“Pride makes us artificial
and humility makes us real.”
~ Thomas Merton
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Authentic spiritual teachers are always humble because they are living in oneness and that experience overwhelms the ego’s constant need for self-inflation.
The journey of spiritual mastery travels a road of deepening personal humility. Christ said, “I of myself do nothing, the Father within, he doeth the works.” This is the teaching that inspires humility, acknowledging that whatever value any of us might have doesn’t originate in ourselves but flows through us as an expression of Source energy.
It’s ironic that Christ was attacked for being honest about this primary relationship. His humility in oneness was mistaken for arrogance in disconnection by those who were experiencing exactly that themselves. Claiming to be God, as he was accused of doing, certainly will seem arrogant to those who are busy maintaining a prideful ego identity separate from God. Oneness dissolves that polarized separation into what was described as “I am that I am.”
Spiritual humility is wonderfully exemplified by the Dalai Lama who manages to come across as a simple, almost ordinary human being who simultaneously offers words of wisdom and provides a remarkable example of forgiveness in action.
This recalls other prophetic words: “He who would be greatest among you, let him be the servant of all.” The Center for Servant Leadership explains it this way on line: “A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.” 1
I would submit that this definition only covers half the picture. What is it that the servant leader, described this way, is drawing upon for his guidance? We can admire those brilliant leaders who combine inborn intuition with developed skills and understanding but there’s another component being overlooked here, namely the connection with Source (however named).
The spiritual leader is connected to Source and is therefore able to access the coordinating wisdom that prevails throughout the natural world, that is, everywhere that humans haven’t yet succeeded in disrupting. Here is the real example of successful leadership, millions upon millions of species and systems operating synergistically, not just here on earth but throughout the many universes.
It’s indeed humble to acknowledge this organizing intelligence and open to its guiding wisdom. We might even say that it’s common sense, except this attitude is so rare we would need to call it uncommon sense! We humans are highly accomplished in ignoring the obvious and here is the prime example. Of course, it’s symbolized by our incredible ignorance surrounding energy. The entire planet runs on solar energy yet we’ve only recently realized that we could tap into that source, instead of digging up toxins to burn and further pollute the world and sabotage our own health.
But it’s never too late to see the obvious. Through humility, we can access our greatness, which is not merely personal but inexorably connected to the essence of life in everyone and everything. Some leaders are acknowledged as team players; here is the ultimate team to play on: including everyone and everything!
In sports, it’s generally acknowledged that personal greatness relates as much to how a player performs when he doesn’t have the ball as to when he does. The team player is always looking to play together, rather than to just excel on their own. That’s something to remember as we move through the day and enjoy our various relationships. We’re all on the same team. Spiritual leaders remain plugged in to Source and flow with life, abiding in an expanded state that enables them to help others grow the same primary relationship.
That’s entirely different than those brilliant egos who inspire followers to help bolster their personal greatness at the expense of their own blossoming. Ultimately, the spiritual leader becomes almost invisible, a felt presence that – like the wind – creates an effect without drawing attention to itself. That potential exists in every moment. The question is, will we rise to the opportunities that present themselves to be true spiritual leaders?