To think clearly is also about discovering our humility. Put differently, finding our humility means to discover our ground, the base from which we can take effective and wise action. Wise action is the outcome of a healthier view of ourselves. The essence of any purposeful inquiry is therefore something like a homing-in on what that ground in our being is. How do we get there, and why should we be excited about the prospect of embarking upon such a journey?
Most people who have become successful in their field would probably say that they did not get to where they are today alone. That in fact they were accompanied along the way by a whole host of people of greater or lesser significance to them who supported them in countless ways and held the mirror up to their shortcomings and blind spots. They helped them learn the all-important trick of getting out of their own way. When we come together to share the inquiry, this is precisely what we are doing: we are helping each other get out of our own way, and offering one another a valuable opportunity to experience what it means.
There may be a question about what constitutes success. Too often we see people pointing to net worth, plush offices, palatial homes or expensive cars as indicators of success. And from a certain point of view, they could be said to be right. But it is important to remember that these are people for whom financial returns is an important part of the puzzle of their own success they are piecing together: they are what they wanted to be. It doesn’t have to be that way. What answer we give to the question of how we view a successful version of ourselves may throw up all kinds of qualities and values that have little to do with money. For many, financial success is only a by-product of true passion.
Etymologically, the word ‘humility’ comes from the idea of ground, or earth. To be humble is not to be submissive: it means to have one’s feet on the ground, to be down-to-earth, eyes-wide-open and real. So much of inner inquiry comes down to this dressing-down, this dropping of views and opinions and relating to what is without prejudice. It is from the clarity of our ground that we discover wisdom in action.