January 11–Justice: Kindness

Kindness is more important than wisdom, 
and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.
Theodore Rubin

Often, we think of wisdom as taking whatever knowledge we have gained and turning it into some sort of life practice.  I think that is fair.  Too often, though, we think of that knowledge as coming from books or the internet or some other form of academic publication. This bias toward a particular kind of knowledge (one of my own biases) is probably common among Unitarian Universalists.  It’s an easy bias: why would you not want good information? Reading, research and study provide a pathway to finding good information. And, if we cultivate practices based on good information, that may lead to wisdom.  It may also lead to arrogance, if we are honest.

If the way to knowledge, however, is limited to this pathway of the intellect, we will always arrive at knowledge (good information) by circumventing the human heart.

Enter kindness.  The practice of kindness is something anyone can engage (even people who love books), any time, anywhere.  No books required.  No wifi needed.  No device required in the hand. The practice of kindness puts us into relationships, service, listening, observing and the possibility of reflecting, immediately.

And really, aren’t these the true building blocks of wisdom?  To be in relationship with other beings around us, to serve, to listen, to observe, to notice, and to reflect on what we find in doing so?

Yet another way of choosing to bestow bounty in its proper place.

Bob Patrick

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