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“We still need to contend with the original prejudice that some people are important and others don’t count. Our ego clings to self-importance and puts us on a path that draws us further from our soul’s truth. Humility can keep us from moving into this territory.” ~ Fr. Gregory Boyle, S.J.
Humility appears to be in short supply these days. Posturing for recognition and struggling for praise are constantly on display as people in power shout that one side (our side) is better than the other. This arrogance does not align with any spiritual tradition ever practiced. No religion has a theology of pretentiousness.
The humble Jesus, for example, empties himself for the sake of humankind. He does not seek validation, nor does he cling to his authority. He is willing to be mocked and sacrificed rather than accept a position of power over those who would be his enemies.
But despite the directives of faith traditions, many of us have made it a mission to elevate ourselves by driving down the ‘others’. The results have not been good. So where can we find a healthy dose of humility?
“The way of God consists, first, of humility, second, of humility, and third, of humility. No matter how often you would ask me, I would say the same.” ~ Saint Augustine
One place to find humble hope is around addiction recovery circles. These folks hold a mirror up for us which reflects true humility. Their very lives depend on complete commitment to humility. In order to overcome the chronic symptoms of the disease, they open themselves to rigorous self-examination with a personal commitment to honesty.
Having experienced long periods of humiliation, there is a deep desire to not go there again. By finding humility in 12 Steps, they discover the life-saving difference between it and humiliation. They cast aside false pride in favor of kinship and community. Deadly secrets are disposed of in favor of gentle honesty, transparency and acceptance. Self-seeking slips away. A friend of mine who attended a 12 Step meeting in support of someone made a statement I’ll never forget. He said after the session; “That was incredible. I think everyone should go to AA meetings.”
There can be no more worries about the perspectives, opinions and attitudes that others might have when we have surrendered to a virtuous life of humility.
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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.
In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.
His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.
Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin
Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast