Abu Musa al-Ash`ari used to apply himself so much in worship at the end of his life that he was told, "Why don't you slow down and be gentle with yourself?" He replied, "When the horses are released for a race and are close to the finish line, they give all the strength they have. What is left of my life is less than that."
They are living their own impressions of themselves, and wearing themselves out in consequence. If they really wanted right for the sake of right, they would do all in their power without intruding, would recognize the other as a free agent, and wait. But they want right because it is their way; consequently they are crushed by useless anxiety, and suffer superfluously. This is true of those who feel themselves under the necessity of reforming all who come in touch with them. It is more sadly true of those whose near friends seem steadily to be working out their own destruction. To stand aside and be patient in this last case requires strength indeed. But such patience clears one's mind to see, and gives power to act when action can prove effective. Indeed, as the ability to leave others free grows in us, our power really to serve increases
~from As A Matter Of Course
, by Annie Payson Call
"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
~2 Timothy 2: 24-26
There is a time to be vigorous
and a time to be gentle.
There is a time to gather
and a time to release.
Knowing others is to be clever.
Knowing yourself is to be enlightened.
Overcoming others requires force.
Overcoming yourself requires strength.
To know that you have enough is to be rich.
Push through and you may get your way,
but return home and you will endure.
Live out your days and you have had a long life.
~33, Tao Te Ching