Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of August 7, 2006


Soft-Heartedness

All the anger, fear, and hatred in the world today teach the way of hard-heartedness. “Enemies” demonize and dehumanize each other. Disagreements result in anger, not compromise. Rushing to get ahead pushes others aside. In general, hardness of heart shows egoism in control and all sacredness blocked.

The way toward the sacred is the way of soft-heartedness. The compassionate waters of the spirit flow around the dams of hardness, softening and dissolving them. Soft-heartedness means kindness, openness, and a non-harming attitude toward all people, all life.

For some of us, hardness of heart is our normal mode of being. If that describes you, look for opportunities to soften your attitude. Perhaps with children or your family, practice dropping the walls that keep others at a distance.

For others of us, indifference characterizes our approach to people. If that describes you, find more moments and situations in which you can allow your heart a feeling of warmth toward someone.

Even those for whom soft-heartedness comes easily have their non-moments. When others get in your way, block you from having what you want, or impose what you do not want, can you stay inwardly soft toward them?

Soft-heartedness should not be confused with soft-headedness or spinelessness. We meet situations where outer toughness is absolutely required. But even then, in the midst of standing your ground, can you allow an inner softness, a non-rejection? Can you be as tough as necessary externally without peremptorily banishing the other from the warm shelter of your heart? By practicing soft-heartedness, we hasten the day prophesied by Isaiah when “… they shall beat their swords into plowshares…,neither shall they learn war any more.”

For this week, find the softness in your heart for people and for life. Live in that.


     

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