Monday, December 12, 2011
3rd Principle of Karma "The Law of Humility' Chapter IV
“When you have thrown off your ideas as to mind and body,
the original truth will fully appear.”
Zen Master Dogen
The Law of Humility
Let us now enter into the third principle of Karma. It is known as, the Law of Humility; it is truly magnificent in its precept and is the one principle which has assisted monks to simply be who they are, each and every moment of their life. Do you easily envision monks as a very gentle and easy-going people? This is readily affirmed as the depiction was witnessed at every monastery I visited. No matter the circumstance in which they may find them self, their demeanor and nature remains totally unfettered. They never were at odds with any thing or any human because they will simply stand aside in their humility. Monks are appreciative of life, honoring it in each moment, continually enjoying just being alive and aware of that life. Interestingly enough, the monks did indeed give up their own country in the name of this law because they believe so much in these principles, deeply committed to firmly live by them rather than merely think of them as a matter of convenience.
Monks know they will live on, no matter the location, since where they live is not a concern, for there will always be a roof over their head and food to nourish their bodies. They remind me of a young supple tree, its limbs and trunk gracefully bending in the wind without any concern over the wind’s strength or direction. The Law of Humility is about learning to be humble, rather than being so gregarious about our selves and life, to honor all aspects of life for what we are, instead of what we are not. Contrary to the monks, we in this part of the world have become very rigid and brittle when the wind blows, snapping or breaking apart in direct proportion to wind speed. But do you realize that we can be just like the monks in the way that we live each day and without really giving up anything! By understanding the ideas of this principle, then to live it, our humble nature would be a breath of fresh air because the western culture is entirely consumed at being the best at whatever wherever with whichever. I am willing to bet that you may think humility portrays weakness. Not at all! In truth, it is from humility that we shall become aware of our divine nature and is the source of our sovereign strength. We call it flexibility. It was also once stated that the meek shall inherit the earth, could He have intended us to understand the law of humility?
As you continue reading this book, you will soon realize the most significant goal of Karma, is to guide us towards that level of awareness, suggested above, when we simply transform to the best divine human we may possibly be. It is each person’s individual birthright to live. The bottom line truth is that these principles shall make certain of this outcome, assuring us of reaching this goal, whether it occurs in this lifetime or another, that is up to us. The sole reason for life is for each of us to overcome the pull of the body and the lower physical natures. In fact, the faster we master these principles, the easier our life actually becomes. Humility is an integral part of our divine nature and, to achieve this ideal, we must journey under the principle offered by its Law, a Law wherein many of our most significant lessons of life reside. I say the following with my full encouragement and support. When traveling under the Law of Humility, its path can become the most arduous one you may ever undertake in any one lifetime, purely because this Law is the greatest teacher as it reveals who you truly are. Is this really possible in one lifetime? Yes! From your perseverance and acceptance, this one principle is about facing your self for what you have become, which is exactly what most people do not wish to do! With this realization you can more easily shift into your proper direction. I now ask you a question, “Why is it best to use a map when undertaking a cross-country trip? Well, would it not be significantly more efficient and easier to arrive at one’s destination rather than to turn any which way at any which time?”
Similarly, the principles of Karma are the road map to our full realization of life and who we are, but only if we follow them. The third principle will guide us to understand that it is not about what we are; rather, it is about who we are through realizing that we are not our things. We are not our hair, our partners, our children, nor are we our house, our car, our career. These are the “what’s” in our life. And they have created the “what” we have become in our lives. You see, even though these things may possibly contain the ability to power our divine creativity, if properly utilized but they have most certainly, however, diminished our ability to accept divine humility. The reason for this is because the “what’s” have done nothing more than fed our physical ego. When utilized as a tool, they are quite wonderful because we gain experience through the use of the “what” simply as a learning tool, assisting us toward our self-realization of “who” we are, not “what” we are. On the other hand, when used solely to accumulate more “what’s,” then this goes in the opposite direction of the original intention since the “what’s” totally diminish our Creator-given ability. Besides the “what’s” are what have created our illusions and judgments of life and of people. One could easily say that they now have become our very stumbling blocks in higher attainment in our world as the desire for more simply overpowers us and our ego based minds. In truth they bolster the ego in all respects.
What is the Law of Humility? How does it work and how do we apply it? In answer to the first question, the law simply states: What you resist persists for you. Interestingly enough, as a start to the second question, the idea behind this law is that we not only choose our enemies, but we also give them strength. Oh yes, we do indeed choose our very own enemies, and we then bolster them into what appears as an infinitely strong and insurmountable position. This may sound very ludicrous to you; yet, it is an accurate assertion based on personal experience and understanding Karma. Before you balk completely, allow me to explain. First, though, a few questions may rightfully be in your mind now, “Why would I create my own difficulties? And why would I create a struggle when I do not even desire one in the first place?” Keep in mind that an enemy is not necessarily limited to an adversarial human, a person who is going to physically attack or thwart you in some fashion. An enemy can also (most likely) be a negative thought or emotion, such as sadness, frustration, anger. It can be your career, partner, child, a
family member, or even an item you own. Metaphysically speaking, an enemy is any thing, animate or inanimate, which takes away from your peaceful nature. It is any thing which pulls you from your divine source. It may even be you yourself, which reminds me of the old saying: You are your own worst enemy. Unquestionably, this is precisely the path we are going to venture on for the duration of this chapter, the concept of internal enemies. After all consider the idea of this principle, the law of humility now it should make sense to you.
It is sensed that you may possibly be a bit befuddled from the above paragraph; therefore, allow me to explain further by sharing an experience that I had with my own internal enemy. It is one that is probably the most common amongst humans. It also is seemingly the strongest in any given moment, one considered as the root of most enemies, if not all of them. This experience may also answer the second question: How does it work? Returning to my stay at the monastery in northern
, I remember Master Lobsang approaching me one day while I was planting rice. He calmly and flatly made a statement, “You are going to meet a great teacher,” and while looking straight into my eyes he asked, “Young man, what is your greatest fear?” Considering for a moment what I felt that would be, I looked into his twinkling eyes after a momentary silence, stating without hesitation, “Master, I feel that it would be a slow and agonizing death.” He responded with another question, “Do you actually fear what humans’ term as death?” “No,” I replied, “I just don’t want it to be slow and agonizing.” India
He smiled thoughtfully, bowed in his humble manner, and then walked away, leaving me puzzled as I watched his graceful return to the monastery. After a minute or two, I shrugged my shoulders and resumed my planting without giving the event another thought. Do you realize that fear in and of itself is one of if not the greatest enemy of all our emotions? Even to the degree of physically immobilizing us? It can instantly turn success into failure. We would commit to a lie if we fear the truth. A person may even have a fear of losing their loved one, a situation occurring quite frequently nowadays, a fear so deep-seated that the one with fear will possibly be the first to leave the relationship, actually believing they can avoid what they fear! We simply cannot avoid what we fear. How do you avoid the emotion of fear? I will explain as we travel. Aside from the fact that each scenario above carries its own Karmic return action, the first associated with lying and the second with leaving, one must deal with the third principle: What you resist persists for you.
I continued planting when, a few days later, a runner greeted me in the field, breathlessly informing me, “The Llama wishes to see you!” Oh my, what a great honor to have an audience with the Llama, the head of a monastery, for they have such a wealth of wisdom. I knew in my heart this was going to be a very great lesson, coming from the great teacher! What I thought was absolutely correct, in a sense, but I had no clue what was in store for me. You see, when a teacher at a monastery has a lesson for you, that lesson will also contain the associated experience so that it becomes ingrained in your mind. In other words, the lesson is first spoken, and then experientially applied in a manner and at a time unbeknownst to the student. Such non-traditional teaching creates a rather exciting and mysterious process for the neophyte and, more times than not, the arriving experience unfolds quite humorously. Generally, master teachers use a variety of methods to carry out the lesson, from the use of words, to actions, even to the waking stick, each method being unique and extremely effective.
As I entered the Llama’s chamber, I remember distinctly how thrilled I was about my anticipated lesson, yet having absolutely no idea what it could specifically be I was thinking as I bowed. Based on previous discussions on this particular principle with Master Lobsang, it was only sensed that it would apply to my inner enemy, whatever that was. The Llama looked at me as I bowed, and while quietly handing me a piece of paper with a short list of items written on it, along with some rupees, the local currency, he said, “Please go to the local village and get the items on this list.” Whoa! I was startled as I said to myself, “I am just going shopping?” Okay, on one hand I felt let down because I was simply walking to the nearby village to get thread, spices, and some material. Big deal! However, on the other hand, I was excited because this shopping trip would provide me the opportunity to practice my Hindi linguistics while on my own. I bowed in acknowledgment and quickly headed toward the main door.
Shortly after I passed through the doorway, I unconsciously looked up from my feet to see the path ahead. Yes, there was the path alright. Uh-oh! Along with an adult Bengal Tiger staring right at me about a hundred yards away! I froze right where I stood but my mind was thinking that I must run back inside but still I could not move! Too late. My face flushed with hot blood from the adrenaline rush while my legs lost all motor function, for I just stood still, totally frozen with fear, peering into the eyes of my greatest nightmare. And the door for my safe passage stood a mere twenty feet behind me! “Run Steven!” But I absolutely could not move an inch! Why not, for nothing was wrong with me physically, fear! My eyes remained locked with the tiger’s for what seemed like forever, and then he started pacing towards me. “Okay, don’t move and he won’t see you!” my mind informed me. My mind made no points in that moment because the big cat was now charging at me in what seemed slow-motion. I even lost my voice as I stood there, my feet super-glued to the pathway, watching in complete terror to what was about to occur. Have you ever seen a tiger jump into a full head-on leap? As you stand below it? I vividly recall his graceful, silent vault into the air, each front paw the size of my head reaching forever forward, inviting me into his grip. “I am going to die” was the last thought on my mind in that moment. A slow, agonizing death, for I was going to be eaten alive, the greatest of fears that I believe any one could ever have in their life!
Like all my fellow monks, my head was clean shaven. Here I am, writhing on the ground below the weight and jaws of a 400 pound tiger, his hind legs constantly pawing me into position while licking my shiny head. “Oh great, he is tenderizing my skull before he takes a bite out of it!” as I waited for the impending crunch. By now my voice returned in full volume as I was screaming and wailing at the top of my lungs, pleading for the big cat to just “do it” and get it over with. Although the noisy commotion between the tiger and me could easily have filled a concert hall, I detected faint laughter in the background. I unconsciously moved the tiger’s mouth from my head…wait, this is amazing. What? The tiger actually let me! I turned my head slowly to look in the direction of the merriment and there I saw Master Lobsang, Master Kiela the Llama, along with two other monks uproariously howling, hands holding their stomachs, at a sight I did not at all consider funny. The tiger remained on top of me, his legs relaxed and sprawled outward, until he heard Master Lobsang slap his thighs. To this day, I have yet to observe another fully-grown tiger spring upward and forward as fast as my so-called attacker that day, jumping onto the Master, who laughed all the while he and the big cat rolled and wrestled on the ground.
“What a minute. This is not possible!” as I entered a shock of sheer disbelief over what I was observing right in front of me. After a few minutes I noticed Master Lobsang and the tiger gingerly walk towards me as I was washing my robes and myself down at the river’s edge. Lobsang looked at me with a gleam of humor in his eyes. “His mother had been poached by hunters and we found him just barely a month old at the front door to the monastery,” he notified me while the humongous cat leisurely lay beside us, just looking up at me. Lobsang continued, “Basically we all raised him from a cub until he was almost full-grown and could take care of himself. This tiger sees monks as his
family. We are all brothers and we are one with each other. He would not harm a monk, or any other human for that matter he has only known humans even though he is wild. He was simply playing with you, intending no harm whatsoever.” Initially, fury and embarrassment enveloped me simultaneously as I exclaimed, “I cannot comprehend anyone perpetrating such a thing!” as Lobsang only continued to smile quietly. “Come, sit next to me here,” he requested. As I scooted over, the cat stuck his head between my forearm and rib cage, to which I involuntarily recoiled. “He just wants his head scratched,” Lobsang informed me. I returned to the position and, when I began scratching his head, I heard a deep, throaty rumble, a soft vibration coming from somewhere. Oh, he is purring! It is just a couple of octaves lower than a house cat but with volume that I think you can only imagine.
The big cat’s friendly purr and contentment rubbed off on me, for I regained my composure and cleared my mind, enabling me to then listen to my teacher as he began to explain the concept of fear. “Do you remember how you reacted in total fear the moment you first saw the tiger?” he asked. “Do you now realize what your greatest fear is capable of doing?” and, “Do you realize that fear, by itself, is your worst enemy?” “Yes,” I responded now having the full implications of the teaching and the full extent of what one emotion has the power to do over us. I knew in that moment that the relaxed tiger was not my fear, as he continued his “purr” concerto next to me. Fear, along with so many things the human creates, is indeed our worst enemy; yet, it is exactly the one we most need to face. We are all personally responsible for what is created internally and it may freeze you in place. I knew in retrospect that I could have gotten back in the door in plenty of time yet fear prevented it.
In truth, we must face all that we create, as each creation comes from within us. I now understood this critical concept. The magnitude of our circumstance is directly proportional to our level of resistance to an internal enemy. During my ensuing days and months at the monastery, that
Bengal tiger and I forged a deep bond. I felt like “Tarzan of the Jungle,” knowing there was nothing to bother me because, whether I was running through the jungle paths or walking to my favorite meditation spot, he would always show up and approach my side, either running with me or laying beside me during my meditation. Oh yes, there were many an occasion when he and I would wrestle in fun, each in a zestful manner. In fact, he initiated most matches. And he never allowed me to win even a single one! From this experience it showed me the true danger of any emotion if it overpowers us. As each day passed into the next the tiger, Shanti Che was his name, taught me so many things of life simply by watching and I will share more of him as we progress through this book.
Karmically speaking, if we resist fear, or anything else in life, then it has no other choice but to reveal itself even more strongly through a later experience and quite possibly be expanded. This may seem unreal but here is a very simple example of a physical experience in this matter. What happens when you get a headache and begin to fight or resist it? You are correct it gets stronger so why not simply allow for it, accept it and by so doing it will begin to dissipate and disappear. If this is true in this case then it would be true in all that we are offering in this principle and all of them to follow. To be sure, this is true in all things concerning our enemies, both internally and externally, hence the reason for the Law of Humility: what you resist persists for you.
The Christ once stated that when your enemy strikes you on one cheek, offer them the other. I feel He was talking of this very same principle because we create our own enemies within and without. In essence, His message tells us to no longer fight anything internally, for it will merely magnify itself, gaining strength to ultimately overpower us, with fear as the greatest of enemies. I admit I certainly and instantly metamorphosed to a human pillar, completely frozen as the cat bounded towards me on the village path that day; however, you must realize that the tiger did not freeze me in place; rather, it was my internal enemy, my fear of the tiger, which kept me transfixed. It is our fear that gives any enemy its power no matter what it may look like and my enemy the cat became my friend and teacher all because of the power of fear and using it.
When it comes to our life-long dreams, we are actually our own worst enemy, due only to how we feel about our dream actually becoming a reality by stirring up emotions such as our sense of unworthiness, doubt, and overwhelming fear in most cases. You see, we actually unseat ourselves innumerably more times than anyone else. And here we go on blaming them when, in the very first place, it is us! In my case it was me, not the tiger. When we sense fear as we focus on a magnificent dream, it enters from our sense of unworthiness or self worth, which are the same, to have the dream. So I now ask you, “What is the issue here? Is it the dream? Is it other people? Or our current circumstances?” The true issue, our so-called enemy, is simply our sense of unworthiness, not the dream, not anyone, not anything else. With the door of opportunity now opening for us to transform that seeming enemy into our internal teacher; otherwise, as we continue down the path of unworthiness, the odds significantly increase that our dream shall remain unrealized, for we create its opposite, failure. The vital key is where we place our focus. My intense introduction to Mr. Tiger transformed my fearsome enemy of a slow and agonizing death to my fun furry teacher as suggested, the friendship from which our bond grew deeply and wonderfully. From just that one incident, no fear rises within me even to this day, and I now answer every question thoughtfully and very cautiously because my desire is to give only truth. Fear and its subsequent trauma are both great teachers, though I caution you, you should be ready to use them only as your teachers; or else, do not create the fear unless you allow it to teach why you are afraid. Why are you afraid of your dream? Does love hurt? Is this what holds it away from you? Is this what keeps success at bay? Journey through fear as one of my teachers once said it is sometimes better to go ahead and climb the mountain instead of going around it.
Aside from being an excellent teacher, fear is a very dynamic tool. “Fear as a tool?” you might ask, “What do you mean by that?” Fear really occurs from or through what we may term as the unknown, meaning that we simply do not know what the outcome will be. This is also why change is difficult as we journey from what we knew. Therefore, we hesitate or freeze-frame, immobilized as I was when the tiger playfully pounced on me. Looked upon another way, the unknown can truly be an adventure when absolutely no fear is involved in the process. Just where is the adventure and personal growth when we follow the exact same path or do the exact same thing over and over because we already know and are comfortable with both outcomes? There is an answer to this question which I will discuss in a few moments. First let us look at how our so-called fear may be used as a tool. Because the status of material success is heavily reinforced in this part of the world, it becomes evident that harboring any fear of failure significantly increases the probability for that failure to occur. Failure, therefore, becomes the experience. If my supposition rings true for you, I offer an idea. Change your mind! Rather than fearing failure, allow yourself to harbor a fear of success, thereby increasing the probability for success to occur. This idea may certainly sound bizarre; however, it definitely has merit, does it not? In other words, if you fear failure and it happens time and again, why not simply apply the reverse by merely utilizing self-imposed reverse psychology? We obviously do this with each other, so apply it to your self in this instance.
Here is the next point: What do fear and humility have to do with each other? Their concepts appear quite the opposite, do they not? In truth, fear is one of the teachers of humility, and herein lies their relationship. If one is humble and operates from this arena they would fear very little, if at all, for a humble person is very flexible, contrary to being rigid. A rigid nature actually creates fear, Master Lobsang taught me, and it has proved itself over time and again. Rigidity creates an unbending nature; whereas, humility does not. “If rigidity or inflexibility creates fear, what then do fears actually tell you?” The answer is: You are too rigid in the arena of which you harbor the fear. Does this make any sense? Imagine a stiff, rigid tree. How long would it stand in high winds, no matter its age? I would venture to say not very long. The same is true when it comes to the winds of fear, created purely by our rigidity, which means we are destined for a fall, all because of an internal enemy. Even during times of change, fear can strike as the old drifts away, thus immobilizing us into a pillar of salt while we venture into the unknown, even when the change is for the better. And it usually is, of course. When the wind of change blows, it is all about humility; therefore, simply apply the greatest level of flexibility in those moments by allowing the wind to blow upon you, by accepting the change about to take place, never blocking or getting in its way because, doing so, you are guaranteed a struggle.
We, as individual thinkers, do not necessarily accept change with any level of grace or ease, even though the reality of life blatantly reveals change as a constant, continuous, and harmonious aspect of nature. I find it interesting to observe how the unknown can instantly block us during a time of change as our innate fear rears on its hind legs to resist it. Both personally and globally, resistance is futile, for the bottom line remains constant. Change is evolution. Yes, we seem to tenaciously prefer the well-worn path and all our creature comforts because, during times of change, we become stoically rigid. If we were to instead peer into the unknown as an adventurer, approaching the change with a high level of anticipation and excitement for entering yet a new experience, certainly flexibility will engulf our whole being; hence, fear and the resulting emotional trauma cannot exist throughout these moments. Though I had never been there, when I began my journey towards northern
, I was excited the whole time because of all the new adventures that would be encountered along the way. This remains with me much the same way to this very day, always looking to the new events. Do you know change can bring wisdom, whereas the same thing each day can only bring entrenched limitation? Remember, struggle is the old comforts colliding with the fear of new events to come; therefore, by objectively observing your struggle, it will plainly reveal where you have become rigid and, by so doing, you will derive the greatest of benefits that you could ever imagine, your dreams. As you progress through this process by always looking to the new, you would begin to anticipate change and effortlessly allow it to arrive totally free of all struggle, thereby experiencing your flexible nature. At the same time you will also head into a new direction in your personal evolution allow nothing to hold you from your change, no one or no thing. India
There is another aspect of the Law of Humility which is felt important to share with you. It is this: what we object to reflects who we are inside. “Really? Where did this come from? How in the world does this relate to humility?” you may ask. In truth, the seat of our internal enemies rests with our outward objections or denunciations. You see, monks will suggest in their monastic teachings that if it is not in us first then we are unable to see it in another living being. In other words, it must be part of us before we see it in another. Conversely, if we know nothing of it in the internal sense of the word, then we would not be capable of seeing it in any other. Are you staying with me here? Let me put it another way. Simply because we leveled a criticism about another, that judgment had to come from or resonate within us first in order for us to even see it in the other. Metaphysically, we are actually admonishing something we dislike about our own self; therefore, when we view something in another person about whom we find fault, this is Karma showing us what we are or what we have become. Herein lies the key to this aspect of the third principle. More than likely, the objection is not only something we dislike about our self, but is also an opportunity for us to acknowledge it so we may then be able to change or remove that particular character trait from within us. In truth, at the same moment our denunciation is raised, the Law of Humility is also offering us an inner resolution with the exact same trait, but only if we do not object to what we see in the other being. My personal experience with the tiger was very humbling in so many ways, from my initial hair-raising objection of him through my fears to my awe and appreciation for him, a huge, powerful, yet gentle creature, my traveling companion. Keeping in mind this big cat weighed between four and five-hundred pounds, he moved in graceful silence, never hearing him in the forest unless he wanted me to, and became a great teacher to watch and observe. Aside from his natural ability as the fearless hunter, his behavior remained flexible and so gentle, very humble in each activity to the degree he seemed to actually honor life, taking only what he needed. What did I learn? Simply begin to accept my objections and, like so many other things, they will soon begin to dissipate. Let us take a look at how this all works in our everyday interactions.
I first recall the last principle that we covered: you attract to you what you are, not what you want. Are you beginning to recognize how these principles overlap and lead into the other? As an example, let us choose an everyday interaction. Suppose you fault another person for handling themselves in a glaringly arrogant fashion. In that moment of judgment, what you may not realize is that their arrogance may simply be stronger than yours, or they may be better at showing it, in which case you could feel a twinge of envy in that moment, the undercurrent. What if they are truly confident in what they do? Confidence and arrogance are two distinctly different ideas but may appear to be the same, when they are not. The first has its basis in truth and the second is based on fear or illusions. The first is solid and the second is actually weakness. The first does not explain itself and the second shall. You see, the essence of humility is when an individual is truly peaceful and loving life, applying absolutely no admonishments, always allowing others to solely be who they are.
Through our objection to the behavior or personality of other beings, we are essentially telling them they cannot be who they simply are and, when doing so, we have now transformed ourselves into a rigid, inflexible mode of operation. Of course you now run the risk of creating a physical enemy when initially there was none. In truth it is up to the other person to decide how they choose to act, not us. In fact, we have no right to determine how another person should or should not act. The behavior exhibited by every being is theirs alone, for it has nothing to do with us. We have no reason to judge them for whom they choose to be. Consider this, if we do not initially have that internal attribute to which we strongly object, how could it ever become an issue with any other? It simply cannot be an issue. We could all learn to not admonish others as much as we do and living humbly will create this for any individual while giving awe to life. There is one caveat in this and that is there are times when truth may appear to be judgment and the way to discern the difference is this; are you looking at the physical only through physical eyes or are you looking at it through your higher nature. Do not fool yourself by allowing your ego to answer this question.
In this part of the world, it appears we have a high level of urgency to constantly tell other people how they should or should not be in any given circumstance, a compulsion to which I believe we have been conditioned. Who are we for doing this? What right do we truly have to do this? Do we really want others to be just like us? Would that not be a bit boring? Who knows you better than you? Wisdom dictates that we are better off tending our own house while leaving other homes alone. I am not surprised to see and hear so many disagreements, for we are all plowing malevolently through life, apparently behaving quite contrary to our truly humble natural nature. Another contrary behavior that has been observed is an individual’s insistence for being correct in all things. This begs the question, “Is it right to impose our right on another individual?” Just because other people do not see or do things our way does not imply we are correct to object. What is the bottom line here? Remember to be who you are, not what you are. If you spend all your time listening to what others are telling you about you, and you choose to change you only to please them so they like you, you have then lost who you are. At some point, because of this, you will not be a happy individual nor shall you ever become empowered in your own life by living in this manner and besides Karma says that at some point you will have to learn who you are. The message is to not give you away and this will not have to occur.
To read the rest of the chapter it may be found in my book:
‘The Twelve Sacred Principles of Karma’
www.hairfield.com my web site