Saturday, May 23, 2015

Gentle Souls

"All is Calm"

A few days ago, after reading one of my blog articles, someone online told me she thought I was a “gentle soul.” What surprised me most was how much of an impact that simple little comment had on me. For one thing, I don’t actually think anyone had ever referred to me in that way before.  People have complimented me on how smart I am, or how organized, or sometimes how visionary-but no one has ever said I was gentle, and I really liked what she had to say.  

It made me realize that this is exactly what I hope to be as I continue to walk on my journey of faith. I want to be a “gentle soul.” I wonder, in fact, if this is perhaps the highest compliment and the greatest encouragement any one of us can ever give to one another as we walk our Way together- to tell each other we are gentle souls.

That word "gentle" is rarely used nowadays and when it is used it often refers to someone who is “soft" or "weak" -  a gentle person is a pushover, a meek little doormat that others walk over and tread on.  I’ve been doing some thinking about what constitutes gentleness on the spiritual journey, and I don’t at all think that a gentle person is weak - a gentle person is nobody’s doormat in life.

In fact I did a little research yesterday and I even asked a few people what it means to be a gentle soul—I was pleasantly surprised by some of the responses:

A gentle soul holds no malice toward others.
A gentle soul is sensitive to the needs of others.
A gentle soul promotes the welfare of others.

When I think about it, it’s kind of hard to find gentle souls nowadays. There is so much malicious language, so much enmity poured out against others in twitter feeds, in Google comments, in the vicious political rhetoric of the day where everyone seems to be on one side or anther and everybody on the other side is the enemy.  

We live in a fairly self-centered, narcissistic society of instant gratification where an individual’s personal needs take a far greater priority to the needs of others,  especially those others who haven’t earned their rightful place in society – gentle souls who are sensitive to the needs of others seem to be at a premium nowadays.

My guess is that most people believe that power over others is the ability to crush another who is weaker. I think perhaps the opposite is true. The gentle soul is the one who is truly powerful.

While Jesus is often quoted as saying, The meek shall inherit the earth. I think a better translation of this teaching is:

The gentle shall inherit the earth.

I find great wisdom in these words.

Gentle souls change the world - people who hold no malice toward others, those who are sensitive to the needs of others, have an enormous amount of power to make the world a significantly better place – far more than those who have the power to step on or crush others along the path of life.

Mohatma Ghandi, the great social prophet who almost single handedly changed the culture of his day with his gentle spirit and words of peace once said:

With gentleness you can shake the world.

Gentle souls aren’t soft and weak but rather they are potent and powerful forces of love, shining points of light in the midst of darkness.

So I am honored to have been called a “gentle soul.”  The fact that someone called me this makes me feel that I may indeed be making some progress on the spiritual path.


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2 comments:

  1. This is one of the mos beautiful, important and profound blogs I have ever read. Indeed gentleness is a great virtue, a rare, endangered quality that only comes from walking the narrow way, unhinged from religious trappings, walking by the spirit, being a "little Christ". This, too, is a quality I would want engraved on my heart. Whoever told you were a gentle soul was speaking of a character witnessing. Thank you for living your life with gentleness and reminding us of a key trait.of Jesus that changed the world.

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    1. So grateful for your wonderful remarks

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