Here is one tip that is often overlooked.
Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu left only eight verses of His personal composition, known as the Siksashtaka verses. Of those eight verses, the third verse is often considered the crown jewel among them. Trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna/ amanina manadena kirtaniyan sada harih: "One can chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than the tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respects to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly."
Humility is one of the qualities that Lord Caitanya is emphasizing in this teaching. One who is serious about pursuing spiritual life must cultivate this most essential quality in order to attract Krishna's mercy. Becoming humble is difficult enough, what to speak of becoming more humble than a blade of grass. Let us look at one helpful way that is commonly overlooked.
Offer no Resistance
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains that grass doesn't resist when it is walked upon or thrown around. It doesn't complain or scream out, "How dare you step on me or throw me here and there!" As they say in America, "It goes with the flow."
Most people resist negative things. When someone tells us what they don't like about us or point out a mistake we made, we are probably not delighted to hear what they have to say. We want to be loved, not evaluated.
Dale Carnegie, the famous American writer, said the desire to be appreciated is one of our greatest needs. It is almost like one of the fundamental activities every living being does: eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. Tell someone how great they are and even if they know you are exaggerating, they'll still eat it up. We are hungry for appreciation and respect.
Lord Caitanya says, amanina manadena: one should offer all respect to others and should not demand or seek respect for oneself. When our peers do better than us, do we feel happy? Do we appreciate what they've done or do we feel concerned or upset that we are not getting as much attention as they are? Do we sometimes not even acknowledge their success? ("Anyone could have done that. It's no big deal.") Do we seek more to be appreciated than to appreciate? Although we are hungry for honor, respect, and appreciation, it's not a good diet for spiritual advancement.
Lord Caitanya exemplified this quality in His dealings with others. When Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, a great impersonalist philosopher, wanted to teach Vedanta philosophy to Lord Caitanya, the Lord humbly accepted the proposal. And for seven consecutive days, He submissively heard from the Bhattacarya without any resistance. He didn't declare His godhood and object to being a student. Although the philosophy of impersonalism was directly opposed to the Vaishnava philosophy that Lord Caitanya wanted to propagate, He humbly heard and tolerated all that Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya was trying to teach.
Are you afraid to ask?
It's not difficult to see how we are doing in the humility department, if we are willing to look. Of course, it's possible that our ego can become so inflated that it blocks our vision. But don't worry; the rest of the world can see things clearly, and we can take advantage of it by taking their opinion.
Few of us ever ask such questions of our friends, family, or co-workers. Why? There may be many reasons, but the biggest is fear. We are afraid to ask for feedback because we are afraid of what we might hear.
We might think that I'd rather die than have to get feedback. If this is the case, it means there is a bit of resistance going on inside us. And humility means no resistance. (It's interesting, but sad, that we can think of humility in many different ways without ever touching on the concept of resistance.)
If you are married, ask your spouse how you are doing as a partner. Ask your children how you are doing as a parent. Ask your friends how you are doing as a friend. In business or job, ask the people under you how you could change your behavior in a way that would improve your job. As practicing devotees, we must ask for feedback from other devotees about our service and sadhana.
If we feel uneasy about asking for feedback, that means there is some resistance in doing these things. Is this the most difficult thing for us to do? What makes it difficult?
We have a specific image of ourselves. If we ask for feedback from those around us, we might find that others don't see us in the same glorious way we see ourselves. That could be painfully difficult to accept. 50 rather than confront this unpleasant reality, we prefer to remain in our own secure world of illusion and not ask others for that kind of reality check.
We can usually learn more about our self from those around us than from anywhere else. It requires humility and courage to ask for opinions of others, and it is one of the best things we can do for our self.
so if getting feedback will help you become more humble, this is a great blessing. And those who give you feedback are the great blessings in your life.