January 27 – Being Kind – II – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
“We love what we attend.” Mwalimu Imara
There were two brothers who never got along. One was forever ambushing everything in his path, looking for the next treasure, while the first was still in his hand. He swaggered his shield and cursed everything he held. The other brother wandered in the open with very little protection, attending whatever he came upon. He would linger with every leaf, every twig and broken stone. He blessed everything he held.
This little story suggests that when we dare to move past hiding, a deeper law arises. When we bare our inwardness fully, exposing our strengths and frailties alike, we discover a kinship in all living things, and from this kinship a kindness moves through us and between us. The mystery is that being authentic is the only thing that reveals to us our kinship with life.
In this way, we can unfold the opposite of Blake’s truth and say, there is no greater act that putting yourself before another. Not before another as in coming first, but rather as in opening yourself before another, exposing your essence before another. Only in being this authentic can real kinship be known and real kindness released.
It is why we are moved, even if we won’t admit it, when strangers let down and show themselves. It is why we stop to help the wounded and the real. When we put ourselves fully before another, it makes love possible, the way the stubborn land goes soft before the sea.