Class on Humility
I waited in the back room reading while the guards attended to the woman on lock down in the room where we have our weekly class. In maximum security everything is grey, and I surf through an invisible sea of hardness and gloom looking for the softness, which is always ever-present at the center of things, no matter where I am. Breathing calmly within my force-field of good intentions, the mystery of all the things I'll never understand unfolds around me. One guard is forceful and urgent outside the room, another behind me laughing as the unexpected contents of her locker spill to the floor. Eventually the room is cleared and I'm allowed to enter-immediately 12 women, 8 of whom I've never met, come in behind me, talked loudly as I try to sort the contents of the day's lesson plan.
What is humility?
I brought up the topic because a) It came to me and b) because I sincerely want to know. Here are some of my thoughts about it.
It is a building block of happiness. It is an essential way of being. It is the only way to fully embody our greatness. It is the truth. It is sublime. It is our experience of the Lord letting us don his clothes, the clothes of a King. How can we dress ourselves in that fine linen, in that golden purity, bliss and ecstasy of the soul, with even the slightest inkling that we alone might be the source of that goodness- us with our puny mortality, our sacks of skin and bone that we can't so much as move, breathe, think, or blink alone. Alone without the help of that inexplicable electrical current, the heart beat automatic motion of that crystalline perfection, that pristine impossibility, LIFE!
(And yes- it's semantics here. Life is... what it is. And in some respect we are the source of it, as it is the source of us. And yet not to acknowledge the sea, the soup from which we came, and the soup to which we will return... is to be blind. I won't get into it too much further here, as this might lead me into meanderings about the nature of the Lord, Buddhism and Christianity which I really have so very little right to even entertain.)
The most moving part of class:
After 5 minutes of free writing about a humbling event and the virtues gained from their experiences, we had a class discussion. Each woman went around and shared. There were many tears, and much reaching out with mutual support. I listened and watched in awe, reflecting and giving feedback for clarity. Circumstance is a great teacher, and there but before the grace of God go I. More writing to come...