One of the most important understandings, we come to gain, through our physical journey, is the lesson of humility. The truth is that power can/will become corrupt in the absence of humility. As the famous spider-man dialogue goes – “With great power comes great responsibility”, and without a sense of humility we cannot stand true towards using our power responsibly. Life-energy is invincibly powerful owing to its ability for creation, it can create through “thought” and hence has the power to manifest anything – good as well as bad. We are simply the same life-energy, a stream of life-energy (or what I call “stream of consciousness”), like a river that outflows from an ocean – the ocean and the river are inherently the same thing, same properties, same attributes. In your physical perspective you may not “know” your power of creation and your invincibility as life-energy, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have it and in your non-physical perspective you do recognize this power much more easily. So, basically, through your experience of the physical journey you learn the lesson of humility, so that you can use this understanding to not become imbalanced in your power as a stream of life-energy. Earth provides a perfect environment to learn this lesson.
As you gain more and more understanding of your true nature, as life-energy, you also start becoming cognizant of your power. For example, as you deepen in the stability of your awareness you are no longer afraid of the mind, or the outside influence, this potentially can make you feel very invincible and free, and this gives you a sense of huge power – and this power can breed arrogance in a big way, or worse it can cause you to be insensitive or cold. I’ve seen this in my own personal experience as much as I’ve seen it in others who come to realize this inner power. For me, personally, the lesson of humility has been the hardest to learn, I’ve inherently been strongly rooted in arrogance since my childhood and hence the process of bringing humility within feels like a recoding of my genetics. The good part is that life does not cease teaching you a lesson until you learn it (called “fierce grace” in some teachings), so there comes a point where you finally let go towards allowing the “inner transformation” that’s being called for. When you are thick skinned you usually need a strong lesson, whether you like it or not.
If you get a feeling that you are being beaten up by life, there is a very strong chance that you are being taught a lesson in humility. A common attitude people develop when they are challenged this way is to develop the “warrior attitude” of trying to fight back from a place of anger/hate, with a strong resentment towards life – basically this only causes you to delay learning this lesson, and your struggles continue. It’s important to understand that arrogance is an imbalance in the dark nature, and “power” is also dark nature, and humility is the light nature that’s needed to balance it. Without humility, power will always take you into imbalance as is evident in the lives of some many powerful people who have tragic endings.
Teachings of humility have always been around
In all religions there are very evident teachings towards humility, and ironically the fanatics of religion usually miss this very core teaching.
- In Hindu religion there is the teaching of removing your foot-wear outside the temple and walking bare footed. The act of folding hands in prayer is a teaching in humility as is the act of prostrating before the deity. There are also many other traditions that indirectly ingrain the teaching of humility – touching the feet of elders and folding hands as a sign of greeting are some examples of it.
- In Islam, the way a prayer is conducted is by itself a strong directive towards humility. Here also there is the tradition of removing the foot wear, and even assisting in washing the feet of other people in the mosque, before the prayer.
- In Christianity people are asked to dress up formally for the Sunday mass. This formal dressing is like an act of respect or a humility towards the place of worship. There is also the tradition of saying grace before the meal, as a practice of humility (this tradition is also ingrained in many religions).
- The Chinese tradition of bowing down when you meet another person is a teaching in humility, also the traditional way of eating in silence as a sign of respect to the food.
You can find these teachings of humility in all religions, it’s just that a lack of understanding causes people to misinterpret these teachings as a directive towards “meekness”. Humility is not meekness, it’s a balance of power. You are not being asked to be fearful and meek, you are simply being taught a mindset of humility so that you don’t end up becoming arrogant.
In monasteries, the students are not imparted the core teachings until he/she has been seen to gain an understanding of humility. They are made to take care of mundane chores and be of service to the monastery, sometimes for years, before they are given the teachings. The reason is simple, when you come to “truth” there is bound to be freedom, and when you sense freedom there is bound to be power, and power has the ability to take you over in the absence of humility.
Isn’t life-energy already whole and thus humble?
Humility comes from “understanding”, it’s not a “nature”. We are all streams of life-energy and you can see the various imbalances that are exhibited by us. So, a stream of life-energy has to gain understanding of itself before it can come to a conscious balance, in the absence of this understanding it will always move into some imbalance or the other. Your journey as a stream of life-energy is towards this growth in understanding and the physical plane is the best place for learning these lessons. You can’t hope to learn as much in the non-physical plane mostly because in the non-physical you are not faced with “limitations” and hence there is very little scope for learning. You can sense this arrogance in some kids, they are still under the influence of their limitless nature that they knew of in their non-physical, and feel very peeved by the limitations they sense in their physical nature, inevitably they learn the lesson of humility even if it takes a few lifetimes.
You are not here to suffer, you are only here to grow in balance (through understanding) and the more you grow the less you suffer. Every suffering that you face has a seed of growth in it. Much as we hate suffering, it’s the most potent means to grow, as accurately pointed in the adage – “we grow more in times of failure than in times of success”. What is this growth towards? What’s the point of it? The point is always to bring you to an understanding of your power as well as the understanding of humility – these are inherently the only two lessons we are to learn consciously. If you see the posts on this blog, they are a mix of understanding your power (such as power of creation and awareness) and understanding surrender/allowing (which is a pointer towards humility). You can be rest assured that when you’ve learnt the intended lesson, and have allowed the intended inner growth, the perceived “negative” in your situation will automatically be erased – growth is the value of negativity.
The difference between being driven by joy/hatred/boredom/sexuality and being driven by love (Read the post “What are you driven by?”) lies mostly in this lesson of humility. When you are driven by fear you are “meek”, and this may come across as humility, but it’s not. There is a teaching by Jesus, where he says – “the kingdom of heaven belongs to the meek”, by meek he did not mean the “fearful”, he meant the beings who learn “humility” – this is true because in many of his other teaching he talked about being fearless and true to oneself (“Kingdom of heaven” was just his pointer towards a life of alignment, free of psychological suffering). In the absence of humility you can enjoy power but it will also instigate some form of imbalance, slowly but surely – only humility can bring a balance to power, hence it’s one of the most important lessons that’s required for any stream of life-energy.
Allowing the lesson of humility
From my own personal experience, I can understand how difficult it can be for someone who has an inherent inclination to “arrogance” to allow the understanding of humility. It feels like a loss of identity, a sense of deep defeat/failure, a strong feeling of vulnerability and helplessness – in fact, when-ever you get these feelings you can be sure that you are learning a lesson in humility. The mind has a feeling that arrogance is a positive deal and hence it constantly defends this attitude, in fact this arrogance gives you a sense of power and letting it go can feel highly counter-intuitive, and very much against the survival instinct. In fact, growing in understanding of life, and coming to inner stability, can also cause one to feel more arrogant even if it’s just a subconscious feeling – it’s very natural that power, or sense of freedom, breeds arrogance. This can make it even harder to allow the lesson of humility, because it feels like a regression or a backward step.
The only deal is that you won’t stop being given the lesson until you learn it – much as you would hope that life would just give you a break, it doesn’t. Sometimes, what feels like an achievement or a build-up of success or an experience of joy ends up being a setup to bring you the lesson of humility – what’s called the “high before the crash”. If you allow the intended growth you wouldn’t need to learn the same lesson again, but most of us are too hard-headed and hence there are a few repeat lessons until we finally learn. The lessons usually come from the things that you value the most – for example, if relationship is what is most important to you, your lessons will come from your experiences in a relationship, and if career is what’s most important to you, you lessons will come from the field of your career.
When you feel “helpless”, it’s the perfect opportunity to allow it in, using it as the energy that burns through your arrogance – just allow this feeling of helplessness, instead of trying to fight it with a stand of aggression. Depending on how strongly ingrained you are in arrogance, it can take a while before humility seeps in fully – it can be quite a painful process especially when we keep resisting this lesson. Every fiber in your being needs to learn the lesson of humility before the learning is done with. The reason why the physical plane is the best place to learn this lesson is because only this plane affords the “fear of uncertainty” (and other fears), and there is nothing as powerful as fear to create a sense of helplessness which, when allowed within, causes you to break through the rigid structures of arrogance, thus, bringing in humility.