The Red Balloon

I like the metaphor about humility I heard on a Joe and Charley tape when I was new. One of the guys said to imagine that my being is like a big red balloon. If the balloon is inflated to bursting with ego, there’s no room for Spirit to work in my life. The continuous action of the 12-steps deflates ego and creates empty space in my balloon. Since nature abhors a vacuum, Spirit rushes in to fill the void. I’m coming to believe humility is the empty space created when ego is deflated -- when I've let go of all my old ideas (absolutely!), even my ideas about God.

But here’s where it gets tricky for me... Ego wants no part of God or the 12 steps. So it comes up with some suggestions about how to get itself empty. (This even sounds silly!). My ego tells me to “take a meditation course, go to an ashram, read more spiritual books." 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", not doing. It’s living life completely on life’s terms. It's complete harmony with what is. There’s nothing I can do to consciously create humility. 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 God's 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.