Websites: Is it uncool to be kind?
(beliefnet: Is It Uncool to Be Kind?)
An interview with Sharon Salzberg by Lisa Schneider
In our culture, Sharon Salzberg believes, kindness is unfairly relegated to '5th-class status,' a virtue of last resort for those who aren't beautiful, brilliant, courageous, or strong. In her latest work, 'The Force of Kindness,' a combination book and CD set from Sounds True, she attempts to liberate compassion from any association with 'wimpiness' and explores how powerful it can be in people's lives. Besides, as she explained in a recent interview, being kind makes us happy.
What does kindness mean to you?
I think the associations people have with kindness are often things like meekness and sweetness and maybe sickly sweetness; whereas I do think of kindness as a force, as a power. When I look back over the instances, the encounters of my life, even when I just look around at the world, there's something that moves me so strongly that really is inspiring and uplifting about people just taking the time to pay attention to somebody or going a little bit out of their way to seek to help them. I can almost feel the palpable force of that. It reminds us of our own inner strength and our capacity to give, and it also reminds us of how connected we all are.
In what way can kindness be a spiritual practice?
It's both an internal spiritual practice and it's an external practice. I think one doesn't have to have a kind of classically spiritual word for it, to define it or access it, but it's like a commitment. It's remembering what we care about.
Mostly, I think it has to do with attention. You're rushing down the street and somebody asks you for directions, and the first thing you feel is annoyance. Like, I'm in a hurry, can't you see? But then you stop and you look at them and they look a little forlorn maybe, certainly a little bit lost and uneasy. And you think, they trusted me, that's why they asked me. They have that kind of inclination and you stop and you talk to them and there's just that little moment of connection. If we pay attention to what's around us then I think that leads us -- or that's a form itself, a form of kindness."