Friday, October 4, 2013

Applying kindness

You can get smartphone apps to share photos with friends, tell your friends where you are, find out where they are, let them know when you're about to meditate so they can sit down too.

Now you can get an app to send them random compliments.

Kindr is an iPhone app that "users can send pre-crafted or original compliments to their friends and earn points along the way. Ready-to-use compliments include things like: 'Who always sees the glass half full?' 'Who do you admire for their dedication to their fitness?' and our favorite, 'Who's so smart that if they were turned into a zombie, they'd just seem like a normal person?" the Huffington Post reports.

The story doesn't explain why the compliments are worded as questions, which seems oddly impersonal. Or say what good the points are. Is it a competition -- the nicest person is the one with the most points? Can you redeem them for a whining binge? (It does say HuffPo will be providing content. It also provides the image at right)

The Kindr website includes a link to studies the document the benefits of kindness.

Of course, the Buddha listed them 2,500 years ago.The most ancient extant Buddhist collection of texts, the Pali Canon, identifies a number of benefits from the practicing of metta meditation, including:

One sleeps easily, wakes easily, dreams no evil dreams. One is dear to human beings, dear to non-human beings. The devas protect one. Neither fire, poison, nor weapons can touch one. One's mind gains concentration quickly. One's complexion is bright. One dies unconfused and – if penetrating no higher – is headed for the Brahma worlds.

If you're interested in practicing kindness, you could do metta, or lovingkindness, meditation. It's described here.

And if you want to get digital with it, you could just set an intention to text one compliment every day -- maybe after your metta meditation session. Make it one that you write yourself, from your heart. You'll feel good. The recipient will feel good. (Although I once, in a metta haze, texted my son, who wrote back, "Is this a generic text?") And if enough people feel good ... it'll be a movement.

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