Humility is an often overlooked, misunderstood, and underrated quality in our modern society. It is not generally seen as a necessary component of achieving happiness. On the contrary, it is often seen as a liability. But, actually, developing humility is essential if we want to improve our current condition – if we want to actually find the deeply fulfilling, natural joy and peace that we long for in our heart of hearts.
It is humility which allows us to become aware of what we do not know and to inquire into possible solutions through seeking the guidance of higher authority. And it is humility that puts us in a position to continuously learn, grow, and benefit from the guidance we receive through sincerely applying what we learn to our lives.
In the bonafide scriptures of the world, we can find guidance from the very highest authority on solving the various problems of life and discovering true happiness and fulfillment. The most essential first step is understanding who we are. When we understand who we are, the path to happiness becomes obvious.
So, who are we?
In the ancient yoga scriptures (the Vedas) it is clearly explained that we are eternal spiritual beings, currently residing within a material body and mind. Although we often mistake our self for our mind and body, we are not these temporary material coverings . Rather, we are the spiritual individual who is only wearing the material mind and body, like clothes.
As spiritual beings – made of spiritual energy, not material – we are of the same essence as the Supreme Being, but we are distinctly different from the Supreme. In the yoga scriptures, it is clearly described that out of all the countless spiritual beings in existence, only one being is superior to all others. He alone is Supreme and all others are subordinate to Him. The Supreme Person , or God, is called Paramatma and all others are jiva-atma.
We are jiva-atmas – individual spirit souls with many of the same qualities of the Supreme Person, but we have them in minute quantities. The Supreme Person has unlimited influence and unlimited power. He is the Supreme Controller and we are subordinate to Him. Because we have free will, we have some influence and power, but it is limited.
We must operate within the laws and conditions set up by the Supreme. The authorized scriptures tell us this and so do the great saintly teachers of humanity.
And when we take an honest look at our lives , and the lives of our family, friends, and global community, we can see that this is true. We can very easily see, for example, that we have little or no ability to control other living beings, the weather, tides, the physical laws of nature and so on.
We even have difficulty controlling our own mind and body – and steadily lose this ability as our bodies become very aged or diseased . It is obvious simply by these few examples that we are not the Supreme Controller, but, rather, tiny spiritual individuals living on a tiny planet within vast, complex, and highly ordered planetary and cosmic systems.
We can easily see through practical and scriptural evidence that we are not the Supreme Controller. Still, it is a pervasive myth in modern culture that our happiness is dependent upon us having power and influence over others and our environment.
We are often lead to believe that our happiness lies in somehow managing to arrange our lives so that we are in control – in gaining enough material power, wealth, fame, beauty, etc. to create mental and physical situations that we think will bring us real and lasting happiness and fulfillment. But this is simply not the case.
Happiness does not come through our attempts to manipulate our temporary material environment, from trying to create the illusion that we are the Supreme Controller. Rather, happiness comes of tuning in to, and harmonizing ourselves, with the actual reality, the absolute reality – and with the Source and foundation of this absolute reality, the Supreme Person.
The Supreme Person, the actual Supreme Controller, has already set things up in a way so that we can be completely, utterly, transcendentally happy and fulfilled simply through embracing who we actually are – through operating according to our natural essence, position, and function. Ironically, it is only when we are trying to assume a position or identity that is unnatural for us, that we will find ourselves experiencing great anxiety and deep suffering.
Humility is that quality of consciousness which allows us to be submissive to the Absolute Truth, to consciously seek to place ourselves in a position of harmony. If we are puffed up with false prestige , we will try to find happiness in attempting to control or alter our environment to fit our own ideas and desires of how things should be.
If we cling to this position, we will always be in distress, always unhappy, because we are fighting against reality and, indeed, our very nature. But if we are in a humble state of consciousness, we will seek to understand reality as it is and to know what is our rightful place within it.
We will actively harmonize our self with the Absolute Truth and thus experience the bliss of our natural condition and natural loving relationship with the Supreme Person.
Because the Supreme Person loves us dearly and earnestly wishes us to be truly happy, He makes it very easy for us to know the truth and to harmonize with Him. He gives us His instructions through the authoritative scriptures of the world and sends His representatives, the great saintly teachers of humanity, to help guide us in the right direction.
He expands Himself to be present in our hearts, so we can receive guidance from within. And He gives us Himself externally in the form of His transcendental Names.
Although the Names of the Supreme Person may appear to the common person to be just like ordinary sound, they are not. They are the Supreme Person Himself appearing in the form of pure spiritual sound vibration.
Whenever we hear, chant, or sing these Names , we are actively harmonizing ourselves with the Supreme Person. Moreover, our consciousness is becoming more and more purified of all that is artificial each and every time we come into contact with these transcendental sounds.
In yoga practice, meditating on, hearing and repeating , the Names of the Supreme is called Mantra Meditation. By putting ourselves daily in direct contact with the Supreme Person through Mantra Meditation, our minds and hearts are gradually purified of all that is artificial and we can clearly understand things as they are.
In our clarified state of consciousness, we know who are we, we understand our relationship with the Supreme and all beings, and we very joyfully engage in the natural activities that arise from these direct realizations. Thus, we resume our original condition of loving harmony with the Supreme.
It is only within thisharmony, within this conscious relationship of love with the Supreme Person, that we are actually able to experience the perfect and permanent happiness that we long for. We can never experience complete fulfillment any other way.
Because everything we are comes from, rests upon, emanates from, the Supreme Person, we are only truly alive happy fulfilled when we are harmoniously, lovingly linked with Him. He is the foundation for our very existence and so our happiness is in being intimately linked with Him in friendship, love and loving service .
It is humility which allows us to experience this loving harmony. Without it, we cannot be intimately linked with the Supreme. And with it, a whole world of spiritual love and happiness is opened up to us.
If we hear and chant the Names of our Supreme Friend daily, with affection , we will be able to do so in an ever more humble state of heart and mind – and thus, our whole life, our very existence, becomes sublime.