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Caring About Kindness

by Celia Coates

Once upon a time (which means that I can’t remember the year this true story happened) I had a dream so real and vivid that it woke me up. It was clear, direct, and unusual. I could hear the voice of the speaker and my own voice and see the scene as though I was standing there.

In the dream one of my animal guides showed up and we had time for a conversation. She is a large and awkward bird with the attitude and accent of someone who has grown up in Brooklyn. She is blunt, plain-spoken, and street-smart. To say the least, we have quite different personalities.

I had been feeling inadequate, not able to keep up with some colleagues who had advanced degrees in scientific fields – physics, chemistry, and the most hard-headed form of psychology. I was an English major who later trained as a family therapist. I felt “less than” the people who were focused on research and publishing their findings in distinguished scientific journals or speaking at prestigious conferences. I told my wise dream guide about my struggle.

She was quiet for only a moment and then she said,
“Honey, you don’t care about science, you care about kindness.”
That felt immediately honest and true, and it was a relief to hear.
Although I respect researchers, treasure what advanced physics is discovering, and follow well-founded information, I’ve never been intrigued by using my mind to become a disciplined or distinguished scientist.

Later that week I had a conversation with Elmer Green – I told him about the dream and what the wise bird had said. As soon as I stopped speaking, Elmer (who was a scientist) said,
“There won’t be a science of kindness for 400 years.”

 Elmer spoke often about the difficult times that humanity has to go through in the years ahead and taught that we must prepare the mind and our whole being to reckon with the trials that we will face. We can  learn to deal effectively with future challenges without despair and without becoming members of cults of catastrophe. (WINN will continue to publish posts about what Elmer taught that can help us.)

But what about his prediction about a science of kindness? It opens up so many questions.
What will that science look like?
What great new discoveries will bring that into being?
What break-throughs will be necessary before it can be established?
Why will it take so long to develop?
For me, however, it’s important to ask a smaller question, and it’s time to think about this in a more everyday way – what do we need to do until then?
We have nothing to lose by beginning to focus on what we already know about kindness and to make choices based on that in as many ways as we can, here and now.
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The image that leads this post is by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.