Becoming Zero: The Power of Humility

One of the most transformational books I’ve read is, “Gandhi: How One Man Changed Himself to Change the World,” by Eknath Easwaran.  In this book, Easwaran cites one of the great sources of Gandhi’s power as his frequent meditations on becoming zero.

What does it mean to meditate on becoming zero?  I understand it as focusing on complete humility.  The ego may easily trick us into thinking we are big and important and that the problems we face are worthy of thought and concern.  Yet, if instead focused on ‘being zero,’ we’d all probably quickly realize how trivial so many of our ‘problems’ really are.  Becoming zero and embracing humility allows us to connect with the greater whole of humanity.  It can also help us realize how we always have plenty to be grateful for, and in so many ways we were blessed with bodies, minds, and existence itself without necessarily earning it in any way.  The Creator gave us life for free!   Merely existing and being able to say, “I am” is a profound testimony to the awesomeness of Creation.  What more could we ask for?

Humility may initially seem like an expression of weakness, yet ultimately it is a source of great strength.  From humility not only follows deep appreciation and reverence for life, but it also includes an embrace of ignorance.  When we accept ourselves as ignorant, we open ourselves up to the possibility of exploring the world freely without conforming to the status quo or allowing limitations to be placed on our actions. Embracing ignorance opens us more fully to allowing experience to be our teacher.  It also illuminates to us the irrationality of so many of our fears which might try to limit us from following our hearts.

From a mindset of humility, one moves through the world on a quest of dedicated service to the Highest Good, without much of a focus on one’s own personal concerns.  A humble person will still take care of basic needs, yet the orientation one has towards life extends outwardly to serving all of humanity, not just one’s own interests.  A humble person might very well imagine themselves as a single cell in the organism of humanity, slowly but surely playing it’s role as a servant to the welfare of all humanity, not just itself.

My Experience with ‘Becoming Zero’

About a week ago, my word for the day was ‘zero,’ so as I walked or breathed I would think of zero.  When I allowed the concept of zero to fill me, I felt myself become smaller.  And, the smaller I became, the more I found myself smiling.  As I continued to accept my smallness, the less I resisted the present moment and the more I grew in acceptance of everything around me.  As I grew in acceptance, I couldn’t help but smile.  I accepted the transient nature of my own bodily existence and let go.  My ego was trying to tell me to go places and talk more and think about the future, but when I focused more and more on zero, all of the futuristic thinking and concerns for status and approval simply faded away.  I was free!

In becoming smaller, I grew tremendously in my openness and connection with the Present Moment, and I felt completely free to smile and enjoy.  As I began to smile more, my friend who I was with turned to a Bible passage about not concerning ourselves with trying to write the Word of God on paper, but instead allowing the Word to be written on our hearts.  So maybe it’s time to stop writing so much?  Then again, just yesterday I read a prescription followed by geniuses according to David Hawkins in his book Power vs. Force: “Do what you like to do best, and do it to the very best of your ability.”  So here I am, writing…and…Loving!

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