"Humility is a much-misunderstood word and state. We often conceive of it as self-deprecation, replete with images of groveling and refusing to accept anything positive being given to or said about ourselves. The dictionary defines humility as being humble, which in turn it defines as having a low opinion of oneself and one's important merit, feeling a lack of worth, having an abject attitude and demeanor, as well as the absence of vanity and pride. The first part of this definition sounds pretty much like the opposite pole of pride discussed earlier, reflecting the perspective of the personality in which pride and self-disparagement are the only options.

"From a spiritual perspective — that is, from outside the realm of the personality — humility is something quite different. When we understand what humility is from this objective perspective, we see that the personality imitates it in the distorted form of diminishing oneself. Ichazo's definition of humility gives us a good clue to its meaning in the sense of being a true virtue:

"It is acceptance of the limits of the body, its capacities. The intellect holds unreal beliefs about its own powers. The body knows precisely what it can and cannot do. Humility in its largest sense is the knowledge of the true human position in the cosmic scale.

"To paraphrase this in language more applicable to our discussion, humility is the recognition and acknowledgement of both our limitations and our capacities. When we are identified with our personality structure, we experience ourselves through beliefs about ourselves, both inflated and deflated ones, as we have discussed at length. When we are objective about ourselves, we know not only the limits of our body but of our soul. And finally, humility is an inner knowing of not only our personal place but of the place of humanity within the cosmos.

"Humility, then, is seeing ourselves and our abilities clearly. It is realism that distinguishes the passion and the virtue of this point. It is a realistic self-assessment grounded in how we actually are, not as we might wish ourselves to be. It involves the absence of the superimposition of our idealized image over our sense of ourselves."