If you watch the Dalai Lama, or Eckhart Tolle, or Adyashanti, you can’t help but be struck by their ordinariness and humility. Dictionaries define humility as “a quality of being humble – and humble is commonly defined as “having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance.” We recognize the absence of humility when we express or witness arrogance, snobbery, superiority, dismissiveness, unkindness, disrespect, judgments, pride, specialness, and domination.
From a spiritual perspective, it’s not a question of “modest or low esteem,” rather it becomes recognized that we, when identified with our ordinary egos, have limited and distorted ideas about ourselves. As our understanding matures we are able to discern and live from our greater connection to Spirit. It is then that humility takes on another dimension and can be recognized as having a sense of equality, innocence, love, service, and the recognition of the mystery of Spirit as being greater and more authentic than any ordinary sense of self.
Humility is a deep bow, a recognition that you and I did not create ourself, we're not the creator of the universe. It sounds pretty obvious but we're caught up in thinking "I am the doer" and it's all up to me and of course that shows up in our lives as trying to do things ourselves, of thinking we need to direct the show. Thinking we should know the way, we're actually blocking grace, the deeper mystery, from unfolding in us.
~ Miranda Macpherson
When failure comes, or fatigue comes, it’s a blessing. This is the humility that is required: to stand naked before God, to say, “You’re right. I am a failure at doing.” This is innocence.
~ Pamela Wilson
Humility is just as much the opposite of self-abasement as it is of self-exaltation. To be humble is not to make comparisons. Secure in its reality, the self is neither better nor worse, bigger nor smaller, than anything else in the universe. It *is*--is nothing, yet at the same time one with everything. It is in this sense that humility is absolute self-effacement.
~ Dag Hammarskjöld
Even if you don't really feel capable of deep philosophical inquiry. Even if you find it nearly impossible to meditate and can't stand all this non-dual mumbo-jumbo, don't worry! There is a wonderful, beautiful path to awakening that can still work for you too. It is the simple path of love and humility and kindness! This simple path can take you to the final destination if you follow it with all your heart!
~ Francis Bennett
Never forget the most important thing, Love, Compassion and Humility. For this is who you really are. Our Mission on This Earth is to be of Service to Humanity.
~ Robert Adams
When you think you know something, pride, opinions and argumentativeness can be your emission. When you know you know nothing, an air of openness and humility prevails. Then real understanding enters the mind.
Humility comes from realizing that God is the Doer, not you. When you see that, how can you be proud of any accomplishment? Think constantly that whatever work you are performing is being done by the Lord through you.
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
So you might think, “Now I am going to meditate so I can experience pure peace.” But who said that pure peace should be the next thing you experience? “And later I will get into primordial awareness.” Who said that is what is supposed to happen to you? Do you see the arrogance in this kind of thinking? Who is saying these things anyway? This is why in our work, we say, “I don’t know what should come next in my experience; it is not in my hands.” This is the humility needed for True Nature to move our experience to whatever condition it wants to bring about, which is usually the condition we specifically, personally, need at that moment.
~ A.H. Almaas
I saw that we’re all doing the best we can. This is how a lifetime of humility begins.
~ Byron Katie
If one can really come to that state of saying, "I do not know,"
it indicates an extraordinary sense of humility;
there is no arrogance of knowledge;
there is no self-assertive answer to make an impression.
When you can actually say "I do not know,"
then in that state all fear ceases because all sense of recognition,
the search into memory, has come to an end;
there is no longer inquiry into the field of the known.
Then comes the extraordinary thing.
If you have so far followed what I am talking about, not just verbally,
but if you are actually experiencing it, you will find that
when you can say, "I do not know," all conditioning has stopped.
~ J. Krishnamurti
Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor. Perhaps, in a way, that's where humanity is now: about to discover we're not as smart as we thought we were, will be forced by life to surrender our attacks and defenses which avail us of nothing, and finally break through into the collective beauty of who we really are.
~ Marianne Williamson
When humility is exercised, people begin to realize that they do not, as it were, exist at all.
~ Idries Shah
When we recognize personal powerlessness in our own actions, the twin burdens of pride and guilt vanish. When we recognize powerlessness in others, it frees us from the poisoning effects of resentment and hatred. Relieved of pride, guilt, resentment and hatred, we live comfortably with life as it comes, in true humility and peace. We finally recognize Who and What we truly are.
~ Wayne Liquorman
Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
~ Matthew 18:3-4
What is humility? Perhaps it is the recognition of our ultimate inability to control this moment – our total powerlessness in the face of the unbridled, untamed, raw energy of life itself. There is no protection here - no filter, no boundary, no protective layer between who I am and life itself. This is wild vulnerability... which is also peace beyond understanding.
~ Jeff Foster
Holiness means living humbly.
~ Padre Pio
Do not try too hard to show your humility.
The very effort exposes your pride.
True humility lies in the absence of doership.
~ Ramesh Balsekar
It is only with total humility, and in absolute stillness of mind that we can know what indeed we are.
~ Wei Wu Wei
A persistent trap all along the path is pride in one’s spiritual purity. It’s a form of one-upmanship in which you judge others out of a feeling or superiority. This ultimately limits your spiritual awakening. You can see many people who are caught in this trap of virtue – for example, in the self-righteousness of some church goers. In the yoga scene in America there are many groups of people who dress in a certain way, eat in a certain way, are special in some way that gives them an ego-enhancing feeling of purity.
The harmful effect of this trap is not so much to one’s social relationships – though they may become strained from this display of subtle arrogance – but rather the effect on oneself. This feeling of specialness or superiority inflates the ego and feeds it with pride. The best antidote to pride is humility, which leads to compassion. The sooner one develops compassion in this journey, the better. Compassion lets us appreciate that each individual is doing what he or she must do, and that there is no reason to judge another person or oneself. Merely do what you can to further your own awakening.
~ Ram Dass
There is an inherent arrogance associated with believing you know the Truth. It is the ego’s ultimate empowerment.
For me, the beauty of this Teaching is that it does NOT claim to be the Truth. It is simply a collection of pointers. It directs the student to look for him or herself into the Mystery that is the essence of existence. It is often a frightening journey without an Absolute scale by which to measure your progress. In the end, however, the Understanding reveals itself in a humility that is at once transcendent and sublime.
~ Wayne Liquorman
In essence, you are neither inferior nor superior to anyone. True self-esteem and true humility arise out of that realization. In the eyes of the ego, self-esteem and humility are contradictory. In truth, they are one and the same.
~ Eckhart Tolle
As we mature we can set it aside and align with what originates from deeper within us. With spiritual integrity we show up and participate with humility and discretion. There is ease and we are in sync with being human. It can be said that then we operate from the heart. With a cultivation of spiritual integrity the world will be a better place because spiritual integrity insists that we unleash our innate capacity to be truly kind people
~ Jac O'Keeffe
When we’re humble,
**We lose our sense of self-importance or ego. The personal “I” and everything attached to it no longer takes up space in our minds or affects how we show up in the world.
**We don’t need others to feel grounded and peaceful.
**We let go of what we think we know and embrace the unknown.
**We give up what we think we need, and gracefully receive life’s gifts.
**We relinquish the urge to control— to force things to be the way we think they should be—and surrender to what is.
**We don’t feel like we’re limited to the body, so there’s a feeling of expansion and connection with all of life.
When there’s no sense of the separate and personal I who thinks something is missing, we’re no longer seeking approval or recognition. We do what we do not to get something, but simply because we surrender to how life wants to move us. Action is clean and not motivated by need or desire.
That’s what Mother Teresa means when she says, “If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”
Praise isn’t needed to fill you up—and disgrace doesn’t disturb you—because you know yourself to be already full and overflowing.
You stop taking things personally. It’s like standing on an exposed cliff with the winds blowing strongly, and you’re rooted and resolute in what you know to be true.
Maintaining the idea of the personal “I,” the limited, separate self, takes energy. It’s a lot of work to sustain our stories, manage our personal needs, and live with the feeling that something is missing.
We might not realize we’re making this effort until we stop. As an example, remember the last time you were caught up in the flow of an engaging activity. We describe it by saying you lose yourself in that activity. Yes, you do! It’s an incredible relief, and very relaxing, to lose the illusion of the personal self—along with our self-importance.
Humility invites us to empty ourselves out. Imagine pouring out everything that makes you feel like a separate person—your history, life experiences, needs, and goals. What remains? When the objects that create the sense of “you” release, you realize that you’re still very much here and alive.
Little by little, we bring loving awareness to the tender places within that feel personal and sticky. This is how we reclaim our essential wholeness.
Then, grounded in the truth of ourselves that is already overflowing, we step out of the limited and lacking known and into the field of infinite possibility.
~ Gail Brenner