Another exploration of the “many forms of …”, this time of humility.
Field identified with a segment of itself, creating inflation and shadow
It all starts with this field of seeing and seen, right here now, inherently absent of I anywhere. A field without a center, where nothing is a subject or object, and where everything is a subject and object.
In most cases, a belief in the idea of I is then placed on a segment of this field, usually this human self.
Then, a large set of associated beliefs form an exclusive identity. Meat is put on this skeleton of “I” in the form of a more elaborate identity, such as I am a man, I am Chinese, I am a software engineer, I am Christian, I am a good person, I am a father, I believe that people shouldn’t lie, free markets are good, and so on.
So here, there is first an identification with this particular human self, set apart from other human selves. Then, an exclusive identity is formed, setting me apart even more. And all of this is also associated with a large number of value judgments.
People shouldn’t lie. I don’t lie. So I am a good person, better than all of those who lies.
Free markets are good. I am for free markets. People against free markets are not only wrong, but misinformed, misguided, dangerous, maybe even evil. I am right, they are wrong. I know and want what is best for people, they don’t know or don’t want to do what is best for people.
This inevitably leads to the idea, and lived experience, that I am both better and worse than others. I am better because I am and believe all these things, which are good. And I am worse, because I am not or don’t do, what is good although some others do.
In addition to this, we form a self-identity which (typically) consist mostly of the “good” traits, and we push most of what don’t fit out of awareness, into the Shadow in Jungian terms.
There is inflation, in that I see myself as this human self and better than others. And there is a Shadow, composed of all the qualities in me I don’t want to see here.
So there is the rollercoaster ride of being reminded of various things in my identity that is better and worse than what I see in others. There is the tension between conscious identity and all of us that does not fit this identity. And there is the tension in daily being confronted with the difference between my identity and the identity I put on others, especially when they mirror back to me my own Shadow.
Humility as stories I tell myself
In this situation, humility often means that I tell myself stories about how I am equally or not as good as others, and that this is good. It is good to be humble. I tell myself stories that make me appear humble in my own and other’s eyes, so I can feel good about it.
(Or I can tell myself stories about humility as not good, so I don’t see myself as or needing to appear humble.)
Humility as realistic perception, deflating the inflation with the Shadow
Going a little further, humility can simply mean realistic perception. I see myself more accurately, more as others would see me, more as I appear in the context of the widest range of human possibilities.
And this means looking at and integrating Shadow elements into my conscious view of myself, my conscious identity. I lie too, in my own way, as much as anyone else. I am selfish too, in many different ways.
Whatever I see out there, in others and the rest of the world, I can find here as well. The question is only how it shows up, and by looking at that in detail, over and over, and feeling into it, it gradually gets integrated into my conscious view and experience of myself.
I deflate the (false) inflation by recognizing and integrating more and more of the Shadow elements. I gain a more accurate perception of myself, more as an outside and dispassionate observer would see it.
This is a continuing process. As long as there is any identity, there is by necessity a Shadow. Any identity is an exclusive identity, and what is excluded goes into the Shadow.
In this process, our view, and our experience of ourselves and the wider world, naturally goes from dualistic to less dualistic and more nondual or transdual.
There is less and less absolute differences between myself and others, in fact, the wider world mirrors what is right here.
My identity becomes more and more inclusive and porous.
And the different qualities and characteristics are more and more revealed as not inherently good or bad.
Realized selflessness, all as Spirit, and the world mirroring my human self
Eventually, the field of seeing and seen awakens to itself as a field, inherently absent of I anywhere. It is a field of seeing and seen, absent of I, with no center anywhere. There is no subject or object, yet the field as a whole is both subject and object.
The field of seeing and seen is all Spirit. It is Spirit waking up to itself, as the field of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere.
Any ideas of humility or not fall away and cannot touch this. Yet, it can also be seen as the ultimate humility, the ultimate falling away of I and Other, of attachment to ideas of better and worse.
It is all Spirit. There is no I and Other, no better and worse.
All levels included: Spirit, shadow and levels and lines
When Spirit awakens to its own nature as the field of seeing and seen, absent of I, the previous levels are also included.
First, all is recognized as Spirit with no I and Other. This goes into the foreground.
At the same time, Spirit is still functionally connected with this human self. And the wider world is still mirroring qualities in this human self. Any quality or characteristic in the wider world is also found right here, in this particular human self.
For this human self to function in a more whole, mature and integrated way, there is a need to still actively find the qualities out there also in here.
This human self is revealed as inherently absent of any I, as anything else, but it can still function in a less or more mature way.
In addition to all of this, there are the lines and levels of development.
Humility, or accurate perception, includes an awareness of the lines and levels of development as they show up in this human self right now. How well is it developed along the different lines? Which lines are further ahead, and which ones are left behind? What does this mean for how this human self functions in the world? How does an awareness of this change how this human self functions in the world? Which lines need special attention right now?
The maturing and development of this human self as the primary skillful means
As I have mentioned before, the maturing and development of this human self is part of skillful means.
In many traditions, developing skillful means following an awakening is emphasized so that this human self can serve as a catalyst for awakening. And the main tool is this human self, which means that the maturing and development of this human self is the main and essential skillful means.
Awakening and human selves
Spirit awakens to itself as the field of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere, yet also functionally connected with a particular human self. And Spirit may not have awakened to itself while being functionally connected with other human selves.
So this is where a life of service, and possibly aiding Spirit to awaken while functionally connected with some of these other human selves, comes in. It is simply Spirit aiding itself to awaken to itself. Just for the heck of it.