Common steps and sub-activities

Humility

Humility is a very, very gentle form of breakdown of the will by the constant suppression of the ego.  A constant reminder to yourself that you are not that important in the scheme of things, you may be wrong, and you should not consider yourself more important than other people.

Humility is often defined as “the quality of being modest and respectful”.  Its opposite is pride.  It is certainly viewed as a virtue in many religious and philosophical traditions, being connected with notions of egolessness.  But here I think you can see why it is important.

If you are constantly thinking of yourself, and your importance, the ego – your sense of separation and importance mean that the Composer will never get a look in.

As one person said “the only time I look down on anyone is when I need to help them up when they are in need”.

The concept of humility addresses intrinsic self-worth, so the point is not to degrade yourself so much that you have no self-confidence, but never to raise yourself on a pedestal.  Something of a knife edge balancing act, because if you lose your confidence you will never achieve anything.

For those with a very strong ego, Attrition may be a better method.

It is noticeable that the people who have had some of the more interesting and special experiences are quiet, softly spoken, quite retiring almost shy people.

How to Know Higher Worlds – Rudolf Steiner
We will always find that those who truly know are the most humble and that nothing is more alien to them than any lust for power.

Humility helps with the other techniques.  For example it helps to be humble in our attempts to temporarily forget our built-in Belief systems and mental models.  To accept they aren’t right, to accept we have a lot to learn from the realm of Reality.

It also helps to be humble whilst we are accessing the spiritual world.  It is, in all honesty a humbling experience, the realm is truly vast and we know so little about it, it appears to be ‘inhabited’ by Intelligences far greater than ours and more powerful by some considerable degree.

How to Know Higher Worlds – Rudolf Steiner

We advance even more quickly if, in such moments, we fill our consciousness with admiration, respect and reverence for the world and life.  Anyone experienced in these things knows that such moments awaken forces in us that otherwise remain dormant.  Filling our consciousness in this way opens our spiritual eyes.  We begin to see things around us that we could not see before.

At first a basic mood of devotion to everything truly worthy of reverence suffuses our entire life.  This one fundamental feeling becomes the centre of our soul’s life.  Just as the sun’s rays quicken all living things, so the reverence in us quickens all the feelings in our soul.

Furthermore, the Composer seems none too keen on giving us access to much beyond our own Soul and Perceptions if we don’t recognise just how little we know, how minor we are in the scheme of things and just how much we have to learn.

How to Know Higher Worlds – Rudolf Steiner

We will not find the inner strength to evolve to a higher level if we do not inwardly develop this profound feeling that there is something higher than ourselves.  Initiates found the strength to lift themselves to the heights of knowledge only because they first guided their hearts into the depths of veneration and devotion.  Only a person who has passed through the gate of humility can ascend to the heights of the spirit.

Method

But how on earth do you achieve this hugely difficult state, because state it is, you live this.

Don’t run yourself down - A number of writers have helped by showing what the opposite of true humility is - "false humility" which consists of deprecating one's own sanctity, gifts, talents, and accomplishments for the sake of receiving praise or adulation from others, as personified by the fictional character Uriah Heep created by Charles Dickens.

Praise others - One of the most helpful ways of being humble is actually to concentrate on the abilities, talents and gifts of others, helping them in the process to fulfill and use what they have.  So you don’t just honour what they can do, but by genuinely recognising what they are capable of and helping them, you are actually practising humility whilst probably helping yourself.

Repeat to yourself  - on as many occasions as you can:

“I am not that important in the scheme of things

and realise you aren’t.  Even people we seem to think are ‘famous’ actually had little impact on the whole, we all have some impact, but it is the sum of the totality of all of us that counts.  We are part of a far greater whole, most of which we never see or even know exists.

Treat everyone equally – say to yourself “I am not more important than other people” and never look down on anyone or anything.  Everyone has a gift and a place here, everyone is important and to judge others by what they look like, how much money they have, how much power they have or how good they are at something is ignoring the fact that only we value these things, this does not make these people more important.  Bow before no one and do not expect anyone to bow before you – both metaphorically and literally.

The I Ching has a gua for this QIAN (qiān).

Get to know yourself better -  by knowing ourselves a little better we then start to doubt our self-belief, what we think of ourselves.  If you also write down all the things you can’t do and don’t know that may also help.  Keep looking at the list.

Always admit your mistakes – Always recognise when you have made a mistake and when you are not doing the right thing or going the right way.  And turn back immediately, to correct things.  This may require you to apologise to people, not that you have hurt, but that might have been led down the wrong path with you.

Note that this is specifically mentioned in the I Ching as the gua FU.

Stop saying ‘I’ and ‘me’ -  Avoid the use of the words ‘I’ and ‘me’ in conversation,  don’t even think about me and I, start to focus on the other person and ask them things about them.  Aleister Crowley even devised some simple punishments that one imposed upon oneself [or others did it for you if they caught you doing it] if you used the words I and me.

Observations

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