Regardless of your spiritual background, most of you are probably familiar with the old saying, “Pride goeth before a fall.” Originating from a verse in the Book of Proverbs, it simply means that pride can somehow set you up for failure, and lead you down a destructive path. But why is that?
First of all, let’s clarify one thing. The kind of pride we are talking about here is not authentic pride. Authentic pride is a healthy sense of your own personal worth and value. You recognize that you have been blessed with a unique combination of talents, gifts, and abilities . . . but you also recognize that your accomplishments are the result of a co-creative endeavor between you and that Divine Universal Intelligence that many call God. It’s a “we” thing.
The kind of pride that precedes a “fall” does not recognize divine assistance. Instead, it credits all achievements solely to the self. It’s an “I” thing, revealed in statements such as “I did this,” or “I did that.” This false sense of pride comes from the ego—that part of you that tends to Edge God Out (E.G.O.).
When you Edge God Out you are no longer open to divine direction—to the divine guidance that is there to help you accomplish your goals and fulfill your dreams effortlessly. Instead, you have only your own intellect to rely on. And thus, your ability to make truly wise decisions and take truly wise actions becomes extremely limited. Struggle—and sometimes, trouble—often follows as a result.
I can’t help but wonder if pride, in part, contributed to the downfall of Ted Williams. Ted is the homeless man who recently made the national news when a video of him was posted on the Internet. People were surprised to discover that this man, who was begging for money on a street corner, had a remarkable gift—a “golden voice” that was ideal for radio and television broadcasting.
Although the overt cause of Ted’s trouble appears to be alcohol and drug addiction, Ted said something in an interview that I believe is quite telling. He said that before his life began to fall apart, “he took everything for granted.” He was never grateful for any of the blessings that appeared in his life, and he never thanked a Higher Power for any of the good things that came his way.
I don’t know if an attitude of gratitude would have been enough to have saved Ted from his “fall,” but I am certain about this, friends: If you want to live a life that is more joyful, more fulfilling, and remarkably effortless, then don’t let the “I” in “PRIDE” be your only guide.
Remember that you also have the help of something greater than yourself—the support of a Greater Intelligence and a Higher Power. And there is no better way to be open and receptive to the divine direction of that Intelligent Power, than to consciously acknowledge its presence in your life, and be continually grateful for its loving assistance.
As Meister Eckhart, the German philosopher and theologian, said:
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life
is ‘Thank You,’ that will be enough.”
© 2011 by Steven Lane Taylor
Author of Row, Row, Row Your Boat:
A Guide for Living Life in the Divine Flow