“Angels” by Tom LaBelle

“Siamese ” Kitty from Siam… https://cattime.com/cat-breeds/siamese-cats#/slide/1
Tom LaBelle, Author, Blogger, Children ‘s Advocate

Many religions maintain there are multiple layers of consciousness; from the one occupied by the amoeba all the way to the Grand Realm in which Providence dwells. One result of this stratification is creatures on layers higher than your own are often taken to be angels.

Jo and I were sitting around the other night, watching the tube.  We’d tuned into a station that runs a lot of UFO stuff when they aired a special on this angel subject.  Bert, the cat, was curled up on my lap purring out his heart when, looking at him, I asked Jo if he might not regard us as angels.

Jo looked at me with raised eyebrows.

I asked her to think what Bert and another cat might say, if we could overhear their conversations.

“So”, says the Siamese from down the street, “you think they’re angels.  Why?”

“Because”, says Bert, “they can do magic!  For one thing, they make food appear – food I don’t have to chase-down.  Sure, I miss the thrill of the kill and all that, but, hey, when it’s rainy and cold, all I’ve got to do is walk into that room with the hard floor and, b`god, there it is: A full dish.  They even make water appear.  And even provide some green-and-growing grass to gnaw.  As to how they do this, I haven’t a clue”.

“Hummmm”, says the Siamese.

“Not only that, dude, but they answer my prayers.  Oh, not every time, but often enough to where I believe in their powers.  For example, if I eat-up all my minced mouse pate, I go see the big one, the one with the white mane, and ask for some more.  Like as not, he’ll get up and make it happen.  Of course, sometimes all he does is sit there and ignore me.

“What’s really neat is if I sit near them while they eat, and ask in a real polite voice, one of them will give me some of their food.  Now I’ll grant you some of the stuff can be pretty bad, but, boy, some is absolutely out of sight.

“And then there’s the matter of the den.  No matter what the weather, it’s always warm and dry.  And I can curl up on their laps – nice and warm and safe.  And you know what?  They’ve even got a nice, sandy place for me to take a dump!  Yes!  No going out in the rain or snow.

“Oh, and I think they live forever. I’ve lived with them all my life and they’ve changed not a whit.

“Moreover, they’ve got all this cool stuff.  For instance, one of them will waive its front paw and, bingo, a box lights up with moving pictures.  Sometimes, for no apparent reason at all, pretty sounds will fill the den”.

“Yeah” says the Siamese, “but they’re weird, man; they’re always walking on their hind legs.  And they’ve got almost no fur.  Nor a tail.  They’re not like us at all”.

“I know, and some of that bothers me too”, says Bert, “but . . .”.

“But nothing, Bert.  Some of them can be downright mean.  The so-called ‘angels’ with whom I lived had a cub that always pulled my tail.  I mean it hurt.  One day he yanked really hard and wouldn’t let go; I had no choice but to turn and rake its arm with my claws.  The big female beat me so badly I damned near died.  I ran away.  I don’t trust them”.

“Aw, that’s to bad.  But mine love me, and I love them.  We’re always seeking each others’ company. . .  Say, why don’t you come in the den with me and ask to stay?  Bet they’ll say Yes”.

And Jo and I probably would.
Thomas H. LaBelleClearview, Washington

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and aspiring artisan.

“When We Are Kind to Others, We are Happier” by Jill Suttle

Jill Suttie https://www.mindful.org/author/jill-suttie/

How Kindness Fits Into a Happy Life
A new analysis of decades of research shows that when we are kind to others, we are healthier and happier.
THE GREATER GOOD MAGAZINE

BY JILL SUTTIE | FEBRUARY 17, 2021

We all know that it’s good to be kind to others. Kindness is an important virtue for sustaining relationships, which helps to build a trusting and cooperative society.

You may have also heard that kindness makes you happier and healthier. But what does that mean for you? What acts of kindness will make us happiest, and who tends to benefit the most?
A newly published review of decades of kindness research provides some answers.

In this paper, researchers analyzed the results from 126 research articles looking at almost 200,000 participants from around the world. The studies they chose all had to meet certain criteria, such as including only adults and reporting good statistical data; some were experiments, where people did a kindness practice to observe its effects, while others just surveyed people about how kind and happy they were. The studies measured well-being in a variety of ways, including both mental and physical health.

As expected, people who were kind tended to have higher well-being. Lead researcher Bryant Hui was surprised the relationship was not stronger than it was, but he was still encouraged by the results.

“Although the overall relationship between prosocial (kind and helpful) behavior and well-being is weak, given that so many people around the world act prosocially, the modest effect can still have a significant impact at a societal level,” he says.
A small effect like this—an average of all the participants’ experiences—can sometimes hide other patterns going on below the surface. So, he and his colleagues considered when kindness might have a bigger impact on our well-being.

One thing they found was that people who performed random, informal acts of kindness, like bringing a meal to a grieving friend, tended to be happier than people who performed more formal acts of kindness, like volunteering in a soup kitchen. It’s possible that informal helping may fill our more basic psychological needs for autonomy and close relationships, which is why it could lead to greater happiness.

The researchers also found that people who were kind tended to be higher in “eudaimonic happiness” (a sense of meaning and purpose in life) more than “hedonic happiness” (a sense of pleasure and comfort). Perhaps this makes sense, given that being kind involves effort, which takes away from comfort but could make people feel better about themselves and their abilities, which would provide a sense of meaning.

Being kind came with greater eudaimonic happiness for women than for men, too. According to Hui, this could be because, in many cultures, women are expected to be kinder than men; so, they may have more to gain from it. And younger participants experienced more happiness when they were kind than older participants, perhaps for developmental reasons, he says. Younger adults are at a stage of life where they tend to be figuring out their identity and actively seeking the purpose and meaning in life that kindness can bring, less so than pleasure and comfort.

What other, specific benefits might kindness have? The researchers found that people who were kind tended to have higher self-esteem and a sense of self-efficacy. To a lesser degree, they also experienced less depression and anxiety and improved physical health—with the links to health being strongest in older adults.
Hui doesn’t know for sure why acting kind might have these different effects on different groups, but he points to theories put forth by researcher Elizabeth Midlarsky: Being kind may make us feel better about ourselves as a person or about the meaning of our lives, confirm our self-competence, distract us from our own troubles and stressors, give us a warm-glow feeling, or help us be more socially connected with others. All of these could potentially improve our well-being—reducing our stress, improving our mood, or providing community—and they could hold more importance at different stages of life, too.

By understanding the connection between kindness and well-being, Hui thinks researchers can design better studies that take into account all of the relevant factors, and innovators could create more effective kindness practices. In the future, he hopes there will be kindness apps or online programs that could reach more people, generating a larger impact around the world.

In the meantime, Hui says, the biggest take-home from his research is something he heard the Dalai Lama say long ago: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

“Helping others is a universal virtue and a very affordable and economic way to benefit others’ and our own well-being,” he says. “As the saying goes, helping others is helping yourself.”

“Mindfulness Meditation Moments” by Steve Sparks
Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and aspiring artisan.