Apply Gentleness to Everything
excerpt from Taking the Leap by Pema Chodron
Throughout life we must cope with blockages that impede our forward momentum. Whether these obstacles are of a personal, professional, or societal nature, our first instinct may be to push against the obstruction. But the simplest way to alleviate resistance is to approach it gently, with a soft manner and kind intentions. Struggle and strife can find no foothold when confronted with mildness because conflict can only exist when fed by two opposing forces. So many areas of our lives can benefit from the application of gentleness. The beauty of gentleness lies in its multifaceted nature. It is part love, part compassion, part patience, part understanding, and part respect for others. When we move through life gently as a matter of course, we naturally attract these wonderful elements into our lives. This does not mean that gentle people are by nature passive or meek. Rather, their copious inner power is manifested in their gentleness and their choice to move with the flow of the universe instead of against it. You can make use of gentleness in your own life by applying it in situations where you feel challenged by your circumstances or by people in your environment. As you move forward gently, the energy pervading your life will likely shift and, consequently, the blockages before you will vanish. Cooperation progresses smoothly when approached gently because all parties involved feel confident that their needs will be met. And quarrels are easily quelled with gentleness because the dualistic concepts of losing and winning are made moot by our willingness to exercise infinite patience with those whose values differ from our own. Gentleness must be practiced, as we are inadvertently encouraged to act competitive in certain phases of our lives. At first, your established habits may make being truly gentle challenging. Yet after a time, if you commit to consciously applying gentleness to all areas of your life, whether by collaborating rather than competing or yielding graciously to the impassable roadblocks in your path in order to seek a new road, you will find that you begin to act gently habitually. Your patterns of thought and behavior become ever more peaceful, and you will discover that you encounter far less impassable resistance on your individual journey.