Recently, I have been speaking of what I call “wonderful humility”. This is a feeling I often get when walking around or being in the woods. Its really, I feel, a state of mind. That is to say, its not “just a feeling”. It was something I had to work for and took many years to develop. I believe it originates from contemplation (I’ve written a number of articles about it in this blog).
As I reflected on this “wonderful humility” I wondered what it was. I found I tended to mention a number of themes:
- I feel as if I am “just a guy”. I find I see myself as “no better” than a tree, a fly, or anything else. If I see that I am about to step on an ant I move my foot away so that I do not step on it. This is because I am no better than the ant. It seems that there is “nothing special about me”. I am no great person . . . I’m “just a guy”.
- I feel “stupid and dumb in life”. I don’t feel that I know anything. All that I know seems inadequate. There always seems to be “more” that is beyond me. I seem unable to comprehend life. More importantly, I accept this fact. I don’t need to know and its OK to be “stupid and dumb in life”.
- I feel as if “nature” or “life” is larger than I can possibly conceive. It seems to tower over me and is much larger than me. I seem very small and insignificant.
- I feel a part of “nature” or “life”. I seem to belong to it. In a way, this belonging is what makes me someone. In addition, this belonging makes me “alive” and “be”.
- I feel dependent on “nature” or “life”. I need it to survive and be someone. I must look up to it and rely on it. I cannot live without it. “Nature” or “life” makes me who I am and allows me to be someone.
- I feel as if “nature or “life” watches over me. I feel protected and watched. “Nature” and “life” seems like a parent to me. It gives me what I need to live and survive and grow.
- I feel as if I am a child. In many ways, I feel as if everything I do in life is like a child playing under the eyes of their parent.
To me, all this seems to suggest that “wonderful humility” is really rooted in “being a child”. In some respects, it is a “regression to childhood”. I don’t mean this in the sense of reflecting a mental ailment. Perhaps it would be better to say a “rediscovery of childhood”? This, I think, is more accurate. In “wonderful humility” a person must be like a child again. In this way, “wonderful humility” is a condition that is as if “opposed” or “contrary” to adulthood. That does not mean that it is against adulthood nor does it mean a person should cease being an adult. I believe, in fact, that “wonderful humility” accentuates and “completes” adulthood. But, because they are opposed and contraries, it often creates a dilemma, especially at first. It even seems to me that there is an initial repulsion to “wonderful humility” when one first feels it. This can be so strong, in fact, that it prevents “wonderful humility” from happening. In fact, I feel that most people cannot overcome this hurdle. This fact shows that there is an “child/adult dilemma“, with “wonderful humility”, and that it can be so strong that it actually stops its appearance. This dilemma seems to be require two things to be overcome:
- A “letting go” of the adult attitude.
- An acceptance of the child.
The “letting go” of the adult attitude can be difficult. This is because the adult attitude is rooted in the reality and conditions of life. The fact is that the reality and conditions of life, being so serious in nature, tend to “suck us in” like a vacuum. This pull is so strong that its often hard, even to the point of being impossible, to “let go”. Because of this, “wonderful humility” tends to be undermined by the reality and conditions of life which make up the adult attitude. For many people, its so powerful of an undermining that they will never know it. In this way, the “child/adult dilemma” actually describes a condition a “wonderful humility versus life’s conditions dilemma”. Basically, a tug-of-war between humility and the demands of life and living happens in which, usually, life’s conditions win over. This is primarily because of the power and pull of demand and need of the reality and conditions of life. This makes “letting go” of the adult attitude difficult. Some things that help “letting go” include:
- Learning to not make a big deal about things. The fact is that most of what we make a big deal about really isn’t a big deal. It seems that we have to train ourselves to NOT make a big deal about things. This can be very hard and difficult to do at times.
- Learning to calm down. That is to say, don’t get stressed out over things and don’t get uptight.
- Endurance, acceptance, and toleration. In actuality, this seems to encompass a lot in life. Much of life encompasses these qualities. In many ways, these are some of the most important qualities a person could develop.
- A faith. With faith we don’t have to always be “in control” which creates less pressure and stress. This makes it so that we are not sucked into the realities and conditions of life as much.
- Living the correct lifestyle. This primarily means to live in a way where the pull of the vacuum, caused by the reality and conditions of life, is minimal. Usually, this means a non-stressful lifestyle.
This “letting go” of the adult attitude allows the child to come out in a person. This is important in that it seems that the more adult attitude there is the less child there is. As a result, to learn “wonderful humility” a person must “let go” of a lot of adult attitudes. This doesn’t mean that the child will come out automatically. A person must “promote” it with things such as:
- Acknowledging the child and the humility. This may be one of the most difficult aspects of “wonderful humility”. Being so opposed to the adult attitude a person may find it hard to acknowledge the existence of the child and humility.
- Accepting the child and humility. This is often more difficult than it may, at first, seem. It seems that a person learns to accept the child and humility by experience and discovering its good qualities. This means it takes awhile.
- Allowing the child and humility to happen. This can require great openness on ones part to achieve. In other words, a person must discover “wonderful humility”. In fact, I tend to feel that “wonderful humility” is something a person must discover and that it is a continual discovery.
In actuality, these describe a need to deal with both the adult and the child. Because of this, “wonderful humility” is a reflection of an overall maintenance of the self, both adult and child aspects. This is why, I feel, “wonderful humility” is so wonderful: it addresses the whole self. The adult attitude, though seeming all-important, only addresses part of the self: the adult. In many ways, it tends to create an “adult fixation” where everything must be “adult”. Its for this reason that “wonderful humility” may be perceived as a ‘fantasy land’ by people too engrossed in the conditions of life (that is, too adult or “adult fixated”). They may even see it as “escapism”, laziness, or something similar.
In actuality, though, to truly experience “wonderful humility” a person must balance two things.
- Deal with life’s conditions (the adult).
- Practice “wonderful humility” (the child).
In other words, “wonderful humility” is not caused by being one or the other but, rather, by doing both. But even that’s not enough. They must be balanced. This need for balance, in fact, is probably the most difficult aspects of it. Some things that allow for balance include:
- Leaning to one side or other when needed. That is, when you need the seriousness of the adult attitude, take it. When you feel the “wonderful humility” then experience it. There is a time and a place for the adult or child. You need to act accordingly.
- Practice both. You need to play the part of an adult and a child and have sufficient experience with both.
- Have the attitudes of both. This is a result, primarily, of experience and doing. Having the attitudes shows that they are ingrained in ones self. In order to have a balance you need to have both as part of who you are.
I often feel that “wonderful humility” is a reflection of a confidence in ones self, that one is secure in their self and who they are. Because of this, “wonderful humility” requires great awareness, knowledge, acceptance, and being of ones self. This requires one to be their self and manifest their own traits, good or bad. This means that one must have experience with their self and how it behaves. In other words, “experience of self” is needed for “wonderful humility”. This can be painful and difficult at times. Accordingly, since the self is rooted in life, “wonderful humility” requires great life experience. A person must experience both good and bad in life, the joys and tribulation of life. This means one must experience pain and suffering. This shows that “wonderful humility” is not just a “learning to be happy” or a “learning to be calm”. It is more than that. It has roots in the self, life, good, bad, joy, happiness, pain, and suffering. Without these things “wonderful humility” is lacking and incomplete.
Because “wonderful humility” is a “rediscovery of childhood”, as I mentioned above, it has origin there. But, in the course of life, we forget the “wonderful humility” of childhood. This, of course, is a result of the realities and conditions of life that appear in adulthood. Because of this, we must, rediscover the child again in adulthood. There are some people, I think, who have traits of it which as if “colors” their life but I still feel it must be rediscovered in adulthood to truly be “wonderful humility”. In other words, rediscovery of the child, in adulthood, is a requirement for “wonderful humility”. This is also true because, as I said above, a person must have self and life experience. This can only be achieved in adulthood. The “wonderful humility” of childhood is, in actuality, lacking because of this lack of self and life experience, even though childhood may seem the “model” and “ideal”. Again, this shows how the “wonderful humility” is really a mixture of adult and child, of “being an adult with a child’s attitude”.
The experience of “wonderful humility” can create a number of qualities such as:
- It can be very profound and mystical.
- It can become very “deep” and seems to “hit to the core” of ones self.
- It can be insightful.
- It can have a calming effect and peaceful.
- It can make one feel a part of life with a place and purpose.
“Wonderful humility” can be so deep that it can take on the qualities of a religious experience at times. In fact, I think that its not uncommon that it often turns into one. In other words, “wonderful humility” can turn into other things. Because of this, “wonderful humility” can appear in several ways, such as:
- An experience. One just experiences it. This can last from a matter of a few minutes to hours.
- A “doorway” to something else. Sometimes, I’ve found that it as if leads me in a new direction. Usually, I experience the “wonderful humility”, often for a few minutes, before it leads me to something else. This could be another state of mind, a new interest, a thought, etc.
- A “revealing”. In the midst of the “wonderful humility” things often come to me, an emotion, a thought, an insight.
There is a close relationship between “wonderful humility” and religious feeling. In fact, I don’t feel a person can truly experience “wonderful humility” without a religious sense. As a result, “wonderful humility” requires religious-like feelings in a person. Without it then “wonderful humility” does not take place easily. One of the interesting things that this fact shows is that there is a close relationship between religious feeling and the child. In fact, more than once have I said that religion is nothing but a means to continue the parent/child relationship into adulthood, god being the “parent”. I think there is great truth in this. “Nature”, “life”, and the “parent”, that I mentioned above, are really references to what is generally called god. One can see that the theme of god is prominent. This is no mistake . . . it’s a requirement for “wonderful humility”. Associated with this is a sense of being protected by the “parent” or god. It seems, to me, that “wonderful humility” needs this sense of being protected. If a person feels threatened by life then a person cannot really experience “wonderful humility”. This shows that the need for a sense of god, as well as being protected, are critical for “wonderful humility”.
Much of “wonderful humility” is based in the unspoken quality of life. In a way, the humility can be said to be based in “being beyond words”, that one cannot “speak”. This is also, no doubt, why “wonderful humility” has such a sense that life is beyond a person, that it is beyond ones conception. Because of this, a person must be able to accept these conditions, which is not easy. The struggle with these show that putting things into words and feeling that life is under ones control is part of the adult attitude and a reflection of life’s realities and conditions. Because of this, these are things that one should try to “let go”. They suppress and inhibit the child.
Overall, though, it seems that “wonderful humility” is a more natural state of mind. There is something about it that hits a person deep down. This does not necessarily mean that it is “adaptable” and “responsive” to the conditions of life. It really is not. In a way, this is its failure. This is why there is the “wonderful humility versus life’s conditions dilemma”. This is also why it is so hard to achieve and maintain. But, in discovering it, there seems as if a door is opened to a greater depth of life.
Copyright by Mike Michelsen