The Zen Masters have a term called the “true man of no title”. I find it a personally interesting way of describing the radical yet freeing humility in which we may rest in Christ. The “true man of no title” refers to him or her who has become, in a way, transparent to personal slights, insults, inconveniences, and dissatisfactions with the way things are. This person no longer has an ego which it strives to protect from harm, or an ego which upsets them whenever things don’t go according to its will.
The Lord has shown us the way we should be: humble, meek, and obedient to His will. But no – we want everything to be according to our own wishes. We torture our own selves, we tire ourselves out and what have we achieved? The world will not move the way we want it to, which makes “his lordship” [the ego] very angry because things do not go according to his plan.Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica – Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives
As such, this person no longer needs to put on airs or masks for other people, so that they may like, respect, fear, or desire them. Imagine the freedom, the untrammeled ability to do the will of God, if we cared not what other people thought of us, and we were completely open and transparent to whatever God saw fit to befall us.
This is the radical humility that is not a burden, but rather a gift from God – a gift we should earnestly beg Him to grant us. It allows us to always maintain the peace of Christ which our loving Saviour so graciously granted through the gift of the Spirit. We can then confront the waters of chaos that this world is now inundated with, and walk towards Jesus on top of the waves.
However, we must always be watchful and vigilant – keeping our eyes and hearts fixed on Christ. We can see that our ego is awakened whenever we lose our peace – when our false self rebels at the audacity of events not going the way our imperious self demands. This is why we must pray without ceasing, doing our best to always remain in the Lord, and giving thanks in all things. Short repetitive prayers, just as the Jesus Prayer, have been recommended by the Desert and Eastern Fathers as a way of keeping vigilance, guarding against egotistical thoughts, and therefore maintaining peace.
The Abbot Evagrius said:Tormented by the thoughts and passions of the body, I went to find the Abbot Macarius. I said to him: ‘My father, give me a word that I may live by it’. Then Macarius said to me: ‘Attach the rope of the anchor to the rock and, by God’s grace, the ship will cross the diabolic waves of the deceptive sea and the tempest of the darkness of this vain world’. I said to him: ‘What is the ship, what is the rope, what is the rock?’ The Abbot Macarius said to me: “The boat is your heart: guard it. The rope is your spirit: attach it to our Lord Jesus Christ who is the rock that has power over all the diabolic waves and surges that the saints are contending with; for is it not easy to say with each breath: Our Lord Jesus, the Christ, have mercy on me; I bless You, my Lord Jesus, help me?Evagrius of Ponticus – from here