Try a Little Tenderness

In church this last Sunday, the minister told two stories about a senior monk he knew who modeled a wonderful approach to engaging with angry people.

When the minister was a young monk himself, he was doing yard work at the ashram under the watchful eye of the senior monk when a truck driver pulled up. The driver was extremely upset and spewing foul language because he had been driving around the winding roads in the area for an hour trying to find the ashram. The senior monk sympathized with the truck driver and said, “l can see why you’re so upset. You must be worried about staying on schedule. Here, let us help you.” He summoned all the monks over and instructed them to unload the truck “so this poor man” can make his next delivery on time. In five minutes, the truck was unloaded and the truck driver had not only calmed down, his mood had brightened considerably. He thanked the monks and went on his way with a peaceful smile.

The minister then related the story of how he had told his parents one nigh while they were watching TV that he had decided to enter the ashram and become a monk. His mother said, ‘That’s nice, dear” and continued watching her show. His father said nothing. The next morning, however, he saw his father driving up the ashram driveway and braced himself for an unpleasant encounter. The same senior monk quickly recognized the situation and cheerfully greeted the father, saying, “Welcome to the ashram. Would you like a tour? Let me show you around.” Half an hour later, the minister’s father was in a buoyant mood and a potentially tense situation had been diffused. For years afterward, his father always asked about the wonderful monk who showed him around the ashram that day.

The moral of the minister’s stories? A little kindness and empathy go a long, long way. The secret to harmonious interactions is to always engage others with the welcoming balm of higher consciousness. When you live in that space, it becomes natural and effortless to be compassionate. And in most cases, kindness does a wonderful job of melting and transforming anger. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama said it best:

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

Click here to view all my posts on the transcendent power of kindness.


Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
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Want to learn more about Through God’s Eyes? Here is a free 40-page PDF sampler from the book that includes:

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Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents on Amazon.

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In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?

Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.

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SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

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Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.

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4 Responses to “Try a Little Tenderness”

  1. Mica Says:

    Beautiful. Wonderful reminder. Thank you.

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    My pleasure, Mica!

  3. Lynda Says:

    Your posts never fail to resonate with me – always a joy! Thank you, may your beautiful light continue to shine.

  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thank you for the kind words, Lynda. I very much appreciate it.

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