Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Using Kindness to Hush the Noise Downstairs

--by Sajha, posted Jul 29, 2011


Several years ago my young daughter and I moved into the upstairs apartment where we now live. While my loving, wonderful friends helped me move in, the downstairs neighbors began to complain about the noise. That did not bode well for living above them. After all, how can anyone move in  quietly?
As I suspected, the complaints continued on a daily basis -- well after that initial day. We walked "too loudly" down the stairs, we flushed the toilet too much ... Their child had problems with my child and they complained to me as well.
I soon learned that they had driven out the last few families who had lived above them and that each situation had erupted into feuds and yelling. So, I had the information I needed and I tried to think of the situation from a spiritual point of view. I realized that I could fight with my neighbors, making myself a pain to the apartment's management as well, or I could simply not engage at that level.
I prayed for the strength to walk in peace. Whenever they called or came to the door with a complaint, no matter how ridiculous, I simply listened and acknowledged that I heard them. It was kind of funny watching their confused reactions. They simply couldn't get a negative reaction out of me.
Of course, at times it was tough to keep my equilibrium but my daughter and I persevered. I told my daughter that we were going to be pleasant and allow them to sit by themselves in their own troubled situation. I explained to my daughter that they were very unhappy people and probably felt powerless in their lives. As a result they were always looking for a fight.
I continued smiling and greeting them as I saw them, much to their confusion. On more than one occasion, I ended up helping them. They thanked me but they didn't really know what to think of it.
Unable to get a rise out of me, they began tormenting the management and eventually wrote a long letter detailing some rather serious trumped up charges. Like previous tenants before us, they were determined to get rid of us!
I kept praying and did not give in to my desire to knock on their door and then spray them with a hose when they answered it. :)  Instead, I was very pleasant to management and honestly expressed my being totally at a loss as how to deal with them. I also had to go through their list of charges and explain that they were simply not true. 
Well, that evidently did the trick. Management let me know that there was nothing I need do; that they would handle it.
They never told me how they handled it. All I know is the next time I saw my neighbors they were all smiles and friendliness. It totally caught me off guard but I smiled back and we had a brief but pleasant conversation.
Ever since then they have been very pleasant neighbors. I've gotten to know them better and to even enjoy their dogs and their sense of humor. They are more social and less angry and defensive and no longer isolate themselves from the community.
Recently I even had an interesting conversation about spirituality with the man. After talking for several minutes the man said, "So you're one of those spiritual types, huh?" I smiled and said, "Since birth!" He nodded and said, "Yeah, I thought you were."
I seriously wonder if the strategy of kindness could be used between the nations? What if instead of retaliating, we reached out with kindness, especially to the helpless people of those nations, who have nothing to do with their leaders' politics. I'm not saying I know how to do it, and it seems complicated, but is there a way? 
Blessings to you all.


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Readers Comments

lighter006 wrote: Really moved by your excellent story. I've been looking forward to a helpful method for ages. It's your action that tells me what to do! Many thanks to your sharing!
Spoonerism wrote: Ahhh, a tear in the eye and a smile on my face from reading your wonderful story. I don't know what the management did, but thank goodness they helped. Perhaps your kindness would have won the day anyway, but now you no longer have to worry and can enjoy your neighbours! Fantastic.
pnwsuzie wrote: Jesus said something like, "do good to those who mistreat you; return good for evil. " this must be what he meant. Your non-violent non-cooperation (as gandhi taught) allowed you to win, with integrity. And your neighbors came out ahead, too. Win/win - no losers. Thank you so much for the inspiring story.
JeanieMarie wrote: Sajha ~ i commend your patient with these people! I really liked your comment to your daughter ". Allow them to sit by themselves in their own troubled situation. " it's like a gentle time-out for them, while you continue in your peaceful manner. Outstanding.
woodcarv101 wrote: If you haven't yet read the book power vs. Force by dr. David hawkins, i highly recommend it. It explains quite well how among other things true power, which is what you used, always wins out over force, which is what your neighbour tried to use. This technique was successfully used throughout history by people like ghandi, dr. Martin luther king, nelson mandela, and countless other less famous people. If used correctly between nations it can absolutely bring about peace. And what works between two nations can also work throughout the rest of the world as well. It is the ever flourishing growth of attitudes like yours that help change the collective consciousness of the planet. As these attitudes continue to be transmittted to your daughter, and your neighbours, and everyone who reads this story, the collective consciousness continues to shift in this new direction as well. Eventually these type of behaviours will bring about world peace. This is not just a dream, but an inevitable reality that we are actively creating ourselves, right here, right now! Keep up the great work. May all the love and peace of the universe flow your way.

stars24 wrote: Patient, loving kindness is what you did in reaching out to your neighbors. Sometimes it is difficult, but love triumphs in the end, if we are patient. Thank you for sharing from your heart!
Willow wrote: Greetings sajha: what a beautiful inspiring story. It is a reminder to never give up on kindness, no matter what may come. We never know why things are happening as they are or when they will turn. Many blessings, willow
widow55 wrote: Thanks for sharing. If only the world had more people in it like you, it would indeed be a better place.
Joy wrote: Isn't it amazing the power of kindness. Thanks for sharing this with us.
limpidmemories wrote: Nice story. Keep your kindness.

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