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Humility vs the Mission

Seva with Flowers
Episode No. 233

What is humility? How is humility related to shame? How can humility help us to drop the mission and relax? A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

I think for our time, our culture, the greatest source of lack of humility is our attachment to measuring ourselves by external accomplishments. We feel that our self-worth is attached to what we accomplish—in a career sense, a relationship sense, with our education, our money, our kids, or whatever it is. Our spiritual life can also be reframed as a series of accomplishments.

As long as we feel a sense of inner disconnect from our real value, and as long as we’re trying to re-create a sense of value from our external accomplishments, we really cannot experience humility. Because the root or basis for humility is understanding and having a real sense of the this-ness of our lives. That our lives are just this very small thing. And however they are is how they are. It’s fine.

So humility comes from having a sense of this is what it is. This is what a human is. This is what humans do. This is me without any embellishment, without any need to embellish. And that’s where humility comes from.

One the one hand, you could say humility comes from more of a sense of scale. When we’re thinking that we have to be important or we have to be achieving something, we have lost our sense of scale. One of the ways to antidote that is to really think about yourself on the planet, in the galaxy, in the universe. Or think about yourself in the context of all beings that have ever lived on earth through all times. And then think about your life. It’s really just a flash. It’s like the flash of a match burning out very, very quickly.

And so the idea that you would do anything important, or that it would really matter that you achieved anything, that it would give significance to your life, is antidoted a bit when you move your awareness out and realize how short and small your life is.