I write a lot about self-development and personal growth, so when I come across a person who I can exchange my thoughts and ideas with, I am always open to learning.
Today, Dawn Rodrigues, a mother of three teenagers has been practicing yoga and meditation for 20 years is sharing with us the benefits of practicing the art of benevolence.
Hatha yoga was incorporated into her daily life soon after committing to the practice of meditation and is valued as a supportive tool in the journey of self-discovery through meditation.
Why Should We Practice the Art of Benevolence?
As I look around I can’t help but wonder if we as individuals, and collectively as a culture, are over time becoming increasingly devoid of benevolence?
I guess first I should ask if you know what the word benevolence means to you before you should be expected to answer that question. Unfortunately, it is rarely referred to these days but is a word which imbibes an attitude that should be held in the highest regard.
Benevolence is an inclination to be kind and a disposition to do well.
An act intending or showing kindness and goodwill is an expression of benevolence. It is what makes the world a better place!
Many of you have likely heard the saying “an apple a day will keep the doctor away.”
I would like to be so bold as to say that “a benevolent act a day can easily keep the blues away!”
Let’s face it, we live in a time in which depression and anxiety are on the rise.
Social media, while giving people access to countless “interactions”, often leaves people feeling empty and inferior to others. It’s easy to compare our lives with what we see being presented by others.
In an attempt to capture “postable” moments in our lives, we actually miss the moment in our semi-frantic attempt to have something to show off to others.
All the while, as we live in this virtual reality, we are losing touch with the people around us, those we live with or simply stand in line next to in the supermarket.
We are becoming increasingly disconnected to one another as we stand side by side with our faces in our devices. Have you been to an airport lately?
I know, I know… this article in supposed to be about the importance of benevolence. I did not forget.
I am getting there.
Benevolence is the key to bringing about a sense of respect, avoid hatred and interconnection between one another, increasing our sense of inner happiness, peace and harmony.
What I’m about to recommend is so simple.
This is not a new idea, but due to the current trend of modern day society, it is something that is likely to take some effort.
Keep in mind, we are about to make the world a better place!
I would like each of you to pledge to do show our benevolence by doing at least one good deed or show an act of kindness each day.
For some of you this will come more naturally, while others may have to work harder at it.
Let me give you some ideas of simple acts of kindness I enjoy doing regularly.
I go out of my way to hold a door open for someone.
People often seem so pleasantly surprised, almost shocked and reward me with a grateful smile.
On other occasions rather than just grabbing my shopping cart and going into the store, I pass carts on to others that are heading inside then go in after them.
Again, people are taken back for a moment and express gratitude at the gesture.
We should keep away from any kind of hatred or any prejudice.
Another simple way to show kindness is to thank a bank teller or the grocery clerk by asking them how their day is going, thanking them before walking away.
They are paid to work and interact with customers all day and they often seem grateful for sincere caring words.
Numerous times I have been told by the recipient that my act of kindness just made their day.
The wonderful thing is that those interactions make my day too!
Warmth and softness grows in my heart.
Bringing our good deed for the day a little closer to home, let’s look at the opportunities we have to help those close to us.
The next time you are cooking food or baking, make a little extra.
Think of someone in your life that could use some TLC and bring them some of the food. It will mean more to them than you know.
Expressing gratitude is a gracious act of benevolence. Go out of your way to express gratitude to a family member or friend for something they’ve done.
Or simply for a trait they possess that is worthy of praise.
I know I am not always the easiest person to deal with, so I like to make a habit of thanking people close to me every so often for their patience with me.
Expressing gratitude to others for being in our lives and caring for us is also an act of good will. It’s one that creates bonds of love and nurturing.
The beauty of committing to at least one good deed or act of kindness per day will make us more inclined to practice benevolence.
This practice which once took effort will become second nature and actually become part of our disposition. Wouldn’t that be nice… for everyone?
What’s more, acts of goodwill and kindness are contagious. They cause a ripple effect, one of goodness.
When our kind actions touches another person and you see that smile emerge, it is likely that the person will feel inclined to do the same for someone else.
As you can see, I was not exaggerating when I said we can very simply make the world a better place with one good deed a day!
I encourage you to commit to one good deed a day. I have mentioned a few ways this can be done, but the possibilities are endless!
As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “be the change you wish to see in the world.”
This is a simple yet powerful way to do just that!
Author – Dawn Rodrigues
Dawn teaches both yoga and meditation throughout the Sacramento Valley in a variety of capacities. Yoga studios, meditation centers, drug/alcohol recovery programs, corporate offices, and senior living facilities.
Dawn is pleased to have the opportunity to pass on the gift of yoga and meditation to others as she received it.