A Lesson In Humility



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.







13 Comments

  1. Courtney P.

    Another good one Sen!! I can relate to what you wrote. My inclination was more towards “pride”,always believing/having to be right. My romantic relationships broke me of that a while back lol. Im eternally thankful for the lesson though

    1. Kay Cline

      Hi Sen, have been reading your articles for a couple of years and still going back rereading and getting deeper meanings. I suppose it goes back to the “layers” you talk about. This message about humility is really hitting the mark right now as it seems to be a major life lesson because of the suffering and struggles this life has given. My question is doesn’t humility come with realizing we are not the individual, separate entity of our ego with a life of our own but life itself being lived. I felt a lot of the personal doer in this as if we are doing something that gives us humility instead of relaxing into the awareness that we can never be something we never were/are. I have always felt a deep resonance with your message which is simple, clear, direct and asks for nothing. It feels likes I might be struggling between the personal and impersonal. Again, I bow to you in gratitude.

    2. Sen Post author

      Kay, anyone who truly realizes the movement of life cannot help but fall into a state of natural humility (which is nothing but a lack of individualistic arrogance) – this humility is not about becoming a meek/servile/simpering person, it’s not about letting go of your natural pride, esteem or individualistic stand-points, but simply about a deeper acceptance that life does not circle around you alone, that you are not the center of the universe, the nothing actually is the center – the realization that sometimes you can have your individual point of view but you have to honor the collective requirement as per the need of the moment is inevitable when you get more in tune with reality of living, and this realization brings forth a form of surrender which is not defeatish but has this element of “humility”. So this pointer of integrating humility is not something that you force yourself into doing rather it’s an attitude that comes in naturally when you realize the basic reality of life’s collective movement (there are many who carry on with some imagined/forced humility, acting in a very servile and simpering manner, thinking that they are somehow more spiritual in this behavior, when in truth they are simply entering into a mode of pretense and acting unnatural). In a state of balance, humility and pride are balanced in an individual, it’s not about letting go of your individualistic pride (dark nature) but about integrating the element of humility (light nature), which is simply an openness towards the nature of life.

  2. Stella

    Hi Sen,

    I`m not sure on this bit:

    “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.”

    If you are free of the pull of your mind, then why would you be” arrogant, insensitive or cold”, because these tendencies are “of the mind”, if you see what I mean, you would be falling into unconsciousness- and therefore not aware?

    I`m not aware- but I`m never arrogant, am uber -sensitive, kind and never cold .
    So I am wondering why the heck I am bothering.

    Thanks for the interesting bits about the different religions –

    the passage in the bible I love the best is: 1 Corinthians 13- I`ll put a link:
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+13&version=NKJV

    Thanks so much.

    1. Sen Post author

      Stella, I mentioned, as you “deepen” in your stability, meaning you are still in the process of balancing out, and hence you are still susceptible to imbalances, and arrogance is one the imbalances that can creep in at this stage.

  3. Starlight

    Sen, in my past experience, people come into our life to mirror back certain aspects of ourselves that we ignore, suppress or avoid. I have a spiritual teacher that constantly triggers me off by the teacher’s ‘arrogant attitude’ and perceived self-absorption, though when I question my triggers it dawned on me that it was merely reflected to me these aspects of myself that I refuse to admit and to be brought to awareness.

    However, my understanding of triggers are still lacking, do you mind sharing some wisdom on it? As in why do we get triggered by certain things that people do? It is clearly something unresolved in us that caused the trigger, isn’t it, for the same thing may trigger this person and not the other.

    1. Sen Post author

      Just look at your personal experiences as mirrors reflecting your inner state of being. The external reality is actually subjective to each person, in that their personal experience of it is what constitutes their reality. If you experience negativity within yourself, it’s just an indication of an imbalanced perspective, you can find more insights in this post healing the imbalance

  4. Dan

    Sen, if there is no right or wrong, like we’re conditioned to think, why would life have to “beat us up” to make a point?
    It just doesn’t make sense!

    Today was kind of a breakthrough to me in that I’ve been suffering psychologically over the past few weeks, and I just didn’t understand why because my awareness has grown quite strong. And then I had this insight of allowing not passively but more like “what is the ecological function of this feeling in relation to everything else happening in this moment”? It was like allowing, but an active allowing of these specific sensations in the chest and solar plexus. And then things started moving for me and last night I went out with friends and up came this discussion of attaching to the past, to the things one has not lived as opposed to seeing the opportunities in the present and in the future. The issue was probably connected to these stagnant feelings I was holding on to.

    Can you also comment a little on this feeling of missing out on one’s youth because of this process? I don’t know if I am deluded in thinking that, but all these experiences that I crave because I am young and that I feel I am not living due to this process. Will I have time to live them? I had such high hopes for youth and all that it entails. The friendships, the nights of infinite possibility, the ocean and feeling at ease. I know all that is in my heart but I don’t see myself coming closer to all that, instead I’m just trying to stay afloat and figuring out this process. Please, give me some advice with regards to this!

    Thanks

    Dan

    1. Sen Post author

      Dan, life is not some external force, that’s judging you, rather you are life-energy yourself and it’s only your own imbalances that attract realities that seem to “beat you up”. For example, arrogance is an imbalance in hatred and it’s bound to create reflection in your reality of the same, and these reflections create the suffering within until the imbalance is rectified. It would be very naive to hold on to the perspective that “there is no right and wrong” as a means to defend your negativity or imbalance. It’s only an absolute perspective that everything eventually has a value towards growth, this does not mean that it gives you the license to support an imbalanced behavior without seeing an imbalanced reflection in your reality. Imbalance always creates some form of “wrong” in our lives, or a bad situation. It’s for you to be honest with yourself, and bring awareness within, to know your imbalances and your external reality is simply a mirror that reflects them for you – you can get more insights in the recent post – healing the imbalance

  5. Willy

    Nice one sen…..

  6. Gino

    Too right, mate. As i have also experienced few lessons in humility, yet not acknowledging it as its intended, the natural course of my character -in my case- was to take a defensive stance instead of an acknowledging stance. this article however clears you of the fog of war on an aspect that most of us easily miss. with the emotions of recent failures and our human nature / character taken into account, i can see how easy this is ignore and to want to fight back instead of acknowledging it. what i think: perhaps the lesson in humility or understanding can help us deal with the progress of disassociating from (negative) thoughts, which would allow us to accept / understand humility, freeing us from arrogance, building acceptance. the acceptance progresses letting go of hatred and grudges which perhaps can allow us to move on. freedom of the mind, of negative / obsessive thoughts. “there is no spoon”

  7. Pavlo

    An extremely important lesson indeed Sen.
    As someone who has had arrogance as a part
    of my personality and especially now, as someone
    who is slowly realizing himself as free of fear
    It’s imperative I don’t go from one end of the
    ego spectrum to the other. As you said in this
    article “with freedom comes responsibility”,
    humility needs to be part of your conscious
    awareness in order to maintain balance.
    Indeed it is crucial.

  8. JC

    Sen,

    thank you so much for posting this article. I love the wisdom in it, and I love the flow of it. I come across your website every now and then and find a lot of your articles to be pretty interesting and insightful. This one had a good taste to it. =]

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