When I meditated the next morning, I was once again amazed how despite my years of disciplined practice and my further progress in the past few months on walking the path and finding peace and happiness, my ego was still fully capable of a sneak attack when I wasn’t aware. Clearly I was prideful when I completed my work and that caused my inappropriate reactions to my friend’s comments, all of which by the way were well-taken.
During my meditation, I thought about my past efforts at deflating my ego (for those moments when I am not aware, not present free of the intervention of thought), by confirming the fact that I am no better than others or more capable (see my post on that subject). And I realized that while that practice had been quite effective as far as it went, it did not deal with the issue of pridefulness.
No, I realized that what I needed to do was humble myself before my true Buddha nature, before my fellow man, and before all elements of the universe. And I needed to acknowledge my pridefulness, have compassion for it and understand where it was coming from, but say firmly that that is the past and that I am now seeking guidance from my true Buddha nature, just as I did with my fears and other expressions of my ego-mind.
I have nothing to fear from being humble in this competitive, aggressive world we live in because regardless whether someone takes advantage of my humility, all will be well. I will always have my inner strength, my true Buddha nature and I will experience joy because I will continue to offer others joy and help relieve the suffering of others regardless of the situation I’m in.
The next few mornings I continued to meditate on humbling myself and found, similar to when I realized that I had nothing to prove, that I felt as though a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt free. Rather than losing a source of strength, I was in fact gaining strength by humbling myself.