Figuratively speaking I suspect the meek are indeed blessed and that in a sense they shall inherit, if not the earth, then at least a life of peace, tranquility and decency.
Let me first fess up to a few things. I am not meek, nor ever have been. But I am coming to believe that I would probably like to be, ought to be even. I really don’t want to be a wet sort of meek; not a namby pamby, tree hugging, goody two shoes. I think there must be another sort of meek without the weedy, soft voice, the toe less sandals and the diet of brown rice and lentils. Nor would I wish to be a Holy Joe. I have no mission to save souls, even supposing we have them. Or at least not with that sort of messianic fervor.
But, you know, I really have been thinking hard about meekness. I have all too often been a loud mouthed critic of all and sundry and it can not be the right way to live. Sometimes (often even) I am the very opposite of meek and I think that probably shows through in some of my more outspoken thoughts on this eccentric and idiosyncratic website.
I have been minded to ponder the topic of meekness for a very long time. I have always suspected the “rightness” of it, even if I have not practiced it.
I suppose it came to a head when I read my friend John Freeman’s final piece on Jordan Petersen today.
I can not help but start out in a somewhat un-meek fashion when I say that our Jordan and his ilk are really not my cup of tea. I confess that I have never read very much of what Petersen has to say, since what little I did read made me realize I did not want to go any further. All too Ayn Rand.
There is something I detest about grand world schemes, huge diatribes telling people how to live and how to create a better society. They always seem to end in dystopia and mass murder.
Mr Petersen does not seem very meek either. But enough, I have already said that I want to curb my poor behavior and further criticism of this misguided figure is not the way to go for a would be Mr Meek.
So what is my idea of “meek” and why do I think “meekness” might be a good thing?
It is minding my own business for a start. I want to live my life in the forest you see in the heading to my post, again, perhaps in a metaphorical sense. In my mind I want silence and solitude, peace and calm, quiet satisfaction in all that I do. How better to achieve that than to extend the blessing of “meekness” to others.
It means stepping back in all situations and thinking before I speak and act. It means biting my tongue if I have to, so as not to criticize and cause upset. Being mindful.
I have been trying harder recently, oddly enough provoked by the awful speed awareness course I attended.
There was not, of course, any spiritual aspect to those awful four hours spent in a recreation of David Brent’s Office.
And yet a lot of what was said was so very applicable in all aspects of life. Slowness and deliberation for a start. Thinking things through calmly before acting. Going through life at such a speed that hurt and catastrophe can be avoided.
Over the past few weeks it has all come to seem to very applicable to life in general. To give way, to smile, to slow down. To forgive aggression so that you defeat it in rather the same way as you might parry a blow in Judo. Don’t hit back, absorb and render the anger harmless.
I suspect you could apply such meekness is every area of your life. I must try. Business – don’t shaft people, sell honest products. Writing on the internet – try not to be cutting, cynical and rude. Personal relationships – take the blame, put up and shut up.
And the silence thing. That seems to play an important role in my idea of a bin load of meekness. I suppose a part of that silence might be to lead by example rather than telling people they have got it wrong. To mind one’s own business and let the world get on in the way it has always done. Let it pass you by.
I have no desire to be a quietist, at least not in any religious sense, and yet I am so at odds with the world that passive withdrawal toward worldly affairs seems the right course of action.
I think you can find silence in the noise. I do not think you have to withdraw in any literal sense from the world to discover meekness or to practice it. I do think you have to make a determined effort to understand what worldliness does to you and that to achieve meekness you would have to abide by a decision not to engage in the sort of behavior worldliness normally entails.
My suspicion would be that you could find quietness and meekness almost anywhere. It is a state of mind, not a physical place. You might find quiet satisfaction screwing on toothpaste caps on the factory floor. Or being a village postman, or a window cleaner.
I don’t think it would be very easy to be meek acting as a prosecutor in the criminal courts or in any sort of occupation where conflict was a necessary part of the job.
But I think there are many jobs and many occupations where the sting could be taken out of the tail. Where, even though some participants behave in an aggressive and unpleasant manner, you might change the whole situation for the better by refusing to respond in kind.
Perhaps then, meekness comes in small steps. In a myriad of small ways. Perhaps it is a matter of questioning your every thought and action and making sure that you offer your thoughts and services and products in a peaceful way.
And then perhaps you will inherit (in contradiction to the diktat of Book of Common Prayer) that “peace which the world cannot give”. Because I am coming to believe that it can.