Striving to be a Nobody

From our e-book “We are Here to Celebrate”

“See the nothingness of the self, know that you are a nobody, your humility will be the channel which the spirit can do its work.” – M McDonald-Bayne.

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Real spiritual progress involves making a mental shift from being a ‘Somebody’ to a ‘Nobody’. A Spiritual Master in Malaysia once wrote a book entitled ‘Striving to be a Nobody’ [1]. The title of the book itself speaks highly of that spiritual master. To become a ‘Nobody’, the mental attitude of humility is critical.

Humility is a virtue that is necessary to maintain inner-peace. When we are humble, our focus is kept at achieving the ultimate goal; Self- Realisation. With humility, we do not need to concern ourselves with what others think about us. The ego tells us that we need to be special to be successful, but our wisdom says otherwise.

We do not need to keep up a front or an image which we like others to see. If we make a mistake, we can laugh about it instead of feeling embarrassed. When others speak negatively about us, humility helps us to see if there is anything we can learn from the remarks to improve ourselves and if not, to merely recognize that it is their own personal view. Actions speak as loud, if not louder than words. Our actions will speak for themselves and will either negate or confirm what the other person said.

Humility is even more important from the aspect of our spiritual practice. If our spiritual achievements give us a feeling of self-importance, then our ego becomes involved and we begin to chase for more and more spiritual experiences. Spiritual practices are meant to give us peace and happiness in the present moment. They are not meant to create cravings and bind us more tightly to our habit of identifying with our ego. We will discuss more about this later on in this chapter.

[1] The author of the book is the late Bhante Suvanno who resided in Penang.

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