We are seldom aware of the penetrating power of gentleness. Fighting for change just keeps us muddled and is sure to bring suffering. Gentle, consistent adherence to dharma turns every situation to our advantage as we awaken to its essence.
A wise person in harmony with dharma is like a gentle wind dispersing storm clouds by flowing always in the same direction. Passionate, aggressive people are like a powerful wind that changes direction often. Such a great wind, blustery in its fierceness, only stirs up the sky. The wind that causes lasting change blows gently but consistently in the same direction.
There is an important lesson in this example. When faced with a difficult problem or an important goal, the ego tempts us to take striking and energetic action. But as it is said, “It cannot rain hard for a long time.” Though it is possible to achieve temporary results through passionate action, they tend to collapse when we cannot sustain the vigorous effort. And the use of force always carries the danger of harming ourselves or others.
More enduring accomplishments are won through gentle but ceaseless penetration, like that of a soft wind blowing steadily in the same direction. The truth of dharma penetrates us in this way—gently and consistently over time—and this is also how we should seek to penetrate others.
The principle of the penetrating wind is threefold. First, establish a clear goal; the wind that often changes direction has no lasting effect. Second, apply the principle of gentle penetration to yourself; gently and steadily eliminate your inferior qualities and you earn respect from, and influence over, others. Third, avoid aggressive or ambitious maneuvers; they are rooted in desire and fear and only block the sympathetic aid of the Universe. Desirable influence flows naturally, without force, from maintaining a disciplined attitude.
Be flexible; bend like a willow in your interactions with others. By remaining acceptable, balanced, accepting and independent, and by steadily moving in one direction, you gain the clarity and strength that make possible great success.
For example, we cannot attain enlightenment by force. The ego conditions us to grasp and cling, and enlightenment is the fruit of non-doing and non-attachment. Make your mind feminine, accepting of what is, and stop trying change the world. Life is already perfect just the way it is.
Rather, allow the perfection of dharma—what is, the way it is and why it is the way it is—to come to you and penetrate you with understanding. Let the gentle wind flow ever inwards, and it will cleanse the storm clouds of ego from the sky of the mind. Always seeking the Middle Way, walk the Pathless Path in freedom. This is the spotless Path sought by the sages.