Ultimate Gentleness Is the Ultimate Strength
NEGIN MOTAMED throws light on the beauty of the inner Self – its nature and its role in discernment.
Many of us who are in the process of self-refinement are striving to become more and more gentle and loving; to respond in a state of love rather than fear-based reactions. Sometimes we are unsuccessful.. Later, when we review the events and don’t feel so good about them, we justify ourselves by saying that being severe is another godly quality that is needed, just as Shiva had both qualities. So is it just a matter of recognizing the right time for the right response? This complicates things – it brings the mind into the picture to decide on the right response, and the mind never seems to make it simple for us.
Our task, as Rumi says, is to remove all our inner barriers against love;
barriers that separate us from the Ultimate.
Another approach is through the heart, where we develop Godly qualities. Our thinking faculty becomes a field to receive intuition, our intellect evolves into wisdom, and our ego becomes as subtle as possible, so that we are free from self-centeredness, and self-consciousness, and expand into the consciousness of Divinity. We see nothing but the presence of God, inside and outside.
In this state, we are no longer driven by plans to be either gentle or forceful. We are in a state of utmost surrender and acceptance. If applying force is needed from our side, it happens in a natural and intuitive way, without us thinking or planning for it. It is not driven by our ego but by our higher Self in constant communion with the Divine. Love rules it, not defensiveness to protect our ego. Love sees no barrier and separation; love sees all as part of the Divine and does what is needed.
When we see all that comes our way as coming from the Divine, as pure wisdom and as the ultimate good for all, we develop faith and later reach a state of surrender to the Divine. So we go with the flow without the least resistance. In this state, our desires and egotistical motives have vanished. There are no more personal likes and dislikes, no more resistance, and that to me is the ultimate gentleness. I always think of water as a lesson in how the gentle conquers the hard. When water reaches a big rock, it does not fight with it but just finds its way around it, and ultimately rolls the big rock from its place without spending any extra energy to do so. Strength is embedded in gentleness. There is no need to strive for it.
I have been always amazed by how ancient traditions consider our inner Self to be the feminine side of us. According to ancient collective wisdom, we all have a feminine side, our subtler, finer Self; our inner self that represents true strength. There is a tarot card, Strength, which has a picture of an angelic female who has tamed a lion. This card represents our inner Self, which is able to tame our animal nature in its primal form. In fact, the will and passion of our instinctive nature need not be broken but refined and brought to consciousness, so that all levels of creation come into harmony. The persuasive ‘forceless force’ of the feminine can nurture and induce cooperation from everyone and everything, stilling disruptive energies by harmonizing differences in the spirit of collective goodwill. That is what the balance between Yin and Yang, Anima and Animus means.
So we go with the flow without the least resistance.
In this state, our desires and egotistical motives have vanished.
There are no more personal likes and dislikes,
no more resistance, and that to me is the ultimate gentleness.
Our task is not in trying to think when to be loving and gentle and when to be severe and tough. Our task, as Rumi says, is to remove all our inner barriers against love; barriers that separate us from the Ultimate. To sublimate our ego and purify our consciousness more and more. To immerse ourselves in Godly remembrance so much so that the right thoughts, words and actions emerge in any situation in a natural and effortless way. There is no need to plan to be severe or to protect. When we dissolve the ego and remain connected to the Divine, are we not just a drop in this vast ocean? Are we not one with all? Are we not feeling already protected and safe? The task is just to dissolve ourselves – fana, as they call it in the Sufi tradition.
Article by NEGIN MOTAMED