Gentleness; compassion; love. However you concieve it, or which ever translation you prefer, the three treasures that Lao Tzu holds dear are intrinsic to our development of te, our expression of Tao.
Verse 67 of the Tao Te Ching says that if we love, we can be fearless and bold.
I like this very much. I’ve heard that it’s difficult to be fearful when feeling loved, when feeling and expressing love. I find there’s something in this.
By feeling and expressing compassion for others we can move to forgiveness, and the empathy it requires moves us toward understanding.
Often, it’s not that people are against us, it’s that they’re defending themselves, batlling with insecurities.
Compassion for those few people who actively wish us ill can be the foundation for healing, and it provides an excellent deflection. I cannot be hurt by that which is not within me. Other people’s malice is theirs, not mine, and it must burdon them so.
Compassion must be without limit. It must encompass even the murderer. Compassion does not excuse their behaviour, and may not remediate their punishment or rehabilitation process, but compassion acknowledges that we’re all in the dance of Tao, that society is complicit. Most of us are only a few weeks away from homelessness or desperation; we are each capable of monstrous acts when the situation drives us beyond our limits.
Compassion must include the self. If you cannot forgive yourself, care for youself, and be kind to yourself then your compassion is incomplete. Develop your compassion so that it envelops everything and everyone.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
Desiderata, Max Ehrmann, 1927
Image credit: anvay nekade