Notes from the Humility Workshop offered in Vero Beach on 6-16-12 as a fundraiser for the Newport Club.
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HUMILITY - A NEW UNDERSTANDING
Some people think that humility means meekness and timidity . . . but it really means lacking pretense and being so comfortable with yourself that you accept yourself for who you are, where you've been, and where you could go.
Often, some of us forget that we are a human being . . . not a human "been that". Another misconception we have is that only the arrogant lack humility. NOT SO! Humility swings both ways from center, which is balance. You can think you are God's gift to the world, or you can think you'll never belong in this world because you're not good enough. Both of these stances show a lack of humility.
Quick review of some notes from some of the books used for this presentation.
Notes from the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. (Remember: You don't have to be an alcoholic to benefit from the 12 Steps of Recovery. Get the books that will help you. The good people at your local AA Intergroup will sell you these tomes at cost. If, however, you're not sure how to find your local chapter, you can purchase them or read them online at: www.aa.org Just click on the tab marked INFORMATION ON A.A.)
Pg. 72: "The basic ingredient of all humility . . . a desire to seek and do God's will."
Pg. 75: "Everywhere we saw failure and misery transformed by humility into priceless assets." Further down on this page, "We need not always be bludgeoned and beaten into humility. It could come quite as much from our voluntarily reaching for it as it could from unremitting suffering." And still later, "Humility, we discovered, was a healer of pain. We began to fear pain less, and desire humility more than ever."
Notes from As Bill Sees It
Pg. 106: Bill Wilson quote from a 1961 Grapevine article: "For myself, I try to seek out the truest definition of humility that I can. This will not be a perfect definition, for I shall always be imperfect.
At this writing, I would choose one like this: 'Absolute humility would consist of a state of complete freedom from myself, freedom from all claims that my defects of character now weigh so heavily upon me. Perfect humility would be, in all times and places, to find and to do the will of God."
Back to the Teaching
Freedom from the false self allows authenticity (another word for humility) to grow and flower.
There is a twisted relationship between behavior and identity. Let's probe this:
Are you a painter? If you said yes, that means you paint regularly. But have you EVER painted? If you have, why didn't you identify yourself as a painter?
We have learned that we are what we do. But, even this has degrees of truth. If you don't do something "enough", you can't claim to be that. We begin to build standards by which we rate ourselves and others. "He thinks he's a painter, but he only paints houses. Give him some oil paints and let's see if he's a painter." These standards get stuck in the past. For example, I see myself as a quitter. I had a spell in my life THIRTY YEARS AGO when I didn't finish some important work I had started. If you surround me with the people I associated with back then, the QUITTER label flashes as if in neon lights. Yet, let's look at the real history. I've had the same job for 28 years. Is that the M.O. of a quitter? Why does my standard not change with my new behavior?
Can you see why it's difficult to reach TRUE HUMILITY? Who am I really?
Let's look at an old story. It doesn't matter if you think this story is ACTUAL or METAPHORIC. Stay with me, because in the end, I hope you will be able to identify with it.
Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. Complete peace and provision is offered. The only requirement was that they not eat from this one tree. According to Don Miguel Ruiz when he tells this story in his book The Voice of Knowledge, the tree was contaminated with lies. When they ate this fruit, these lies entered their lives. (After all, we are what we eat . . . right?)
Now, let's pick up on my take on the story.Instead of being FREE and COMFORTABLE with who they were, Adam and Eve became self-conscious and guarded. They began their relationship with EGO.
"You can either be a host to God or a hostage to your ego." -Jorge Cruz
|- Based in fear
||- Based in Love
|- Happiness is dependent on circumstances
||- Joyful because of connection; not based on situations
|- Holder of beliefs (good and false)
||- Holder of Truth (recognizes it in thought or word)
|- Lives only in the mind
||- Lives as one with the Universe
|- Separation as way of life (comparison)
||- Connection as way of life (identification)
Who are you really? The dilemma of humility is a dilemma of identity. You are TRUE SELF, but you believe you are EGO. And ego will rent out space to any untruth that comes along in an effort to get instinctive needs met. True self knows that all needs will be met because of its intrinsic connection with the Higher Power.
You have forgotten who you are. You have become what you believe you are. What if you are living by false beliefs?
Let's examine these three statements. Decide if each one is true or false.
You have trouble making a decision because there are two heads coming out of your neck, with two distinct thought patterns.
A year for a human is equal to seven years for a dog.
God answers prayers.
Which of these, if any, are true?
Obviously, the first statement is untrue. Since our arrival on the scene, we have known people to have only one head. Our experience, our senses, and others tell us this first statement is not correct.
The second statement could be true. You heard this somewhere. Can you even remember where? Some authoritative person or book must have told you this, and you bought it. Now, as you're trying to figure out if it's true, you're thinking of your own pet, Fluffy. Fluffy lived a wonderful 12 years. 12 times 7 is 84 . . . so perhaps this is true. That's consistent with the lifespan of a human, more or less. This statement, however, is true (or untrue) only because you have come to believe it.
The third statement brings more levels to the party. Now, in addition to relying on your own experience, you are adding the experience of others to the mix. You build a fortress out of these experiences, a "new record" of sorts, and that gives you FAITH in your belief that this is (or isn't, depending on the experiences you are calling to mind) true. Again, you have come to believe that this statement is true (or untrue).
What else have you come to believe? Especially about yourself. Throughout your formative years, people told you things about yourself. Often, these comments were superlatives, and black and white statements. "You'll NEVER amount to anything!" or "You are the BEST child in the world!" Parents, teachers, coaches, even media were helping you to form your beliefs. Consider these beliefs now. Are they even true?
Beliefs come from personal experience coupled with what we've been told. "Hand-me-down" beliefs don't always fit. Check them out to be sure you're not a fool for "wearing" them.
This is not about blaming. It doesn't matter who told you what. It only matters what you have come to believe about yourself. When searching for authenticity - or humility - we are searching for an accurate assessment of self. Some beliefs may operate below the level of consciousness, yelling from the sidelines, and minimizing or maximizing our self-worth.
Dr. Janet Woititz identified traits of people who grow up in dysfunction in her work with Adult Children of Alcoholics. Dysfunction comes in many forms, so don't shut your mind if your family doesn't have alcoholism in the tree. Just see if you identify with any of the follow statements that highlight the traits of dysfunction. These people:
aren't sure what normal is.
have a tough time seeing a project through from beginning to end.
lie, when it's just as easy to tell the truth.
judge themselves without mercy.
feel guilty having fun.
take themselves very seriously.
have difficulty with intimate relationships.
overreact to changes, especially when they have no control.
constantly seek approval and affirmation.
feel they are different than others - this can be plus or minus.
are super-responsible or super-irresponsible.
are loyal, even when loyalty is not deserved.
tell themselves lies like these:
If you really knew me, you wouldn't like me.
You'll abandon me if I'm not perfect.
I'll never be good enough.
Marianne Williamson wrote a brilliant book which is often considered the "Cliff Notes of A Course in Miracles." The book, A Return to Love, includes the following passage, which was borrowed by Nelson Mandela and others. It reads:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
As my Truth changes, so will my beliefs.
I encourage you to find help from outside sources. Two I recommend are traditional therapy and NET. When looking for a therapist to help with the issues of dysfunction, look for someone with the CAP distinction, which stands for Certified Addiction Professional. For NET, Neuro Emotional Technique, look for a reputable Acupuncture Physician who has completed that training. Both of these paths are roads to wholeness for the broken.
The time has come to cash in your false beliefs - especially those about yourself. They are speed bumps on the road to intimacy with God and others. When the Christ walked the earch, He said, "You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free." A Buddhist Proverb states, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."
No matter what your spiritual tradition, you can be healed from the lies that have separated you from True Self, from others, and from the God of your understanding. To be set free, SEEK TRUTH. If you're not sure is something you think is a false belief, use the Litmus test. Does this make me feel separated from Love? If the answer is YES, you have discovered a false belief.
In closing, I want to offer you SEVEN TOOLS TO SPIRITUAL CLARITY:
Engage in solitude. Create sanctuary and listen for the thoughts of God.
Recognize and reduce distractions. Family and pets are great . . . but when it's time to get spiritual clarity, you need quiet.
Forgive your debtors. (The Forgiveness workshop tape or notes will help!)
Clear your energy. Say this prayer: "I call back to me any energy that I have deposited unknowingly in the universe, and I send any energy that I have absorbed from others back to them in love."
Self-examination: Make it regular. It doesn't have to be long-winded. At day's end, ask yourself: 'How did I live my priorities today? Where did I shine, and where did I fail?"
Prayer and meditation - communicate with the Source of all power.
Know thyself - keep an open mind and heart to the possibility that God has greater things in store for you. If you need to quiet the false beliefs being bantered around your brain, try Affirmations. Anything you start with the words, I AM, have power. Do NOT put the word "NOT" after the I am. Check out Louise Hay's teaching on affirmations if you are not convinced.
REMEMBER: WHO YOU ARE IS A QUESTION OF IDENTITY - NOT BEHAVIOR. Humility, in the end, is being who you were created to be. And that, my friend, is ALWAYS enough.