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HUMILITY

On our way to attaining our true identity as a heavenly being we move through four stages of spiritual practice with HUMILITY the third and final practice of stage one, the journey of the Mind. I borrowed these four stages from Elizabeth Lesser. She calls them landscapes. She offers many ideas and practices in her wonderful book, The Seeker's Guide: Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure.



STAGE ONE: THE JOURNEY OF THE MIND STAGE TWO: THE JOURNEY OF THE HEART STAGE THREE: THE JOURNEY OF THE BODY STAGE FOUR: THE JOURNEY OF THE SOUL
STILLNESS SILENCE SOLITUDE SIMPLICITY
DETACHMENT DISCERNMENT DEVOTION DELIGHT
HUMILITY HEALING HOLINESS HEAVENLINESS

+
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

-- Micah 6:8 NRSV

+ Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
-- Matthew 5:5 NRSV

+
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
so your faces shall never be ashamed.
O taste and see that the LORD is good;
happy are those who take refuge in him.
When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears,
and rescues them from all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit.

-- Psalm 34:1-5, 8, 17-18 NRSV

+ Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
-- James 4:10 NRSV

+ If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of deathó
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

-- Philippians 2:1-11 NRSV

+ Ö lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
-- Ephesians 4:1b-3 NRSV

+ As Godís chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
-- Colossians 3:12 NRSV

+
Knock. And Heíll open the door.
Vanish. And Heíll make you shine like the sun.
Fall. And Heíll raise you to the heavens.
Become nothing. And Heíll turn you into everything.Ē

-- Rumi.
Found at theislamicworkplace.com/positive-quotes/

+ ďThe (true) servants of (God) the Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, reply with (words of) peace.Ē
-- The Holy Quran, 25:63.
Found at theislamicworkplace.com/positive-quotes/

+ The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said ď(God) has revealed to me that you should adopt humility so that no one oppresses another.Ē
-- Riyadh-us-Salaheen, Hadith 1589.
Found at theislamicworkplace.com/positive-quotes/

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+ Humility is a way of life that the sages of the ages regard with utmost seriousness.

+ Letís look ahead for a moment as we begin to move through these stages of spiritual practice. The ultimate goal is heaven. Only the truly humble can get there. When you are humble you are beginning to experience the joy of your real identity as a Heavenly Being even as you continue to be a human being. The Joy is amazing. Stillness and detachment have led you to the humility which is required in heaven. Now we can begin to see what heaven is really like.

Words simply do not work here. Words cannot describe heaven. Nevertheless, I have come up with nine attributes or characteristics of heaven which at least point to the amazing reality we can access at all times, at this time, all the time: Abundance, Joy, Wisdom, Beauty, Love, Truth, Peace, Justice. Love is at the center. Without love there can be no abundance, joy, wisdom, beauty, truth, peace, justice or freedom.

The Good News is that true humility is true love. Be humble, really humble and Heaven in all its glory is yours, ours, mine. You become loving. You become love. You know you are loved unconditionally even with all of your faults which are many.

But now as you practice being humble, your faults fall away and your perfection is realized. This is an amazing thing. Enjoy.

Humility is the door to heaven because it is the great equalizer, the great uniter. We are all perfect. We are all imperfect. None of us can achieve heaven on our own as individual human beings. We need each other. Donít think for a minute that you can get there on your own.

In humility we begin to know that our real identity is heavenly with all of the joy that means. This means we begin to know that we are not separate from each other. We experience ourselves in a new and indeed startling way as one humanity rather than 7 billion separate humans. In a totally mysterious way we become The Other, even those we think we detest. Thatís what humility does for us. There are no opposites any more, no enemies. We become the enemy and then we can no longer define someone as the enemy. The enemy in any form disappears. There is peace, Heavenly Peace. It is wonderful. ONE-DERFUL. Again, words donít really work here. Be still and Know. Be detached and Know. Be humble and Know.

This is what itís all about. Only the truly humble can know what Heaven is like, or rather what it is. The Good News is that we are in Heaven right now, always have been, always will be. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. The sages of the ages Know and teach this as best they can. All they, we, can do is point, point to something which is totally elusive, beyond all words or thoughts of our limited human brains. Nevertheless we can experience the joy of heaven more and more. Practice. Practice. Practice. Do it. Be still and Know. Be detached and Know. Be humble and Know.

In order to truly practice humility we must return to the key practice of stillness over and over again. Any attempt to bypass this practice will sabotage the whole effort. When you can achieve a significant state of stillness, humility becomes natural, even easy to achieve. In a real sense there are not 12 practices leading to our realization, awareness, awakening of / to our Heavenly state. There is just the one: BEING STILL. Return to that state as often as possible.

Humility is a gift, amazing grace. It does come naturally through stillness. Have you found a way yet, your way, to become still?

Since no two of us are alike it is critical that you find your own path to Heaven. My stillness and your stillness are not the same, at least not yet. Diversity, variety, is part of Godís plan, a big part, a huge part. Even though we really are one Heavenly Being, each of us in our human form is unique, special, gifted, wonderful, fantastic, amazing, delightful. We have so much to learn from each other. This is what humility is all about. I have so much to learn. I know so little. Teach me what you know, sister. Teach me what you know, brother.

But letís get ahead again because everything is so intricately connected. So, stillness, the Key practice, is always dynamic, changing, growing, flowing. So, even while engaged in Stage One practices, we are always also moving through the other stages. The stage 2 practice of silence is closely connected to stillness. The stage3 practice of solitude is closely connected to stillness. The stage 4 practice of simplicity is closely connected to stillness. Letís keep going. The stage 2 practice of discernment is closely connected to detachment. The stage 3 practice of devotion is closely connected to detachment. The stage 4 practice of delight is closely connected to detachment. Are you beginning to see the Light? It gets better. The glorious fantastic stage 4 practice of heavenliness is closely connected to humility which is closely connected to detachment which is closely connected to stillness. And round and round it goes. Be still and Know.

Be still and Know silence, solitude, simplicity. Be still and know detachment, discernment, devotion, delight. Be still and know humility, healing, holiness, heavenliness.

WOW!

Make no mistake about it. You have achieved something glorious, fantastic, wonderful, already. It is really wonderful to be a humble being, a human being, a healing being, a holy being, a Heavenly Being, indeed the one and only Heavenly Being even as we continue to experience ourselves in a limited, human, humble way.

Does all this make sense? Most likely not because words, words, words, just get in the way. You have to find out for yourself if the practice of stillness and all of these associated practices work for you. I know they work for me and I know that the sages of the ages have been teaching these practices and they get results, wonderful results, fantastic results, heavenly results.

The gifts of humility are endless, abundant, beautiful, liberating, heavenly. Wow.

Please donít forget that even though you have a lot to learn yet in this humble state we are in, you also have a lot to teach the rest of us. No one but you can teach what you know and the world, all of us, is waiting eagerly, patiently, for you to teach what you know, to share, show, what you know. Teach, share, show out of humility, out of your own unique state of stillness. Your adventure is ultimately my adventure and my adventure is your adventure. Be still and Know. Donít hold back. Share. For you are one of those sages of the ages and the rest of us will come and sit at your feet, eager to learn from you, O WISE ONE.

So, when you are practicing stillness, you are practicing humility and all these other heavenly practices. Humility is natural, easily attained in the practice of stillness. Practice. Practice. Practice.

Practice Stillness. Practice Detachment. Practice Humility. Every day, Every moment of every day once you get the hang of it.

The human race is in a terrible fix right now due to the lack of humility of too many of us, particularly those of us who are privileged, powerful, wealthy. We have a responsibility to take care of the planet and everything on it and we are failing miserably right now. It will take a miracle to restore the planet.

Violence and poverty abound. The global economy and ecology are in crisis. A huge leap in humility is now required.

The Chinese use two symbols to translate the word ďcrisis.Ē DANGER and OPPORTUNITY. So, while we must face the dangers, we can also seize the opportunity. It is an opportunity for humanity to dramatically reduce poverty and violence. It is an opportunity for humanity to dramatically revive and restore the planetís ecology. Be humble. Teach humility. This is Godís will. Make it so.

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John@abundancetrek.com

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RESOURCES ON THE WEB:

+ Spirituality & Practice offers "The Challenge of Humility" by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat. Excerpts:

  • "Humility comes naturally to some people but usually it needs to be learned. We become humble by being around humble people and by consciously acknowledging that we are not #1."
  • "Many of the great spiritual masters practiced what could be called 'downward mobility.' Jesus, for example, encouraged his disciples to create a community of equals. After they argued over who was the greatest, he knelt before them and washed their feet. 'I am among you,' he said another time, 'as one who serves.' Strive to create the conditions in the world that will lead to a this kind of community. In daily life, this means working to break down the barriers that separate people and put the rich over the poor, the able-bodied over the disabled, the literate over the illiterate, the strong over the weak. Reread the Beatitudes (Matthew 5: 3 - 11) for more specifics."

    + Inner Frontier offers some wise suggestions for practicing humility.

    + Inner Frontier offers "Prayer" by Joseph Naft in which he says that "Humility, the one essential quality for entering the sacred, arises naturally through sincere prayer and also enables it."

    + Paul Buis offers wisdom on this practice from The Desert Fathers and Mothers.

    + Monastery of the Ascension offers a page which includes a summary of St. Benedict's Ladder of Humility and more.

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    John@abundancetrek.com

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