I believe that those who are emotionally mature are exceptionally gentle, because gentleness is the hallmark of true strength.
Don’t you desire kindness and understanding from others, even when you are being obnoxious at times? In the same light, how often do you convey tenderness in your interactions with others, when they are being unreasonable or difficult? Does a titanic disruption have to arise in your relationships, before you take the right steps to resolve them?
Think of how intricately your greatest joys and utmost sorrows are linked to people. No matter what you do, or where you go, you remain inseparable from them – even if it is only in your thoughts. Yet, do you consider the vital importance of learning how to promote and sustain mutually enriching relationships based on warmth, caring and an earnest desire to understand each other?
One important way to nurture better relationships is to take the initiative to be friendly and considerate in every situation, without unwholesome undercurrents marring the way, because to do otherwise, is to sabotage genuine kinship. Therefore, gentleness is a mix of initiative, being open to new viewpoints, tenacity and skilled communication, which includes deep listening with the heart to not only what is said, but also what is left unsaid.
It is this proficient blend of attitude and expression that helps you cultivate a genial and loving disposition. This way, you let go of inhibitions and resentments, which breed fear, aggression and judgmental views. So, learn to accept what cannot be changed and transform what can.
The ultimate goal of gentleness is to not only heighten your zest for life, but also that of those around you. However, to be a warm and loving person, it is imperative for you to see the value in cultivating affectionate relationships with others. This, the wise tell us, is a far better choice for everyone concerned, than being harsh, critical and indifferent towards others.
When you anchor yourself in accepting people the way they are, with their strengths and weaknesses, you empower yourself to stay centred in every situation, no matter how challenging. Discover your untested potentials and unpolished gifts by rooting your intentions and interactions in love and caring, and you will witness the unfolding of miracles. Know that whenever your perspective on something creates emotional pain, it is often because you have estranged yourself from true empathy with others. Be receptive not only for those in need, who yearn for your loving attention in some essential way, but for all beings in general, because not everyone voices what they truly feel or yearn for.
Seeing that all beings are an embodiment of divinity, be tenacious in making a positive difference on this planet. Sometimes, all you have to do is listen. Don’t you cherish those who really listen to you? Why not offer the same consideration to others? Your choices define who you are and what you ultimately become. Therefore, value yourself by sharing value with others daily, and your joy will rise accordingly. Also know that your state of mind in any given moment dictates the quality of your actions. Encourage yourself to be in positive mind states as often as you can, because when you feel good, you are more likely to nurture and sustain healthy and happy relationships with others.
Real joy is best experienced when your actions create a ripple effect in the world for the betterment of all. So, make each day count, because your loving presence and kind responses do matter. Even brief relationships can be viewed as an invitation to enliven other people’s lives. Your chosen perspective can change everything. Hence, even a simple ‘hello’ can make someone feel valued, especially when you zap them with gentleness, straight from the heart. Do you long to be emotionally free to pursue all that stirs your heart? Then, perfect your skills in being gentle.
Behram Ghista is the Chairman and Managing Trustee of Nembutsu Centre in India and a Buddhist teacher of international repute, with over 18 years of experience.
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