Mindful Gentleness & Kindness – Three Reflections

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article explores gentleness as a theme. In particular ways in which I have been using mindfulness creatively to explore and integrate gentleness into my real-time experience.

Yours in the strength of gentleness,


Mindful Gentleness & Kindness – Three Reflections

As I continue to practice integral mindfulness, I really enjoy looking for ways in which I can use it to play with my circumstances in a creative way. Here are three current examples around gentleness and kindness. You can adapt any of them to your own circumstances if you like!

Gentle with jet-lag
I’ve just returned to Singapore after a Christmas trip to the UK. This morning I woke up because of the jet-lag at around 5am. Likely I have a few more days of this happening, so I wanted to think of something to do with this early morning time. As I was lying down thinking what it might be, I remembered the words of a message a friend sent to me yesterday: “Fly safe. land gently. See you next time round”. I then thought ‘well, if I’m going to be awake, at least I can “land gently” by mindfully extending kindness and gentleness to myself as I lie here’. So, I spent my time breathing and extending kindness to my body, encouraging the muscles to become gentle and release tension. I extended kindness to my mind as the thoughts about the upcoming days and months came and went; I made my inner environment gentle. I then started naturally extending kindness and good wishes to everyone who came up in my mind, my daughter, my partner, our family members, whoever came up. After a while I started playing around with other qualities; extending bravery to them, saying how loved they are, saying how much I believed in them, how this year is going to be great for them…I was just playing around, being spontaneous at this point. When the alarm went at 7am, I got up feeling dis-oriented but quite well rested and feeling good. This was due to a large degree I think to being deliberate about keeping the ‘land gently’ theme mindfully front and centre as I lay awake.

My daughter’s mindful thanks
In the departure lounge at Heathrow, my daughter started saying thankyou to me for all the things that she enjoyed and appreciated about me and my actions over the holiday; “Thanks for the shoes you gave me for Christmas, thankyou for helping me pack my bags…” and so on. Of course I found this very endearing and was touched. But I also noticed that as she did it, her energy became gentler. She really seemed to take pleasure in the words. The more she did it, the more gentle confidence she seemed to have about herself. I started thinking of things that I could thank her for regarding our trip. It made the time we spent traveling home together full of mindful gentle affection and appreciation, despite the discomfort of the long hours sitting in aeroplane chairs!

The dance of justice and gentleness
On the flight home I re-watched a Judge Dredd movie. Judge Dredd is a comic book character I followed at school, essentially a no-nonsense dispenser of justice in a future post-nuclear city. As I traveled with my daughter reflecting on thanks, and then as I lay in bed practising mindful gentleness, I placed next to the gentleness the energy and theme of justice (as an image of Judge Dredd). As I relaxed with kindness and gentleness, I placed its complementary opposite, justice, next to it. I played around with how gentle-justice might feel, and how expressing discipline and justice can be done with kindness motivating it. In my opinion, this type of mindful blending of complementary opposites is a really important practice, as it strengthens both qualities. In this case gentleness and justice become not ‘either/or’, but ‘both/and’, which is a fundamental principle of engaged and integral mindfulness.

© Toby Ouvry 2017, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com

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