The Irresistible Power of Gentleness


In all of our Peacebeams, one way or another we are pointing to kindness, generosity, really the immense and overwhelming power of gentleness. Nothing on this planet is quite so powerful as gentleness, it softens hard hearts, warms where the cold and bitterness of disappointment has settled in, it coaxes great beauty from beneath the ugliness of our rage and fear.

I know this because I have seen some truly terrible events unfold in the lives of people that I love; great defilements of being, humiliations that could cast a spell of bleak resignation and withdrawal from life, that could begin a slow and painful death of the soul. I have seen too, the gentle pressure of love weave its deep mystery. It has been the great privilege of my life to have a direct experience of what love can do, of what great power resides in each of us – for life, for joy, for restoration.

Some things we cannot name or describe, we only know them by their trail. Just as in that blanket depth of darkness just before tendrils of light return, flowers are bent, closed, seemingly dead, resigned to the bleakness of the night, and then as the sun’s warmth coaxes them, touches the fragile underside of their blooms, they stir and then they bloom. They cannot help it; love kissed them awake. I cannot see the warmth of the suns rays in the air, but I can feel them and I can see their work, I can see the trail of blooms and life. So it is with love, it gives us our reason to be, our reason to cast the beauty and grace that is unique to us into this world that is so sorely in need of it.

Our modern western society is a most peculiarly dual place. A mix of convenience, comfort, possibility, an impossible abundance of things, products, ideas and experiences, but at the same time a waste-land of love, intimacy, gentleness and belonging. Our world is in love with power, with ideas and with things. It is perfectly possible to have absolutely everything a human being could possibly wish for (or so 200 years of industrialisation have told us we wish for): success, houses and storage full of endless things, a successful career, money, a family, a partner, the admiration and envy of your community and to still be completely empty inside, lost and wandering in the empty meaninglessness of one’s life. How have we managed this? I feel it is simply that we have forgotten that without the warmth of love, nothing else glows – it might shine temporarily, but there can be no lasting glow, no livingness. Every human heart hungers for love, it comes with the design. No matter our circumstance, our standing, our path or journey, we all need love and that is simply a fact.

Like all other things, love can be learned if we have forgotten. It can be invited in to your life and it can take root in the dark corners of a soul and breathe it back to life. I have observed that it is the peace, patience and persistence of gentle and small acts of love for oneself and for others that are the kindling that will catch the heart on fire. It is the gentle word of encouragement, the warm embrace, the consoling smile, the overlooking of a mistake, the benefit of the doubt, to hold somebody’s tender dreams with them and to let them hold yours. These small things matter more than any grand act; they are love itself.

I just visited an underground river at Ussat-les-Bains in France. It’s Europe’s longest navigable underground river and starts in the Pyrenees and eventually joins the Ariège, and then the Garonne and flows across France shaping landscapes and therefore the lives of all the beings in its path. It carries nutrients, habitat, money, produce, aliveness and flows along its path until it leaves the land and enters the infinite richness of the Atlantic ocean. As I stood in the cathedral cave where the stream that becomes the river flowed crystal, almost shockingly clean, its gentle flow having carved rock, smoothed granite edges, built towering crystal columns, it looked to me like love. Peaceful, patient, persistent – its gentle flow the most irresistible and powerful force in the universe.




Jane Murray

CEO, Founder

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