…don’t give up on attaining freedom, achieving humility, serving others, obeying God.Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 7.67 Hays translation
Humility. Isn’t there a dark side to it that we should recognize? It’s ordinarily thought of as a virtue, but given how good we humans are at twisting the truth and hiding vice under playing nice let’s practice training our bullshit detectors on ourselves.
For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.Luke 18:14
Yeah. Great. Let’s practice perfecting humility, then. It is, after all, an antidote to pride, no?
Or is it that this ”virtue” is sometimes non-virtue in disguise?
Is it that we at times maintain a false humility–denying our nature in order to unnaturally fit ourselves into some ”should”, some ideal, some idea?
And is it that we suffer, and call that suffering ”noble sacrifice” when in fact it is not that at all but really fear &/or laziness?
And is it that in such scenarios of projecting false appearances we are deeply unhappy because we know that we suppress truth? And is it that we put on yet another false appearance of happiness which only multiplies our misery?
This has important implications for our health, right here and now. For in our unhappiness we tend to self-medicate. Self-medicating, the mind-heart is unclear. Unclear, we make poor decisions. Making poor decisions, we become sick. Being ourselves sick, the ones who love us the most suffer as well. Not a choice scenario.
As much as we have in our lives for which to be grateful right here and now, it is still possible that we are unhappy, unfulfilled at some levels of our being. It’s like an orchard of one hundred apple trees wherein some trees produce stellar fruit while others produce sickly fruit. The presence of good fruit does not cancel out the existence of the not-good fruit; nor does the presence of not-good fruit cancel out the existence of good fruit.
Rousing the motivation to examine with sufficient depth the areas of unhappiness (sickly fruit) in our lives–co-existing with the areas of genuine happiness (stellar fruit)–with a discerning, objective, patient, Divinely-guided mind enables us to eventually catch ourselves in the little ego’s twisted game of false humility-true non-humility. And thus put us in the position of leaving the entire enterprise behind for something better which brings durable happiness.
A preliminary step in solving a problem is the ability to correctly identify a problem as a problem.
* * *
The fragrant jasmine flower does not boast, and yet its heady scent instantly attracts us. The ripe juicy papaya or mango–neither announces itself with any fanfare, but when we bite into its soft flesh there’s no mistaking its specialness. Isn’t this a noble sort of humility? It just is what it is, and its beauty speaks for itself. The mango does not think itself better than the papaya, the papaya does not think itself better than the mango. Both merely act according to their inborn virtue, and are beautiful in their own ways without thinking about being beautiful.
How difficult it is for us, and yet it is not difficult at all. Only through great difficulty can we access and express not-difficult-at-all. I hope to get there someday. Big up to the sages, saints, and sinners who’ve showed us the way.
I was fortunate enough to spend time at the Smithsonian NMNH Butterfly Pavilion a few years back while on family vacay. As we made our way through the tropical capsule , we witnessed each individual of each featured species flutter about without a drop of pretense. No boasting nor bragging, not in the least bit shy about simply being what butterflies be. And we looked on in admiration. They taught me things without saying a single word.
Consider how the lilies grow: they do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of theseLuke 12:27
True humility, then: isn’t that free of pride and fear? Free of pride and fear, isn’t it peaceful and easeful? Not that it would be against the shedding of blood, either. When the wolf tears the living flesh from the body of its prey isn’t she merely expressing her inborn virtue, however savage we civilized folk think it?
To show the world the light of ourselves without making a light show of ourselves.
Copyright (c) 2020, Justin Jaucian