Ordinarily, people have many difficulties in relating to the world, which manifest in the form of passion, aggression, and ignorance. Nevertheless, working with others, regardless of their attitude, is still very important. The approach of the warrior-practitioner in working with the confusion in the world is like an autumn leaf floating down a river. It doesn’t change its color, and it doesn’t struggle with the river. It goes along with it. This has a natural effect, because the brook or the river has never carried such an autumn leaf before. The confused world will be uncertain what to do with this leaf. So by simply being there, you make people think twice, automatically.
It takes people off guard when you don’t react to them. You don’t fight back when they attack you, but you just remain as an autumn leaf, whatever they do. This is the gentle way of working. If there are hundreds of thousands of autumn leaves coming down a small brook, then the appearance of the brook will be changed by them altogether. The joke is on the people who are living in the world of their confusion, and they have to think twice. They might smile and pretend to laugh, but behind that really they will be crying, weeping. So you see, an autumn leaf has a great deal of power over the world of confusion. Such little leaves could stop the flow of water altogether. If there are enough powerful autumn leaves, that is possible. It has been done in the past. Working with others in this way, one is able to work with oneself at the same time.
From Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery, pages 80 t0 81.
Join Carolyn Gimian, the compiler of these quotes, and friends for a day of meditation practice and study on the theme of Community. For more information and to register, go to:https://boulder.shambhala.org/program-details/?id=472457