Humility has recently been recognized as “the new smart” – an essential approach to thriving in the workplace in an increasingly technological age. It has also been referred to in numerous books as the key component of successful leadership. In an article on corporate leadership around the world, The Economist reports, “If leadership has a secret sauce, it may well be humility.” And it is hinted at in the “overview effect,” which describes the transformative shift experienced by astronauts when first viewing Earth from space, leading them to feel an intense awe over the interconnectedness of all things.
Many are facing times of great transition because of rapid innovation, changing politics, and their own personal changes. I’ve found that key to moving successfully through these shifting currents of thought is letting go of a personal sense of ego and its related fears. People from all walks of life can access a humility that empowers them with an openness and a selfless expectancy of good. In Christian Science, humility brings to light a greater sense of God, Love, being completely in control. This leads to a more permanent peace through an intelligent understanding of our universal unity with God and with one another.
Christian Science is based on the words and works of Christ Jesus, whose model of humility, self-knowledge, and love shows the healing that results from putting God first. His instruction to his disciples is just as relevant today: “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). The genius of humility is how it moves thought toward God, divine Spirit, allowing us to turn down personal ego, let go of self-preoccupation, and see that the kingdom of heaven, or God’s reign of harmony, is right at hand.
My first aha moment with humility came when I started kayaking and racing on white-water rivers. With a great respect for the power of a river, I knew that I had much to learn. I realized I could never “conquer” a river’s rapids (the very idea seemed absurd) and knew that either a personal sense of bravado or its flip side of fear and doubt would cloud my ability to think clearly and wisely. So I got self out of the way, and as I did so I was alert, receptive, and ready to be fully engaged with the river. It was as exhilarating as it was humbling and inspiring.
This experience became a bedrock lesson in practicing Christian Science, as the premise of healing in this Science is to discern and yield to the power of God, recognizing that healing is the effect of the power and grace of an all-loving God, the divine Principle, not a personal achievement.
Yet true humility doesn’t dismiss the brilliance and distinction of an individual. Rather, it recognizes that these are natural consequences of our spiritual origin in God. One’s identity is never diminished or absorbed by God’s allness, but is maintained and sustained by God in all its original radiance. “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains: “The infinite Principle is reflected by the infinite idea and spiritual individuality.... The human capacities are enlarged and perfected in proportion as humanity gains the true conception of man and God” (p. 258).
Humility lets God’s love shine through, and this can bless and enrich not just oneself, but others. In the consciousness of divine Love that humility brings, we are safe, alert, and receptive, allowing us to see more good and new opportunities.
Humility as a superpower? Yes! And in the exercise of humility, each of us can be empowered to move safely and confidently through the shifting currents of thought, glorifying God as Love and staying open and receptive to new possibilities.
Adapted from an editorial published in the Aug. 27, 2018, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.