In reflecting on this action I thought about how helpful I have found both Buddhist meditation and also Quaker wisdom. I find ‘Quaker faith & practice’ a wonderful resource of sayings and writings gleaned by Friends over the past 350 years. There is lots that is helpful in relation being kind when perhaps it does not come naturally. For example, in Advice No. 17 we are reminded to ‘Listen patiently and seek the truth which other people’s opinions may contain for you. Avoid hurtful criticism and provocative language. Do not allow the strength of your convictions to betray you into making statements or allegations that are unfair or untrue. Think it possible that you may be mistaken.’ Isn’t that wonderful?

The Buddhist metta bhavana or loving-kindness meditation is also helpful. It first involves sending sending metta or loving-kindness to yourself, then someone you care about, followed by someone you feel neutral about. The fourth stage is to ‘…think of someone you actually dislike — an “enemy”, traditionally— someone you are having difficulty with. Trying not to get caught up in any feelings of hatred, think of them positively and send your metta to them as well’. And finally metta is sent out to the world. I have certainly found that trying to think positively about someone I find ‘difficult’ can sometimes help me act more kindly or more compassionately towards them. However as always (for me at least) it is a matter of work in progress.