June 10 – The Exercise of Gentleness – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

” I have no power of miracle other than the attainment of quiet happiness, I have no tact except the exercise of gentleness.” Oracle of Sumiyoshi

This Shinto sage from the hills of Japan affirms what we all know in our hearts but seldom honour. I have worked hard to give up attaining a place ordained by others in the world, for this always leads me into noise, confusion, and gruffness. Often it is some grief or pain that halts me, jars me into remembering the exercise of gentleness that opens the quiet world.

The truth is that, more than forgetting this, some unloved part of me whispers insistently that I can have both. Foolishly, I tend to listen, out of pity or pride, only to find out painfully, again and again, that it just doesn’t work.

In beautiful mystery, the extraordinary edge to everything is covered over with a current of speed and noise, the way beautiful stones are not quite seeable under the rush of the river’s face. Only when we can still the river of the world and the river in our face do things become extraordinary and clear.

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