On the Journey: Humility

The Mar issue of On the Journey has arrived! HERE
This month, UU Journey Groups will be exploring HUMILITY. Don't miss it, and don't miss your Journey Group meeting to get together to work with this theme!

The Mar issue of On the Journey features
  • poems from Kobayashi Issa, Jane Taylor, Emily Dickinson, Seamus Heaney, John Bunyan, Charles Simic, and Jan Levitt
  • a quotations page of 33 provocative, witty, or trenchant remarks
  • Commentaries by Rev. Scott Tayler, Pema Chodron, David Brooks, Roger Fisher, and Beverly Flaxington
  • A link to a Carl Sagan video
  • a spiritual exercise for the month
  • a page of intriguing questions
The Questions Page. Select one or two questions to “live into” -- carry around with you for a few days before your group meets. Then share your thoughts or musings with your group.
  1. Has your view of humility changed as you've grown older? Does it mean something different to you now than it did 10 years ago? 20 years ago? Even 30? If it has changed, why? How has that change changed you?
  2. Have you ever had a hard time drawing the line between humility and humiliation? Humility isnt’ (or shouldn’t be) about being a doormat. Have you ever been seduced into believing that "staying small” or “sacrificing yourself" is virtuous? Who or what helps you learn that one can be humble and worthy at the same time? Or are you still trying to learn that?
  3. Has humility ever been dangerous for you? Humble people are honest about their flaws, but being honest about your flaws also leaves you vulnerable. Has this ever got you stomped on? Manipulated? What have you learned about the importance of being “selectively humble”?
  4. Do think humility is different for men and women? Are the costs of humility different for one sex than they are for the other? What about the dangers? The rewards?
  5. Are you happy with your ability to ask for advice or take criticism? When was the last time you genuinely asked for advice or were truly glad for "constructive criticism”? And if you can't remember the last time, what's up with that?
  6. Do you humbly share credit, or do you slyly keep it for yourself? Do you spread the praise? Appreciate others’ contributions? Acknowledge your indebtedness?
  7. Have you mastered the humility of withholding judgment?
  8. When you're hurting, do you humbly ask for help or proudly put on a smiley face and hide your pain?
  9. Has your lack of humility ever made you miss out? What have you held yourself back from, for fear of looking silly or lacking control (dance lessons, learning to ski, risking a date, going back to school)? Is that humility or is it pride?
  10. How much did you earn what you have? In what ways are you, too, guilty of “being born on third base and thinking you hit a triple”? How much are you defined by your accomplishments and status? Do you give enough credit to grace?
  11. How does our culture’s emphasis on wealth-attainment and self-indulgence effect you? Messages prizing the attainment of material wealth and encouraging self-indulgence bombard us daily. We are not entirely free of these expectations. How can we be a member of this society and also nurture and maintain a personal spirit of humility?
  12. What’s your question about humility? Is there some other question that’s niggling at you?
Questions from the poems and commentaries.
  • Is it arrogant to keep one’s house swept clean of spiders?
  • Does humility accentuate beauty?
  • These “meek members of the resurrection”: is this what many living imagine they are and will continue to be in death? Is their humility false?
  • “To labor and not seek reward” – is that “self-forgetful or agony”? What lesson to you find in the mythic St. Kevin?
  • Does humility (sometimes?) have an ulterior motive? If it does, it really humility?
  • Have you felt important (exalted?) lessons were in humble objects? The last line suggests that this, too, is a projection of ego. Do you think it is?
  • Epistemic humility: abandoning pretenses of knowledge. If we acknowledge frankly that we don’t know how to be in the world, does this increase or ease our difficulties?
  • Is awareness of grace the essence of humility?
  • “For us, humility is about sight,” says Tayler. Is that what humility is about? How well do UUs truly know the things claimed for us in his last paragraph? How well do you?
  • Can you be grateful to those who annoy you? Does such gratitude facilitate humility?
  • Is Brooks correct about a “tectonic shift in culture”? What does this shift mean for how you live?
  • What has been your experience of humility, or the lack of it, among those working for social justice?
  • Do Flaxington’s five suggestions seem helpful? How would your assess yourself on these five?
The link to the current and all past issues of On the Journey can always be found at cucmatters.org/p/journey-groups.htm

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