13th Tenet of the Code – Be Humble
The MDI Code of Honor was created by the men of what was then known as the Sterling Men’s Divisions. It was intended to reflect some very basic core values that all men could rally behind and support.
Back in the late 1990s the men of the Western Region created an ark which contained 15 different pieces of word. Each stick was made of a specific type of wood and bore a specific design that reflected the way in which the men of the Western Region related to the tenets of the Code of Honor. The ark has made its way throughout North America and men throughout MDI have had the opportunity to connect with it. I had the honor serving as the caretaker for the ark and was moved to write a bit on how I related to the Code.
The wood which represents this tenet is Bamboo – Bamboo is a grass and grows like a weed wherever it takes root. One shoot is virtually indistinguishable from the next. Yet it demonstrates incredible strength and versatility in its uses.
Symbol: Appropriately there are no symbols or markings on this stick.
Many men think being humble means being submissive or putting yourself down. It means just the opposite. To have humility is to be strong enough to rise above the needs of your ego. To have such a strong enough sense of self that you need not feel compelled to prove yourself or have your words win the day.
Humility is the opposite of the Ego. The ego is the natural enemy of relationship. When you are humble there is room for you to respect others and the world around you. In that space you can see just how much there is to learn. It is to appreciate, as Earl Weaver once said that, “The smarter I get the more I realize how much I don’t know.”
To be humble I embrace what Zen Buddhists call a “beginner’s mind”. The student of such a practice approaches everything as if it is new, as if it is being seen and experienced for the first time. It is all new. Every aspect is fascinating and unknown. Every facet contains new information and new experiences. Since I operate from the place that I do not already know how to do something or have the right answer, I allow myself to be taught by the experience. There is an opportunity to grow and to gain energy from the excitement of stepping into the unknown. It is to avoid the temptation to relate to others by saying, “I’ve done that” or “I know what you mean” or thinking that you know what is in another’s mind.
To practice the discipline of humility is to master the art of the true magician and to be driven by great questions rather than being lead in the direction of fulfilling a pre-existing answer.
It is adhering to the constant reminder that everything that transpires is not personal but is part of a much larger picture.
To be humble is to approach everything and everyone in your life with a beginner’s mind.