The Pillars of Virtue


3i 5indigo-signature-bannerHumilty

The fourth in a series of six posts on how the monastic life can teach us about the lives we lead and this thing we do.

“When the tempest rages, when the thunders roar and the lightening’s blaze around us it is then that the truly brave man stands firm at his post.” Martin Luther

Humility does not start with a low opinion of yourself.

Humility does not start with debasing yourself.

Humility does not start with a lack of awareness of the value of yourself.

“The soul is as obedient as she in humble and humble as she is obedient.” St Catherine of Sienna

You matter very much.

You were meant to be.

You have meaning.

“Humility is not cowardice. Meekness is not weakness. Humility and weakness are indeed spiritual powers.” Swami Sivananda

3i 1I am writing this long hand on paper. I am on my tenth side of A4. My lap top is poorly and I cannot wait to write.  I will use DJ’s computer to type this up as I think my lap top has a virus. I have not backed my computer up and nor has DJ done it for me. Two weeks ago he bought a device that backs up both our computers. He has yet to do mine.

Lack of humility: Stupid DJ did not get around backing up my lap top. Lots of my work will be lost. I should do it myself in future. I can’t trust him.

Lack of humility: I am so stupid. I should have backed up my work but I didn’t because I am useless. I am furious with myself – I’m always screwing up.

“The childlike smile of serene humility.” Karl Wilheim Friedrich Schlegel

Humility means correctly seeing the value of all people, including yourself. We often connect it to seeing the value of others but if you do not practise awareness of the value of yourself then you will never get in enough practise to see the value of others.

“Ungrateful people are not patient.” St Catherine of Sienna

I am sometimes harsh to DJ, at times in my head and at times out loud. I suspect I am more focussed on him than others. I am more likely to show patience to others than him. But I love him and this kind, caring, wise man loves me back, so why am I so harsh?

3i 2I have not practised humility with myself and this lack of practise is a double edged sword that attacks outward as well as inward.

“Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds. Lay first the foundation of humility.” St Augustine

I am hard on myself, very hard.

I suspect many of us are, but the submissive woman with low self esteem is an expert of self flagellation. I have not practised kindness on myself. I cut myself twenty times a day with an unpleasant observation. In the past, when under pressure I would extend this practise to DJ as he sat flicking through TV channels, holding his fork wrongly or breathing.

This was a lack of humility, not just because I disparaged DJ but because I placed myself on the pedestal of self disgust and disapproval. I put myself above and beneath all others in my expectations.

Humility is seeing oneself truly. It the middle path, neither disgust nor adulation.

“True humility is contentment.” Henri Frederic Amiel

The second edge of the sword is my selfish and vain insistence not to see the value in myself and thus to wilfully ignore how DJ sees me. Humility trains you to see yourself through the eyes of those who love you.

Humility is trusting him when he tells you that you are beautiful. It is staying silent instead of seeking to ‘improve’ him. Humility is an awareness and gratitude for you have.

“’Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say.  I say that one a lot. ‘Thank you’ expresses extreme gratitude, humility and understanding.” Alice Walker

I accept that sometimes I get spanked or punished for reasons that DJ will decide. I also accept that there is nothing wrong with me. I am a whole person, worthy of love. These two elements are not in conflict. That is humility.

3i 4


  • Check yourself when you criticise yourself or others. Would you say that to a child? To your friend?
  • Improve yourself with kindness. Do not aim to improve anyone else.
  • Lay the foundation of humility with gratitude. Silently or aloud give thanks for what you have around you.
  • Thank him for punishing you.3i 3

8 Responses to “The Pillars of Virtue”

  1. 1 Danielle♡

    I had to refresh the page because it’s not Wednesday and I visit this blog so much. Indigo, I love how your voice comes out so eloquently and it always hits me to the core. I, too, am hardest on myself and it’s a habit that I’m constantly working to shake. But, reading this has helped me put it more in perspective. Thank you 🙂

  2. I agree withDanielle with what she wrote and also liked the pictures too in this post of women getting spanked.

  3. I learned a lot as I read here regarding humility. Sometimes I believe we feel as if we are alone in regards to our thoughts and struggles. This was an excellent post and helped me reflect on ways to improve!

  4. 4 Anonymous

    Excellent observations. My entire theology is built on the idea that “humility is embracing the truth” as part of the foundation. I’m quite enjoying this series of posts, even more than the excellent usual pieces from you.

  5. 5 Lily

    Thank you, Indigo.
    Thank you, DJ, for hosting Indigo’s posts.

  6. Another wonderful meditation. So right. Thanks Indigo. Hope the laptop gets sorted!!

  7. 7 MrJ

    “You matter very much.=You were meant to be.- You have meaning.
    Humility means correctly seeing the value of all people, including yourself. ”

    This is trul beatifully put nd deepy true. Thank you, Indigo.

  8. This is honest and solid –a real structure to think about more. And true of all of us, I think. Thank you for sharing parts of yourself here. You matter very much to me.

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