Humbleness by Gary Zukav

by Gary Zukav

The characteristics of an authentically empowered personality are humbleness, clarity, forgiveness and love. Love is the big one. Have the courage to feel the sensations beneath the impulse to shout in anger, withdraw in jealousy, judge or disdain, or need to please, for example. Instead of acting on it, act from the healthiest part of yourself that you can access – even if that means simply remaining motionless and silent with a good intention for the person or people you are with> In doing so, you create authentic power. The more you create authentic power, the more the characteristics of authentic power become your characteristics, and the more meaning, purpose and joy enter your life.

This spring through the beginning of summer, I am going to explore each of the characteristics of an authentically empowered personality in a different article. This month I am beginning with characteristic of authentic power that few people have thought about – humbleness. What do you think it is, really? What do you think it is not, really? And last, why do you think it would be good to develop humbleness?


A humble person walks in a familiar world. He or she sees friends everywhere he or she looks, wherever he or she goes, with whomever he or she meets. His or her perception goes beyond the shell of appearance and into essence. He or she sees the attributes of people around him or her – big body, small body, strong body, weak body, quick intellect, slow intellect, yellow skin, brown skin, male or female, young or old – and on and on – as costumes. He or she does not believe that anyone will change this costume at the end of the day, but he or she also knows that everyone will leave it behind at the end of a lifetime. Ashes will return to ashes, and dust will return to dust. That is the way it is with costumes. They do not last forever. They do not even last very long – a century at best and much less for most people. The soul is a different story. The soul is immortal.

So the humble person is not as interested in these temporary clothes as in what is wearing them. The soul is wearing them. When a friend walks into the room with a dress or suit that you do not like, do you stop liking your friend? You know about her. You know her challenges, hopes, and aspirations. You know how difficult her life is, as is yours, and that it also has experiences of elation, joy, and contentment, or at least how much she wants to have these experiences. You cannot feel superior to her because you know how much your life is like hers. The humble person see everyone as a friend because he or she knows that everyone’s life is as complex and as difficult as his or her own. How could he or she ever push anyone away who is on the same challenging journey that he or she is on, and so often struggling just as hard. That is what makes the world friendly to a humble person. He or she sees the soul that is wearing the costume and he or she loves that soul, even if the personality (costume) is difficult to be around for too long, or is angry, or jealous.

The next time you feel less than someone else, inadequate, or inferior, remember that “humbleness” doesn’t have anything to do with those experiences any more than it means lowering yourself to make a connection. There are no lower levels to a humble person. There are no higher levels, either. There are only souls. There is only love. Humbleness is one of the great gifts of authentic power – and you give it to yourself.

Next month, I will look at “clarity.” It might surprise you, too.


Reprinted from Seat of the Soul Institute

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About the Author | Gary Zukav

Gary Zukav is one of the most famous American spiritual teachers and has written four New York Times’ best sellers. He has appeared on Oprah more than 30 times and continuously inspires the world with his words of wisdom.

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1 comment to "Humbleness by Gary Zukav"

  • Barbara Bohling

    Thank you so much for such inspiration!

    I’m a 53 year old, post-menopausal woman. I’ve always been a very loving spirit. My sister told me that I love too deeply – that it is my gift and my curse. Because of this, I’ve been used as a “doormat” so to speak. All my life, people have told me, “You’re too nice”. I never learned how to say no.

    I’ve always been too naive. Through the years, I realized that most people, women in particular, don’t like cheerful, loving women. I understand now, that women were threatened by me because men were either annoyed or viewed me as easy prey.

    It took years before I understood why women spoke badly of me, usually behind my back, and why men, usually married, would come on to me.

    I finally just withdrew completely. My marriage was over years ago – my husband became interested in other women. Even though we’re still married, he just decided one day that he was a free man and removed his wedding ring. To be honest, I just don’t care anymore.

    I’m now become bitter yet feel that I brought this all on myself – for being too loving. I never learned how to protect myself. I just gave it all away, freely. I’ve become fearful, suspicious, paranoid and untrusting.

    I don’t know how to live in this world anymore, so I’ve chosen to hide.

    I have a 13 year old daughter that, a late-life baby, that I fear will become like me. She was just like me. So happy, loving with such a free spirit. For obvious reasons, I’m over-protective.

    Unfortunately, she was bullied her first day of junior high and it changed her completely. She now wants to be home-schooled. I want her to be emotionally healthy but I’m afraid I’ve ruined any chance of that happening.

    I’m sure this all sounds typical, it’s just that I read, daily, how love should be the driving force in my life. What used to be a natural response is now lost. I don’t know how to love. More accurately, I’m afraid to love anyone other than my children. (I have two older daughters from a previous (abusive) marriage.)

    I will start with trying to just be humble. Maybe this can be the first step to re-emergence….baby steps.

    Thank you again for your kindness, authenticity and generosity. I haven’t given up hope, I just need a starting place. I believe you’ve given that to me today.


    Barbara Bohling