Humility vs self-esteem

Humility is quite different from self-esteem.

Humility comes from clear seeing, from recognizing that what I see in others is also here.

Humility comes from love, finding love for what’s here in me – including that which a thought may say is undesirable or shouldn’t be here.

Humility comes from a felt sense of all of this, inviting feelings (and body) to reorganize within clear seeing and love for what’s here.

High or low self-esteem comes from taking certain images of ourselves and others as true. When the idea of better or worse in any absolute sense is held as true, we inevitably have both low and high self-esteem. One may come out in some situations and areas of life, the other in other situations or areas of life. We are caught on the roller coaster of high and low self-esteem. And we try to manage it. All of which is quite tiring, out of alignment with reality, and has nothing to do with humility. (Although recognizing and admitting this is happening here as it is in most human beings, that is an aspect of humility.)

Humbling process

Any belief is hubris.

I tell myself I know how things are, and not only that, how things should be. I know better than God, life, the Universe, reality.

Life will inevitably rub up against these beliefs. I can struggle against it and try to hold onto my beliefs and suffer. Or, through grace, I can find some receptivity and allow the beliefs to wear off, or more actively inquiry into them to find what is more honest for me.

In this way, life is a humbling process. A process of friction between life and beliefs, and a wearing away of these beliefs.

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Pointers for relating to the path

As with anything else here, this is basic and almost childishly simple… which most important things are. And it is what I need to explore it seems.

Some pointers for relating to the path that I find useful…

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Profoundly ordinary

During the initial awakening (in my teens) where many of the things happening now happened in a more dramatic way, there was both a realization that all is God, and also a sense of how remarkable it was… which seems to indicate that the final veils of a sense of I had not been seen through.

Now, there is just a profound sense of ordinariness about it, of how unremarkable it is, and also a deeply felt sense that this is just the middle ground, an early middle ground… There is infinitely further to go in the areas I write about here, and obviously much further to go in all of the other areas of life.

Seeing this brings a more genuine humility at all levels… A humility that comes from seeing things more realistically, and not only see it, but also deeply feel it in the body, and love it.

And some of the things to see, feel, and love is that…

  • All already is God, so in the absence of Other there is not much room for pride or arrogance, nor for a sense of inferiority.
  • At my individual level, there is infinitely further to go in maturing, developing, exploring, discovering, in all areas of life.
  • There are many, many areas I, as an individual, am not very well developed in, compared to where many are at today.
  • And everything I see in here is also out there, and the other way around, at my individual level. They are there at least as seeds, possibilities, and often far more fully bloomed.

Today is one of those days where I feel firmly held so I can see this, take it in more fully, allow my whole being to more thoroughly organize within this… All as God, and at my individual level, there is infinitely further to go, there are many areas I am not well developed in compared to many others today, and the outer and the inner mirror each other perfectly.

It is deeply sobering, and even shakes me to the core… shakes up everything not aligned with this… everything formed within a context of separation and ideas of better and worse.

The One Taste of public and private situations

A while back, I used this practice more regularly, and still find it useful.

How would it be if there is One Taste of public and private situations? If I act in public as if I was on my own, and when I am on my own as if everybody could see me?

Acting in public as if I am on my own helps me with finding ease, comfort, allowing pretense to fall away.

Acting on my own as if everybody could see helps me find a sense of transparency, nothing to hide or protect, allowing the light of awareness into (more of) all I am and do.

Together, it helps me find ease and comfort with myself, as I am, accepting it as it is, be OK with all of what I am. It helps me find a sense of wholeness, of transparency, of receptivity, of nothing to hide, noting to protect or defend.

This is one of the many forms of One Taste, one that plays itself out on our human level.

Tracing humility

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.