The Tenderness of Strength
Life can be bittersweet. Loss is the partner of profit. The loss of job, and with this relocation, the loss of home and the community built up around roots planted and nurtured in a certain place; the death of loved ones.
But within this stirring, as always, the preciousness of what remains is acute. As it tugs at the heart, the balance of acknowledging what sorrow brings, and the gratitude and joy at what remains, what might be opened, is a dance on the Upanishadic Razor’s Edge. One side heaven, the other hell. Knowing it is in large degree of our own making is unhelpful and at times, down right cruel. That is unless we have the strength and self-knowledge to do something about it.
There is such tenderness in strength. Strength, the very word conjures power, a certain largeness and capacity to withstand. Yet in its most potent form, it is also simultaneously, a very quiet thing. The husband of a dear friend who passed away, defeated and spent in his grief, the howl of pain roaring silently from his entire being, stands open and strong for his five young children. There is such tenderness in true strength.
Where does this deep well of strength arise? From love, from the depths of our very being. We humans love fiercely. And we fiercely embody grief at the object of that love’s loss. So, we lean into our strength. We look to increase it but strength multiplied without tenderness, without connection to our deepest heart is brittle and often results in a kind of bullying.
The strength I speak of is woven with threads of iron that are held together with the nectar we name love. It freely, abundantly abides in each human but must be cultivated.
It is the moments spent in deep meditation, silently communing with the roaring power of source, in the fire pit of birth and dissolution that individual awareness comes home. For a time, the mind settles releasing the boundaries objective reality necessitates; awareness opens permitting fullness to flood the vessel holding individual form. This fullness is of every possible kind- light, courage, strength, compassion, love- are some of the names we give it but it is beyond, it is transcendent. Yet, because this light exists within, it is also immanent. This immanence provides the means to know what is transcendent. First within, and then little by little, over time, we begin to see the light in all its magnificence, without.
This daily practice renders the individual strong but also tender, and also every other expression of humanity possible. It is the search, the journey to reclaim our full humanity, that puts us in direct touch with our divinity. Life itself is a divine mysterious thing. We endeavor to make the most of it and wonder at where we go upon its ending. In this, meditation prepares us for both. It permits a fuller engagement with life; in joy so we may embody it, and in sorrow, so we may positively impact or at the very least, withstand; and it teaches directly of the experience of true release, thus preparation for all our transitions, including the grand one at physical form’s end.
Today, Dear Ali my heart is full of you, you and those who fiercely love you. Closing my eyes, I rest awareness in you. Though your physical form and means of expression will always be missed, you are eternally found in the great heart of home. The tenderness of strength is calling. May we, with sweet innocence, and enthusiastic determination answer.