Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Becoming more humble

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We have a brand spanking new page for a river of stones on Facebook - do come along and bring all your friends. There are still plenty of biscuits left. (Also known as cookies). 

I wrote about doing prostrations on my Planting Words blog today. What do you think about the links between ego and writing small stones? Is there a place for becoming more humble? Are there any disadvantages? I'd be very interested to read your thoughts as always. 

Right - better get on with writing my small stone for yesterday ; )


  1. I have always written "small stones" either in notebooks or on the net. I think finding the stone and writing it down is quite a humble act - sensing and noticing life. Wanting to share these experiences is a natural consequence and I don't believe it takes the "humbleness" out of writing small stones.

  2. This feels very pertinent for me right now. After reading yesterday's post about seeing the physical world without the need to decorate it or make it more artistic, I recognised that I have an automatic need to make things beautiful, to try to make my writing more poetic, is partly a way of saying, "Look at this pretty thing I did, please admire me for it." So shifting my attention to simply seeing and observing is a deepening and humbling experience.

  3. Very timely for me too. I keep succombing to thoughts that the small stones I'm posting are too plain and simple, not special enough - who am I out to impresss? Just this, over and over, is enough - that would truly be a lesson worth learning. Needless to say, I'm ok with bowing, but not really comfortable with prostrations...

  4. Both your blog post and your remarks yesterday have really got me thinking too, Fiona.

    I think it is hard to be truly humble; it is something we have to learn. Being humble is at odds with the ego. We spend our lives constructing our egos to the point whereby they enslave us with thoughts such as 'am I doing this right', 'why am I doing this' and my particular favourite, 'what will people think of me', and so on. To be humble means to strip away those layers, and that is a huge undertaking. And yes, I've been guilty of taking pains not to post anything anyone might think plain and uninspiring.

    I've just come from a Tai Chi class in which we do bow and give thanks. It took me a long time to feel comfortable with the idea, and I still feel self-conscious bowing if there's someone new to the class. I have a long way to go x

  5. Becoming humble - goes hand and hand with letting go of control. I have taken to writing my small stones late at night - My tired brain is finally stopped trying so hard. Words come tumbling out - but what is amazing even in this state I find like "Heartful" that I am still trying to make them pretty. At this time I have no idea what to think of that- Yoga is really great for learning to bow and stand proud. Finding the balance that is the thing.

  6. I feel that ego can get in the way of writing, while being humble can lead to a sense of wonder in the world if we can get away from the ego. At the same time being too humble can mean that we could be manipulated by others unless we exercise some discernment. Often writing can make me feel very vulnerable which can have a humbling effect in itself. Awareness of the uniqueness of the world and other beings is an art in itself!

  7. Interesting. Surely the very act of thinking up something to post, and posting it as opposed to just noticing and enjoying quietly, is an act of the ego?
    Im posting photos, to illustrate the thought that the stone comes from. Is that an act of the ego? probably!
    Is replying here a less than humble act?
    we wouldn't communicate at all if all we were doing was being humble.

    ('Humble' is a horrid word - very Uriah Heepish, to me! " I'm ever so 'umble yer 'onour...' when actually, the speaker was anything but and knew it! Good old Mr D. )

  8. I wonder if I am missing the point but every time I write it puts me in humble position. I feel uncertain nervous, but I make my self do this thing.
    Writing and the ability to use words to inspire is a gift but as always requires discipline and hard work.
    Putting yourself' out there' as a creative maker is incredibly humbling. Exposing your soft underbelly can be scary and even when people respond respond positively it is still humbling.
    I think partly I don't think I own this gift but am borrowing it for a while and I have a responsibility to do it well.
    And just to be clear I don't mean gift as an extraordinary talent or anything it is the same as cooking caring gardening..these things that sustain and reflect the nature of our creator..so we should try to do them well.
    And because I just got nervous writing this I showed my husband for affirmation.LOL.Circular discussions are great.

  9. I'm experiencing a kind of humility in doing the river of stones privately and celebrating more publicly the joy of those who are posting here and there...!

  10. Hi there, Actually, I never considered 'humility' and the 'act of writing' together. Personally, I just write because I want to, and I write what I want. I do it to please myself and to resolve the technical puzzles that arise from of trying to establish a link between form and content. I post it to give others the chance to read and comment if they wish, since it is interesting to get feedback, but the point of writing for me is not to please the audience. It's the process of creating and playing with language that I enjoy. The product and the process are therefore quite morally neutral. I guess it would be a different matter if I were using the written product to incite some kind of potentially destructive action, but more often than not, it's a chance to offer a reflection and have it reflected back. Ego is irrelevant.

  11. Love reading your comments. I suppose we have to be careful not to remember that humility is synonymous with powerlessness/a giving away of power... and Vanessa, yes, there were some Zen masters who stopped writing altogether because they felt it was impossible to do it without involving their ego, but then we wouldn't have any teachers at all, or conversation...

  12. It reminds me of the title of one of Dainin Katagiri's books You Have To Say Something....

    I think the title comes from a conversation he hd with Steve Hagan about what you've just been talking about.