Humility

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Image from bigquestionsonline.com

Today, I send into your meditation hypnotized. Recently, I have been playing with the Enneagram and one of the quotes from The Enneagram Institute really struck me:

“Reflect on this teaching about Transformation today: The important thing is to set aside some time each day to re-establish a deeper connection with our True Nature. Regular practice serves to remind us over and over again that we are hypnotized by our personality.” (The Wisdom of the Enneagram, 347)

Oh… that I could say pride in my personality was not something I have struggled with. That I have not found myself totally enamored with my own awesome persona. Humility and clarity have taken more decades than I care to admit and more effort than building a pyramid with no tools should take. I have spent a good deal of my life hypnotized by my own personality and believed this was the whole point of a life. This…. THIS… is who I am.

To constantly improve on this person I believed myself to be was the crafting of ages, to be admired surely. Minimize the defects, enhance the attributes and be glad when most people only notice the latter. I could not, did not see myself clearly.

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Image from aleteia.org

The last several years has seen a deep humbleness settle upon me that I bend to willingly and with joy. I wonder that I struggled so hard and for so long. The more I let go of what I think I know about myself and the world, the more I see how vast my blindness goes. As I embrace how limited my vision in most things is, the more humility seems a simple choice, no different than donning a coat in acclimate weather. Where once stood a great pride for my impressive bits of knowledge squirreled away for important occasions, now lives a quieter woman living a significantly simpler life. Where once it seemed important to impress, now the house of cards lies neatly stacked again in it’s box. There is far greater interest in being awed by the immensity of galaxies, the depths of a human heart, the tales of summer winds to direct me home, than to intellectualize my spiritual path. These days it seems wiser to be quiet and clear, than loud and cloudy.

In my youth, I saw humility as a sign of weakness and a lack of confidence in oneself, failing to see my pride was the absolute telltale sign of a weaker internal sense of self and the ear marker of someone who didn’t value themselves in any real, authentic way. The humbling was, as it is for all of us, painful but now I see so clearly it’s necessity. Our personalities are such weighty things we drag around with us like a hermit with it’s shell. Wrapped so tightly in these personas it’s hard for anyone to really see our light, including ourselves.

Humility has brought me great comfort, as a cat curled upon my lap. It softens me, and makes tender my view on virtually all that I could gaze upon. Humility brings silence unabated, while pride breeds a ceaseless chatter to sustain itself. To be humble is to let go at ever greater levels and there is such deliciousness in that unwinding out of what we’ve built. The fascination with oneself makes us miserly trolls trying to hold on to every last trinket we think enhances the view. While there is immense spaciousness in humility, because the stories to sustain the personality have fallen away. We are left with a simple cotton robe, rather than armor made to deflect anything that can disturb the personalities precarious hold on itself. In that robe we have a sense of movement and ease.

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Image from purposefairy.com

Humility is a divine grace we enter, as we let fall away the lifetime of stories we’ve used to construct our sense of who we are. In our humility we become authentic, naked, empty of what serves the ego, and full of what serves the spirit. As we allow this to permeate all of our being, we see. We see with new eyes. We hear with new ears. We experience the Universe and others in wholly new ways. Our intuitive voice rises and our heart leads the way ahead.

And so today I bow to each of you. May the scent of dirt fill my nose and consume my lungs, as I revel in the fantastic nature of my nothingness. May my eyes see only divine’s great work and the beauty in all things. May I live all my days wondrously blind to all that does not heal and become so deaf I can no longer hear the din of war and only the ocean’s surf that sings of peace. May my steps slow, knowing there is nowhere else to be, but in this precious moment given to me. May the path to serve open before me, as long as my legs have strength to move. I am now, have always been and will always be your humble servant.

If you like this piece, do consider checking out my book with the link listed above or simply click here. Thank you!

Dead Calm

Waves breaking on Paradise Beach at LEsterre Bay with an old fishing boat on the shore and the turqoise sea and Sandy Island sand bar beyond, Grenada

Sandy Island sand bar beyond, Grenada: By robertharding.com

Today, I send into your meditation the plateau. Many a dieter knows the feeling. Early efforts in their weight loss program brought swift and great results, but deeper into the discipline of eating and exercising they hit a plateau and they feel as if their progress has stagnated. They lose faith and “fall off the wagon” so to speak, believing their set goal is now unattainable.

Meditators can do this, too. Make a commitment to daily sitting, have incredible experiences at the start, see great results, but then after a time it just feels routine. As if we sit day in and day out and we feel like we’re making no meaningful progress.

We remind ourselves that there are no goals in meditation or seeking. It’s not about chasing the butterfly but remaining still that it might alight upon our hand instead and other such notions of stillness. Lovely thoughts, of course, but when we see ourselves engaging in behaviors we’d hoped meditation would’ve rid us of, such as, easy impatience or irritation, we can feel we’ve hit some weird peace plateau. We’re calmer, more peaceful, but there’s a boundary of some sort we can’t get past. We find ourselves still with self-critical thoughts or battling a vague sense of unworthiness.

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Sailboat in a dead calm: from Meditationroom.org

We start looking for other strategies, believing meditation has taken us as far as we can go. Or we come to believe this is just as good as it gets, maybe.

Plateaus offer us two very powerful opportunities. The first is the state of adjustment. We see plateaus as stagnation, when really they are points of adjusting to our newer self. Just like hiking a mountain where the legs dearly love straightaways where they can recoup before the next climb, plateaus offer us the same thing. A chance to regroup and adjust to this newer version of us that has been evolving within our practice.

And too, as losing weight too fast can cause huge setbacks, we need time to adjust to new states of being. Spots on the path where we can integrate all that we’ve absorbed in our practice, before moving on. These periods of integration and adjustment help us advance our practice. It’s those, seemingly uneventful, straightaways that allow us to garner new energy for the next leg of our spiritual journey.

Second, plateaus frequently have important gifts we have yet to see. The wind has vacated our sails and we sit in calm water, because there is something here. Something important for us to grasp, learn, take in, and/or understand in some fashion. This dead calm in the midst of our journey is a gift. The plateau has a deep and meaningful purpose. There is a gem of understanding waiting for us to become mindful to that is right in front of us. Now is the time to double down and really sink into our practice.

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From Pinterest

Rarely is what we’re needing to observe hard to find. Usually, it’s staring us right in the face; requiring little more than true mindfulness. What are we thinking about day to day, minute to minute? What emotions are lingering either clearly like a constant irritation or quieter, behind our general thinking, like sorrow? How are we behaving? How do we treat ourselves and others? What are our complaints really about? What worries hold sway?

If we spend time mindfully watching ourselves in the same detached way we sit, we will often find nuggets of awareness that have become as Story Water’s refers to as ‘wallpaper’. Stuff we’ve been thinking, feeling, doing for so long it’s simply become wallpaper in our lives. Things we tolerate within ourselves that aren’t serving us at all. To see them, we often need to be stuck in one spot, until we stop seeing the spot we’re in as familiar and begin to see it with new eyes.

The plateau is here for us to stop moving, intentionally, and look more deeply at what is before us. It is not a block to progress, but rather a powerful indicator of a place we’ve brought ourselves to, to see, hear, feel, and heal something vital within us. The plateau is part of our progress, not outside of it.

So if we’ve lost our wind and the sails hang still, we need to take a deep breath. Put in check the seductive desire to complain about where we are. Take a seat and recommit to the journey we so wisely stepped onto however many moons ago. Either give ourselves permission, time and space to integrate all that we’ve developed within, to this point, or get curious and alert and look around. There are likely pearls of wisdom and understanding falling all about our feet. The moment we are in now, has everything we seek and will move us forward when the timing is right and the wind’s steady.

If you enjoyed this piece, I would be delighted if you checked out my book using this link or the link above. Namaste…