On April 13th 1964, 50 years ago, The Jewels of Happiness author Sri Chinmoy felt an inner compulsion or calling to move from his native India over to New York to be of service to people who were sincerely seeking happiness and a more fulfilling life through practising the art of meditation and self-discovery.
In New Zealand and Australia (as well as all over the world), we have felt inspired to honour this momentous achievement with numerous humble offerings of our own. One of the projects we are presently embarking on is 50 acts of random kindness over 50 days leading up to April 13th (we began on Feb 23rd). This was initially meant to be offered by 50 people but I think we ended up having around 35 perhaps.
Personally, doing a project like this has helped make me more aware of little actions in every day life where I can be conscious of being kind, helpful, thoughtful and present in every moment. Each action is not huge or difficult, but by ensuring I do one (or most days – two) of these random acts of kindness, I feel I am creating a more self-giving spirit in myself. It is also rewarding sometimes to see how even a random smile to a stranger can make all the difference to both of your days.
When I came up with the idea for this project I initially felt a tiny bit daunted, wondering if it would be possible in my busy life to do one every single day for almost 2 months, but so far, so good. It really is just the little moments in your daily life that you can remember to use to be of service. Of course Sri Chinmoy was constantly of service to humanity in so many ways, including Lecture tours around the world, to speak of Peace; Concerts for Peace in many countries; Offering his art, music and other creative endeavours to the world; and helping everyone with the sincere wish to learn to meditate and further their own spiritual growth.
Some acts of kindness…
But, although minor in significance, I would like to share with you here just a few of the Kindness Acts I have offered in the past 2 weeks – to demonstrate just how easy it is to accomplish a project such as this, if you keep it in your heart through the day…
Probably my favourite deed was buying bunches of flowers for my boss and delivering them to her house waiting for when she got out of hospital that day after minor surgery. Several occasions I also cooked dinner for my workmates when I knew this would help them in a busy evening of theirs.
Interactions with strangers are more common than you may think: helping an old man in the supermarket; pushing someone else’s child on the swing in a park when their parent was busy; holding the gate open for another runner approaching on a farm track.
Plenty of opportunities arise in busy traffic to allow your kindness to come forward instead of annoyance or impatience: letting a car in where others aren’t; allowing space for a car when they are in the wrong lane etc.
Sometimes you don’t have opportunities with strangers every day – so I like to then help my neighbours: getting in their rubbish bins for them, bringing mail from our shared letterbox up to their door for them; giving neighbours working in garden in the sun slices of watermelon to eat; moving obstructions off neighbours driveways for clear access.
In The Jewels of Happiness, Sri Chinmoy says
“If somebody asks you for your kindness,
Do you know what you give
To that person actually?
You give him
Your extraordinary love-power.”
In cafes and shops around Auckland, you can find aphorism cards with similar writings by Sri Chinmoy, given away free – to inspire. Here are two of them I found which seem appropriate for this project of self-offering:
Is always found
In a self-offering life.”
“What are the essential
Necessities of spirituality?
Love and serve.”
I do hope sharing this little project I have been working on at the moment, alongside others, will inspire you to perhaps look about with eyes wide open for those random moments when you can offer your heart’s love and kindness to the world around you. It is truly bringing me great happiness and joy in my own life.
So feel free to begin this very day and join in if you feel inspired! It is fun to keep a record, journal or blog of experiences you may have had each day.