Do not take lightly small misdeeds,
believing they can do no harm.
Even a tiny spark of fire
can set alight a mountain of hay.
Do not take lightly small good deeds,
believing they can hardly help.
For drops of water, one by one,
in time can fill a giant pot.
– Patrul Rinpoche
Here at New Life, we believe in the healing and transformational power of metta, or “loving kindness”. Random acts of kindness are essential to our well-being. They liberate us from self-obsession, selfishness, and isolation. They are the effect of an open and loving nature. True generosity is giving without expectation, with no need to be repaid in any form. This is the most powerful act of generosity. This is why we’ve created a new working meditation activity called “Metta Duty”. There is a new person on “Metta Duty” every day and their special job is to spread kindness throughout our community.
We encourage people to be spontaneous and creative with their metta. Just a few ideas for New Lifers on the metta schedule include:
- Give out compliments generously.
- Think about people who quietly make a difference to our community and thank them.
- Send a message. Write down your favorite poem on happiness or jot down some thoughts on hope, then leave it somewhere for a stranger to find. You could also leave a message in a favorite book you’ve enjoyed, letting someone else know they can have the book to read and hope that they love it as much as you did; leave the book somewhere for them to find.
- Forgive somebody. You’d be amazed at the ripple effect an ounce of forgiveness can have in your life and in the lives of others. Unburden yourself of the past and think kind thoughts again about that person.
- Share a smile. When meeting a new person, or even chatting with an old one, express joy. Show that you’re happy to be with them, and that they make you happy.
- Surprise someone with some flowers or a nice drink.
- Give some hugs. The more the better.
- Offer a dance / music break to the hardworking people in the kitchen or the fields.
- Bake some cookies.
- Clean someone’s room (a lot of people need that).
- Check in on the new residents and volunteers who arrived today. Do they need a hand?
- Clean the Buddha / the altar, and put some nice flowers there.
- Provide suncream to the people working in the field.
- Surprise the Thai staff members with a snack or a cool drink.
Of course, there’s no need to be on “Metta Duty” to be spontaneously kind. It’s something we can do every single day, and can have a dramatic effect not only on our own well-being but that of our loved ones and others around us. If you’ve engaged in any random acts of kindness recently, we’d love to hear about it!