Knifemaking: kindness, sleeping at night, and the Saj

“Kindness is a facet of the jewel of compassion.  It is the desire to help that arises when we remember that we are connected with every living being we meet.  Each person is precious, each person is fragile, each person matters.”

 Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance

So the warehouse is a capitalistic free-for-all.  Pretty much everything is for sale and a deal can be brokered on almost anything.  It’s mostly restaurant equipment and a lot of the customers are trying to get a deal on equipment to outfit their restaurant or food cart or other culinary venture.  Some of the people who come in are people trying to flip equipment to make a little profit.  The avenue of hustle travels both ways.

There is a gentleman who comes into the warehouse.  His name is Saj and he is one of my favorite people.  Saj is one of those hustlers.  Saj always has something going on.  Whenever he buys things I always help him load his wares and I always wonder what exactly he intends to do with all the crap he bought.  So one day I asked him.  He gave me an example.

“I bought a pallet of paper coffee cups for twenty dollars.  There is a coffee shop I like to go to and I asked the owner how much she pays for a case of her coffee cups.  Fifty dollars she says.  So I make her an offer of twenty dollars a case for the coffee cups I have, she accepts and buys them all.  In the end I make a profit, she saves money and the prices of the coffee at the shop I enjoy stay the same.  These are the things that help me sleep at night.”

To me this is a very kind way of doing business.  I’ve been very much into the practice of kindness and it is very much a practice, and often bumpy at that.  Oftentimes it seems that kindness is synonymously associated with being nice.  This is not so.  Kindness can exist within pleasantries but pleasantries might not always be used in kindness.  Whereas being nice is sometimes necessary at work or play or to get through certain difficulties, it can also be a facade used to coerce, manipulate, or to help us get what we think we desire, leading to resentment, bitterness and feeling unfulfilled.  This is not kind. To me kindness is always helpful, even when it hurts.  Kindness allows us to grow.  Always.  In practicing this, really practicing, I find I sleep better at night.

I based this knife loosely on what Saj called a Kolhapuri knife, coming out of Kolhapur, India.

Sometimes kindness is saying the hard things, especially to yourself.

Kindness is also saying no, most importantly to things that don’t serve you spiritually, physically, fiscally.  Kindness is saying no to things that keep you from growing as an occupant of this universe.

Kindness is accepting and honoring all of your being, including those feelings that are painful or difficult or that you wish would go away.  Be kind to those things.

Kindness is also respecting, accepting, and honoring others who might be experiencing pain.  Be kind to them always.  Sometimes the kindest thing you can do is not say anything at all.

Kindness is also allowing others to make their own mistakes and find their own way.  Allowing others to be true to themselves is extraordinarily kind.

Above all, kindness is being true to yourself.  Even if you aren’t sure exactly who you are.  Be kind to that too.

2 thoughts on “Knifemaking: kindness, sleeping at night, and the Saj

  1. Pingback: Knifemaking: The Saj Epilogue- embracing the unexpected | groundedinfire

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