The ground of fearlessness is renouncing hard-heartedness
and allowing ourselves to be tender, sad and fully present.
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Our lives would be so much more uncomplicated if there were a little more tenderness in it. Yes, tenderness to perceive and perceive others with the simplicity that is characteristic of a leaf packaged by the wind. Tenderness to understand sorrows under moments of painful learning and apprehension. The tender person doesn’t use aggression just because its disappointed. The tender person develops the ability of seeing farther, going beyond simple experience to perceive the positivity that are present in every reality.
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), French philosopher and mathematician of the seventeenth century, introduced an important distinction that helps us to understand tenderness: esprit de finesse and esprit de géometrie.
The esprit de finesse is the spirit of finesse, sensitivity, care and tenderness. The spirit not only thinks and reason. It goes beyond that because it adds sensibility, intuition and ability to feel in depth to the reasoning. From the spirit of fineness comes the world of excellence, of great dreams, of values and commitments for which it is worth spending energy and time. The esprit de géometrie is the calculating and working spirit, interested in efficacy and power. But where there is concentration of power there is no tenderness or love. That’s why authoritarian people are usually hard, unkind and sometimes, without compassion. But this is usually the way of being that prevailed in modern times. We pretend we don’t see many things that are just in front of our eyes and we put aside many inconvenient truths about ourselves. We treat with many suspicions, everything that has to do with affection and tenderness, especially if it comes from somebody that we don’t know and that we don’t have contact with.
Hence also derives the terrifying emptiness of our geometric culture with its plethora of sensations but without deep experiences; with a fantastic accumulation of knowledge but with lack of wisdom, with too much vigor of bodybuilding, sexuality, the artifacts of destruction shown in serial killer but without tenderness, affection and the ability to care for each other, care about the Earth, care about our children and animals, for the common future of us all. Our invincible strength comes from the tenderness with which we surround, treat, love and respect all sentient beings without exception.
Is it necessary to invest in tenderness?
Yes. It makes life lighter and love truly noticeable. Tenderness to look, speak, embrace…The heart does not develop without tenderness, because it lead us to our real essence: after all, we came to existence by an act of extreme kindness and tenderness. Let us not be afraid to assume our ignorance and our own faults. This will not diminish us, on the contrary, it will ennoble us and make our lives happier and sincerely accompanied. The development of a tender relationship does not involve anguish because it is free from the pursuit of advantages and domination.
Compassion is the heart’s own strength, it is the deep desire to share in all ways. The anguish of the other is my own anguish, your success is my own success and your salvation or perdition is also my salvation and my damnation, and, in the end, not only mine but of all. Aren’t we all interdependent?
New relationships based in in old patterns lose their meaning. We need to create relationships based on new ways of relating, of seeing the world, of being. To discover new ways of dealing with others and our own emotions, we need to first develop the ability to perceive how our current relationships are. We must observe and meticulously consider what is going on in ourselves. Slowly, let´s realize how we are relating at home, on the street, at work, in leisure moments. Let´s notice how we breathe, how we walk, how we touch objects, how we use our voice, how our gestures are, how our thoughts are. This observation should not be limiting, embarrassing, confining… Just simply observe… How do we relate to the environment, biodiversity, recycling, social justice, quality of life, wars, violence, terror, peace, harmony, respect, guarantee of the human rights? How do we and others relate to each other’s and with our organization’s success, profit, development, and projects? How are we relating to the most intimate of ourselves, to the essence of life, to what is most sacred? Gentleness and tenderness, are qualities that manifest themselves naturally if we are able to make genuine contact with our hearts.
It is this tender heart that has the power to transform the world.
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
It is up to each of us to create this loving relationship with life, a tenderness with all beings, understanding, wisdom and compassion to perceive the enlightened path and nirvana permeating all existence. This is giving life to our own lives.
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