Most of what we do—maintaining a home, raising a family, holding a job—is relatively worthwhile and culturally approved. Trouble is, everything relative involves pain, death and disappointment. We seek compensation for this through the ardent pursuit of pleasant experiences. But pleasant experiences are essentially meaningless, and eventually we find ourselves in a state of disenchantment. We wonder: What is infinitely worthwhile? Absolutely worthwhile? And we are abruptly aware that the vaunted mind cannot help us.
Being profoundly misunderstood, humility exists in the collective mind as a set of self-effacing behaviours. But humility has no qualities; gives us nothing to look at. Humility is the radical absence of self-concern.
According to the apophatic method of self-inquiry, the via negativa of the Desert Fathers, I discover who I am through a process of self-obliteration. By being unflinchingly clear about who I am not. Okay, let’s get started. I am not what I do. I am not what I have done.