We experience humility not because we have fought and lost but because humility is the only lens through which great things can be seen ― and once we have seen them, humility is the only posture possible.
― Parker Palmer from The Courage To Teach
In Humility Is The Greatest Freedom
In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as you have to defend the imaginary self that you think is important, you lose your peace of heart. As soon as you compare that shadow with the shadows of other people, you lose all joy, because you have begun to trade in unrealities and there is no joy in things that do not exist.
As soon as you begin to take yourself seriously and imagine that your virtues are important because they are yours, you become the prisoner of your own vanity and even your best works will blind and deceive you. Then, in order to defend yourself, you will begin to see sins and faults everywhere in the actions of other men. And the more unreasonable importance you attach to yourself and to your own works, the more you will tend to build up your own idea of yourself by condemning other people. Sometimes virtuous men are also bitter and unhappy, because they have unconsciously come to believe that all their happiness depends on their being more virtuous than others.
— Thomas Merton from New Seeds of Contemplation
Often we think of egolessness as a great loss, but actually it’s a gain. The acknowledgment of egolessness, our natural state, is like regaining eyesight after having been blind or regaining hearing after having been deaf. Egolessness has been compared to the rays of the sun. With no solid sun, the rays just radiate outward. In the same way, wakefulness naturally radiates out when we’re not so concerned with ourselves. Egolessness is the same thing as basic goodness or buddha nature, our unconditional being. It’s what we always have and never really lose.
Ego could be defined as whatever covers up basic goodness. From an experiential point of view, what is ego covering up? It’s covering up our experience of just being here, just fully being where we are, so that we can relate with the immediacy of our experience. Egolessness is a state of mind that has complete confidence in the sacredness of the world. It is unconditional well-being, unconditional joy that includes all the different qualities of our experience.
— Pema Chodron from When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful! They are people of bad race and lineage; out of their countenances peer the hangman and the sleuth-hound. Distrust all those who talk much of their justice! Verily, in their souls not only honey is lacking. And when they call themselves ‘the good and just,’ forget not, that for them to be Pharisees, nothing is lacking but — power!
— Friedrich Nietzsche from Thus Spoke Zarathustra
- The Humility Prayer
- The True Self
- Humility And Contemplation
- Seven Principles for Living with Deep Intention
- Lord, Make Us to Walk in your Way