Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now, — Jack Kerouac.
I learned this weekend from Maria Popova that even the great Leo Tolstoy compiled quotes like I have done for years. I am hardly in Tolstoy’s league but its nice to know that for each day of the year he selected several quotes around a particular theme, then contributed his own thoughts on the subject, with kindness as the pillar. It was published two years after he completed the project, in Russian, but it took nearly a century for the first English translation, by Peter Sekirin, to appear: A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts to Nourish the Soul, Written and Selected from the World’s Sacred Texts. I looked up my birthday and found the following:
“A scholar knows many books; a well-educated person has knowledge and skills; an enlightened person understands the meaning and purpose of his life. There are a limitless number of different sciences, but without one basic science, that is, what is the meaning of life and what is good for the people, all other forms of knowledge and art become idle and harmful entertainment. We live a senseless life, contrary to the understanding of life by the wisest people of all times. This happens because our young generations are educated in the wrong way—they are taught different sciences but they are not taught the meaning of life. The only real science is the knowledge of how a person should live his life. And this knowledge is open to everyone.”
Now I could write more than one Pew about what Tolstoy has to say in that one quote, but I’m drawn to Kerouac’s words about kindness today. It is up to me and our leaders to practice kindness first and foremost. Tolstoy also said, “with kindness mysterious things become clear, difficult things become easy, and dull things become cheerful.” Some of my biggest regrets are when I didn’t extend kindness to someone. I also know I have never regretted a time I extended kindness. The more I extend kindness the more, I feel good about myself and the world.
What about you?