1. How does humility differ from humiliation? Humility is not a behavior or "commitment" but a state of life, which is not affecting the value or rank of the ego. Recognizing humility as a state of life is the Copernican Revolution of the Spirit. At this point the Spirit realizes that not the ego is in the center of the world but Totality. With this the Spirit escapes from the prison of the ego and, observing Totality, it starts admiring its wealth and its possibilities surpassing countless times what the ego can perceive. Thus humility does not make us poorer, but richer. (If you are interested to know how, please read the post here.)
2. How does humility differ from honor and obedience? Humility is the state of openness to honor and obedience. Humility may create honor and obedience, but in a much wider and more creative way as honor and obedience would do themselves. Humility does not develop servility but gives strength and freedom. (If you are interested to know how, please read the post here.)
3. Joy, personal growth and love: the character of humility as a state of life. In the state of humility the Spirit lives in a flow of joy. Talent is not restricted by humility. On the contrary, humility enables a faster development of talent. Humility creates the highest level of love: agape. (If you are interested to know how, read the post here.)
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1. How does humility differ from humiliation?
"But alas, there is only one servant: God,
and infinity is swarmed by masters."
(Sándor Weöres: Strip carpet 13.)
Humility is becoming a lost value in today’s ego-centric world. The word „humility” is often used in a context evoking bad feelings, like humiliation. Thus humility is often understood as the depreciation of the value or rank of the ego.
Nevertheless humility’s deeper sense has nothing to do with the ego’s value and rank. Humility is a category far exceeding the ego. The Spirit, experiencing this deeper meaning of humility, traverses the boundaries of the ego. The Spirit, observing Totality, starts admiring its wealth and its possibilities surpassing countless times what the ego can perceive. Humility, here becomes neither a behavior, nor a „commitment” forced to ourselves (hoping for a future reward) but a state of life. The ego does not restrain the Spirit any more, so the Spirit becomes totally free of the ego (and its "value" and "rank") in its decisions.
Recognizing humility as a state of life is the Copernican Revolution of the Spirit. At this point the Spirit realizes that it is not the ego what is in the center of the world, but Totality. The Spirit learns that Totality resides not only „outside” (in the Universe) but „inside”, in the depth of the Spirit, too. The Spirit also realizes that it is able to get united with this outer-inner Totality. Getting united with Totality the Spirit starts to feel that the only value of the ego is purity, i.e. the extent of unification with Totality (and not the "rank" of the ego). Purity makes the ego to accept Totality, and enables the ego to reflect it in an undistorted manner. (I write more about purity in a later post.) Uniting with Totality in the state of poorness leads the Spirit to total freedom. Therefore, the states of life of total humility and total freedom do not exclude each other, but just the contrary: they develop side by side, result from each other and complete each other. The totality of humility is necessary for the totality of freedom – and vice versa. This duality of total humility and total freedom going hand in hand provides the well-experienced Spirit the endlessly wide dynamics of placing itself to any state of life of its choice. This widening behavioral dynamics may reach Totality, where behavior turns to the total Peace and Silence of the Father.
As a description of humility’s freedom, joy and love, let me quote the thoughts of Timothy Radcliffe: "It is humility what makes for God an empty space in which God may dwell and his glory be seen. ... The climax of humility is when one discovers that not only is one not the centre of the world, but that one is not even the centre of oneself. There is not only a void in the centre of the community where God dwells, but there is a void at the centre of my being, where God can pitch his tent."
With the unity of total freedom and total humility, Paul the Apostle’s and Luther Martin’s words (seeming even enigmatic at first, and describing also the duality of faith and love) become interpretable: "For whereas I was free as to all, I made myself the servant of all" (1Cor 9:19) "A Christian is an utterly free man, lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is an utterly dutiful man, servant of all, subject to all." (Martin Luther: On the freedom of a Christian)
2. How does humility differ from honor and obedience?
Humility is not identical either with unconditional honor or obedience. Humility is the state of openness to honor and obedience. Honor and obedience are aimed to a certain individual and can only be interpreted in a certain situation. Humility is a general attitude of living that does not have a concrete object. (Recognizing and accepting Totality is not the object of humility but its reason.) Humility may create honor and obedience but its real strength is not related to this but to the restriction of the ego which makes the Spirit open to acceptance and recognition. Humility leads us not only to the respect that parental and cultural models taught us but widens the range of values and persons worth to be honored to such an extent, that we could never reach as an addict to our own egos. This is a key example how humility makes us richer.
Is Christianity’s humility a servility? Nietzsche considered humility as the characteristic of the „herd”, a virtue of the weak, the coward and the servants. Christian humility is also the state of openness to honor and obedience. The core of Christian humility is the acceptance of the Father’s will. However, there is a clear order of importance here. A Christian, accepting and fulfilling the Father's will, is not subject to anyone else or to any circumstances. This duality of Christian humility is also the duality of faith’s unshakeable strength and love’s all-accepting humility. As Luther said: "Thus faith must always remain pure and immovable in our hearts, never wavering; but love bends and turns so that our neighbor may grasp and follow it" (Eight Sermons at Wittenberg). Thus the individual should not only build and not distort Totality, but should do that independently from the will of a hegemony or the crowd, obeying only to his innermost feelings (suggested by the Holy Spirit and his conscience). Humility as a state of life is not weakness, but becomes the sacrosanct Silence of the Creator.
The higher social status a person has, the more important the person's humility becomes. A beautiful example of this can be found in King Saint Stephen’s Admonitions to his son from 1027: „You should always keep it in mind that... nothing uplifts you but humility, nothing precipitates you but arrogance and hate”. Pope Francis said very much the same almost a thousand years later: "the more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly. If you don’t, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other.”
3. Joy, personal growth and love: the character of humility as a state of life
A person living in a state of humility is experiencing a permanent joy. The Spirit reaching humility enjoys that his decisions are good that have been made at the right place and the right time because these decisions were not made by the Spirit but the Spirit gained them from Totality by experiencing it. The joy of saying The Lords Prayer's words „your will be done” is not a resigned, exhausted joy that bows to a certain „servitude”. This joy is also not a solemn, „vow-type" joy that surrenders our autonomy with great pathos to God (in hope for a future reward). The joy of humility is the recognition that Totality’s providence, possessing not only a tiny bit of information establishing his decisions but the Whole, directs the whole world towards the best possible solutions. Accepting this, humility shows us the only Path to exceed our own limits.
„Simplifying is arrogance, simplicity is humility.” (Quotation from the Hungarian blog of Adam Szabados.) Simplifying starts from the basic position of „I am good, you are bad”, in which one thinks that he understands the Essence of the world but the other one will not, so only a simplified explanation can be presented to the other. Contrarily, simplicity humbly accepts that the Essence of the world is incomprehensible and inexpressible for all, but we can perceive something important about it and we are able to pass this core idea to others. Presenting the Essence of the world quite often resembles cutting the Gordian Knot. The reason is that what seems to be impermeable in lower dimensions often has a shortcut in higher dimensions – for those who are able to observe them (for more see these key words: manifold, hypersurface and wormhole). These short-cuts leading close to the Essence of the Universe create the simplicity in the manifestations of the humble Spirit. (I have to learn much of this simplicity yet.)
Humility does not restrict but flourishes talent. This statement seems quite disputable at first. Humility, in a common sense, with letting others’ egos and viewpoints go first, seems to restrict the development of our egos. However, with a deeper understanding we can recognize that a more powerful and faster development of talent is realized when it comes into existence not against others, not making others poorer, but enriching and helping the world. Humility points at exactly those of the thousand forms of talent that are the most useful ones right there and right for those who surround the talented ego. Emerging of exactly these talent forms (and not the other hundreds within us) will become realized in the strongest and fastest way in the given environment because such talent development causes and spreads joy. (One form of this state is the creativity of humility, which I described in an earlier post).
In the sense of „makrothumia” patience is one form of humility, as detailed in my previous post. "Makrothumia" includes not only "longsuffering" but also the hope that the tolerated wrong will become good – helping this process with its long-term acts. Humility enriches patience with forgiving love. This love transforms its environment on the long run. (I wrote about forgiveness in more detail here.)
The humble Spirit will radiate love not only in the common sense of this expression. In the humble Spirit, feeling the magnificence of Totality, a love of Totality’s perfection, merit and universal love rises. (This, taken together is the Glory, which will be detailed in a later blog post.) The Spirit immersed in Totality can feel the presence of all other creatures in Totality and begins to love them, too. Thus humility creates the highest level of love, Agape.
In conclusion, I quote St. Teresa of Ávila: God "Not content with having made this soul one with Himself, through uniting it to Himself, He begins to cherish it, to reveal secrets to it ... He causes it gradually to lose its exterior senses so that nothing may occupy it. This we call rapture. He begins to make such a friend of the soul that not only does He restore its will to it but He gives it His own also." (The Way of Perfection 56.1)
For all my Readers’ egos
I wish a Copernican Revolution
discovering the Totality of the world!
Important addition 1: recognition of humility is not the restriction of the ego, but the acceptance of Totality
Reading the closing sentence of my essay urging the Reader to discover Totality several friends of mine wrote me that they had a long fight to restrict their ego-s, but this was useless, since the ego won, and became even stronger. This is absolutely true. As my friends also wrote, humility as a state of life is not created by killing something wrong, like our ego. We, ourselves are unable to do that. We may only reach humility if we accept a countless times better state than our ego: Totality, which lives in us. If we accept the intensive love of the Father raising us to Himself – we receive humility. (I will describe my own way accepting humility in my post appearing on March 2nd.) Thus the Spirit does not leave the ego in a self-destructive fight with remorse and hesitation, but does this in a complete joy recognizing that Totality (and not the ego) gives the only really happy and full life.
Important addition 2: humility is not an automatic and static acceptance, but an openness for acceptance, which is, in fact, a very dynamic state including rejection
A friend of mine noted that I showed humility as a static state, excluding rejection. Probably I was not clear enough in the post. I expressed humility as an openness (ability, potential) for acceptance and not as an automatic acceptance. It is the core of the concept of humility that it subjects everything – in an unbiased, unselfish manner – to the decision of the conscience. If things become too light in this judgment, they deserve rejection. Thus the state of humility is not static, but very dynamic. However, there is an important point here. Humility rejects with love and great patience and avoids hateful fights. Humility builds Eternity and not the moment. These are very different dimensions.
Postscript: I would like to apologize that my native language is not English. I am especially not familiar with English phrases concerning spiritual life. I would like to ask all Readers whose native language is English to send any corrections to email@example.com. Thank you very much for your help (and patience) in advance! (I hope as time passes there will be fewer and fewer mistakes in the text.)