Humility is an experience of the commonality of all human beings. As we experience this commonality, our attitude toward life becomes light and open. We discover that participating with others in a mutual sharing of knowledge and experience generates the wisdom to fulfill all needs, and to live in harmony with all beings. Skillful Means, Tarthang Tulku.
—–Not constantly, but when I watch the news and read about the damage being inflicted on other beings and on the natural world, I feel that this world deserves better occupants. Our species is treating our own Earth Mother as something to dominate and exploit. This sounds like the plot of a horror movie. But human behavior is living out that plotline to the detriment of every living being born on this planet.
—–When that attitude starts to saturate my thoughts, I realize that it is other members of the human race whom I consider to be the “unworthy” culprits. I don’t notice that I am also a member of the species that is despoiling the natural world; that I too am marching among the ranks of beings who have been given the capacity to listen, yet do not hear, to look, yet do not see, to think, yet do not understand.
—–Should I blame myself for the harm that human society is inflicting? I know from personal experience, that it does no good to dwell on my personal inadequacies. Self-rejection will not help me to become wiser, kinder, or more deeply realized as a human being. Rejecting myself won’t help me to be more responsive to the pain around me. And if I am given a few more days or months, or even years, I will have a better chance of developing my human capacities if I appreciate what I have been given to work with: an incredibly intricate and coordinated body and mind, that is able to communicate and collaborate with the beings with whom I share this Planet Earth.
—–It’s not only the rolling meadows of space–extending without boundaries or interruption–that we share with other beings. Time also spreads out from this present moment, carrying our limitations along with our freedom to notice them. And we are also free to ask whether these limitations are truly beyond our ability to overcome. The human behavior that is inflicting so much suffering on other beings, who, like us, yearn for a natural freedom that is curtailed by the circumstances in which they must live, is not just happening in this moment. It stretches out through our lifetimes. And we certainly know about lifetimes. In our present lifetimes, we rely on memory for an understanding that we are on a journey; we rely on our ability to hope in order to reach toward a future that, without fail, keeps flowing over us like rain falling in a forest.
—–It is vitally important for our species, whom fate has appointed, through our prehensile thumbs and minds, to awaken to what we are doing to our own home. In fact, do we even think of this world as our home? When we feel at home somewhere, do we not try to add to its beauty and comfort? Do we not seek to give more than we take from that place?