Humility glows and smiles. It is the quality that sets everything right and helps to move forward every healing. "...with humility comes wisdom..." we read in the Biblical Proverbs. Humility in my own definition knows that something is so much bigger than we are. It is the quality that shrinks the human ego and lets God take all the credit, glory, and power.
In Christian Science communities worldwide people gather Wednesday to listen to a brief reading, sing hymns and then enjoy the opportunity to share insights, healings, inspiration with others. I always liked these public, open mid-week meetings, refreshing and invigorating, every time - a very special place for depth and sharing in our busy, loud world. At this week's meeting Anna-Zoë shared an insight about humility that I found very moving. She had been on a recent sunrise hike in the Swiss Alps, and when the hike started she observed the complete absence of color all around her. She is an artist, you should know. Just dark, and now and then a little grey or pale spot - no color though anywhere. And then the sun rose, and with it the colors. Interesting, she thought, that without light there is no color. She noted that this is also true for life. We think in black and white - often in binary options, in limited perspectives more two dimensional than being truly perspectives. But the light of inspiration, the bright presence of good in our experience shines ever so brightly. So how to experience the fullness of being, the full range of possibilities, solutions? It is humility, that helps us to move self out of the way and let the light of Truth shine in our consciousness. Humility moves the obstacles out of the way.
In a noisy and self-assertive era humility seems to be a miracle, but I see it more and more. It belongs to good, it is God's gift to replace self-centeredness and despair with a kind of mental sobriety. We know our place in God's world - and we can feel the warmth from the light of Truth rising in our hearts as much as we can see the millions of colors rising and sparkling in this light of Truth. A little trust, a tiny bit of trust, a willingness to become still, and even stiller - and to hold that stillness, this is all that is needed for the first flowers of humility to appear in our experience.
In our family the saying "humility is always a good idea" has often saved us from going overboard or being off track because of self-importance, the desire to have a say in any given context - or to feel lost and without orientation. It is a quality that keeps us safe.
Mary Baker Eddy who lived humility in extraordinary way wrote about this quality: "Humility is the stepping-stone to a higher recognition of Deity. The mounting sense gathers fresh forms and strange fire from the ashes of dissolving self, and drops the world. Meekness heightens immortal attributes only by removing the dust that dims them." (Miscellaneous Writings 1: 15-19)
On the mountain hike, Anna-Zoë mentioned, during Arc-en-Ciel Summer Camp, one of the campers made a video of a certain part of the hike (yes, it is a video!), where the campers encountered fellow-creatures, humble creatures, wonderful animals. So listen for yourself. Humility has a sound.
It is no small matter to stay the course of unselfish living, to have effortless access to the soothing impact of divine Love, to find the stillness for the next step, to experience genuine healing.
Mary Baker Eddy has words of assurance for us:
"That tomorrow starts from today and is one day beyond it, robes the future with hope's rainbow hues. In the battle of life, good is made more industrious and persistent because of the supposed activity of evil. The elbowing of the crowd plants our feet more firmly. In the mental collisions of mortals and the strain of intellectual wrestlings, moral tension is tested, and if it yields not, grows stronger. (...) There is no excellence without labor; and the time to work, is now."
(Miscellaneous Writings, p. 339/340)
Christianity as Jesus introduced it, wasn't called Christianity originally. It was called The Way, I learned. I get from this: It is a practice, not an object of admiration. Jesus himself talks about life as a way:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow and difficult to travel is the path that leads the way to [everlasting] life, and there are few who find it."
If you have no Bible background and are unfamiliar with this quote and can't make sense of "everlasting", think "continuous", and if "life" is too abstract, think "being". So living in sync with continuous being is living the good life - the real life, the only existence that truly is. It is here.
But, Jesus says, beware of the danger zone, the "wide gate", opening to a destructive path. The good life is to found only behind the narrow gate. Why is it narrow? How many ways are there to go wrong, how many chances to give in to "the elbowing of the crowd" (Mary Baker Eddy) and elbow back? Millions, of course. Because there is only one way to do it right. So what makes the gate narrow is, I find, its precision. We have to hit the mark. The "narrow gate" is a hand-forged master piece, because there are many wrongs, but only one right. The divine way.
Narrow is in its original meaning also another word for tailored - it is really fitting and clear, not restricting. It is narrow, because it is made FOR YOU. It feels right like a custom-made dress. Who are you truly, what defines your being? What is true individuality? The answer is specific and it is glorious. It is unlike the path of anybody else.
Difficult to find this gate and to travel this path behind it? Yes, says the couch potato, the poor little me, that can only understand a limited life-span. In order to find it, to daily and walk in it, I have pinpointed those small thoughts that lead me right into the danger zone in which it is impossible to life the real life. We can detect those thoughts quickly and know: "I am not going there. My thinking is private, it is the reflection of Goodness and intelligence, of generosity and humility. I will not let one of my thoughts be used to jeopardize the divine plan of justice, health, and peace for all." You will notice quickly that the danger zone is no fun, although it feels justified to stay there. The danger zone is really dangerous, not at all like Kenny Loggins' energetic "Highway to the danger zone, gonna take you right into the danger zone". The danger zone is hazardous, it erodes strength, takes away meaning, and makes healing impossible.
So now it is time: The curtain rises. Drum roll! Its time to present to you:
"The infamous d-a-n-g-e-r z-o-n-e."
Look around, behold its ugliness, its unnatural allure, see its bottom covered with sludge, beware of the tar on the side, look at the dust covering the walls, ash and cinder everywhere --- and hear what the voices hidden in its obscure recesses are whispering:
Quickly jump out of the danger zone, take a deep breath, take a bath in the sunshine of goodness - and make a healthy plan: Own your life and take responsibility. Get to know Good. Find the narrow gate and walk right through it up the good path. Note how it becomes wider at every step. You have avoided the danger zone, the ego cascade, thoughts recurring to your needs 24/7, the "me first" nightmare, the story of desperation. Discipline and love will keep you on the right track and will make your life complete, less lonely, boring, or stressful. It will teach you how to live the good life, the abundant life. Good, God, enables you to do your mental homework every single day and work within God's master plan for all.
Write something on your personal banner as you march on. Perhaps a poem? A spiritual idea? A Bible verse? A wise counsel? Or this hymn. It will boost your confidence, encourage you to stay alert - and keep you safe and sound out of the danger zone, complying with a divine standard. It is fixing you right in the middle of Love's comfort zone:
"Is the heart a well left empty?
None but God its void can fill;
Nothing but a ceaseless fountain
Can its ceaseless longings still.
Is the heart a living power?
Self-entwined its strength sinks low;
It can only live in loving,
And, by serving, love will grow."
(Poem by Elizabeth Charles, Hymnal #360)
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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