the attitudes that were fundamental to my understanding of the way of the lay buddhist.

Towards the end of that period of depression, when I was most of the way out of it, I found a book by Ajarn Brahm "Opening the doors to your Heart", and realised I'd alwys been buddhist, just stopped identifying as such. The book made me realise that my entire approach to dealing with the depression and coming back out of it was entirely buddhist.

It's a book of parables and stories about dealing with some of the darker episodes in life. I'd highly recommend it to anyone, and you may particularly enjoy it at the moment, especially the humour and the myriad "ah-ha!" moments that will resonate with your thoughts and approach of late.

The Other Andrew said...

Krin,
I think I know of that book, I used to buy for the book shop at our centre when I ran the bookshop (I think). Or maybe it was another title by the same author. The other author I find incredibly helpful on the topics of depression and uncertainty is Pema Chodron. Her books like "Start Where You Are", "When Things Fall Apart" and so on are really helpful. She writes in a very approachable style.

Mindy said...

An unexpected smile never fails to lift my day. I wonder how many people that lovely driver made happy?

Atlanta Couture Styles said...

i cam across your blog by mistake it hit next blog after reading my blog. I will be following, thanks.

The Other Andrew said...

You're most welcome!

kel watson said...

hey, I've been searching everywhere for other Aussie blogs that talk about Buddhism - and here you are! You might like to join the onlinemeditationcrew.org? Anyway hope you connect with you more!