Humility: the quality of being modest and respectful. Humility, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue in many religious and philosophical traditions, being connected with notions of egolessness.
Each day there are moments that I catch myself, reminding myself to practice humility. Just this morning, my husband reminded me of this.
Humility, know as Vinaya in Sanskrit, helps us realize our own true greatness when we can overcome feelings of arrogance and selfishness. At its core, humility is the fundamental respect towards all living beings, and the acknowledgment that in our essence, we all have the inherent capacity for greatness, true knowledge and wisdom without dwelling in our egoic mind.
Balasana, or child's pose, is one posture that can demonstrates humility. In this pose, one sits on thier shins with bent knees, folds their torso over their thighs, bringing their forehead as close to the ground as possible, completely surrendering the body to the earth.
As the space between our eyebrows comes towards the earth, we connect our Anja chakra or third eye, our conscience, to the earth. Our third eye represents the knowledge of the divine that each of us have within. Connecting to the earth reminds us that we are as divine as earthly beings.
In the Hindu tradition, our two physical eyes see the past and present, and our third eye reveals the insight of the future. When one can establish themselves in the third eye, they can go beyond our desires (ego) that motivate life and impel one to move in many directions. In the space of the third eye, all of these experiences and ideas are used to clarify one's perceptions and help move us towards accepting humility.
When we sincerely bow to oneself, to another or anything for that matter: to our teacher, our guru, our experiences, our shortcomings, our injuries, our trials and tribulations, our frustrations as being a source of knowledge, then the quality embedded in humility allows for purification and freedom from selfishness and pride. It is only through humility that we are able to set ourselves aside, enough to understand all the messages that our life displays, including both pleasant and unpleasant experiences.
Becoming humble does not mean to give up something or to deprive yourself of an advantage. It does not mean to make yourself vulnerable in the face of an enemy. Being humble, as my husband demonstated to me this morning, is being held in a power that is inexpressibly vast and pure. Practicing humility not only dispels our ego driven minds. It purifies our soul, flexes our spiritual muscles, and is the direct path to producing true knowledge and wisdom.
“I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility.”
John Ruskin (1819-1900);
Poet, Writer, Art Critic
Elisha Fernandes Simpson CKYT, RYT, aka laughing hearts yoga teaches family and kids (ages 8 -18) yoga and organizes yoga classes for people with breast cancer. Classes begin September 22nd! Become a friend on Facebook's laughing hearts yoga page.