“Practice random beauty and senseless acts of love.” ~Unknown
I recently decided to reverse the order of common sense, and senselessly follow my heart through an unplanned acts of kindness. After I made the choice, it was amazing how the world changed before my very eyes.
No longer was I fixated on how quickly I move through the events of my day. With my new focus, people began to shape shift from task zombies to loving beings.
One situation in particular really humbled me to the true power of random acts of love.
I was riding a train from LA to San Diego. As the train started I engaged the man sitting next to me in casual conversation. When he told me where he was going, a huge red flag went off in my head. It read DANGER.
Eerily cold and calculating, he said he was going to an ex-girlfriend’s house, unannounced, to place a tracker in her glove box so he’d know where she is day and night. Then he pointed out an ankle bracelet that lets his probation officer know where he is at all times.
Taking this train ride would violate his parole, putting him back in the system. He didn’t care. Being on the outside, he said, was meaningless any way.
I was just about to move seats. Instead, I assessed the situation to see whether it was a conditioned fear response or if I was actually in a safe place. I did an intuitive check in my heart, and felt I was safe and had something to offer this man. I surrendered to what that may be and sat tight.
Let me preface this with a disclaimer: I’m not recommending you seek out criminals on trains to brighten their days, potentially putting yourself in danger. I’m suggesting you learn to be present so you can receive inner guidance that may affect other people positively.
What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. On the train that day, I became an active listener—not to his stories but to his underlying pain and loneliness.
I imagined my heart as a beacon of light overflowing kindness, humility, and tenderness. Next, I envisioned light wrapping our seats, creating a safe cocoon for healing. I chose to let him share freely and share ideas and advice only if it felt right. Otherwise, I’d just sit and emanate love.
I imagined him as an innocent child longing for acceptance and attention, not as a predator.
Just short of an hour, he stopped talking about being a victim who wanted revenge and became rigorously honest about his sadness and the sense of being lost. For the next half an hour, I shared my thoughts on changing and embracing life, in a non-judgmental way.
As we neared my stop, he said to me, “I don’t know what happened. This is the best I’ve felt in years. I don’t want to stalk my ex-girlfriend any more. It’s time to move on. I want to be free again. I want to love my life. Thank you. You’re the first person who has ever really listened to me. I feel like I matter again.”
To this day I’m unsure of who was more changed by our experience. He found a renewed desire to live his life as a free man. I found that the power of love is transformative beyond belief. Sitting in the desire to simply “be love,” I let love do the action.
Never in a million years could I have “changed” this man if I was too busy judging to listen.
Every day we have the opportunity to stop, listen, and love. I’d like to live in a more compassionate world where we all feel connected and cared for. Let’s do this together, shall we? Here are some simple steps to start the journey.
5 Ways to Create Random Acts of Love
1. Be present in the moment.
Being in your body, in the present moment, is the first step to acting from love rather than habit. Slow down. Notice your surroundings and what is happening around you. If you are in a line in a grocery store, notice how you are standing, who is around you, what your demeanor is, and what energy you’re projecting.
2. Become consciously random.
Did you ever see Groundhog Day with Bill Murray? The film depicts a repetition that becomes uproariously funny because of the sheer lack of the spontaneity, which eventually transforms from lonely rigidity to loving connection.
Have you become locked in habitual patterns? Are you rigid? Do you live each day taking the same route to work? Attending the same yoga classes, placing your mat in the same location each class? If so, consciously re-arrange yourself.
Take a new route home. Go to a dance class instead of a yoga class. Try a new restaurant. Get out of your routine. Take a trip to a new place. Make a new friend. Learn more about being “random” and living parts of your day without a plan.
3. Make a conscious choice to be a vessel of random acts of love.
The same way you intend to become a doctor before you become one, begin the day by intending to become an active vessel for love before you do it. The choice alone is a powerful one.
If you say you intend this before you do your weekend errands, they’ll still get done, but along the way you’ll be open to magic happening. Your mission to get an errand done will be secondary to your presence while interacting with others and tapping into your intuition.
It could be offering an extra hand to somebody, giving a parking space away, or simply offering a smile to a stranger.
4. Before you act, discern between your ego gratification and love.
Our intent to help someone else often stems from ego. We may think we know best, or that we have the answer to our friend’s problem. All too often, this is just our ego wanting to be gratified for having the answer or making us feel good because we’re right or in control.
You’ll know when you’re coming from a selfless sense of love when you have no attachment to the other person’s response. If you think, “If I give him this, he will give me that,” that’s your clue that it’s your ego disguised as a giver. When you can give without expectation in return, you will know you are giving from true love.
5. Learn to listen for guidance.
Pure love is energy, not a specific action; therefore, loving acts come from being present to the love inside yourself in the moment. Sometimes loving acts are actual actions you’re guided to take. Other times it is an invisible energy you project out. It is ever changing.
Be present to your inner guidance. Perhaps you’re guided to bake cookies for the service attendant who pumps your gas every week, or offer a kind word to somebody who looks sad or lonely. Maybe you will make a surprise meal for your significant other or give a new outfit to your best friend.
The gift is in the giving and the magic is in the unknowing of what it is. If you are ever feeling stumped, ask yourself this, “What one thing could I say, do, or be to let the one before me know they are loved, important, and seen?” When the answer pops into your mind, follow it!