the humility of braving the elements

buddha and lotus flowerDecember 6, 2014

My vision of utter humility is a stone buddha: still, unmovable, assailed by the searing sun, pelting rains, icy snow, contracting cold, bird droppings and all other manner of indignities. His outer color transforms and is marred by stains and drippings. Pieces chip away and cracks form. And yet he endures, half smiling, eyes closed, inwardly turned. Humility: acceptance, surrender, endurance, faith. Without objection, judgment or complaint. Ouch. The word “humility” derives from the Latin word humilis, which means‘low or lowly,” which in turn comes from the word humus, meaning “ground or earth.”  (This is not to be confused with “hummus”–into which we dip our chips and chopped carrots–which derives from the Arabic word for word chickpeas!)

Never curse a fall. The ground is where humility lives. -Yasmin Mogahed

Life is a long lesson in humility. -J.M. Barrie, The Little Minister

…it’s better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place; so vague. Just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear. -Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Humility means accepting reality with no attempt to outsmart it-David Richo, The Five Things We Cannot Change

Here is the path to the higher life: down, lower down! Just as water always seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds men abased and empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless. -Andrew Murray, Humility

It is said that as many days as there are in the whole journey, so many are the men and horses that stand along the road, each horse and man at the interval of a day’s journey; and these are stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed. -Herodotus, Histories (8.98) (trans. A.D. Godley, 1924)

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