There are 2 schools of thought about how we ought to be in life . . . one of them has definitely been very popular, and it’s dominated human thought in society for many hundreds of years, even if not thousands. And that is that it’s all to do with the survival of the fittest: you’ve got to be tough and strike out before somebody strikes out at you . . . you better be on the defensive and you better look out at every turn for trouble, guarding against people who want to take advantage of you. In fact, just keep your barriers well in position.
And then, there’s the idea that you can give and keep giving, that you can be generous and that you can be kind: you can forgive and “turn the other cheek” and do all of these things that often it seems only the most terribly saintly people seem to recommend. But a lot of them [saints] seem to come to a sticky end, so that’s not a lot of an advertisement for the belief that “kindness matters” is it? Or, is it?
Motivation by kindness
It’s not just a philosophy. It is the idea that somehow if you find kindness in your heart and let yourself be motivated by that, letting that manifest in your world then you’ll be a better person. It is a fact. It’s a reality. And the idea that somehow you’ll be a pushover, or you’ll be walked all over, with other people only noticing how quickly they can get what they want from you and just going ahead take “it” unscrupulously is neither here nor there.
It’s the same kind of principle that says, if you’re angry with somebody and if you can’t forgive them for something then you hurt yourself far more than you hurt the other person. You are the one that carries that great emotional knot of hurt inside yourself and for your own sake you have to let go. Even letting go of the things you have a justified right to feel bad about is important for your own inner peace.
Or, rise above?
And so it is, I suppose with this whole idea that if you do your best, if you give of your best, think the best of others, then somehow it will bring out the best in them. It is what happens, and it is an important thing to be aware of now particularly because so much seems to be growing so intense in our lives – so many challenges seem to be arising and there are so many difficult choices we seem to be facing all the time. Choices like “do I over-dramatise this” or “do I find the fault with it” and “do I get on my high horse and allow myself to rage against unfortunate circumstances” . . . or complain, fight battles, the list goes on. Or, do I somehow just rise above it all?
Which is not to say that if there are injustices they shouldn’t be addressed. Or that imbalances shouldn’t be redressed. Of course they should. Of course you’ve got to function. And of course part of functioning in the daily world is part of being aware that there are some battles you just can’t walk away from. But even battles that you have to be fighting, you can fight with kindness and you can fight with gentleness and some sensitivity to the person who’s on the other end [who probably doesn’t want to fight any more than you do].
That’s the most important thing to be aware of now. Where it seems we’re up against antagonism or conflict or a contentious issue, what you’re actually up against is somebody else’s fear. Where you can bring pleasantness to a situation that seems relatively unpleasant, you can actually bring down a barrier that looks as if it’s unpenetrable.
Divine forces at our disposal
The forces you do have at your disposal now are charm, gentleness, sensitivity and kindness. They are the forces of the Divine Feminine.
Bringing them into play channels primal force as a means of change in our world.
These are advantages we can draw upon because of our world emotional climate at the moment and our collective need of humanity for balance and harmony.
It’s the Zen “way of peace” and it enables us to bring forth what might seem like almost super-human qualities. They come from within ourselves, because our true selves are our god-like selves, transcendent and human at once – so “super” and “human”.
Give peace a chance?
What’s wrong with that? Maybe the time has come for us all living through uncertain times and seeming world chaos to just give it a go or “give peace a chance”? Let there be light, let there be hope, let there be happiness. Let there at least be an attempt to bring all of that into our individual unique personal world: and you could be amazed by what transpires around you now.
Take your time to open your mind and your heart with this teaching, then if you do want to jump in there’s a deeper initiation into zen meditation in my Simple Introduction to Zen Practice.