November 20, 2016
Click Through to Kindness

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HERE'S AN INTERESTING STATISTIC: The "click through" rate on negative headlines is 65% higher than positive headlines. People are far more curious about the negative than the positive. Parents, by the way, respond to their children with 10 times more "NO" statements than "YES" statements. No wonder why so many movies and TV shows are so full of conflict, violence, negativity, and scandal.

Actually, I am not all that surprised. The fairy tales we grew up on all have a dark side (the monster, the demon, the boogeyman) and kids want their parents telling those same stories over and over again.

On some level, its not just voyeurism or obsession -- it's catharsis -- part of our cellular journey, going from darkness to light.

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That being said, there's a cultural tipping point to all of this, whereby too many of us are focusing only on the glass being half empty and calling our conclusions "social activism" or "being realistic". Methinks, a better balance is required -- the ability to keep our eyes open to the destructive forces so we can respond in intelligent ways, but WITHOUT becoming negativity junkies, losing our center, our sense of the possible, and the kind of personal, daily renewal required to be IN the world, but not OF the world.

Remember, the LOTUS grows in the MUDDIEST of waters. Moving out of the country is not the answer, nor is hiding in our houses. Conversely, demonizing the "other" creates only reactivity and resistance. There is a middle path here, folks and we have not yet found it.

Remember, there are some extraordinary exemplars in human history of those who have taken the high road: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jesus and many, many others who no one has ever heard about -- maybe even the person sitting next to you on the bus.

Ultimately, it gets down to each breath, each thought, and each action. We have a choice every moment of the day. I like what Buddha supposedly said about the mind (and I paraphrase) "There are approximately 2,000 thoughts every second. I have slowed my mind down enough to be able to tell you what the last two were."

My question to you is this -- something Gandhi suggested: "How can you be the change you want to see in the world?"

And getting down to the bare basics... how can you, in your home life, work life, and community life, be an embodiment of the kind of clarity, kindness, compassion, wisdom, and honesty you'd like to see our so-called leaders embody?

PS: Just saw this great quote from Prem Rawat on a friend's FB feed: "Fight the fight you want, yes. Be a warrior for justice and peace, but first, fill your own cup with joy or you're not going to be clear and able to accomplish much to make the world a better place."

Photos: Jesse Ditkoff

International Day of Compassion and Kindness
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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at November 20, 2016 07:07 PM

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