Humility includes an appreciation that our perception and thoughts about others, ourselves, events, and the world are subjective and tentative.
‘Subjective’ means that others perceiving the same event can have very different interpretations of that event. For example, we may argue with a loved one or colleague and later they report a very different experience of what they thought the argument was about.
‘Tentative’ suggests that each of us tends to change our own interpretation and perspective of the same event over time. We ourselves may have a very different experience of a particular argument than we did 10 years ago. We have phrases such as ‘when I was young and foolish’. The important point is that we’re now young and foolish relative to our older, wiser selves. Part of humility is practicing that appreciation and continually reminding ourselves that our way of seeing the world is changing over time.
In addition to the expectations we have of ourselves, others, and the world, we also frequently seem to have the ‘super-expectation’ that all of our expectations will be met. This ‘super-expectation’ has two parts. The first is the demand that the world must conform to our assumptions and expectations. The second is the prediction that it will. Unless we’re omniscient or omnipotent, those two aspects of our ‘super-expectation’ will often be unmet, leading to frustration, anger, anxiety, and depression. Part of humility is acknowledging that indeed not all our assumptions about the world are true and not all our predictions will come to pass. If that wasn’t the case, we would have little to learn. The ten million books in major libraries and billions of web pages on the internet are a testament of how much there is to yet learn. Next time we’re certain about what we think is true, we can bring those visuals to mind and at least pause before starting the arguments with others and ourselves.
Satsang begins at 6:00pm with silent meditation. Stay afterwards to share a hearty vegetarian soup with us. There is not charge for Satsang. Donations are always welcome.
Shani Robins, PhD
Shani Robins, PhD pioneered the field of Wisdom Therapy TM in 1998. He is a licensed Psychologist (PSY18795) by the California Board of Psychology and is the founder and director of the Wisdom Therapy Institute since 2000. He is an instructor at Stanford University Medical School’s Health Improvement and BeWell Programs and the Director of Clinical Training at Sofia University (Institute of Trans-personal Psychology). Dr. Robins received his B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from UCLA in 1989, his M.A. and PhD in Cognitive Experimental Psychology from U.C. Santa Barbara in 1996, completed a 2-year National Institute of Mental Health Postdoc at U.C. Irvine in 1999 and a PhD re-specialization in Clinical Psychology in 2002. He has published and has given numerous clinical workshops, invited talks, scientific conference presentations, and corporate consultations nationally and internationally on Wisdom Therapy TM and its relationship to cognition, emotions, stress reduction, relationships, workplace effectiveness, coping, emotional intelligence, performance, and organizational consulting.