Humility

Humility is the forgetfulness of self. To forget self is the hardest job on earth, but it doesnít come about by trying. Only God can bring our false self to an end. The false self is an illusion. It is our way of conceiving who we are and what the word is.

Humility is an attitude of honesty with God, oneself, and all reality. It enables us to be at peace in the presence of our powerlessness and to rest in the forgetfulness of self.

 

Thomas Keating - Open Mind, Open Heart

 

A man is humble when he stands in the truth with a knowledge and appreciation for himself as he really is. And actually, anyone who saw and experienced himself as he really and truly is would have no difficulty being humble, for two thing would become very clear to him.

In the first place, he would see clearly the degradation, misery and weakness of the human condition resulting from original sin. . . .

In the second place, he would recognize the transcendent goodness of God as he is in himself and his overflowing, super abundant love for man.

The Cloud of Unknowing

 

One of the first effects of contemplative prayer is the release of the energies of the unconscious. This process gives rise to tow different psychological states: the experience of personal development in the form of spiritual consolation, charismatic gifts or psychic powers; and the experience of human weakness through humiliating self-knowledge. Self knowledge is the traditional term for the coming to consciousness of the dark side of one's personality. The release of these two kinds of unconscious energies needs to be safeguarded by well-established habits of dedication to God and concern for others. Otherwise, if one enjoys some form of spiritual consolation or development one may inflate with pride; or if one feels crushed by the realization of one's spiritual impoverishment, one may collapse into discouragement or even despair. The cultivation of habits of dedication to God and of service to others is the indispensable means of stabilizing the mind in the face of emotionally charged thoughts, whether self exaltation or of self-depreciation.

Dedication to God is developed by commitment to one's spiritual practices for God's sake. Service to others is the outgoing movement of the heart prompted by compassion. It neutralizes the deep-rooted tendency to become preoccupied with our own spiritual journey and how we are doing. The habit of service to others is developed by trying to please God in what we do and by exercising compassion for others, beginning with those with whom we live. To accept everyone unconditionally is to fulfill the commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself". (Mark 12:31) It is a practical way of bearing one another's burdens. (Galatians 6:2) Refusing to judge even in the face of persecution is to fulfill the commandment to love one another "as I have loved you" (John 13:34) and to lay down one's life for one's friends. (John 15:13)

 

Thomas Keating - Open Mind, Open Heart