A way into humility

“We must be willing to be completely ordinary people, which means accepting ourselves as we are without trying to become greater, purer, more spiritual, more insightful. If we can accept our imperfections as they are, quite ordinarily, then we can use them as part of the path. But if we try to get rid of our imperfections, then they will be enemies, obstacles on the road to our ‘self-improvement’.”

Chögyam Trungpa From The Myth of Freedom

I came across this quote on my Facebook feed last Thursday and I find myself returning to it again and again. It is clearly resonating with something deep within.

To me, this is humility. The willingness to be utterly ordinary. To live in my small sphere of influence and to offer what I can is exactly what I am called to. And I am called as I am, with the parts of myself I wish I could shake and the parts I quite like. I am called to accept the whole package. To acknowledge my limitations, and to trust that if I am able to live with them amicably that grace might just flow in these spaces too.

If we can get to that place of self-acceptance we will discover real interior freedom. At the heart of the Christian message is the idea that we are loved unconditionally by God. In my experience it is through the experience of the love of God that I find access to my own self-acceptance. But it isn’t an instant thing, it is an ongoing conversation, an ongoing discovery. So it is through the taste of freedom that I am able to be more self-accepting. It is through noticing God’s compassionate gaze that I discover self-compassion.

Too often in our attempts to help one another become ‘good Christians’ we cut through that dynamic. Putting conditions and expectations on each other, and propping ourselves up by a constructed image. If we could let go of the ideas we have of ‘right living’ and get instead with acknowledging that we are simply ordinary people trying to live in relationship with God, we may be pleasantly surprised both by ourselves and our communities.

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