Humility is an essential stone in the foundation of practice. Without humility, hardly a step can be taken that is considered progress. Humility is where the duality in ourselves come together, it’s the shaft that the potter’s wheel is centered on.
In my reading for this post, I found some interesting points about humility. I usually consider humility as the ability to admit my short-comings, and, indeed, without humility, how can one see the work at hand, but being humble also includes knowing one’s strengths and how to put them to use.
Being unaware of our strengths is having a lack of self-confidence, not humility, although it can sometimes be confused as such. This is also a delusion, as the Dalai Lama describes in his book, The Art of Happiness at Work;
“…to have greater self-awareness or understanding means to have a better grasp of reality. Now, the opposite of reality is to project onto yourself qualities that are not there, ascribe to yourself characteristics in contrast to what is actually the case. For example, when you have a distorted view of yourself, such as through excessive pride or arrogance, because of these states of mind, you have an exaggerated sense of your qualities and personal abilities. Your view of your own abilities goes far beyond your actual abilities. On the other hand, when you have low self-esteem, then you underestimate your actual qualities and abilities. You belittle yourself, you put yourself down. This leads to a complete loss of faith in yourself. So excess–both in terms of exaggeration and devaluation–are equally destructive. lt is by addressing these obstacles and by constantly examining your personal character, qualities, and abilities, that you can learn to have greater self-understanding. This is the way to become more self-aware.”
If I’ve ever wished to put an end to the suffering of all the countless beings, I’d better be aware of how I can’t and can be of any help!