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Why Random Acts of Kindness are So Important

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Why Random Acts of Kindness are So Important

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.

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Ed and Deb Shapiro

You can learn more in our book, Be The Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie and others. Our 3 meditation CD’s: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: EdandDebShapiro.com

339 comments

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2:04AM PDT on Aug 22, 2014

Random acts of kindness, sweet soul medicine indeed. I give out hugs to strangers, smiles, words of wisdom when I sense something has to be said and my heart leaps with joy at the smiles of appreciation from the receiver.

Giving out green stars...awesome!

Thank you. :-)

(((((RandomActsOfKindnessHugs)))))

6:05AM PST on Dec 7, 2013

Yeah don't do it for the brownie points do it to feel good about yourself and to help make the world a better place. I like the feeling that I get when I do random acts of kindness. Even though you have no idea how many lives will be affected by your kindness. Your kindness will always be returned either by that source or another source. You can not cheat the universe. Kindness is energy. What goes out must come back. Read up more about the law of attraction. And watch the movie on youtube called "The Secret".

5:19PM PST on Nov 16, 2013

I enjoy "randomly" giving out green stars to members doing good deeds and contributing to the Care2 community:)

5:18PM PDT on Oct 13, 2013

It's the small acts of kindness that make the world a beautiful place worth living in. Whether you pay for someone's coffee, offer a few words of encouragement for a friend, allow someone to take your seat on the bus, open a door for someone juggling a stroller and a toddler and three shopping bags, send a green star or two, or compliment a stranger on those cool boots, it all adds to the pool of decency in the world.

These small good deeds really are their own reward. But if you need another, you'll often get it in the form of a smile or a thank you.

Honestly, though, I don't do it to get brownie points from someone else. Even if I don't get any thanks, I have the satisfaction of knowing I did something with good intentions to benefit someone else, and my actions are the only ones I can control.

4:49PM PDT on Oct 13, 2013

i do random acts of kindness on care2 by sending green stars to as many people in the community as possible. i encourage everyone to send green stars to as many random community members as possible it helps build up butterfly credits to donate to the cause of their choice.

4:46PM PDT on Oct 13, 2013

when i used to live and visit new york city alot, there were beggars everywhere asking for handouts. i gave what i could but i can't save everyone. i even gave food but some homeless rejected it and asked if i had money instead.

11:45PM PDT on Jun 18, 2013

Thanks.

9:07AM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

thanks

9:07AM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

thanks

7:29AM PDT on May 3, 2012

One must remember that the whole idea of giving was obliterated inside the corporate culture of the United States of America. Inside that paradigm of thinking it is considered "wasteful" and "inefficient". You are considered "silly" if you give to someone else just out of a desire to show love to a fellow human being. This is one of the reasons artists, like me, were considered "childish" for wanting to give of ourselves even though it would not return a "profit". You are not applauded for that act. You are ridiculed. The perspective in corporate culture is that if your effort doesn't directly benefit you than you shouldn't make it. This is still a prevalent belief inside the world of business and needs to be confronted and challenged.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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