Despite their shared etymology, there's a big difference between humility and humiliation. Humiliation is a condition experienced by a damaged ego, humility is a precursor of transcendent growth. Recently, Nature (in the form of a hurricane) humbled us here in New York City, but the surge that might sweep away everything of apparent value just serves to shine the jewel of the human spirit.
"Water finds it's power by seeking it's lowest point."
In the wake of the great storm so much has been lost that recovery might seem hopeless and impossible, but as that destructive wave strips the coast of every boardwalk and building, it's evolutionary erosion reveals the heart of transformation that is: Having "nothing." Being "nothing."
No one is much, really...yet everyone is everything, really. We're important to ourselves and to each each other because we are each other. I feel sorry for those who suffer, and although it may not seem like much consolation if you are one of them (and as silly and insensitive as it may sound), this is the moment that you can grab ahold of your bliss without anything getting in the way.
Everyone can look back over those experiences when Life humbled you in some unimaginable way and notice that immediately in the wake of that destruction there was a peace and simplicity – when being "tore up from the floor up" revealed the truly humble, sacred ground where the seeds of your life's greatest transmutations were planted.
We've been told this, over and over, through the whole of "wisdom scripture" that there's a special place of growth and realization reserved by Creation for those who have been "broken open" to the potential of The Divine. It's a particularly easy landscape to see then because there's so little left to block your view. What tends to be right in front of you is what unconditional Love makes constantly available – there are people there to help. The slate is cleared for one to realize what's important in life. Morning always follows the Dark Night of the Soul.
Sure, a nice house is nice to have, and actually not any more impossible to replace than it ever was to get. A million bucks is good to have, but if it was in cash under your bed, it might have been swept out to sea too. If you have great material wealth, you're defined by it; your efforts are divided by the need to manage it. If you're famous, you have to work at odds to protect your privacy, and to promote your own fame – to "re-up" the very ego that kicks you when you're down, as you will be again at some point. The hurricane is coming for all of us at one time or another.
There's a lot more to this life than what meets the eye, the mouth, the hands, the body, the intellect and ambitions. We're working towards something largely unknown but widely suspected, and more and more widely understood as these lives and life lessons enlarge our collective consciousness.
"Blessed are the poor, for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven."
Yeshua, The Gospel of Thomas, 54
Then it helps to recognize that fear as something of a friend; a necessary passage you'll survive. In fact, as counterintuitive as it seems, it may be there to help. Loss of possessions becomes the opening for for even greater acquisitions of previously unimaginable fulfillment. After all, what else is there to lose? You're alive – reunited with the truest, simplest foundation of our being.
"Water flows continually into the ocean, but the ocean is never disturbed: Desire flows into the mind of the seer, but he is never disturbed. The seer knows the peace that becomes clear when desire is forgotten. He lives without expectations and selfish needs: Free from ego, free from pride.
Krishna, The Bhagavad Gita 2:70-71
When our will is squashed by circumstances beyond our control, this level of humility is forced upon us; but really it's a gift, a tool – an esoteric mechanism that we can employ – a "reset button" that's guaranteed to make life much easier, more enjoyable, and more meaningful in any and every moment. It's the true touchstone to Grace that's available anytime we release our material demands and desires, and become willing to treat ourselves to the possibillities that exist when everything of "value" has been swept away by the storm of a lifetime.
If we can get in touch with that real humility any time that life seems hardest (I AM nothing without You), then just visiting that purest, most elemental ground of being is always guaranteed to turn everything around.
As someone who has even "lost their life," I can testify that it may be the only way to find a better one.
That is how we start to become every life and every day – as "nothing"...and as "nobody."
Read about this and much more in the latest book: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor, from Llewellyn Worldwide; and the first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond. Both are available everywhere – but ask for them at your local bookstore!