Step Forty-Six

Grow beyond self-imposed limitations

Step 46. I Must Be Small To Be Great.
Is it a contradiction that you must be small to be great? It is not a contradiction if you understand its meaning. Recognizing your limitations allows you to work in a limited context very successfully. This demonstrates a greater reality than you could have realized before. Your greatness must not be based merely on hope or high expectation. It must not be founded on idealism but on true experience. Allow yourself to be small, and you will experience that greatness is with you and that greatness is part of you.

In your two practice periods today, allow yourself to be limited but without judgment. There is no condemnation. Actively engage your mind in focusing on your limitations. Focus without condemnation. Look objectively. You are meant to be a vehicle for a Greater Reality to express itself in this world. Your vehicle for expression is quite limited, but it is fully adequate to accomplish the task that is yours to accomplish. In accepting its limitations, you can understand its mechanism and learn to work with it constructively. Then it is no longer a limitation but a form of joyful expression for you.

Practice 46:
Two 15-minute practice periods.

Here you will find the entire book free for download

Here you will find pointers for getting started if this is your first encounter with this practice: Taking the Steps to Knowledge.

December 24, 2012 Round One: For me this Step leads on from the last one, it is a continued lesson in humility. Being small for me means being humble, which in turn does not mean disparaging myself, or thinking of myself as a lowly, unworthy being, rather it means recognizing that I am fallible, that I am teachable, that I still have a lot to learn, bringing myself back down to size (if I have been engaged in self-aggrandizement), becoming aware that I don’t know it all, that if I am capable of greater things, it is not due to my own merits, but because I am allowing Knowledge to work through me. So this is what being a vehicle means to me, being a tool, a means, a channel, if you will, for bringing something beneficial into the world. So it has more to do with the mind for me than the body. 

In the context of this Step, I recall a book I used to read to my children when they were small called The Little Me and THE GREAT ME that talks about God being a Partner, that all a child has to do is breathe in the Great Me, and the Spirit of God comes in with the air he or she breathes and then the child is happy and loving and kind. But it means a conscious choice, the child has to want to be the Great Me and breathe in the spirit of God, thus becoming God’s Partner.

So even though I am small, one small part in the whole, I can still express the greatness of the Greater Reality because Knowledge works through me.

August 16, 2014 Round Two: First practice – I am limited by the confines of my surface mind, I am limited by the confines of my physical body, I am limited by the fantasies of my imagination, my vehicle for expression is limited, but this does not mean I cannot accomplish anything. I can always overcome my limitations if I put my mind to it and become a joyful expression of something greater.

Second practice – Perhaps the whole concept of overcoming limitations is erroneous. This is not what is called for. I need to work with the limitations I have to create something greater. Be great even though I am small and limited. What this Step is asking me to do is realize that what I perceive as limitations are not limitations at all. It is only my perception of limitation that is limiting. In actual fact, there are no limitations, there is nothing stopping me from reaching beyond, thinking in ways that challenge the usual way of thinking, believing I can do what is commonly considered impossible. For in actual fact, nothing is impossible. The only thing that makes it impossible is my belief that it is so. Instead I can believe that everything is possible and be a vehicle for a Greater Reality to be expressed in the world.

In Chapter 4. What is Knowledge? in Greater Community Spirituality, I read:

"Stretching beyond your own ideas and assumptions and reaching out for something which is greater that transcends them is an act of courage, integrity and commitment to your personal development and to true contribution in life. This is the road to Knowledge."
This speaks to me in the context of this Step.

I think it is all about having a healthy and strong personality. It is about knowing who I am, knowing what I can do, knowing what my limitations are, and knowing where I am going.

This is my small self.

But I have the capacity to go beyond this. I can go beyond my identity.

John Bradshaw says, “when you love, you go beyond your ego, beyond your identity, to someone else. When you generate and are productive and care for life, you go beyond your own ego. I truly believe that you can’t be a fully actualized person living only for yourself.”

I think this is probably true. To be great I need to go beyond myself, my small self, but first I need to recognize I am small.

August 2, 2018 Round Three: Again I am to concentrate on my limitations to realize my greatness and how my limited self can be a vehicle for expression in the world. I am meant to be a vehicle for a Greater Reality and my vehicle for expression is quite limited, but fully up to the task. I accept my limitations and thus embrace my greatness. I like what I wrote the last time. I think I got it. It makes sense.

First 15-min practice - 5.00 - 5.15 sitting on the bench in the garden. It was clear, cool and refreshing. White clouds studded the blue sky. The sun was touching the treetops. I am small, but I can express greatness in the world. Even the smallest star or particle can shine with a great light. I accept my limited vehicle, my body with all its imperfections, my mind with its limited thoughts and ideas, for they are the channel through which I am able to express greatness in the world.

My life has taken on a new and deeper feeling of joy, it has more substance and quality now that I have to deal with Volodya’s presence. I am happy that his presence is not diminishing my joy. I am becoming ever confident that I am in the right place and nothing will budge me. Volodya’s presence is a fleeting irritation, a temporary wobble in the aspic jelly.

Second 15-min practice - 13.20 - 13.35. Sitting in the front room after lunch. Weary, after a long walk in the hot sun, two dips in the cold river. Hottest day this year. We are all small particles in the whole, but without each small part the whole would be incomplete. Each small part adds to the greatness of the whole. I am a small particle in the whole and I have so much to give!


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