Do you know of any friend, relative or acquaintance who is very proud?
Life is uncertain
Our life is a combination of opposite polarities. Sometimes we are positive and happy while at other times we are plagued by despair and negativity. Most times we are not able to figure out the exact causes or reasons for such positivity and negativity. A rough estimation of positive and negative feelings is available. If we are able to achieve or do what our heart desires, we are positive and motivated. When our desires are not met or someone puts us down we become negative. Yet we are not able to determine with exactness when we can become happy or sorrowful. Our life has become a movement in chance. This is bad. Therefore it is better that we dig a bit deep into the real causes for our worries so that we can become aware of them and remove the possibilities of worry and negativity.
Introduction to Pride and Humility
There are two factors, if taken care, in the long term can ensure that we remain positive most times. Generally when we gain something from our environment or some wish or desire is fulfilled, it is the mind’s tendency to be callous and carefree. This is the time when mind starts reeling with possibilities of more pleasure. For example, if we get a job interview for a technological position in a IT company, having worked hard on many technologies earlier and being very confident on the strengths that our Resume reflects; we may sometimes get carried away by the thought that we may get selected for the job. We may sometimes underestimate the requirements or job profile that we are being offered. On the day of the interview, we are baffled with the questions that are being bombarded at us and we fail at the interview. We go home and check our interview letter and then we find out that there is a small job profile detail that we have missed out and we were bombarded with questions only on that technology about which we never knew anything.
If we were a little careful, we could have studied a little bit on that technology and at the beginning of the interview we could have highlighted our weakness. This would have left a positive mark on the interviewer. But instead, we became callous and carefree and ignored important details. Naturally we will lose motivation and become a bit worried after such an experience. This is just one instance. There may be hundreds of such instances in a month which are disturbing. Carelessness slipped in because we became over-confident about our strengths. This over-confidence also represents pride of some kind. Pride is a blinker that attenuates a lot of information or useful data from our consciousness. Because of this, ignorance of some sort sets in and we become laid back. Instead if we would have been careful without the exaggerated influence of our capabilities on our psyche, we would have been more careful and meticulous. When we are in the present moment, completely conscious of the present situation and the job at hand, we remain humble without taking the weight of our achievements and greatness, if any, into consideration. When we remain in a humble mood we remain present and watchful. A humble man is very conscious and can never make the mistakes that a proud gentleman would make. When there are less mistakes from our end, naturally we have less things to worry about
A Lesson on Pride
Shifo was a Chinese Zen master. Once a monk from a neighboring village who was known for his knowledge came to visit Shifo. The monk was also known for his rash behavior with people because he was proud of his knowledge and did not consider others to be very important. The monk from the neighbouring visited Shifo and knocked at his door. Shifo was an enlightened master. He was also taller than the visiting monk. Hearing the knock, he opened the door and looked over the monk’s shoulder and shut the door on the face of the monk. The same thing repeated itself when the monk rang the bell once again. The monk felt insulted as he waited at the shut door. He was also seething with anger. Just then, another farmer came at the door and he scanned the angry monk from top to bottom. Twisting his lips in wonder, he rang the door bell. Shifo opened the door and welcomed the farmer with great courtesy. The monk also followed the farmer into the hut and sat beside the farmer as Shifo discussed some personal things with the farmer with a lot of love and humility.
The farmer kept looking at the face of the monk, but Shifo’s expressions were such that it appeared as if the monk was invisible to him. The monk was getting red with anger. Meanwhile hugging Shifo, the farmer left. Shifo accompanied the farmer to the door and sent him off with a lot of love. The monk remained seated inside the hut. Well, it appeared as if the monk was still invisible to Shifo who locked the door and continued his work while the monk waited silently seated right in front of Shifo. Shifo was writing something on paper that was made from the bark of tree. An hour passed and now the monk could bear no more and then he screamed ” Sir, you have insulted me, and I cannot take it more.” Shifo looked around and innocently commenced with his work. The monk began weeping and asked sobbingly “Sir, why do you treat me without a heart. Please have mercy on me” Now, Shifo focused his eyes and looked straight into the visiting monk’s eyes and with great compassion said. “I could neither see you nor hear you well sir, I could just see a huge wall walking into my hut. I looked behind the wall, but again I found another wall. So I concluded that there is no one there and hence I continued my work. I am very sorry Sir. Kindly forgive me for my mistake. I could only hear your last statement and then I could see a puny man behind that wall, whom I missed earlier.” The monk asked for forgiveness and left for his village after having learnt the lesson of his life.
Blinkers of Pride and Maya
When Pride becomes big, man is reduced to a puny status. His behavior towards others and the world changes. He becomes an isolated island and finds engrossment in petty feelings of greatness and awe about himself. This awe or self-reverence he does not understand, that – it stands for self-centered and self-defeating purposes. He fails to realize that this behavior shall ultimately bring his own downfall. He starts floating in plans and schemes that are imaginary and not grounded. The problem of not being grounded is that one can fall even at the drop of a pin. A grounded person can never suffer a fall. A fall in life can always be intelligently avoided. Pride can take many other atrocious forms like narcissism and lowly states of egoism. When this happens, it should be safely concluded that the person is heading directly towards self-destruction, towards self-defeat where he shall lose himself completely. Pride can take one towards ruination in the earliest possible time. One should understand that it is Pride that shuts out reality and one is taken to the web of illusion that the mind weaves vividly with the onset of pride. This is verily the most devastating representation of Maya, of that which is not.
Antidote to Pride is Humility
Antidote to pride is humility. Humility is not the artificial or made-up process of humbleness that one mimics on the outside so that others are fooled. Humility is born out of this knowledge that one can never know everything and whatever one knows now will becomes irrelevant the next moment. When this feeling takes deep root in the heart, when there is acceptance that one has no position and can never attain any position ever, one becomes free from the burden of ego or the false-sense of I and Mine. Only out of this deep realization can humility be born. When humility becomes intense, it leads to self-realization, attainment of the highest reality. This attainment shall ground the person permanently. Such a person can never be swayed by Maya or the fallacies of self-pride. When humility is born, awareness becomes intense. One remains attentive and attains a receiving mode. Humility is the nature of a true student, a true seeker.
How is clarity produced by Humility?
When one becomes humble, one never assumes that one knows out of so-called acquired knowledge. He remains like a student learning things at every step. When this humility is attained there are no blockages or assumptions as one learns out of such humility. Because there are no blockages or doubts as one assimilates through perfect attention, clarity is born. When assimilation becomes perfect, clarity will grow. With growing clarity, one’s knowledge will keep growing and yet humility shall only allow that knowledge to reach newer heights without impeding the quality of reception. The reception of knowledge is only impeded when self-pride dominates in the heart.
All said, one has to pray and practice in such a way that pride is avoided at all costs and instead one should yearn to be humble and helpful. With humility one attains service attitude and one can become a great contributor towards the overall welfare of Creation.