Gentleness is the mastery of Force, the practice of Justice…
Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.*
It has been said that s/he whom Heaven would save, it enfolds with gentleness. To understand this virtue, reflect on the old proverb “Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small…” Though the civil and courteous person may appear to make little progress while the aggressive and uncouth individual bulldozes his way through situations, yet in the long run, it is the charmer that wins people’s hearts.
Good manners are worth a fortune – bad manners may cost you your cherished goal or even your very life! Grace, politeness and mildness of manner only manifest in an individual who has tamed and harnessed the brutal and coarse aspect of her/his nature.
The degree of this attribute habitual to a person often corresponds to the degree and depth of alignment of his or her thinking with the order of Nature.
“Order is the first law of Heaven”, so the saying goes. However, orderliness is also a fundamental characteristic of the whole universe. All things in nature happen according to some system and law – hence it is ever harmonious.
When your method of working is in agreement with the order of nature, your actions would be smooth and graceful. If you have ever watched a master craftsman at work, you would have been struck by the apparent ease and harmony of his actions. This is because he works with a technique or method, which makes otherwise difficult operations appear easy.
Furthermore, tact (defined as careful consideration in dealing with others to avoid giving offense) facilitates receiving cooperation. This becomes a factor for our success since “many hands make light work.”
It is this tact or METHOD . (which makes things easy) that is the esoteric meaning of the spiritual key of gentleness. This is why Jesus Christ could say “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me… and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”- Matt. 11:29, 30.
Means, Ends and Responsibility.
Orderliness or method is shown by planning. Since they that fail to plan thereby plan to fail, the attainment of success in any endeavor must be based on a method or on a combination of techniques. Yet we must assume responsibility for our choice of means. For just as the fruit is the product of the seed, the end cannot be separated from the means.
Thus, we can see the fallacy of the Machiavellian dictum “the ends justify the means”. The universal law of cause and effect (or, Karma) rewards or penalizes us according to how we use our forces and resources. We are not called to judgement for the power we have but for the use to which we put them. Rightly has it been said that “It is alright to have the power of a beast but it is not alright to use it as one”. Herein lies the importance of mildness and tact.
Working with a perfected method, based on immutable natural laws, you can proceed cautiously to implement your plans for the accomplishment of any objective, no matter how great such may be perceived by the uninitiated. Your politeness, tact and mildness of manner immediately distinguishes you as a being of noble aspirations. Being thus clothed, you can approach the great and the mighty without giving offense or receiving injury, amply protected in your boldness.
“It requires a great deal of boldness and a great deal of caution to make a great fortune…” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Both of these qualities can be attained through the cultivation of mildness.
Indeed,“The gentle overcomes the strong with stillness and receptivity…” – The Tao Te Ching.