Coincidence and Compassion

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It’s funny these little coincidences; I happen to be walking along at just the right moment to give directions to a mother and daughter visiting my town, or a lost international student looking for their language school. I also get to the pedestrian crossing outside my place of work at the same time as a student who sneezes and then asks me for a tissue, which I have, before saying thank you and have a good day as she carries on to college. Then yesterday morning, as I walked to work, running lesson ideas around in my head, I noticed something on the ground. It was a passport, which I gave to a Town Ranger on my way home later in the day, so they could hand it in at the police station.

Momentary interactions based solely on kindness, which would not have happened if I’d left home or work just a few minutes later or earlier. If only we heard more about such stories every day on the news, then maybe the world would be a happier, kinder place. The media obsession with cruelty and death only fuels fear and mistrust of others. Yet I’m sure that most people are generally compassionate individuals, who are just going about their daily lives, providing for themselves and their family. Or am I just incredibly naïve? Maybe so, but these brief interactions when we help someone who’s lost, or return something we’ve found to its owner, are all examples of when we as human beings reveal just how human we are, and how caring we can be.

That’s why I’ve always loved and admired the following quote from a well-known Buddhist monk; ‘my religion is kindness.’ HH The Dalai Lama perfectly expressing what faith is all about, being kind to one another, regardless of whether you believe in a religion or not. It’s about trusting in the innate goodness of people, which isn’t always easy to do, especially as we’re often raised by understandably protective parents and a negativity-influenced media. How therefore, do we find hope of help when we need it in the face of the strangers who pass us by every day?

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