Never Underestimate the Strength of Your Kindness

by Mark Nepo

Everywhere I turn people are hurting. When young, I tried to take the hurt away. But now that I’ve died and am still here, now that I’ve been stripped of what I thought was so important, the beauty of things shines beneath all that is broken, and I try to listen to the hurt as I would a teacher. For despite the many ways we try and the many ways we miss, we are kind nonetheless. Inevitably, we’re required to step out of the house, afraid as we are of all we might meet. Because it’s the kindness and wisdom we will encounter beyond our fear that brings us together, that brings us alive. The truth is that kindness turns fire into light and presence turns misses into surprises. The first reward for kindness is a thoroughness of being. The next reward for kindness is a greater integrity in our relationships. But the most enduring reward for kindness is our experience of Oneness. For being kind renews our kinship with all things.

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© 2017 by Mark Nepo, a poet and philosopher who devotes his writing and teaching to the journey of inner transformation and the life of relationship. He has taught for more than forty years in the fields of poetry and spirituality and is a #1 New York Times bestselling author. This article was excerpted from Things That Join the Sea and the Sky (on sale November 1, 2017), with permission by Sounds True. For more information, visit and

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