May 10


Today's Quotation:

There is no true and constant gentleness without humility.  While we are so fond of ourselves, we are easily offended with others.  Let us be persuaded that nothing is due to us, and then nothing will disturb us.  Let us often think of our own infirmities, and we will become indulgent towards those of others.

Francois Fenelon

Today's Meditation:

When I read stories about monks and other people who are incredibly humble, I find myself feeling a bit of envy.  I would love to be able to live a truly humble life, to be a truly humble person.  In fact, that's one of the things I'm working on regularly through reading and other methods.  Humility is in many ways the cause of a beautiful life, but it's also the result of a beautiful life, I think.  It seems like a Catch-22 situation--you can't be humble until you tame your ego, and you can't tame your ego until you learn humility.

I think that Fenelon is right on--one of the most important aspects of humility in our own lives is the effect that it has on the way we treat others.  True humility doesn't allow us to judge others, and it doesn't allow us to beat them down for what we see as their transgressions or their mistreatment of us.  Everyone has faults and shortcomings, but they become magnified when we judge them, and that magnification turns them into something worse than they really are.

If we are due nothing, then we won't feel resentment when we get nothing.  We won't be disturbed by other people's failure to give us what we think we have coming, which is often a misconception, anyways-- either we really don't have anything coming, or it's not up to someone else to give it to us.

Humility helps us to live in balance.  If we're humble, we're able to let go of expectations and be satisfied with all that life has to offer, and that satisfaction helps us to live happy, healthy lives. 

Questions to ponder:

1.  What parts of ourselves and our minds tend to keep us from humility?

2.  Does our culture value humility in theory?  In practice?

3.  Who teaches us humility?  Where do we see it in practice?

For further thought:

Be humble and you will remain entire.  The sages do not display themselves, therefore they shine.  They do not approve themselves, therefore they are noted.  They do not praise themselves, therefore they have merit.  They do not glory in themselves, therefore they excel.


more thoughts and ideas on humility



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