Once, a kindly teacher pointed out my arrogance. Arrogance. It is a word I had never considered as an attribute of who I saw myself to be. The word stung with a piercing quality and remains within me as a little ache, a memory of a lesson learned, a challenge to survey my own ego and to grow in compassion. It surely has been one of the most difficult hills to climb to see the other side of arrogance. Even still, arrogance often looms large. Letting go of arrogance is an ongoing task. Meditation and spiritual friendship has been the most helpful in highlighting and moving away from arrogance, allowing light to radiate from my truest nature. Indeed, if the purest quality within us is illuminated, we, with honest humility, move from a place of love and kindness, of genuine compassion for others, eclipsing the otherwise incessant rise of ego or arrogance.
“No sooner had Jesus come up out of the water than he saw the heavens torn apart and the spirit, like a dove, descending on him. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on you’”
(Matt. 3:16-17, Mark 1:10-11, Luke 3:21-22).
You are my Beloved. You are the Beloved. Spiritual friendship helps us to realize our own Beloved nature incarnate. There is a voice between words spoken in loving friendship that speaks from the mystery, whispering tenderly and clearly, “You are my beloved, on you my favor rests.” This voice rises above old voices that trap us by derogatory messages: “You are no good, bad, worthless. You must prove yourself.” Realizing the gift of honoring our own belovedness helps us to transcend these negative internal messages and, paradoxically, helps us to become more than we ever thought possible. In all our ordinariness, our simplicity, our truest nature of childlike wonder, we are so loved. We are able presence this for one another in friendship with a heightened capacity for intimacy. There is a freedom here, yes? We can offer to one another freedom from the call to social perfection, from striving, from even a pretense of ‘knowing’. In this, there is no longer a need for arrogance. We can simply let it fall away as we humbly lift our hearts to this gentle presence of love instead.
A Maitreya Ishwara teaching parallels this notion. “To grow and to enjoy life you need only to be consciously with what is so. There is nothing to do or achieve.” Maitreya Ishwara writes that “God is all there is, we are not separate from the Whole.” This understanding seeps in gradually, and slowly allows us to trust and accept ourselves as we are right now, helping us to realize that we do not need to live up to the ideals of any ego-based teaching. We can wordlessly rest in this awareness. Sitting silently with the empty fullness of a living Buddha, of Christ’s belovedness, we recognize that this amazing transformation of love and acceptance occurs within us too. A friend’s loving communion tenderly lifts us up into the warm and radiant light of consciousness beyond self-importance to true Self, where we are not separate.