Humility Does Not Have To Be Self-Effacing

There’s a song I came across early last year, Madari, which is about the relationship between a person and their god. The singer sings to their god calling them “Madari” (which means master) and they describe themselves as “Jamoora” (which is like the one who obeys the master).

Now Madari and Jamoora are master and servant in an artsy way. A Madari has a little handheld drum and he flicks his wrist to sound this drum, and the Jamoora responds to those drum beats and dances or does tricks. It’s very precise and follows a routine. They’re perfectly in sync.

When I first heard the song, I thought “gosh how demeaning- I’m not controlled by the flicking of anyone else’s wrist!”

Until I realized… I actually am.

There is within me both Jamoora and Madari. Present moment me- Jamoora Jaya- is constantly dancing to the beat of Madari Jaya’s drum. Madari Jaya is all of me: past, present, future, conscious, unconscious, the energy I’ve absorbed from my experiences and relationships, my trauma, my beliefs, everything. And Madari Jaya flicks her wrist and Jamoora Jaya responds without fail in the present moment. Madari blends into Jamoora and Jamoora into Madari.

We perform together.

What does this have to do with humility? Well the idea that Madari Jaya – that part of me which is great and powerful and vast and expansive and wise and all that – isn’t actually something Jamoora Jaya – present me – can ever access fully in a single moment. Present moment me is small. Limited. Dependent. Yet not alone.

Jamoora Jaya accepts her limitations in the present moment with humility. Knowing that there’s a lot that goes into making me who I am, making my instincts what they are, shaping my actions the way they turn out. And I can’t access or control these things, they control me. But also knowing that they’re not fixed or controlling me in a disempowering way – more in a loving guidance way. And what I do now in this moment shapes how the Madari will guide me in the future.

It might sound like it’s not real humility if I’m being humble before myself. We are used to equating humility with being self-effacing. But this form of humility is distinctly self-enhancing. And yet it is valid humility, because it is rooted in acknowledgement of reality and perspective.

The truth is that we are all greater and smaller than we like to accept. The Madari within us IS great and the Jamoora within us IS small and dependent. But if the Jamoora humbly walks with the Madari, it takes away friction, takes away ideas of greatness that are in the Jamoora’s way, while not taking greatness (and therefore strength and agency) away from the person, because they are still in the Madari.

Sometimes in emotionally difficult moments, when my present experience is killing me, I sometimes say a little prayer:

“Madari Jaya,
I know this isn’t too great for you,
even though it feels like it’s too great for me.
Help me hold this”.

And this humility, grounded in the reality of my own weakness and my own strength, always sees me through.

2 thoughts on “Humility Does Not Have To Be Self-Effacing

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