Peace of Mind: The Practice of Humility
The word “humble” which is the root word of “humility” originally comes from the word “ground” or “earth”.
In the practice of humility, we are practicing being grounded, in touch with our roots and aware of our common nature with the rest of humanity.
The value of this practice is well known in Eastern philosophies, but is less understood in our Western civilization of achievement oriented, competition driven culture. One-upmanship is a character trait which is well admired here, and the better one is at it, the more one is considered to “win”.
Remembering Our Nature at a Soul Level
What does this do to the soul?
For one thing, it is a false premise, assuming that the ability to overcome another’s sense of personal identity is a good thing. It isn’t. The consequences in karma are well known, as we all understand instinctively.
Those we step on, on the way up are the same ones we meet on the way down. Secondly, it is an inherently false idea, that any one of us is better than any other one of us. Is one cloud better than another?
At a soul level, we damage ourselves when we attempt to assert that we are of better quality than anyone else. We also set ourselves up for the same treatment.
So, the practice of arrogance and pretentiousness is harmful to the soul. Of what value is humility?
What is Humility?
When we practice humility, we are telling ourselves and the world around us that we are one with our species, that we are connected and real. There is no need to keep up a false image or keep track of our lies.
There is far less effort and stress involved in just making life happen, as we aren’t having to “fake it” as we go along. And really, this practice is more for our own benefit than for others, although our world will certainly benefit from it.
Humility says that we can never have our feet knocked out from under us, since we are always standing on the ground.
What is Humiliation?
Humility is different from humiliation, though they may appear to be the same thing at first. Humiliation occurs when we feel ourselves to be lower than or less than what we actually are.
This most often occurs as the karmic kickback of arrogance or pretentiousness – when we have pretended to be something other than what we really are. I think of this as a natural occurrance, such as gravity. When we have our feet on the ground, stumbling isn’t a big deal. If we’re walking a tightrope 20 feet above the earth and trip, we could leave a dent when we land.
The Act of “Being” Humble
When we practice humility, it is easy to be friendly to others. We can be authentically ourselves, can afford to be compassionate and can allow others to see inside of us.
It isn’t necessary to keep secrets about our real preferences and opinions, and we don’t have to look over our shoulders wondering if someone will see who we actually are. Peace is a natural acceptance.
You may notice here, that I’m describing many of the traits of the “shy” person, as well as the egocentric one. This is because these people have many character traits in common, and they tend to come from the same source. This source is low self-esteem. In both situations, the “Self” is being hidden. When we are practicing humility, the Self isn’t being hidden, it isn’t being broadcast, one simply is.
There are many more advantages to this practice than can be enumerated here. Peace of mind for one. What’s nice is that we can keep practicing even if we fall away from it for a time.
The real value and beauty of the soul shows through when humility is practiced. Let your world see who you actually are and peace will follow.