I like the metaphor of humility I heard on a Joe and Charley tape. One of the guys said to imagine that my being is like a balloon. If the balloon is fully inflated with ego, there’s no room for God to work in my life. As I become right sized and my ego shrinks there is an empty space in my being. Since nature abhors a vacuum, Spirit fills the void. Humility is empty space created when ego is deflated-- when I've let go of all my old ideas, even my ideas about God.
But here’s where it gets tricky for me... as soon as I think that emptiness creates humility, my ego starts to plan and scheme about how to get itself empty. (This even sounds silly!) It attaches itself to the desire to be empty and then makes non-stop suggestions about what I should do to achieve this empty state. My ego tells me to “do more service, work the steps, pray and meditate more, read another spiritual book.” I feel better when I do these things, but I’m learning that feeling better does not mean I have gained one iota of humility.
I’m learning that humility is a quality of "being-ness". It is not a product of doing anything. It’s living life completely on life’s terms. There’s nothing I can do to consciously create this empty space. Certainly the steps and service help to right size me, but there’s no formula to God consciousness. It's all a gift from God on its time, not mine.
I can’t try to be humble. Even talking or writing about humility fills the space with ego. Humility is so anonymous that the right hand doesn’t even know what the left hand is doing. I'm not there yet.