While going through my evolution, I’ve come to appreciate humility. A humble approach invites deeper understanding and allows for more complete integration of experience and awareness. Of course this may sound obvious, but it is not that easy to remain humble.
Early in my practice, I was far from humble. My teacher would remind me how important it is to be humble because the divine cannot enter a body of arrogance. After transformation, this became all too clear. I was able to see in others how arrogance was a “holding on” and the exact opposite of inviting the infinite into one’s being.
What was even more interesting is the way arrogance presents as both a brazen overconfidence and a false modesty. Arrogance literally repels love.
I studied various people with knowledge and power, and saw how many are invested in a particular approach. This investment looked much like an anchor to me, or a Chinese finger trap that tightens even as you try to become free.
Arrogance episodes are often followed by self-loathing – this dancing duel reinforces the need to prove one’s value – an impossible task. The trap is so custom-tailored to our being that it is very difficult to detect, let alone overcome.
To understand the role arrogance plays in our evolution, it is necessary to recognize it regularly – until we naturally begin to revel in a humble, open, and receptive approach toward the infinite. The following reflection has helped me:
1. Ask: Am I “happier” when someone appears to be “below me”?
I would wait until I am tired, when the left brain starts to wane, to be honest with myself. Sometimes delighting in the apparent ignorance of others is blatant, but this can eventually become subtle – as the ego gets more clever.
A humble heart celebrates and enjoys.
2. Ask: What is my goal? and then Why? Or, ask: Do I feel unmotivated to get involved in life? Why? Keep asking Why?
Some answers may come in the form of pictures, memories, and bodily sensations. Do you have something to prove? Do you feel under the control of some influence? Do you feel like you must run as fast as you can from pain and sadness, or do you feel like if you stopped you will lose your value?
A humble heart knows its strengths and feels comfortable living with questions, remaining curious without hunting for absolutes. A humble heart creates space amidst the tightness of rigid agendas. A humble heart knows that service is not really a way to feel better about oneself, and that lack of service is simply an inability to relate.
If you don’t want to help others at all, then ask yourself if you feel a connection to others. Help is not always necessary, but it is highly unusual that no one needs you at all. A humble heart explores who and how to serve – not as a heat-seeking missile, but poised as grace.
3. Ask: Am I always/usually right? Being always right is scarcely the opposite of being wrong. The tendency to take ownership of knowledge and information closes off connections and learning.
There is nothing wrong with being right. However, how we carry and share insight makes all the difference.
Being always right can take on a life of its own and guarantees no innocence. It is more constructive to appreciate another’s presence and remain open-ended.
4. Ask: Am I responsible for all my thoughts, words, and actions?
Some may channel other beings and hide behind the messages they receive. However, a message is far from its execution, and we are the ones following through. We are responsible, and our actions carry consequences.
A humble heart never passes the buck, but strives to understand ramifications. No entity or person, regardless how powerful, can take away our free will unless we give it away and then justify it to ourselves. We hold the contract between ourselves and the infinite, and only we can sign it.
5. Ask: Am I willing to hear feedback from the world without defending, deflecting, or shutting down? Do I need to control life’s input as I grow? Do I know the difference between feedback and an attack?
Most tend to receive feedback best when it doesn’t jeopardize their identity. However, if someone challenges an identity, niceness and sweetness turn to fangs.
A humble heart waits to learn more about how it is both received and perceived, and heeds the signals of clinging onto something false.
The messenger may deliver the message poorly, but a humble heart can still receive the message – despite the presentation and without the need to control how life unfolds.