“Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.”
– Andrew Murray, Humility
“Pride is a spiritual cancer. It eats up the possibility of love, contentment or even common sense.”
– C.S. Lewis
Battling with pride is indeed part of the human condition. I notice the ways in which it has separated me from others — the need to be right, to be noticed and to accomplish more in order to feel worthy. It has created a false sense of self, built on shaky ground, one where the illusion of control dictates my sense of security and well-being.
Through my spiritual practice, I’ve found a quietness and humility that lives within. A deeper, wider center ready and willing to surrender and relinquish control. Humility is the key to setting pride free. When pride arises, we can ask ourselves, “How can I accept what is happening right now, seek help or guidance, and take actions that benefit all living beings?”
Below are a few tips for dealing with pride when it arises:
1) Be aware when fear and/or the inclination to control a situation, person or thing arises. Keep your heart open and focused on your intentions. Remember, where faith exists, fear cannot.
2) Look for meaning and the gift in every experience – no matter how challenging it may be. Embrace all experiences as an opportunity to connect more deeply to yourself, others and the world around you.
3) Look for like minded people who share similar values and are committed to growth.
4) Strengthen your capacity to be still and silent. This can be accomplished through meditation, sitting in nature, Tai Chi or other practices that cultivate mindfulness.
We cannot control the thoughts, feelings and physical sensations that arise. However, we can begin to become aware of them, name them and return to a resource (breath, feet on the ground, inner resource etc.) so as to not become consumed by them. The art of welcoming is beautifully expressed in the poem below.
Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;
Opening to my loss,
I gain the embrace of the universe;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.
Each condition I flee from pursues me,
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed
Into its radiant jewel-like essence.
I bow to the one who has made it so,
Who has crafted this Master Game.
To play it is pure delight;
to honor its form – true devotion.–Jennifer Welwood
What are you devoted to? Do you take actions that serve you in leading to prideful accomplishment? Experiment with trying to take action (in thought, word and deed) that serve the greater good.