"We can bring loving kindness into many features of our life. There is something very satisfying about contributing to the happiness and security of others, although caring for the welfare of others, including all forms of sentient life, makes us vulnerable. We might be misunderstood, overstretched, or caught up in conflict. There is enough anger in the world already, so there is little point in adding to it in the name of our ideals.

"We may profoundly disagree with other people. We may not feel any sympathy for their values and decisions, but we do not have to build a wall of resistance against them. Let’s never forget that our blood is all of one colour. If we believe they are truly different, we cannot act wisely in the face of fresh information. When our mind hardens, it forms a barrier to our deeper feelings. Then we may make cold, negative judgements that probably won’t serve the true interests of others. Where there is kindness, we are willing to struggle with difficult decisions out of respect for others and ourselves.

"Some people get the idea that living with kindness is a mistake. Kind people always get walked over, they claim, and so they harden their hearts so that nobody can reach them. That same defensive wall also stops them from reaching deep within themselves. There are risks in kindness. The most obvious one is being taken advantage of by the selfish and the unscrupulous. Yes, that happens, but authentic kindness, tempered with equanimity, will not wither under such exploitation. Our kindness is then a public statement of personal dignity. Furthermore, a good conscience makes for a soft pillow.”