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The mountain bends not to the fiercest storm, but it shields the fledgling and the lamb; and though all men tread upon it, yet it protects them, and bears them up upon its deathless bosom. Even so is it with the meek man who, though shaken and disturbed by none, yet compassionately bends to shield the lowliest creature, and, though he may be despised, lifts all men up, and lovingly protects them.
As glorious as the mountain in its silent might is the divine man in his silent Meekness; like its form, his loving comparison is expansive and sublime. Truly his body, like the mountain’s base, is fixed in the valleys and the mists; but the summit of his being is eternally bathed in cloudless glory, and lives with the Silences.
He who has found Meekness has found divinity; he has realized the divine consciousness, and knows himself as divine. He also knows all others as divine, though they know it not themselves, being asleep and dreaming. Meekness is a divine quality, and as such is all-powerful. The meek man overcomes by not resisting, and by allowing himself to be defeated he attains to the Supreme Conquest.
The man who conquers another by force is strong; the man who conquers himself by Meekness is mighty. He who conquers another by force will himself likewise be conquered; he who conquers himself by Meekness will never be overthrown, for the human cannot overcome the divine. The meek man is triumphant in defeat. Socrates lives the more by being put to death; in the crucified Jesus the risen Christ is revealed, and Stephen in receiving his stoning defies the hurting power of stones. That which is real cannot be destroyed, but only that which is unreal. When a man finds that within him which is real, which is constant, abiding, changeless, and eternal, he enters into that Reality, and becomes meek. All the powers of darkness will come against him, but they will do him no hurt, and will at last depart from him.
The meek man is found in the time of trial; when other men fall he stands. His patience is not destroyed by the foolish passions of others, and when they come against him he does not “strive nor cry.” He knows the utter powerlessness of all evil, having overcome it in himself, and lives in the changeless strength and power of divine Good.
Meekness is one aspect of the operation of that changeless Love which is at the Heart of all things, and is therefore an imperishable quality. He who lives in it is without fear, knowing the Highest, and having the lowest under his feet.
The meek man shines in darkness, and flourishes in obscurity. Meekness cannot boast, nor advertise itself, nor thrive on popularity. It is practiced, and is seen or not seen; being a spiritual quality it is perceived only by the eye of the spirit. Those who are not spiritually awakened see it not, nor do they loved it, being enamored of, and blinded by, worldly shows and appearances. Nor does history take note of the meek man. Its glory is that of strife and self-aggrandizement; his is the glory of peace and gentleness. History chronicles the earthly, not the heavenly acts. Yet though he lives in obscurity he cannot be hidden (how can light be hid?); he continues to shine after he has withdrawn himself from the world, and is worshiped by the world which knew him not.
That the meek man should be neglected, abused, or misunderstood is reckoned by him as of no account, and therefore not to be considered, much less resisted. He knows that all such weapons are the flimsiest and most ineffectual of shadows. To them, therefore, who give him evil he gives good. He resists none, and thereby conquers all.
He who imagines he can be injured by others, and who seeks to justify and defend himself against them, does not understand Meekness, does not comprehend the essence and meaning of life. “He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me. Those who harbor such thoughts hatred will never cease… for hatred ceases not by hatred at any time; hatred ceases by love.” What do you say your neighbor has spoken of you falsely? Well, what of that? Can a falsity hurt you? That which is false is false, and there is an end of it. It is without life, and without power to hurt any but him who seeks to hurt by it.
It is nothing to you that your neighbor should speak falsely of you, but it is much to you that you should resist him, and seek to justify yourself, for, by so doing, you give life and vitality to your neighbor’s falseness, so that you are injured and distressed. Take all evil out of your own heart, then shall you see the folly of resisting it in another. You will be trodden on? You are trodden on already if you think thus. The injury that you see as coming from another comes only from yourself. The wrong thought, or word, or act of another has no power to hurt you unless you galvanized it into life by your passionate resistance, and so receive it into yourself.
If any man slander me, that is his concern, not mine. I have to do with my own soul, not with my neighbor’s. Though all the world misjudge me, it is no business of mine; but that I should possess my soul in Purity and Love, that is all my business. There shall be no end to strife until men cease to justify themselves. He who would have wars cease let him cease to defend any party–let him cease to defend himself. Not by strife can peace come, but by ceasing from strife. The glory of Caesar resides in the resistance of his enemies. They resist and fall. Give to Caesar that which Caesar demands, and Caesar’s glory and power are gone. Thus, by submission does the meek man conquer the strong man; but it is not that outward show of submission which is slavery, it is that inward and spiritual submission which is freedom.
Claiming no rights, the meek man is not troubled with self-defense and self-justification; he lives in love, and therefore comes under the immediate and vital protection of Great Love which is the Eternal Law of the universe. He neither claims nor seeks his own; thus do all things come to him, and all the universe shields and protects him.
He who says, “I have tried Meekness, and it has failed,” has not tried Meekness. It cannot be tried as an experiment. It is only arrived at by unreserved self-sacrifice. Meekness does not consist merely in non-resistance in action; it consists pre-eminently in non-resistance in thought, in ceasing to hold or to have any selfish, condemnatory, or retaliatory thoughts. The meek man, therefore, cannot “take offense” or have his “feelings hurt,” living above hatred, folly, and vanity. Meekness can never fail.
Oh you who search for the Heavenly Life! strive after Meekness; increase your patience and forbearance day by day; bid your tongue cease from all harsh words; withdraw your mind from selfish arguments, and refused to brood upon your wrongs: so living, you shall carefully tend and cultivate the pure and delicate flower of Meekness in your heart, until at last, its divine sweetness and purity and beauteous perfection shall be revealed to you, and you shall become gentle, joyful and strong. Repine not that you are surrounded by irritable and selfish people; but rather rejoice that you are so favored as to have your own imperfections revealed to you, and that you are so placed as to necessitate within you a constant struggle for self mastery and the attainment of perfection. The more there is of harshness and selfishness around you the greater is the need of your Meekness and love.
If others seek to wrong you, all the more is it needful that you should cease from all wrong, and live in love; if others preach Meekness, humility, and love, and do not practice these, trouble not, nor be annoyed; but you in the silence of your own heart, and in your contact with others, practice these things, and they shall preach themselves. And though you utter no declamatory word, and stand before no gathered audience, you shall teach the whole world. As you become meek, you shall learn the deepest secrets of the universe. Nothing is hidden from him who overcomes himself. Into the cause of causes you shall penetrate, and lifting, one after another, every veil of illusion, shall reach at last the inmost Heart of Being.
Thus becoming one with Life, you shall know all life, and, seeing into causes, and knowing realities, you shall be no more anxious about yourself, and others, and the world, but you’ll see that all things that are are engines of the Great Law. Canopied with gentleness, you shall bless where others curse; love where others hate; forgive where others condemn; yield where others strive; give up where others grasp; lose where others gain. And in their strength they shall be weak; and in your weakness you shall be strong; yea, you shall mightily prevail. He that has not unbroken gentleness has not truth:
“Therefore when Heaven would save a man, it enfolds him with gentleness.”
end of chapter 5