“Your arm has collapsed,” he observed. “You don’t usually do that. I really don’t know what to say.”
All I had been able to see was the tangle of our arms. Once he pointed it out, I could see it too, that the deep bend in my elbow had piled all the angles of the irimi on top of one another. But beyond his clarity of vision, what I noticed was his compassion. His dismay.
For why do people collapse? When they are afraid, exhausted, perhaps injured or overwhelmed. Had the thoughts that flickered across his face been mine, they would have been, Why would she be afraid of me right now? Why is she reacting this way to me?
“Here, again,” he said, and he talked me through each aspect of the correct motion. “Extend, come to meet me. Connect to my center before you arrive.” I touched his hand, and he stumbled backward minutely to rebalance. “Yes. Now keep that feeling as you turn. Yes.”
This time it worked. Through the rest of class, it worked.
After purity of heart, Bahá’u’lláh recommends in the first Hidden Word that we possess a kindly heart.
仁慈的心 (réncí de xīn) kindly heart
How beneficial it is to have classmates who can set the steps of principle out like bullet points. How sustaining, then, to hear in the tiny windows between the bullets, such deep compassion.
Bahá’u’lláh also explained,
“A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding…” (Gleanings, p. 297)
(A lodestone is a naturally magnetized mineral such as magnetite.)
Approach all people in a spirit of kindness, and people will be drawn to you. This will enable them to learn.
This is indeed a kind of sovereignty.