“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”
These words of wisdom from Saint Augustine can cause the unconscious mind to scramble toward humility and to shy away from pride, thus setting up one end of this polarity against its seeming opposite.
But our mystic is most likely speaking of humility that is really beyond words and beyond either a humbled ego or an inflated sense of self.
When we think of our spiritual life, pride and humility usually arise with their negative connotations. Pride is held to be an unreasonable and inordinate self-esteem generating conceit, smugness, or an over-inflated sense of self-importance. Humility is defined as an aversion to any aspect of the above.
When we approach pride and humility as healthy psychological traits, their definitions shift to the positive. Pride means a feeling of self-respect, personal worth, and satisfaction with your or another’s achievements. Humility means modesty about your achievements and a nature that does not assume self-importance out of proportion to others’ importance.
From the mystical perspective, Saint Augustine’s humility will arise from a direct knowing that the God of all understandings, regardless of the name, is everywhere and in everything, including you.
Your sense of “self” as a separate ego is suddenly balanced by the knowing of (rather than knowledge of) your “no-self” status resting in the reality beyond me and you, and I and Thou. Your mystical eyes are capable of seeing through every concept, every idea, and every notion that passes through the body/mind to the reality of the spacious emptiness just behind, embracing all that arises and then passes away.
I invite you to re-visit your understanding of pride and humility and to request your mystical eyes to come with you. It is within your reach to perceive what your Being already knows. Where there are two opposites creating a polarity, there rests the mystical experience of Oneness in disguise.
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