Humility, a value long gone?

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
– C.S. Lewis –

I think this is a very beautiful quote.
Very short, but saying a lot.

Humility is not a celebrated value these days.
Indeed, humility suffers from a very bad reputation,
certainly in those area’s where people are ultra liberal and competitive.
One who does show himself humble, is too often looked down upon.
Humbleness is too often confused with being shy, and lacking assertiveness.
As the quote says, I don’t believe in humility in that way. At least, not anymore.

I’ll tell you an anecdote:
Few years ago, I went to Varanasi with a group of people.
Of course, we went to visit the Ganges, the holy River.
In the afternoon several cremations took place.
Outsiders weren’t allowed normally.
Access to the cremations was granted to us because of the very good contact our guide had with the locals.
It must have been extremely disrespect full to these people, that we could walk past the burning bodies.
I found is a very intriguing scene.
Not the thing one wants to watch every day, but still, it kept fascinating me.
Most people wanted to leave that place, as soon as possible, far away from the bodies.
I must admit, the close view of those burning bodies, wasn’t the most pleasant.
But after the visit, I turned around to take another look from afar.
This point of view added a new dimension to the cremation.
An awareness came over me.
A peaceful awareness, a feeling of relativity.
A, to me, genuine feeling of humility.
That one has to realize one isn’t the centre of the world, not even of his surroundings.
That life goes on, with or without you. You are life.
That death can have something beautiful, instead of only seeing ugliness.
Feelings of humility and beautify overwhelmed me.
I wanted to cry, not from pain and sorrow, but because this feeling was so very strong.
I never had this sort of feelings coming over me. It was like a revelation.
Some people mistook my facial expressions for me being unhappy and weary.
They said something like: ‘I understand you want to leave. This is not the happiest place.’ But I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay and to come to my senses.
But finally, we had to go.

This event has changed my view on life significantly.
I more often caught myself being egocentric afterwards.
But at least I’m aware of it now.
Now I can say: ‘I’m being egocentric again, but I must realize the world doesn’t revolve around me.’
While before, thinking about myself was a very important thing in my life.
I’m happy that has changed now.
My humility doesn’t come from my lack of self-esteem or assertiveness anymore.
My humbleness comes from a feeling of not being the centre of my own universe , but from positioning myself as the quiet and keen observer, and to open up to a world that hasn’t had the possibility to reach my spirit yet.

 

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