Without Humility There Is No Virtue

There is a little bridge across the river only meant for people; it is fairly quiet there. The river was full of light and a big barge was going up, full of sand brought from the beaches; it was fine, clean sand. There was a heap of it in the park, purposely put there for children to play with. There were several and they were making deep tunnels, a big castle with a moat around it; they were having great fun. It was a pleasant day, fairly cool, the sun not too strong and there was dampness in the air; more trees were turning brown and yellow and there was the smell of autumn. The trees were getting ready for the winter; many branches were already naked, black against the pale sky; every tree had its own pattern of colour, in varying strength, from the russet brown to pale yellow. Even in dying they were beautiful. It was a pleasant evening full of light and peace, in spite of the roar of the traffic. There are a few flowers on the terrace, and this morning, the yellow ones were more bright and eager than ever; in the early morning light they seemed more awake and had more colour, much more so than their neighbours. The east was beginning to get brighter and there was that otherness in the room; it had been there for some hours. On waking in the middle of the night, it was there, something wholly objective which no thought or imagination could possibly bring about. Again, on waking the body was perfectly still, without any movement as was also the brain. The brain was not dormant but very much awake, watching without any interpretation. It was the strength of unapproachable purity, with an energy that was startling. It was there, ever new, ever penetrating. It wasn’t just outside there in the room or on the terrace, it was inside and outside but there was no division. It was something in which the whole mind and heart were caught up and the mind and heart ceased to be. There is no virtue, only humility; where it is, there is all virtue. Social morality is not virtue; it is merely an adjustment to a pattern and that pattern varies and changes according to time and climate. It is made respectable by society and organized religion, but it is not virtue. Morality, as recognized by church, society, is not virtue; morality is put together, it conforms; it can be taught and practised; It can be brought about through reward and punishment, through compulsion. Influence shapes morality as does propaganda. In the structure of society there are varying degrees of morality, of different shades. But it is not virtue. Virtue is not of time and influence; it cannot be cultivated; it is not the result of control and discipline; it is not a result at all as it has no cause. It cannot be made respectable. Virtue is not divisible as goodness, charity, brotherly love and so on. It is not the product of an environment, of social affluence or poverty nor of the monastery nor of any dogma. It is not born out of a cunning brain; it is not the outcome of thought and emotion; nor is it a revolt against social morality, with its respectability; a revolt is a reaction and a reaction is a modified continuity of what has been. Humility cannot be cultivated; when it is, it is pride taking on the cloak of humility which has become respectable. Vanity can never become humility, any more than love can become hate. Violence cannot become non-violence; violence has to cease. Humility is not an ideal to be pursued; ideals have no reality; only what is has reality. Humility is not the opposite of pride; it has no opposite. All opposites are interrelated and humility has no relationship with pride. Pride has to end, not by any decision or discipline or for some profit; it ceases only in the flame of attention, not in the contradiction and confusion of concentration. To see pride, outwardly and inwardly, in its many forms, is the ending of it. To see it is to be attentive to every movement of pride; in attention there is no choice. There is attention only in the active present; it cannot be trained; if it is, then it becomes another cunning faculty of the brain and humility is not its product. There is attention when the brain is utterly still, alive and sensitive, but still. There is no centre from which to attend whereas concentration has a centre, with its exclusions. Attention, the complete and instant seeing of the whole significance of pride, ends pride. This awakened “state” is humility. Attention is virtue, for in it flowers goodness and charity. Without humility there is no virtue.