Humility – An Expression of Self-Respect
Pride is concerned with who is right.
Humility is concerned with what is right.
Ezra Taft Benson
What do we define as humility? Who do we define as humble? Do we call people humble because of who they are, or what they do? Perhaps, it is just good timing, that someone was there to witness humility in action.
Sometimes we put people in a box and expect them to behave in a certain way. When people are naturally humble it often comes as a surprise to us. To illustrate my point a recent video went viral, it was of the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, when he spilt some coffee. As he was walking through a building he dropped his coffee, and then took hold of the mop from a cleaner and started wiping the coffee off the floor himself. He was ‘hands on’ the job. It’s a behaviour we don’t expect from someone in a position high up on the social scale, because the general attitude may be that cleaning is a lowly job. Or, because people are so busy, their ‘time is money’ and so why waste time on cleaning. Perhaps, there is the attitude of being wealthy, so we will simply pay someone else to clean up our mess. Actually, if we were at home and made a mess, we would expect to clean it up ourselves, but would that be called humility or just good house sense!
So, we call these actions being humble because it applies to those who have something to be humble about. For example, when a maid or helper gives up their seat for you, it would be considered an ordinary act; it’s kind of expected. After all, if you were the maid, you would want to keep your job! But when the host or owner gives up their chair for you, then that would be considered humility. Also note, they may not need to… but the fact is that they did, and it is this that wins them the respect and love from others.
Humility will open more doors than arrogance ever will.
Nevertheless, humility is not all about actions… it is about an attitude, in fact it is all to do with our state of mind. It’s about being open to other people’s opinions and ideas. It’s about listening, and not just hearing. It’s about giving regard to others in subtle ways and not to go through life like a bull dozer… No need for any examples here, we all know someone like that…
In spiritual language humility is about being egoless… as we drop the labels of the body, our roles, performances and all those details of body consciousness, we automatically become egoless, which means humble. Becoming soul conscious is the key to humility; in soul consciousness the humility shines like the sun, humility simply comes naturally. Humility is an innate quality within the soul… one has no ego about anything because someone who has humility is simply in a state of self-respect.
When we come from a place of inner self-respect, then there is nothing to lose because we feel secure within our self, it is from this place that humility can grow. By contrast someone who is insecure will not be in their self-respect and will be using the tools of body consciousness, especially the ego, to prop themselves up. Humility is about acceptance. Accepting the other person… for what they are and also the roles that they play. Humility is not about having a hierarchy of egos, and playing the game of ‘who is better than who’… the humble person has no need to play these games anymore.
It is not that one has to always demonstrate being humble… in the extreme this can also be known as ‘playing the martyr’. But when one is full of all divine virtues, then one naturally becomes humble, one need not make effort, or have to prove one’s humility. In being-ness there is the natural flow of energy, it is almost as if there is no other way of being, but to be humble because it is part of our nature.
Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.
We forget that humility is one of the latent virtues and powers of the soul. There is no loss in humility, there can only be gain; actually it is a state of power within the soul. Humility can only come from a steady and stable place of self-respect, inner soul respect really, which is based on a true knowledge and experience of the self, not as the body, but as a pure consciousness. That is who we all are in our essence, now is the time for us to live from that place of awareness of being pure consciousness.
It’s Time… to let the quality of humility shine through our life like the sun, it cannot be hidden.
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK