“What is enquiry into the Truth? It is the firm conviction that the Self is real, and all, other than That, is unreal.”
– Adi Sankaracharya
When a pebble is tossed into a pond, concentric rings ripple out from the point of entry. The innermost ring may think, “I touched the pebble. I felt the pebble. I know the pebble.” The next ring out might think, “There is no difference between the innermost ring and me. After all, I am right next to it. I felt everything it felt. So I know the pebble too.” This process continues all the way to the outermost ring.
Of course no ring fully knows the pebble. Furthermore, any point on any ring has a unique perspective of the pebble. One may say the pebble is in the northern direction. Another sees the pebble to the south. To fully know the pebble, you must be the pebble.
As one gets closer and closer to the Sun, one may feel they know it. They may say, “The Sun is hot.” Yet someone further away may say, “Yes, I know that also.” But the closer you get, the more you know the true meaning of ‘hot’.
Similarly, as water cools to ice, it may feel it knows the nature of ice. But only after water becomes ice, is its full value experienced.
This principle is universal. To know anything, you must be it. Yet what is anything in its essential nature? It is beyond the maya of relativity. It is the Self, the One, the source of all that is… beyond ‘thingness’… no-thing-ness… pure “isness”… pure unbounded consciousness.
So what does this have to do with humility? What is humility? As you evolve, you come to see that your previous understanding, your previous life experience, was a ring outside of the pebble. You take a step forward to a deeper understanding. That is why I say that Knowledge, real Knowledge, is not so much about gaining new facts and information as it is about cultivating a deeper understanding of the facts and information you already have. Ultimately, you arrive at the Self, which lies beyond the grasp of life experiences, knowledge or information. You come to know “that the Self is real, and all, other than That, is unreal.” This is the source of great humility. True wisdom is infinitely humble. Even Adi Shankara said that he knows nothing. The Self lies beyond the grasp of what one thinks one knows. Knowers of the Self experience that directly. Until that awakening, it is another fact or notion… another ring around the pebble in the pond.
It is exquisite, that as one becomes truly great, one becomes truly humble. To know everything, is to know nothing… to know no-thing-ness. To know that for every ‘thing’ that you know, there is another truth that contradicts it. There is a deeper truth until all truths are transcended and the One Self is realized. Arrogance is the opposite of humility. The source of arrogance resides in the belief that you know something, that you know anything.
True humility is not a perspective that one adheres to. It is not an emotion or attitude. It is a quality of a physiological state, a level of consciousness. In the state of enlightenment, the nature of relativity becomes self evident. One rests upon the Self, upon not knowing… that which lies beyond notions and beyond the need to cling to notions. The sublime beauty and the exquisite “absurdity” of life is known. And why the word “absurdity?” Well, once that which lies beyond the illusion is revealed, it seems absurd that you were caught in the web of maya for so many lifetimes. Yet the magnificence of that web remains profoundly humbling. The word reverence comes to mind.
The path to enlightenment can be viewed as the path of increasing humility.
Humility is not meekness. It is certainly not weakness.
The wise see the contradiction of their points, even as they are making their points.
The wise see the unification of opposing points.
All contradiction, all paradox, finds its resolution in the Self.
Thank you Brahmarshi, humbly I bow in gratitude to the teachings of the great masters as I travel along the long and winding road that leads to the Self. Salutations, nancy
Resting upon not knowing???????????????????
Thank you… the more I reflect over your words the more lights keep turning on. Thanks for lighting this Christmas tree. Glad I have the time to just sit with this and ponder.
Beautiful blog. I remember you saying that oftentimes when you hear people speak, you understand what they are saying, and there’s truth in it. But you also understand other perspectives. You’ve said many times that the true Self sees beyond all perspectives while understanding all perspectives. As you say, “The flip side of wisdom is humility.”
What an amazing universe that it is designed so “that as one becomes truly great, one becomes truly humble.” How perfect. Brahmarshi’s lessons are always complete, with no loose ends dangling. The dots always connect.
How can I explain this? I was once, very early in the development of Mt Soma, introduced as the developer to a subcontractor. It surprised me a bit. I told him “My greatest qualification as a developer is that I know that I do not know what I am doing”. Resting upon what you know is a frozen state in a way. Resting upon the unbounded source is free, dynamic, infinitely creative, and infinitely intelligent. The Self is an infinite unbounded vessel that holds all knowing, i.e. is the source of all knowledge. Yet it lies beyond any knowing.
I have compared enlightenment to knowing how to swim. If you do not know how to swim, you cling to your rubber duck to stay afloat. If you do not rest into the unbounded depth of your own being, you cling to facts and notions that you know… they become your rubber duck. See?
Your blog post for today illuminates my journey. I savor the message. There is so much to reflect on. That being said, in your response to Julie, your comparison to knowing how to swim is extremely helpful as well. It is succinct; a great analogy. In my fear of the unknown I wonder “why would I let go of what I know?” Definitely something to ponder. Thank you.
Beautiful. I love the analogy. Humorous to hear our words in the ripple’s voice!
It’s easier to see God in those you don’t know. Including yourself.
I have noticed, that when im debating, or even just thinking about something all the different reality’s there are. So many different angles to view the same thing. At times i just find it so comical i start laughing, because i dont know which one to say, or align with. So i align with, there is no one reality that works, so how could i identify myself with just one.
When it appears that no reality works, that there is no solution to a problem, it is time to take a step back. Do not rush it. Time and space reveal the solution. Sometimes it requires reflection, or sometimes days, weeks or months of letting it go or of working with it, or sometimes at some point the solution jumps out of nowhere, out of nothing… perhaps out of no-thing. Mother Nature has Her own rhythm. All things come in God’s time, not man’s time. Finding God within means moving to the rhythm of Nature, Mother Nature, your Divine Nature. It all comes out of silence. It is the silent gaps between actions that give life its proper rhythm.
Your response to Orin speaks volumes to me. Thank you…