August 4

  

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 shall become indulgent towards those of others.

Francois Fenelon

Today's Meditation:

I don't think that Francois is telling us here to judge ourselves harshly and to be down on ourselves all the time.  Rather, he sees the importance of perspective in our relations with other people.  So much of our own discontent is due to our feelings that other people have hurt us or let us down, and very often the hurt or letdown is only in our minds, in our own view of what has happened.

Other people will disappoint us, and they will let us down.  And no matter how hard we try not to do so, we will let others down.  We will disappoint those people we love, and those people with whom we work.  It's called being human, and if we judge others harshly when they falter or commit some egregious error, then we're not allowing them to be truly human, are we?

If I'm humble-- if I allow humility to be a trait that I value and foster in my life-- then I'm not going to be so quick to judge others.  I'm going to recognize that the faults I see in others are often the faults I find in myself, so I can treat others with more equanimity, dignity, and respect.

It's taken me a lot of effort to get to a point at which I'm able to stay non-judgmental when others do things that I'm not too thrilled with, and I'm still not all that good at it.  But I find that life is much, much easier for me, much more enjoyable, when I'm not focusing on the ways that others have offended me.  I've found out that most of the things that I've taken personally haven't even been meant personally, and I've wasted a lot of time and effort feeling bad about things that shouldn't have affected me at all.

I serve myself much better by being like the duck whose feathers cause water to roll right off its back.  I don't want to get drenched in resentment or anger; I much prefer life when I'm keeping in mind that since I make many mistakes myself, I should do my best not to let the mistakes that other people make bring me down.

Questions to ponder:

1.  Why do we so often let other people's actions affect the way we feel?

2.  Is there truly anything that is due to us from others?

3.  How might we strengthen the humility in ourselves that will allow us to treat others much better?

For further thought:

A humble person is generally well-liked and respected because he or she does not challenge others.  When the ego is not attacked, not put on guard, it has a hard time gathering strength to attack another.

Shantidasa

more thoughts and ideas on humility

  

   

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