Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.- T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets
It is true, what T. S. Eliot speaks of – the endless wisdom of humility. Humbleness is a resource; an infinite well of wisdom for us to draw upon. Its waters run deep. A placid lake, rich in its stillness, and in its quietness. Humbleness is a virtue that does not exert itself upon us – it is something that we reach when we’ve come to the end of the road – when we’ve journeyed enough and have realised that, in the words of Socrates, ‘all I know is that I know nothing’.
It is this that we seek to redress; and it is why ‘profound humbleness’ is one of its core tenets. Profound humbleness is to realise – and realise deeply – that each one of us, along with every physical manifestation of nature, is but a thread in the grand web of creation. We are an intricately inter-connected work of art. The meaning of profound humbleness is not to efface the Self, but to see the Self within this bigger scheme – neither more nor less – an integral part of the whole.
Profound humbleness looks to the intelligence of nature, and bows in reverence and respect. It seeks to learn from Mother Earth, and feed off of the energy of reciprocity, generosity and gentleness. Because profound humbleness is also profoundly gentle – like taking a soft, silk blanket and wrapping it over the shoulders of another to protect them from the cold. It comes from the heart.
Profound humbleness is to perform quiet acts of service – to give generously and freely to others, liberated from the need to boast and brag. It is borne out of experience, and it knows this – that by ourselves, we are nothing; but when we hold our hands out toward each-other, when we help and give and lessen our own needs for the greater good of humanity, it is then, it is then that we become everything. It is then that the whole universe opens up. It is when we lean into profundity of humility that we allow the cosmic consciousness to flow through us, and so we can embody an altogether different world.