spiritual humility


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I am currently humbled and thrown upon emotional ground. "Humility" the word stems from the term "humus" relating to the ground. Are there ways we can only clearly see the stars of heaven when we are thrown to the ground, cry out and await a "vision" to clear our vision?

Some thoughts from St. Augustine:

"Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance."

"Do you wish to be great? then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Then think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundations."

then this from an unknown:

"I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak that I might humbly obey.
I asked or health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing I asked for, but everything I hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am among men, most richly blessed."

I lay upon the ground and await my blessings. earl
You remind me, Earl, of a Prayer of Mother Teresa:
Deliver me, O Jesus,
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire to being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the desire of being popular,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being suspected.


The trip back to our ground of being isn't always smooth. Thank you Earl for sharing part of your journey, and may you be peaceful and at ease.

Paladin, I appreciate your well-wishing. But I'm beginning to think that perhaps I should not be in too big a hurry to get up from the ground as I think there may indeed be blessings to find down here. I think perhaps I'm noticing there may be an extraordinary interconnection between humility and gratefulness, another important hallmark of the "spiritual" way. I find myself much more touched than perhaps ordinary for me by such a gesture. Perhaps when we temporarily feel spiritually, personally impoverished, we are much more aware and grateful for all that comes our way. I see that this ground teems with life and wonder at its bounty. Perhaps part of uniting "heaven and earth" involves just this renewed appreciation for "earth." I'm merely babbling aloud here as I try to bring something into clearer focus. As they say among the Mahayana Buddhists: "may all merit I receive from these efforts assist others." (or words to that effect;) ) have a good one, earl
Hi earl, thank you for sharing this insight you've gained from whatever challenge it is you are now facing. Prayers going out for you and yours.

In His Peace,
I have found that living moment to moment without expectation to be the most humbling exercise. That way life always surprises me with both good and bad events. But I am always surprised with what it "brings" me. I can't imagine living life without spontaneity and surprise. To me that is life's essence.

And yes Earl, I've spent lots of time on the ground doiing this humility thing while waiting to be surprised. It refreshes the soul like nothing else, and, IMHO, enables one to cope more ably with the surprises.

Take care...flow....:)
Great thread. The message seems to be that the ego has to be fought--or maybe bypassed--every step of the way. Wisdom is not a high and mighty thing, but lies low, and its message is not heard by the world.
Thank you for your kind words Lunamoth. Another forum member shared her kind words with me via PM & as a result I realized some may confuse the meaning/intent of humility. Some may see it as devaluation of the person as in the word humiliation. But not so-it is the natural inevitable human response to very human limitations in one's ability to know and control; a necessary way station along any wisdom path most likely. For some, as with me, pain and suffering (don't worry folks it ain't of epic proportions, just the measure of suffering we're entitled to by being here), are often the forces inducing a greater dollop of necessary humility. Don't know if when in this phase it has the same effect on everyone, but I've discovered that it has thrown me into my symbolic and actual heart and out of my head-a good & necessary rebalancing. I noted in another thread-the one re "Who/what is God?" that I surprisingly during my recent meditation period found myself spontaneously in rhythm to my breathing doing a rendition of the Prayer of the Heart-that I had transitioned from my typical "self power" approach to an "Other power" approach as they say in Buddhism. I said in that thread that what is self and what is other is a great mystery at the heart of all religions, without clear-cut immutable boundaries. However, when we are humbled and have reached the end of some rope we cling to very "self-ish-ly" realizing this little self was brought into being and is sustained by so much Other beyond the scope of our knowing, slipping into Other power mode or phase of spiritual practicing seems so right-"the Spirit blows where it will" & it's up to me to ensure my sails are set to catch its direction for this current phase of my trip. Other power approaches seem much more "heart-related" than self power approaches. I know if/when I get off the ground that I never want to lose my renewed appreciation for both humility and the heart whatever phase of spiritual practice calls to me down the road. have a good one, earl
For those who would like to read a good somewhat esoteric trans-mystical yet practical how to discussion of the Prayer of the Heart, see Louchakova's article, "The Essence of the Prayer of the Heart" at
Though, frankly I don't think "thinking" about a "heart" practice is where it's at;) have agood one, earl
On "self-power" and "other-power".............................Here are a few words by Taitetsu Unno.....

"While self-power is identified with the difficult path of Sages and Other Power with the easy path of Pure Land, our concern is with the existence of self-power within Other Power. That is, self-power is the natural inclination to assert the power of the ego-self to reach a goal, but it is necessary to realize that ultimately it is ineffectual and fruitless on the path of supreme enlightenment. Yet, at the same time, it is a necessary stage on the path where self-power is also appreciated, in reflection, as the working of Other Power"