In my ongoing collaboration and friendship with Buddhist teacher Isa Gucciardi, I am discovering that Buddhism offers wonderful gifts to Christians. Where Christianity tends to obsess about doctrines and dogma, dragging us down rabbit holes of endless narrow debate, Buddhism stays focused on the “how.” How do we live holy lives? How do we open ourselves to wisdom? How do we learn to love?
The Dalai Lama offers a beautiful teaching when he says, “My religion is kindness.” Jesus said something similar when he said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” (John 13:34).
Love is the energetic current that orders and connects all that exists. As an expression of Sacred Love, kindness is a doorway to compassion, friendship, and belonging. If we were all to act as if our religion was kindness, we would care deeply for one another and creation.
As I move more into the contemplative practices, I am learning that practicing loving kindness grants an intuitive sense that everything is ultimately well. After a profound mystical experience, Julian of Norwich reflected on her insight into Love this way: “And all shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be exceeding well.”
That seems insane in light of the challenges we face as a humanity. How can “all be well” when we kill black and brown lives? How can “all be well” as we pollute our planet? Our sense of “wellness” doesn’t absolve us of our obligations to justice. We are not blind to injustice and suffering.
We are not “well” when we live from a dualistic mind. When we see the world as “us vs. them,” “me over you,” “good vs. bad,” we deny the reality of our shared heritage – that we are all created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). God is in us, and we are in God. Theologian Thomas Aquinas taught us all of creation is in God and from God. It’s all Sacred.
When we start from an integrated (unified) consciousness, we see our interdependence as the ground of all truth. From that truth, we make the bold assertion that “all is well.” Love is the source of all that exists. Because our Being shapes our doing, justice that endures begins and ends with that truth.
Kindness becomes our religion because Love is our Source. Let’s practice the religion of kindness today.
We are in this together,