Archive | January, 2011

Catching Tears

23 Jan

“A few weeks after one of his classmates died, an eight-year-old boy decided to visit the classmate’s home one day after school. Later when he returned home, his mother was surprised to find out where the boy had been. ‘What did you say?’ she asked him gently. ‘Nothing,’ he replied. ‘I just sat on his mom’s lap and helped her cry.'”

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Being Gentle

1 Jan

Gentle. It could be my favorite word. Imagine how much more peaceful and content this world would be, or how much more empathy and compassion would bubble up in our race if this one word, gentle, was given more importance.

It’s an easy concept to grasp: gentleness. The loving act of kindness could really define this word. The definition will end up being what happens in the world.

My goal for tomorrow (and I try to remember to tell myself this every night before I drift asleep) is to be more gentle to my thoughts, my judgments, my ambitions, my weaknesses, and my self. Then I tell myself to be more gentle to all other people, to all animals, to all plants, and to our earth.

Gentle is such a simple word. It’s taught in kindergarten in the unit next to sharing. And if it’s not, it could be; if it’s not, it should be. You don’t need to understand all the nuances of the word to practice it, but it helps to know that you can’t be gentle without compassion and tenderness, and of course, you can’t understand those without a loving heart – which seems to be a form of understanding in that our unique and individual suffering is a universal characteristic, therefore voiding judgments. So to be gentle you have to have a sum of very deep virtues.

Gentleness is found in nature. Seedlings grow, but will have a hard time in harsh weather or conditions, such as their soil being upturned. All babies of animals need gentleness in being raised, otherwise they would simply not survive. I wouldn’t be here writing this if my mother and father did not have gentleness, and either would you. If we need gentleness in order to be brought into this world, why would we assume we don’t need to continue such gentleness throughout our adult lives? Why does our society not focus on gentleness?

In many ways, being gentle to yourself will, over time, strengthen your weaknesses. If you don’t quite understand how this works, simply try it. Gentleness will also sharpen your strengths. As with the seedlings, gentleness is a form of cultivation.

Gentle and caring are not far apart. Either is gentle and observation; gentle and silence; gentle and heart. You can’t be gentle if you are blocking your heart. So be gentle.

How do you become gentle? Perhaps it’s as easy as breathing gently. By observing flowers or taking a quiet stroll – not a walk, not a jog. Though, no matter how much time you have, gentleness can be absorbed into every moment. Gentleness is almost an entire outlook on life. In many ways, gentleness means being content, it means wisdom, it means health, and a full heart. We are all born with gentleness, so with warmth we can bring it back into our lives whenever and wherever it’s missing.