If you doubt this, look at infants and toddlers. The sweetest random acts of kindness and generosity I have seen have been committed by toddlers and very small children before they have had their wills broken; before they have been taught to feel bad about themselves, and before they have begun projecting those feelings of inadequacy and failure onto “the other”.
One example I will relate is from a movie but based on a story from one Native American culture’s perspective. The other example is a random act of kindness offered to me by the Eurasian toddler daughter of a friend .
The movie is very old but some of you may have heard about it: The Windwalker. The protagonists in the story are warriors and their families, both Cheyenne and Crow. It takes place in the 1700’s in the “dead of winter” in what I assume is southern Montana.
The Cheyenne warriors outwit the Crow warriors who are out to count coup (i.e. score points) on the Cheyenne. One of the Crow is still alive but injured and is taken into a cave where the Cheyenne family has taken shelter from the cold, harsh, winter (remember, this was waaaay before global warming when winter temps could range from 20 to 40 below in those parts).
One of the Cheyenne is a little girl, appearing to be between three and four years old. She is left in the cave while her family goes out to gather wood for the fire. The captive and injured Crow warrior is unconscious and bound. He suddenly regains consciousness, realizes he is captive and bound and appears, from his very big eyes, to be feeling at least a little trepidation (i.e. Holy Shift!). Now, the thing is, he still has his war paint on so he looks pretty intimidating AND there is no question in her mind that he is the “enemy”.
The little girl watches him with more curiosity than apprehension. She meets him eye-to-eye while she is chewing on a stick of jerkey and she understands that he is hungry because he is looking at her jerkey with longing. The little girl gets the message, relates completely to his humanity because she relates to her own humanity and takes the pre-chewed jerkey out of her mouth and feeds it to him.
Are these Crow and these Cheyenne mortal enemies? Perhaps. Are they simply rivals looking to survive in a hostile environment? Perhaps. But my point is that the little girl never loses sight of who she is and so all she is able to project onto the Crow warrior is the love and openness she has been shown by her family and the resulting love and openness she feels for herself. Her only belief is that all is good because she knows she is good.
In my own experience, my friend’s daughter was about 18 months old at the time I was visiting them at home in Berkeley, CA. The toddler was having lunch and I was sitting at the table talking to her mom. Suddenly, in a moment of spontaneous love this child took her food from her mouth and offered it to me. Most parents have probably experienced this at least once and we all know how difficult it is to keep our reaction “under wraps” in favor of our response. So, I managed to validate her loving and generous offer without actually accepting her gift.
Two children, from two cultures, born 200 years apart. Neither had been indoctrinated into polarizing belief systems that promote fear and judgment. What these two little girls had in common was their natural ability to fogive; to assume, in advance of knowing another, that the other is good.
I suppose a scientist could accuse me of not citing examples that were derived through scientific investigation. O.K. Ms. Scientist. You are right AND so am I. You are right because in your world seeing is knowing. And I am right because in my world knowing is seeing. In this case I am trusting my intuition so all I need are a couple of remarkable examples to validate what I already know as truth.
I am now operating at a similar emotional level as the two little girls in the stories. The difference is that I have spent more than half my life learning to undo the belief system I was taught is my truth so that now I can actually reclaim my own truth and live it with unbridled joy and abandon. I was once these little girls. Once upon a time we were all little children for whom knowing was seeing.
Consider a world where everyone is allowed to know their truth, be their truth, and live their truth. Consider a world where everyone’s truth begins with forgiveness because they know in advance of anything they say or do that they are O.K.