Expressing Greatness

greatness

In Step 45, I recognized my limitations, which gives me humility. And in humility I am in a position to receive greatness.

Step 46. “I Must Be Small To Be Great” of Steps to Knowledge says, “Allow yourself to be small, and you will experience that greatness is with you and that greatness is part of you.”

My journal for this step says, “For me this Step leads on from the last one, it is a continued lesson in humility. Being small for me means being humble, which in turn does not mean disparaging myself, or thinking of myself as a lowly, unworthy being, rather it means recognizing that I am fallible, that I am teachable. It brings me back down to size (if I have been engaged in self-aggrandizement) and makes me aware that I don’t know it all and that if I am capable of greater things, it is not due to my own merits, but because I am allowing Knowledge to work through me.”

The Step goes on to say, “You are meant to be a vehicle for a Greater Reality to express itself in the this world.”

To me, being a vehicle implies being a tool, a means, a channel, if you will, for bringing something beneficial into the world.  So, for me, it has more to do with the mind than the body.

Expressing greatness

greatnessAt this point I am recalling a book I used to read to my children called “The Little Me and THE GREAT ME” by Lou Austin that talks about God being a Partner and how to enter that partnership.  All the child has to do is exhale the little me and inhale the Great Me, and the Spirit of God comes in with the air he or she breathes, and then the child is happy and loving and kind. But it takes a conscious choice, the child has to want to be the Great Me and breathe in the spirit of God, thus becoming God’s Partner.

I too make a conscious choice. It may not be to exhale the small self as portrayed in this book, but I still choose to recognize my smallness, realizing that even though I am small, I can still express the greatness of a Greater Reality because Knowledge works through me.

And as always, I take great delight in reading something that resonates entirely with what I am pondering. I opened an email letter from a fellow traveler this morning to read, “All true spiritual work is an attempt to allow the Self to dominate and learn how to let it guide the small self and put it to service in the world.”

There is a Self with a capital letter within me, a Great Me wishing to be expressed, but I need to be small, to be humble, to recognize my limitations in order for what is great to find its joyful expression.

P.S. I just opened Secrets of Heaven to page 186 and read:

“The experience of greatness will give you the perspective needed to give yourself permission to follow what you know.”

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Can I Learn To Live Successfully Within My Limitations?

This is the final post in a series of seven posts regarding Step 49 of Steps to Knowledge. In this step, I am reviewing my practice and experience of the first 48 steps.  I am sharing what I wrote when I actually did this step, with additional commentary as needed.

Step 43 – My will is to know God – “My will is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.  My will is to represent God.  My will is to realize God.  My will is to will the will of God.  Even when I’m distracted my will comes back.”  I was improvising on the first question and answer of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, ‘the chief end of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”

Step 44 – I wish to know my own strength – “Find my strength to find my strength.  Bring forth my strength.  Create my strength.”  A student of Steps to Knowledge in Qinghai Province, China, commented, “It’s like the bird learning to fly. The information, the instinct, is in the genetic blueprint, but the bird still has to learn to fly. The bird doesn’t just jump out of the nest and soar into majestic flight at the first go. It might flop, stagger, waver, or fall, but the learning will take place as the bird exercises this ability which it technically doesn’t have yet, but will have.”  The bird has to find flying.  I have to find my strength.

Step 45 – Alone I can do nothing – “I have been very unkind to my little, limited self.”  I have expected it to create its purpose, meaning and directions, which are all jobs above its pay grade.

Step 46 – I must be small to be great – “I will work successfully within my limited context”  I’m recalling that after Swedish poet and avid pianist Tomas Transtromer suffered a stroke disrupting his right side, Ulf Grahn composed a series of left-hand piano pieces for Transtromer to play.  That’s an instance of working successfully within a limited context.

Step 47 – Why do I need Teachers? – “After Steps 46 and 47, wallowing in my limitations, it was no big stretch to think I need a Teacher.”

Step 48 – True instruction is available to me – “Love myself to approach Knowledge, and I will love myself more.  I recalled Step 44 here, bootstrap loader.”  As my colleague said, “The information, the instinct, is in the genetic blueprint [unalterable read-only memory], but the bird still has to learn to fly.”  Knowledge contains certain qualities, but I still have to bring them forth to access them.

Here is the word cloud for Steps 1-49:

Steps to Knowledge Steps 1-49 Word CloudHow do I attain Knowledge?  How do I get to Carnegie Hall?  “Practice, practice, practice”

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Pondering Humility: How Can I Be Great If I Am Small?

Rainbow of Humility Over Shcheleiki Village, Leningrad Oblast, Russia

I have often pondered the meaning of the word “humility.” I have frequently experienced times when the bubble of self-importance I have inflated for myself bursts and I am brought back down to earth with a resounding thud. And paradoxically, these are times of the greatest learning, times when I feel stripped of all the false assumptions I have conjured up about myself and am left bare to meet the true me face to face. And this me is not an unworthy, lowly scumbag, but a me who, despite my limitations, can transcend them to receive greatness. At this point I am teachable; I recognize my limitations and smallness, which gives me the freedom to accept greatness. To me, this is humility.

I found another definition of humility that resonates with the definition I have come to understand.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says that humility is an appreciation of oneself, one’s talents, skills, and virtues. It is not meekness or self deprecating thought, but the effacing of oneself to something higher. Humility is not to think lowly of oneself, but to appreciate the self one has received. In recognition of the mysteries and complexities of life, one becomes humbled to the awesomeness one is and what one can achieve. He also said that true humility is the consciousness of standing in the presence of greatness.

Shcheleiki, Leningrad Region, Russia, a place to learn humility

In this village on Lake Onega in the north of Russia, I was made to feel very small, I fretted and felt like a lowly scumbag, so I asked for clarity. And I was rewarded with humility. In his article “On Humility,” Rabbi Jonathan Sacks goes on to say, “Humility — true humility — is one of the most expansive and life-enhancing of all virtues. It does not mean undervaluing yourself. It means valuing other people. It signals a certain openness to life’s grandeur and the willingness to be surprised, uplifted, by goodness wherever one finds it.”

So when Step 46. I Must Be Small To Be Great says, “Allow yourself to be small, and you will experience that greatness is with you and that greatness is part of you,” I think to myself, this seems like a paradox, but it is not, it is humility.

This was my experience after feeling small.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Are Limitations Underrated?

Portrait of A. S. Pushkin as a child by Andrew Rykovanov

If the Mona Lisa was painted on a grain of rice instead of a canvas, would it be less beautiful, or more beautiful?

Words carved into hairIf words of wisdom were written on a human hair, would they be less wise?

Step 46 of Steps to Knowledge “I must be small to be great,” declares “Recognizing your limitations allows you to work in a limited context very successfully.”  What I’m seeing at this point is that part of the mission of my life, part of the constraints of that mission, is working within the limitations of my own individuality, an individuality which is to express life itself.

But some people have issues with their individuality.  Some people wish they had a different size.  Some people wish they had different shapes.  Some people wish they had different colors, and so forth.  They are like the clay pot complaining to the potter “Why did you make me like this?”

There must be millions of effective and useful chemical and electrical interactions that go on in the human body every day.  Do we think about them?  I, for one, am thankful that I don’t have to think about making my heart beat, breathing, digesting, etc.

The same idea applies to the mind.  Some people wish they had some different kinds of intelligence than the ones they have.

I join in with David in giving thanks for the limited context in which I work.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14, New International Version)

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.