Witnessing Kindness

A Guide in Humane Awareness

There are many people who believe that there is not enough kindness in the world. In actual fact, there is not enough awareness of kindness in the world.

An act of kindness has a multiplication effect. I call this synergy the monkey-see monkey-do syndrome. When an act of kindness is witnessed, the witness is more inclined to carry out an act of kindness. This is kindness's amazing potential and power.

A simple example would be when someone holds a door open for us at the mall, we are naturally inclined to follow suit and hold the door open for the person behind us, or be kind towards another at another time.

Being aware of experiences of kindness helps to keep one's awareness open to the witnessing of acts of kindness. Sometimes we are so involved with our own thoughts and experiences that we may not notice that, for example, someone has opened a door for us or another person for that matter.

When we become aware of how an act of kindness has the amazing potential to be copied by someone who simply witnesses an act of kindness, we develop a deep appreciation of how an act of kindness benefits both the receiver and giver. For, in being kind towards another, we are also witnessing an act of kindness which motivates us towards more acts of kindness.

When you had the experience:

  • What were you aware of?

  • What thoughts were you thinking?

  • What were you feeling?

  • What were you doing at the time?

Here is my personal experience of someone being kind towards another:

  • What were you aware of?

    I am fortunate to know someone who is so kind and considerate.

  • What thoughts were you thinking?

    I wonder if there is any way I could also help.

  • What were you feeling?

    Concern for the elderly couple, living next door to my friend.

  • What were you doing at the time?

    Helping my friend pour Scotch broth into containers for an elderly couple who were ill.

When we witness acts of kindness towards others, we are motivated to be kind ourselves. In the above experience, I was motivated to help, and I did, in raking leaves for the elderly couple.

There is a certain energy that is evoked when we witness genuine kindness towards another. The energy comes spontaneously, and provides the will to be kind, allowing us to tap into and use the goodness that is within all humans.

We can see many examples of how we can help others, just by observing or witnessing acts of kindness towards another. But it does not always have to be first-hand experience that uplifts us to be kind. We may witness or experience kindness towards another in a newspaper item, TV news broadcast or on the radio.

Although the vicarious experience of kindness towards another is motivating, somehow when we experience these acts first-hand, we are more deeply touched. For this reason, it is positive and useful to be open to or aware of people being kind to another.

Copyright © Kenneth Hemmerick 2005
All Rights Reserved

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