Recently at a family gathering, a friend of ours approached my son Josh and asked if he had any “messages for him.” This is something our friend does often. He believes, as do I, that in Josh’s pure and uncomplicated heart he is able to see and feel things that most of us miss. Josh looked at him and said simply “you need to make yourself smaller so people can hug you.” While it is true that our friend is very tall, Josh wasn’t speaking to his physical stature or even to his heart. He was speaking to his ego, and bless him, this man has a healthy one. I was struck by this comment and it got me thinking.
When we are living our lives from a place of ego, we are blocking goodness from us. Think on it, when you are knowingly or unknowingly feeding your ego, how huggable are you in those moments? The Zohar, verse 21 of Chayei Sarah explains that The Creator delights in those who transcend pride and self-interest, raising them in stature, whereas He diminishes those who inflate themselves with self-importance and vanity. Greatness in the world above is attained by behaving with humility and selflessness here in the physical realm. Kabbalistically speaking, he who is small is great. And we’re not talking about shrinking. We’re talking about transcending
Kabbalistically speaking, he who is small is great. And we’re not talking about shrinking. We’re talking about transcending ego. While we are the most familiar with the aggrandized ego, the flipside is less noticeable but just as detrimental. This is the diminished ego, what many of us think of when we think of being “small.”
An aggrandized ego wants everyone to respect them, they want to be the center of attention, and want everything their way. The diminished ego wants to hide, shrink, and situate themselves and their lives in a way that makes others happy and more comfortable. This makes them feel good about themselves. They’re two sides of ego, but ego all the same.
Spiritual smallness, the type of “small” that Josh and the Zohar both refer to, is something else altogether. Spiritual smallness is switching our perspective from what we are getting, to what we are giving. It means to live with an open hand, to dedicate ourselves to sharing for the sake of sharing, to turn our gaze from what we are acquiring in our physical life to how we are transforming in our spiritual life. Truthfully, to be small in a way to please others is a great disservice not only to yourself but to others as well. Michael Berg speaks frequently about how little we understand our own potential and greatness. Not grasping this truth and not actively working to reveal your greatness is the greatest disservice of all.
What Josh was saying to our friend was that if he wants to experience the blessings that are meant for him, he needs to shift his focus from self to sharing. It’s a message that we all need a little reminding of sometimes. As we are in the month of Virgo and look toward Rosh Hashanah, we have an opportunity to begin to take stock of where we might need to be a bit smaller.
What areas of your life are tipped a little too far into ego? Is there an area of your life where your ego is more aggrandized? How can you shift to stepping out of the spotlight and into service? If you feel that you lend yourself more to a diminished ego, can you think of areas where you become less than your best self for others’ comfort simply to not “rock the boat” or to please them because this is how you feel significant?
Whatever the case may be, as you shift into an expression of spiritual smallness you are creating an opening for blessings. How do you do this? Do one action of kindness every day. Shift your consciousness from “what am I getting?” to “how can I give more?” Wake up each day with the intention to appreciate everything you already have. Step outside your comfort zone and do something that scares you. These are all steps you can take to move away from ego and into transformation. While they seem small in the 1% world of the physical, they are giant in the world of the unseen. Make small changes, take small steps, and do so from a place of loving kindness. As you do, you’ll notice your life can finally “hug” you.
THOUGHT INTO ACTION
What are some ways you can make yourself spiritually smaller? Ego loves to hide in places of comfort, so do something outside of your comfort zone today, find a way to give, and nurture your gratitude.