THE CHALLENGE OF CHOOSING TO BE KIND
THE CHALLENGE OF CHOOSING TO BE KIND
Eknath Easwaran answers questions about how to be kind with others without compromising on your own emotions and happiness
Eknath Easwaran

I find it really hard not to lash out if someone attacks me. Anything else feels weak.

Strength is often equated with the capacity to attack, but to me it means the internal toughness to take whatever life deals out without losing your humanity. It is those who never stoop to retaliation, never demand an eye for an eye, who are truly strong. They have the toughness to be tender, even sweet while resisting violence with all their heart.

By contrast, those who are ready to strike back at the slightest provocation are not strong but fragile. They may espouse a higher view of human nature, but almost anything can break them and make them lash back at those they oppose.

Indulging in anger is pointing a poison-tipped arrow inward, aimed straight at ourselves. It taints our thinking, poisons our feelings and turns our relationships adversarial. If we continue to think resentful thoughts, mistrust spreads in the consciousness like some toxic underground chemical until we have a permanent disposition for suspicion.

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April 2020