The last day before his death,Jesus spent that evening as we are told in the gospels with his closest and dearest friend,his so called disciples(twelve of them,probably more which could have included his mother Mary as she is known and Mary Magdalene).
That night,his heart must have been heavy,troubled and filled with a mixture of tenderness, sadness and fear for he knew the tragedy that would befall him very soon…….his sense of awareness was on high acuity as to all the happenings and the plottings against him.The deepest sorrow and heartache Jesus must have felt that night was for that one friend who was about to hand him over to his captors.
It was not a night of light enjoyment with his companions but instead it was a night of celebration of a great lesson to be learned and experienced……….Humility,the annihilation of the ego!
While sitting down to having supper with his followers,he filled a washbasin with water and took a towel and began to wash the feet of the disciples……………all of them must have been in shock and perhaps feeling disgust,they couldn’t believe that this man whom they called Master could perform such a lowly gesture.Yes they taunted him saying to not only wash their feet but their bodies as well.They did not understand the truth behind this noble sacrificial action.They did not know,what Jesus quietly knew within himself…………………his action was not one of showing -off,it did not come from ego-centeredness but an open-hearted,spontaneous act moved by courage.He recognised his intense suffering and had to soften his pain by way of humility.
To Jesus it was an act of absolute surrender(especially in the knowing of his final hours left before his upcoming imminent demise)…….the letting go…to be completely free from any residual pride and arrogance and attachments…………dying to himself before his physical death.He had to humble and empty himself in order to accept and not resist or reject the agony that awaits him….it was a way of feeling a lightness of being,a knowing of the truth of his innocence,yet a willingness to face unjust accusations and consequences.He showed no distinction between master and disciple but displayed an understanding of the human frailties and potential for spiritual growth and the relatedness to each other on the human level.
His humanly sublime action came from a place of inherent love(compassion),wisdom and peace….he had to exemplify this form of humility in order to justify all that he had taught during his short ministry…..to love,to forgive,to be peacemakers,to find joy,to be kind,to be wise as a serpent yet gentle as doves,to be meek and pure of heart(sincere and child-like) and be free from transgressions………………
Could we be one of them whose feet Jesus washed?What would our reaction have been?How would we react in truth even if someone we knew,humbled themselves sincerely with these simple words….”I am sorry”and was willing to make amends?Will we be humble enough to allow the chance and be sincerely reconciled to make peace and grow in a better direction with it or will we be petty and immature to be disgruntled and vexed by the the other’s honesty to make changes?Could we truly be courageous to express contrition and vulnerabilities to another and change for the benefit of ourselves and others even without the other’s acceptance or approval?or will that seem as having low esteem and no dignity?
When we hear of the word humility………what and how do we feel about it?Do we tend to associate the word humility with humiliation and see it as a sign of weakness or see it as allowing ourselves to be abused and belittled and being taken advantage of?Do we allow fear to keep our hearts frozen and be cut off from forbearance,fortitude,courage, pliability and to be humble?
To be humble doesnt mean we bend backwards to please another/others for another’s selfish needs,whims and unwholesome intentions.
True humility is a soft,gentle,flexible yet positively strong,powerful,wise and transformative energy that allows one to be resilient and subdued in difficult and challenging circumstances.When we can take courage to be humble in the truest sense at times of trials and difficulties,we allow ourselves to be open to learn,to take responsibilities with mindfulness(we avoid blaming),we loosen the rigidity in our hearts and minds and are able to make it easier to access the wisdom of the heart in seeking potential answers and to make positive transformational changes to find comforts that are beneficial to all parties/situations and a way out of further suffering.When we exercise true humility,there can be no humiliation involved,there will be only beneficial lessons to be learned,taught and experienced.
Are we able to be strong to be humble in order to allow ourselves to transcend suffering and make life better for ourselves and others especially so to start with the ones we care for and say we love?True humility allows for helping each other grow and learn from our mistakes, transgressions and sufferings.
From Buddhist texts,it is related that the Buddha practiced humility all of his life.He was an Indian prince,married and had a son,lived in a palace,surrounded by glitz and glitter and dancing girls and had everything made easy for him,but he was not allowed outside the palace walls.Yet deep down he was not satisfied,he felt like a prisoner,he wanted to know what was happening beyond the palace walls.One night he did venture outside and witnessed very disturbing truths………from that night he was determined to find out the truth of these sufferings,old age, sickness and death.
So he left his palace,wife and son………….wandered in the forests mingling with ascetics,spiritual seekers and simple minded people.This was a great act of humility by the Buddha….to give up all comforts of life in a palace and the pain of leaving his wife and son to go seek for the truth of life.He too had to die to ego…to selfish desires and attachments.How intensely hard it must have been for him to give up all the comforts that he had and to live simply and frugally in the forest.
After he attained enlightenment,he never went back to his palace to take up position and former title,although he did go back to visit his father,wife and son.He went on wandering the country instead teaching the truths of suffering and how to find a way to end it.
In his wanderings,he was humble enough to befriend murderers,thieves and prostitutes and charismatically making them his disciples.While many were following earnestly to hear the Buddha’s teaching,he formed the sangha(community).It is told that the Buddha practiced serene acts of humility in the sangha by nursing his followers when they were sick and even sweeping the floors to keep it clean…….again we see no distinction between a master and his disciples and in this case,a prince and his subjects!
Are we willing to learn true humility from these two great Masters……..Jesus who washed the feet of his disciples and Buddha, who left the comforts of his rich palace and royal title to live among the common people.Both taught the same thing,humility,love,peace,freedom from suffering and wisdom.
….……….Humility is a sublime virtue!
….……….it can bend before the mighty wind,
….……….yet arise with courage.
….……….It can bow before a powerful sovereign,
….……….yet remain his equal.
….……….It can be intimidated by the unjust,
….……….yet not be humiliated.
….……….It can be gentle before injury,
….……….yet have the strength to forgive.
….……….Humility brings the antidote to pride and arrogance
….……….and allows the openness to learn and accept.