A good friend of mine and I were sitting at a busy cafe in downtown Oslo. We had been discussing our different perspectives on our buddhist practices and on how to better introduce buddhism to the growing Norwegian laity. At some point in the evening a group of friends sitting to the table on my right rise to leave. In the corner of my eye I see that one of the girls has unknowingly dropped her purse under her chair. I interrupt the interesting conversation I was having by rushing over, getting the purse and calling in not a quiet voice across the cafe “Your purse!”. Needless to say she was happy and grateful, although slightly flummoxed by my loud behaviour. I felt happy and a bit surprised by my behaviour for I am usually a very reserved and quiet person. But it was also a nice mundane reminder, that kindness does not always have to be appropriate to the social situation, and an act of kindness does not necessarily have to be a comfortable act. A kind act is not, at least on the face of things, always in keeping with ones character either. To break with social norms and personality traits, it seems to me, is sometimes necessary for kind acts to come about. Of course it helped to have a good friend to give me a pat on the back, while letting the cafe resume it’s usual buzzing. Our conversation took a turn into the teachings of karma, naturally.