Yogananda was once asked how can we become more humble? He replied “humility comes from seeing God, not yourself as the Doer. When you see him acting through you, how can you be proud of anything you do? I could sit here all day singing my own praises: It would mean nothing to me. I would know that I was giving praises only to God. Humility lies in the heart; it is not a ‘put-up job. You must actually feel that everything you do is accomplished by Him alone, through you.”
Yogananda is saying that spirit alone, our actual life force, is the real doer of all of our actions. And it is also what actually gives and experiences all that we think we experience by ourselves as separate beings. He is stating Buddha’s teaching that there is no separate self in different words. If there is no separate self, no separate entity that we can find as our actual identity, then our idea of being the doer is just as illusory as our idea of being a separate self.
When we’re willing to engage our life with awareness of these deep questions of being a separate self, of being the doer, we begin to actually live these questions in our daily activity and experience. It is our living these questions that reveals the truth of Yogananda’s and Buddha’s teachings. There are no conceptual answers to life’s deepest questions.
For me, this inquiry revolves around trying to find the actual separate self that I think I am, trying to find this doer of my virtuous and harmful activity. There is no finding here. What is actually here and now is not what we think about it. It is actually free of what we think about it. Adyashanti said about these questions, “The not finding is the true finding!”
There is also no finding of any qualities that we can possess, good or bad, including humility. The wisdom of selfless behavior is not attached in any way to being humble, or self sacrificing. It is simply spontaneous straightforward action with the clear and blissful feeling and realization that the alive mystery of our being is the true doer, and is our true identity.
So how do we live this way? What I try to practice is to just offer all desires and fears to God, to the mystery of our being, to our inter-being with all beings. This doesn’t mean to offer all of our experience to the Divine in a dualistic way. This offering means allowing all of our desires and fears to just be as they actually are, thus we learn to no longer abide in them or be attached to them. We’re learning to live in the essence of selfless humble behavior without clinging to our ideas about what this is.