The fifth truism we'd need to realize is that of G-d's greatness and
In fact, we needn't go any further than to observe our own inner and outer
beings to do that. After all, our G-d-given bodies are uncanny blends of
otherworldly precision and wonder, and our minds and hearts are more
marbled, and flecked than anything the angels could imagine. And G-d alone
behind it all.
Yet we manage to credit ourselves for a lot of that somehow. The great and
holy ones who learned to surrender to G-d's wishes never did that. The
for example, "collapsed, bowed and prostrated themselves before angels
they encountered them", and those selfsame angels "could only bow and
themselves before G-d Himself" in full realization of their own paltriness.
And besides, as Ibn Pakudah put it, we'd also do well to "think of all the
ways G-d's will manifests itself in creation -- in the sun, moon and
spheres, the earth and all therein, all the minerals, plants and animals",
to dwell on "man's own stature; his stature in relation to the earth; the
earth's stature in relation to the moon; the moon's stature in relation to
higher spheres; and the stature of all that in relation to G-d's own
and we couldn't help but humble ourselves to Him.
Sixth, we're to realize that the humble and unassuming are "always
in the end, while the arrogant and haughty always suffer." For as it's
"G-d encourages the humble and lowers the wicked to the ground" (Psalms
"The humble will inherit the world" (Ibid. 37:11), etc.
Of course, we don't always see or experience that ourselves, and the
of modern literature and culture seems to draw us to the opposite
But the arduous, sincere student of Torah will catch sight of that truism
him- or herself as it's depicted there, and will see it play itself out in
And seventh, we're to note "how often the world changes, how swiftly
and governments change hands, ... how the annihilation of one people paves
the way for the advancement of another, and how the end of all is death".
once we do we'll surely surrender our wills to G-d's, for we'll have
to pride ourselves on what we have or have done, which is all so
Ibn Pakudah ends this chapter with this poignant remark. If we do indeed
learn our lessons well and come to surrender to G-d's will and wishes, he
us, then all "the misfortunes that come in the aftermath of arrogance,
haughtiness, and grandiosity we'd mentioned will depart from you, and
saved from sin and stumbling" -- i.e., from pain, error, illusion, and
kind private and G-dless anguish that the emphatically self-assertive know
only too well.