How humility protects us from the ego’s trident?


Our ego often acts like a trident that pierces us with three prongs: grandiosity, blame and shame. 

Grandiosity: When we set out to achieve something, our ego makes us believe that we are extraordinary and are entitled to blaze our way to success. Such grandiosity often makes us look down at others who we think are not as talented as we are. By such condescension, the ego makes us a pain for others to live with. And by thus distancing others from us, it makes us lonely and unhappy — even when our grandiose dreams come true. 

Blame: When we are unable to actualize our grandiose dreams, the ego tries to protect itself by blaming others. When we keep looking for scapegoats and refuse to take responsibility for our shortcomings and mistakes, we can’t grow; instead, we stagnate or even degrade, thereby setting ourselves up for misery. 

Shame: When the ego can’t find anyone to blame, then it starts imploding into itself. It beats us down, making us believe that we are worthless, useless, hopeless. By pitting us against ourselves, shame strips us of our energy for self-improvement; instead, it makes us depressed or even suicidal. 

How can we shield ourselves from the ego’s trident? Through humility, which is the gateway to knowledge (Bhagavad-gita 13.08).  

Gita wisdom explains that we are parts of a whole far bigger than ourselves: the all-attractive supreme, Krishna. We have intrinsic self-worth because we are eternally loved by him as his precious parts, irrespective of whether we succeed or fail in our endeavors. By humbly acknowledging that we are parts, not the whole, and by playing our part in a mood of devotional service, we can find inner security and satisfaction, thereby transcending the ego’s delusions.  

One-sentence summary:

By helping us experience spiritual self-worth, humility shields us from the ego’s trident of grandiosity, blame and shame.

Think it over:

  • How does the ego hurt us through grandiosity? How does humility protect us?
  • How does the ego hurt us through blame? How does humility protect us?
  • How does the ego hurt us through shame? How does humility protect us?

 

To know more about this verse, please click on the image

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