Cockiness & Humility

I was always cocky, but nobody ever challenged me about it until I met Karaj. Even then, it took a couple of years for my arrogance to flourish because for the first half of my training I did little else but ask questions and soak up the wisdom and knowledge on offer. Because of my desire, Karaj had a responsibility to honour my commitment to discover the truth. He had to make sure I was shown the right path. In this way, the commitment demonstrated by either one of us, demanded commitment from the other.

It wasn’t until the final two years that my cockiness was fully revealed, and I was challenged heavily and regularly as a consequence. Becoming cocky was the ultimate conclusion to my learning during those four years. Karaj warned me it would happen and when it came he did everything he could to mitigate it, but it wasn’t enough. I had to leave.

This week has been different. I returned to the house six days ago and Karaj has been highly complimentary about the progress I have made in the intervening years. His feedback and praise have been beyond anything he said to me during the early years and yet, paradoxically, I have accepted his words with a calmness which eluded me throughout my training.

My relaxed acceptance is partly due to the fact that it has been hard work, but also because I am acutely aware of the dangers of getting cocky. In our conversation this evening, Karaj highlighted once again how easy it is to lose everything just through arrogance. He recounted stories of holy men on the brink of enlightenment who sabotaged their life’s work by being (too) pleased with themselves at the end.

Now, ten years later, we have both moved on and there is more humility in our relationship than ever before. When we spoke in January, Karaj explained that he was facing the toughest challenge of his life and I wondered what I would find when I arrived. Within minutes he seemed better than I expected and within an hour I was saying to myself, ‘He’s fine’.

His situation has made him more humble and, in turn, his humility has made it easier for me to access mine. Furthermore, in finalising this post we established that my presence this week has added to his humility, cornering him in the most beautiful way. The details of this discovery gave us both great insight when we realised what has happened, and is the subject of tomorrow’s post, the final one in this series.

I offered him a gift this week and it touched him deeply. And I have read extracts from my writing, which have shown him how good he is. He has had to receive what I gave him. It was not a straightforward process for him, but once he saw that if he did not accept my generosity he would ruin his life’s work – just like the holy men in his stories – it was a simple step for him to take what I had to give. As he said: ‘In order to receive, you have to be humble. And when unconditional love is being offered, humility is all there is.

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