We first heard the saying practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty, many years ago when we were at Findhorn, the well-known spiritual community in Scotland. It always struck us as being the most obvious thing to do, that practicing kindness and beauty should be a natural expression of who we are.
Although wonderful in its intention, recently there appears to be some misunderstanding about it, particularly the practice random acts of kindness part. This misunderstanding seems to arise from the idea that the receiver might not appreciate the kindness, that it might even make them apprehensive or distrustful. Sadly, this speaks more about the suspicious world we live in than about the nature of kindness. It is a shame that this may be the case, but if so, then what is needed are more acts of kindness and done by more of us, not less.
Be generous. Give to those you love; give to those who love you, give to the fortunate, give to the unfortunate — yes, give especially to those you don’t want to give. You will receive abundance for your giving. The more you give, the more you will have!– W. Clement Stone
Wikipedia says that a random act of kindness is: “a selfless act performed by a person or persons wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual… There will generally be no reason other than to make people smile, or be happier.”
Perhaps it is the use of the world random that is misleading, and that it would be easier if we used the word spontaneous or impulsive instead. Spontaneity means we are acting on an impulse, in the moment, freely; particularly, that we are moved to do something for someone without any thought of receiving something in return. Such behavior is surely the ground of a healthy and joyful society, where we happily give of ourselves to help another and such an act is happily received.