There are a number of beautiful outcomes from spiritual inner work, and spiritual humility is definitely one of them. Humility helps us to see our place in the grand scheme of life and to embrace this reality. It leads us towards greater appreciation for being alive and having whatever we may have whether it is a healthy body, kind family, physical safety, or something else. Humility also frees us from comparisons to others and from craving something different in life.
Life is as it is.
Most people don’t really start with this kind of humility, least of all in any kind of deep way. Instead, many people start with a lot of pride and arrogance, and more than a few drag those issues into the spiritual world, creating very elaborate spiritual egos for themselves. Instead of understanding true humility, they turn spirituality into a new shield and badge of honor for their ego self.
But, if you are lucky, a spiritual awakening comes along. After that, you are under God’s grindstone, and the heavy metal of pride is getting ground into oblivion. For some if they are really attached to their armor, this can turn into a dark night of the soul situation because they feel like they are losing “everything” rather than being freed of their pride.
And so an awakening often forcibly takes people down the path of true humility.
When we are going through the humbling process, it is rarely an enjoyable experience. As I mentioned above, it feels like you are being destroyed, and this misunderstanding can cause all kinds of issues for people. When people are so deeply identified with their egos, they cannot see the falsity of their beliefs and attachments. So God goes to work. The Divine brings in the big, super-duper Ego Crusher 5000 and hits the “on” button.
Then it goes to work cracking through pride and other outer-shells of ego. During this time, jobs may disappear, and relationships may disappear. Maybe the person loses the ability to work-out or eat a certain way. All kinds of changes arise as someone heals and is humbled. I think chronic fatigue is one of God’s favorite tools because of how many people get hit with it. Through that fatigue, people are forced to surrender things, situations, and ideas that they never would have let go of because now they simply cannot do anything. If you’ve been through this phase, just think, “Would you really have changed that much or let go of half of what you did if God’s boot wasn’t so firmly stepping down on the back of your next? Would you?”
In short, this is not a fun time, but it tends to be a necessary one. The bigger the prideful ego, the harder the fall.
Renewal and Humility
To all shifts, there is an end, although pride is a very early phase. The shield of pride stands before the body of inner work someone has to do, and until that part is sufficiently broken asunder, the deeper issues remain un-addressed. But with sincerity, the pride is released, and the deeper issues can be addressed.
When people have done this inner work, humility is an amazing and refreshing understanding of life. You really understand that you are nobody.
While the ego is a somebody and is terrified of this space of nobody, actually residing in this truth of your “nobody-ness” is a whole different experience. It is super freeing. It asks nothing of you. It inherently allows you to be as you are while the ego was always telling you that you had to be someone, do something, and more. The ego rules go away in the nobody-ness.
Along with that, you are humbled to even be alive. Yes, just being alive is an epic miracle. Pause to think about how many millions of occurrences had to happen right for you to even be alive and reading this post. If you tried to write them all down, you would quickly fill up a notepad with your insights with no end to them insight.
Humility helps us to see the miraculousness of it all. Life is precious. Life is short, and our lease on life is expiring soon. All of these realizations humble us further, and they can inspire us to act in ways to more fully embrace life that we might never have imagined before.
Arising to Power from Humility
Let me pause for a quick note on false humility. False humility is a kind of self-worth issue in that an identity is formed around denigrating your beliefs and value. True humility does not value you. There is no value that can ever be placed on a human being or anything else. Value is entirely made up, and from that spiritual understanding, you are humble because there is something inherently honest about knowing the truth and just being you. You don’t claim to be more or less than you are.
From there, we find that there is a great deal of power in humility. We do not need to elevate ourselves to be anyone or get social standing, but we do find ourselves naturally called to grow and engage with life in certain ways. Some of you are naturally great at speaking, helping, writing, drawing, building, visioning the future, community-organizing, and so much more. True humility embraces these and every other characteristic you have; it never denies them or if you are good at them. In that embrace, new kinds of energy and true power emerge within us that the ego could never have fathomed.
Evolving from Humility
The more you surrender your ego, the more you will discover the truth. The nobody-ness that I mentioned is always here. It is also a kind of fertile ground that can help a human being truly grow in extraordinary ways. Continue to return to the space of nobody-ness–the space of presence–to support your growth. As you continue to return to this space, you naturally evolve and grow from a space of true spiritual humility and go even further on your path.
For some more thoughts on humility and the humbling process, you can check out these blog posts: