True or not, beware of common ideas around, "the meek shall inherit the earth."
Far too often, the virtue of meekness is used as an excuse to stand powerless in the face of conflict. When that’s done, meekness itself stands hollow, a skeleton that makes the person sad and sick. Worse, the person can actually claim a kind of moral high ground, a “martyred saint” self-perception that both justifies their people-pleasing non-action and provides fodder for future failure.
That’s not meekness.
Meekness understands her potential, sword drawn, but chooses to hand the sword off to one's Inner Warrior as necessary to protect the harvest rather than to rampage bloody. In other words, a meek person understands and is in contact with their substantial power and doesn’t look for opportunities to display it – but will at the appropriate time if an important mission is threatened.
This misunderstood virtue acts as a gateway, then; something that waits until the time is ripe for decisive action. Without it, one might egoically "go to guns" before wisdom would dictate. Instead, meekness is that trait which gives the individual time to collect data on a situation, building a case for compassion, direct action or even continued non-action. In other words, meekness is OK with waiting. It's one of many ideals that are empowered when we "go to the breath," when triggered.
I have a friend that is accomplished in every sense of the word. He’s well-educated, principled, disciplined, and very successful. However, he found himself in a working environment that was not only challenging, but toxic. Ironically, this toxicity emanated primarily from the CEO/ Founder of the company itself. Undeterred, he did everything in his power to interact with her in such a way that her actions would not harm the company or those in her employ, to no avail. He attempted to help her company, and even gently encouraged her to get personal help when the situation was becoming apparent. This was when he was most directly embodying meekness; it fed his capacity for patience when things were starting to go sideways at the company.
One day, she personally attacked him, making baseless claims and talking to him loudly and disrespectfully. Meekness had heard the evidence, and a wise course of action could now be chosen. After calmly assessing the situation, he proceeded to involve proper HR channels, communicated professionally in spite of her unfounded rants and did what he needed to do: he resigned, giving notice that respected his contractual agreement with the company.
This is meekness in action.
His actions had nothing to do with powerlessness. They had everything to do with embodied humility, compassion and the kind of fundamental principles that can take lifetimes to embody. My friend's ability to stand in meekness opened the door for other virtues to be skillfully implemented.
Whatever it is that we face, we need to stand in our soulful power. We don’t flaunt it, but we don’t hide it, either. If we do feel ourselves hiding away, we recognize that action for what it is; an egoic, conditioned and unconscious response to some programming that has no place in Soul. After all, we didn’t come here with that conditioning. We came here with the ability to make our needs known. If you doubt this, ask any new parent. All our limitations are 100% learned.
Once recognized, the meek person will take action that honors whatever need is under threat. Later, they will go within and work to understand the desire to back away. If they go deep enough, they’ll find the monster within that tells them to shrink away, to avoid conflict as some kind of “higher path,” and face it.
And this time, the sword will be drawn, without a doubt.
May we stand as meek people. Peaceful people. Virtuous and powerful people that serve soul and the greater good, no matter the conflict at hand.
This is how the meek inherit all things.
(the essay is dedicated to my kick-ass, powerful and meek friend. the photo by jsr agency)