Generosity Funds Kindness:
UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute is Funded 20 Million Dollars!
UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute is born.
It is always delightful to see that powers of goodness work side by side powers of darkness. This is true. We must acknowledge this and not get caught up with the news and happenings that we deem as evil or wrong to the point of feeling helpless.
So many of us, you and your friends, do contribute to a kinder world. We can do more and better and it does count. We at Perfectly Here are always looking for ways and have been exploring how to spread kindness.
Spreading Good Viruses: (our minds get infected by good and bad viruses)
During the second class of our Beyond Mindfulness Class Series participants were told to experiment with offering a kind smile to at least five new people everyday for a week. These must be random people they don’t already smile to. At a bus stop, the laundry mat, the grocery store, the post office, the driver on the next lane stopping at the red light. Some people have already developed such practices of loving/kindness, so they were to go one step further and say hello to at least five people they wouldn’t normally acknowledge everyday. If they already do that, then they were to go one step further and offer help to a few in need. Most importantly, because our experiment was to spread good viruses, they were to also find some people and inspire them to do the same. Some reported that they were in areas that people have that kind of culture, small corner of a touristy town. Others expressed how tough it might be to do this in locations such as Manhattan New York. We discussed if it were due to the density of population or is it the culture of the city that dictates people’s responds and resistances. We also talked about the manner in which acts of kindness are presented and perceived. For example, Joel McNenny, our youth teacher, who is from Ohio said looking into the eyes of people while talking to them is very normal and polite in Ohio, whereas he’s found it to be strange to do so in Los Angeles. Perception is everything.
So, for us Mindfulness and Loving Kindness practitioners it is necessary to become culturally intelligent, understanding the manner in which people communicate their minds and hearts so that our acts of kindness can be effectively received and benefited from.
While walking on the pathway that leads from Kaiser’s parking lot to its Hospital grounds, at least 50 people passed me by. Most were walking with their heads down, occupied with their phones. I smiled and said hello to several of them. Some responded in kind, and others just continued without attention. Then, I saw a lady walking in pain. I stopped and asked, “Are you Okay?” She responded “Yes,” and continued. I could feel the agony in her face. As she turned away, I saw a glimpse of a smile on her face. She straightened up a bit and stopped at the elevator with a bit more ease. It was evident that my caring gesture had a positive impact on her. It must have felt good that someone noticed and had cared for no other reason other than humanity.
Often, we think that if we show that we cared, we may have to give more, spend more time that we don’t have, become more obligated. Or we ignore strangers in need or in pain to not invade their privacy. We all get busy taking care of our lives and can feel lost in some unpleasant mood or fear and worry. Merely acknowledging someone who is having a tough time could change their mood, reduce their worry and anxiety.
The amazing news is that UCLA gets funded 20 million to start the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute. The funds are to be used to scientifically prove how kindness can improve life and health, improve happiness in both the givers and the receivers. To figure out ways that we can help the society be kinder. We, at Perfectly Here, wish them lots of luck and excited that their work and intention supports the efforts we put out into the community. I always emphasize to our students and practitioners how the ripple effects of acts of kindness, attentiveness and Mindfulness go beyond what we can ever measure or realize.
Wishing you all a life filled with love and kindness.