Heart Opening Moments

BLOG of a Spiritual Stripper

The Importance of Being Humble

"Who needs thorns when you have meek?"

"Who needs thorns when you have meek? See Beauty born...from Darkest Deep." - SanctusSilva

I’ve always thought strength was demonstrated through un-yeilding boldness. Having had a successful life in my 20s, I resorted to getting things done by my uninhibited determination. I stepped on toes. I made people cry. I was relentlessly running toward the finish line while knocking over anyone stood in my way. Of course I celebrated every win. And I didn’t care if I treated people as means to an end. I thought I was so smart and so tough that even life had to yield to me.

Oh boy, was I wrong…

Life offered me several chances to breakdown my pride and come back to earth.

Years later, I now find joy in humility. Today I choose the path of being humble.

“In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as you have to defend the imaginary self that you think is important, you lose your piece of heart. As soon as you compare that shadow with the shadows of other people, you lose all joy, because you have begun to trade in unrealities and there is no joy in things that do not exist.” – Thomas Merton

The word humility refers to the quality o being humble, which stems from the Latin words humilis and humus and is also related to the Greek word chamai meaning “earthy, be on the ground.” We often confuse humbleness with being inferior. Today I invite you to examine the meaning of “modest and unpretentious.” To me, humility is a quality of true understanding of suffering. Bestselling author Caroline Myss in her book Entering the Castle explains that being humiliated by someone can activate our shadow side that foster feelings of vengeance or resentment. By maintaining an attitude of humbleness we can then transcend to the level of healthy detachment to feel the feelings of our shadow side yet still be liberated from the urge of shadow actions. Like a lotus flower, we can experience the pain of growth stemmed from a bed of mud yet still radiate love as we bloom. A lotus flower endured the pain of becoming yet it chooses to maintain its un-competing soft modesty. By gazing upon a lotus flower you might discover the grace of humility with expressions such as: understanding, endurance, resilience, compassion, patience, wisdom, forgiveness, gratitude, etc.

I knew of a man who was filled with pride. He was not balanced. One day another car took the parking space we waited for, he nearly pulled out a gun. The smallest disagreement can set him off into a nuclear explosion. He pretended to be a peaceful man while secretly lived in emotional turmoil. He had to dress up in suit and tie to maintain an image. If someone made a humorous remark at his expense he would threaten to inflict physical pain on one’s family. Nevertheless he always told me that he is a peaceful man and I had to agree or else… I also know a meek man who is filled with compassion. He is grounded in his integrity. The day he was deeply wounded he chose to walk away. He did not have to had the last word. He wore t-shirts from fifteen years ago without any sense of shame. Humility gave him the strength to help the one who injured him. He is never too prideful to say sorry. He walks through life with his chest forward and shoulders relaxed. And he always greets people with a sincere smile.

Looking at these two examples I wonder who can bring-forth peace on earth…

If you too choose to walk the path of humbleness we can embark our journey with one another. Here are a few questions we can ask ourselves to remove the blocks of being humble as suggested by Caroline.
1) How does fear of being humiliated control your life?
2) When have you been humiliated?
3) How have you humiliated others?
4) List ten positive and ten negative associations with humility.
5) Why being humble is difficult for you?

I gained much perspective by working through these questions. I also gaze upon paintings of blooming lotuses to remind myself the beautiful of soft modesty. Today I choose the path of being humble. Thank you for sharing your journey with me as I leave you with this quote from a true master Bruce Lee – the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.

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March 14, 2011 - Posted by | Aikido Wisdom, Choices, Death & Rebirth, Emotional Freedom, Inner Growth, World Transformation | , , , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. At Florence’s request (heh, I think you’ll always be “Florence” to me…), I repost (and edit somewhat) this here.

    I remember being a proud person, though it was a low pride, as opposed to a high pride. I was ever the target of the bully, the butt of the joke, the guy “everybody” (actually, not really, but that was what I often believed) was laughing at… and for good reason. I defended my “shadow self” in what a cruel person might call a highly entertaining fashion… and it’s true what they say: kids are cruel. I was highly defensive.

    I embraced humility in an intellectual sense in my early twenties, the result of some rather heavy religious training I voluntarily assumed. But it took my defensiveness ruining a very good situation before I really got humbled. Five years later, I’m feeling better than I’ve ever felt before.

    Comment by D.A. Sawyer | March 15, 2011 | Reply

    • Thank you Daryl for courageously sharing with us what is happening within you. Cheers to “I’m feeling better than I’ve ever felt before.” !!!

      Comment by Flo Li | March 16, 2011 | Reply

  2. This is beautiful. Thank you.

    Comment by Steph | March 16, 2011 | Reply

  3. Very interesting subject , who has not felt pain and took this out on others. I guessing the state of mind that we all hope that getting back through hurting others is a way make things right. I don’t believe that is the true path of healing, only adding to the pain through self realization that you become what you hated.

    Humility in life is key balancer that protects us from this ugly cycle. Through a sense of humility and self control, any person can with stand the pain by others and channel this for he good , reducing the negative impact of others while creating a better you.

    Comment by John gormally | March 16, 2011 | Reply

    • Indeed, a peaceful world starts with you. : )

      Comment by Flo Li | March 16, 2011 | Reply

  4. Intelligence can be a balance of forces internal and external without forcing issues.
    Sometimes this is misiterpreted as indecision. The object is not to annihilate intelligence. Frank

    Comment by Frank P Seidl | July 29, 2011 | Reply


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