August 8

Today's quotation:

The point is not to pay back kindness but to pass it on.

Julia Alvarez

Today's Meditation:

I've grown up believing that if someone shows me kindness, my highest duty was to pay back that kindness to the same person.  It wasn't until I was done a great kindness by a great friend, who insisted that I never pay her back but pass on the kindness to someone else, that I learned about the incredible value of passing on something so nice and important as a kindness.

I know that when I perform a kind act, I don't do so with the intention of having it paid back, so it's funny that I assume that when someone else is kind to me, I should pay it back to them.  In a way, my perspective even cheapens their kindness by assigning a self-serving motive to it, and that doesn't really seem fair.

It would be a beautiful feeling to think that a kind act that I did for one person was passed on to someone else, and then passed on from there to even another person.  If my simple act can motivate another person to add to the kindness and caring of the world, then my simple act becomes much more than a simple act--it becomes a spark that can start a flame, and it's a wonderful thing to think of that flame spreading and affecting many more people in positive ways.

Performing a kind act is adding positive energy to the world.  It's making a contribution to the positive side of life, the side that allows us to love and to dream and to feel good about ourselves and others.  A kind act is especially effective when it's given with no expectation of return, and we can reward the doer of that act more by passing on their kindness than by trying to return it.

Questions to consider:

What's your usual motivation for performing kind acts?

Is a kind act done with the idea of payback in mind truly a kind act?

Why might we think that paying someone back for a kindness is important?

For further thought:

Have you had a kindness shown?
Pass it on;
'Twas not given for thee alone,
Pass it on;
Let it travel down the years,
Let it wipe another's tears,
Till in Heaven the deed appears--
Pass it on.

Henry Burton


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