Revisiting Humility

I find revisiting humility to be a rewarding pursuit, something an arrogant soul like myself needs to do every once in a while.

As a beginning student of Knowledge, I do, like everyone else for that matter, occaisonally have the odd bad day. And this just happens to be one of them as I share on a Step I did quite some time ago. I reached Step 34. “I Am A Beginning Student of Knowledge” on December 10, 2012. Today I am on Step 335. Much water has flown under the bridge, so to speak, yet today I feel I as though I am back at the beginning, back trying to find my way. It is just one of those days. A good day to remind myself again that I am a beginning student of Knowledge and revisit humility.

The notes I wrote on December 10, 2012 for Step 34 actually show a certain amount of awareness and sound thinking: “Recognizing that I am a beginning student is always humbling and always paves the way to new learning. I am happy to be in a position to learn, not draw any premature conclusions, and not have to defend my accomplishments.  I am waiting for the light of truth to shine upon me and I have no doubt that it will as long as I remain open and willing.”

Today, from my vantage point higher up the mountain, one year and a little over five months later, it was brought abruptly and even brutally to my attention that I am still very much a beginning student of Knowledge, which is why I am revisiting humility. It seems I have still not learned my lesson. Not only are premature conclusions way out of line, I have no accomplishments to defend, even if I wanted to. I am still naively waiting for the light of truth to shine upon me. And not only that, in my arrogant hope that as long as I remain open and willing it no doubt will, I have succeeded in bringing myself back down to earth again with a resounding thud.

Revisiting humility

All is not lost however. Remembering that I am a beginning student has its rewards, since it prompted me to think again about humility and look further. In the process, I came across an interesting article called “A Lesson in Humility.” One passage struck me in particular and spoke directly to my experience. I share it here.

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, whenever you get these feelings you can be sure that you are learning a lesson in humility …

“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.”

The “high before the crash” mentioned here is so familiar to me. It is precisely what I am referring to when I talk about “being brought back down to earth with a resounding thud.” I have been shown today that even though I have supposedly moved on from Step 34 and being a beginning student, I still have a long way to go. Sharing in this space and being reminded of where I was and where I am now is certainly humbling.  Remembering that I am a beginning student has its rewards, and I will no doubt be revisiting humility time and time again.

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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.

Random Thoughts on Steps

This post expands on my previous one about my Spiritual Family.

Interestingly enough, at my suggestion, my father recently turned to Steps to Knowledge: The Book of Inner Knowing. A sober alcoholic of 32 years, his previous experience had been with the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and he sent me an email called “Random Thoughts on Steps” on July 23, 2013, almost exactly one month before he passed away, in which he made a few comparisons.

I would like to share a couple here since to me they resonate with topics I have addressed in my own posts here.

The first one goes back to my post called “What is God?” 

My father wrote (the bold type is his): When the 12 Steps of A.A. talks about “a god of our understanding,” it is not the dogmatic separate “Gods” of however many religions plague the world, cause factions, wars,  misunderstandings, and violent death.

Bill Wilson states on p.55 in the chapter called “We Agnostics” of the Big Book of A.A:

“——–deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental  idea of  God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form or another it is there. For faith in a Power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives, are facts as old as man himself.

“We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He(She) was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He(She) may be found. It was so with us.”

My father goes on to address humility.

Bill Wilson defines Humility in Step 5 of “The 12 and 12” (The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous).

Humility – a word often misunderstood.

“ ………..it amounts to a clear recognition of  what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be.”

“What a challenge,” says Dad.

I am reclaiming my father as a member of my Spiritual Family.

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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?

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.

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.