Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | November 12, 2009

Modesty in the Spiritual Life

I have a precious day off today and I’ve decided to spend it pretty much in seclusion. I began the spiritual day scrubbing the bathtub, then reading more Thomas a Kempis and meditating on it for a awhile. It’s harsh, but the lesson today is to be aware of our nothingness without God and without Jesus Christ. Develop that sense of humility and modesty that we are the lowest of the low, sinners, and we need the grace of God to do anything or get anywhere. As I said, a bit harsh. But the meditation was fruitful, as I just closed my eyes and watched the shadowy images you see when you close your eyes, and your mind plays a little rorshack(sp) game, but that’s ok because it’s fruitful to see what your semi subconscious mind comes up with.

I then threw the I Ching, and recieved the hexagram related to modesty. Most of the following are direct quotes from the Brian Browne Walker translation:
(My question to the I Ching was what are my short term and long term assignments).

The Creative acts to empty what is full and to offer abundance to what is modest.
Modesty is not boasting or acting imeriously with others.
It is also the effort to discern what is right and be constant. It is an unwavering commitment to what is correct.
Modesty involves wu wei, or non action–not indulging in arrogant, ego centered behavior.
It also involves action: looking for opportunities to correct ourselves, to assist justice where there is injustice, to give solace where there is pain.
Modesty is holding to innocence, sincerity, and openness in every situation.
I recieved line 6: Modesty does not allow for anger, self righteousness, pride, or self-pity(I engage in that a lot). The superior person stands guard against his own inferior elements.
The changing line brought me to the hexagram Mountain.
Keep still as a mountain. You need to quiet your emotions so you can think clearly. If we allow our thinking to be controlled by strong feelings and emotions, we cannot act with gentleness, neutrality, and graceful wisdom.
Turn your inner conflicts over to the deity for resolution.

As an addendum, I just want to point out that throughout the I Ching, there is reference to the Higher Power, the Deity, the Sage, the Creative, so there is this notion of a God like thing in our lives that we can tap into and fill ourselves with and have guide us along the spiritual path. I always felt there was a conflict in that the tao was kind of impersonal and unfeeling, but I guess, in a deep way, in a mysterious, ineffable way, there is the higher power that works to resolve the conflicts in our lives, that we are participating in, are part of, are a manifestation of. It’s why we embark on this spiritual journey, live the contemplative life, so that we can become familiar with and disciplined in this way.

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