Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of January 20, 2020

Kind Presence

(Relationship Presence: 4)

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One can often tell the degree to which a person is kindly disposed toward us by their tone of voice and body language when they greet us. If they come across as warm-hearted, it tends to elicit the same in us. This is a gift they have given us. Life looks different when there is kindness in our core. Some people seem to be that way naturally.

The rest of us can, nevertheless, cultivate the feeling and attitude of kindness. When we come into contact with another person, whoever they are, we come into our heart and let our words and facial expressions emanate from the kindness there. This is something we can practice, working at it repeatedly. It can imbue our presence with a warm-hearted core that radiates out into our whole being and into our interactions with people.

Another aspect of this practice is to notice when we are not kind, perhaps indifferent or even unkind. Seeing those moments may come as a shock and surprise, and results in making room in us for kindness.

A third part consists of positive actions, inner and outer, to cultivate and act with kindness. We can start with the gift of attention, of actually paying attention to the people around us, rather than being lost in our interior narration of and commentary on our life. This gift of attention lifts us out of that self-involved world and enables the gift of an other-centered attitude. It enables us to see what is needed by those around us and what is possible, so that we can provide it to them when appropriate: a kind word, a warm smile, a joke, a courtesy, another gift. This other-centered attitude is the opposite of egoism and helps weaken it in us.

It does not, however, mean abandoning our own center. Rather we open to the great center that includes us all. The kindness there extends to all, including ourselves. If we can be kind to ourselves in the face of our own mistakes, failings, inabilities, and shortcomings, we are better positioned to be kind to others. Ultimately, there is no separation between us and other people, so that kindness toward another person warms us, because we are that person.

Spiritually, the practice of kindness is as essential as it is impactful. Presence without heart is incomplete and too dry to sustain. Heart without presence flounders. Kind presence gives us both the strength and the orientation to serve well. Presence enables us to be. Kindness gives us something to be. Kindness gives us a reason to be.

An act of kindness, with the full intention of our presence behind it, ripples out into the world. This holds true even in a small act of courtesy or an uplifting smile. If we want to make the world a better place, kind presence can lead the way. We act with kindness, because we want to live in a world that is kind. We act with kindness, because the world, at its core, is kind. In kind presence, we align ourselves with the great heart of the world.

For this week, please practice presence and kindness. Please practice kind presence.


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