Humble and Not Conceited (Metta Sutta #5)

This is a part of a series going line by line from the Metta Sutta. It starts here.

Humble and not conceited

It can be an incredible gift to oneself to give up being conceited. Normally we think of humility as being a gift to others and that is clearly true, but it is also an enormous burden to lay down. This line is not a call for false humility, and there is certainly no point in denying your own strengths. But putting up a false front is the other side of the same coin.

In the Buddhist world, this can come in the form of, “I am a very spiritual, very realized person.” Now, there is nothing wrong with having this as a goal, but it can be a wearying albatross to act more spiritual or more realized (or more whatever) than is true. It is a tremendous relief to simply put down that load and admit to yourself and others where you really stand. It is also important to remember how much we have to learn from other people. Humility means that we are able to listen with an open heart to the advice of others. Conceitedness is armor against the pain of criticism, but it’s also a barrier against the wisdom of others.

Just the other day my daughter said, “I like it when you’re nice.” You can’t get wisdom more concise than that.

The next article in this series is here.

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