Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein
What is Human Nature?
I’ve been wondering about this thing we call “human nature”? Usually, when we use this term it is meant to justify something negative: “Conflict is inevitable, it’s just human nature; money corrupts, it’s just human nature; Survival of the fittest, it’s just human nature...” Everything associated with “It’s just human nature” seems to separate us, cause division and remove us from the larger system of which we are an integral part! When we forget that we are nature, we are in effect saying that we’ve lost our connection with ourselves! Nature is not out there, we are simply part of a brilliant, coherent and interdependent life support system. Perhaps a better question to ask is, “what is the true nature of humans?”
We have named ourselves homo sapien, which means “wise man”! In shamanic and mystical traditions the shaman, elder or medicine person would never call themselves by these names. It is the community that names them. We are not separate from the community to which we belong, even if we believe we don’t belong. Most people of highly evolved spiritual wisdom are generally quite humble. Our true nature arises in our authentic, interconnected relationships with each other and the world. Everyone and everything is connected and the myth of separation, the rugged individualism, and the blame game only lead us deeper and deeper into suffering, dis-ease and the destruction of that which feeds life.
Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is. Albert Camus
Futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard coined the term Homo Universalis, “the birth of a new human that has a universal spirituality that personally incarnates the impulse of evolution!” When we consciously say yes to this impulse it reveals to us our soul’s true nature as evolutionary pilgrims. From the place of being nature we can hear the emergent future and the characteristics of higher consciousness, greater connection, co-creation and interdependency. To hear the silent whisper of the future we need to become still and listen with our whole body and being!
Could it be that our species is awakening to its individual, collective and evolutionary purpose? When the future appears dark and foreboding it is a sign that something must change. It seems that the first thing that needs to change is our wanting to be somewhere other than where we are, which means we are never really here! In the Way of the Mystic we explore presencing, a verb that describes the process of bringing perception and presence into focus on what’s happening moment to moment within and around us. Real change doesn’t come from being what and where we’re not, it comes from being precise about where and who we are being moment to moment. When we allow things to be as they are, the conditions for real change emerge. In order to get to where we want to go we need to know where we are!
It is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it. Wendell Berry
We seem to be a species that is constantly looking for answers, but perhaps we are asking the wrong questions. Like Rilke said, “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.”* When we answer a question too quicklywe murder the vast array of other potential interpretations, insights and intuitive possibilities. Can we for a moment allow ourselves to dwell in not knowing? Ah, but then we would have to let go of our persistent need to be in control and embrace the wisdom of uncertainty as well as meet the fears that drive the quest to be somewhere other than where we are.
For many years of my corporate life I taught the 3 R’s of Leadership, respect, responsibility and reverence. Respect means to look again newly, to go beyond the limits of our “already always knowing'', and cultivate a sense of curiosity, awe and wonder towards the world and our relationship to it. Responsibility means the ability to authentically and consciously respond rather than react. Reaction is always based on the past, responsibility is being attuned to the emergent future. Reverence is born of humility and means to honor, bless and hold in high esteem, beginning with our own natural and authentic being.
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. The Dalai Lama
So what is the true nature of being human? I believe, with all my heart, that it is to love and evolve. We were not born bad or sinful as some religions would have us believe. We were born into original goodness and we will encounter many barriers to the true expression of the innate love that the creator has bestowed upon us. But, those barriers are not in the way, they are the way to discovering “the love that surpasses all understanding!” It is the love of perception, precision and presence that connects us to each other, to our ancestors, and to our natural place in the family of all that is, was and ever will be.
In our search for happiness and personal fulfillment we miss the ecstatic joy of just being. Can we develop the compassion and love towards ourselves that we are constantly looking to the outer world to provide for us? Can we allow ourselves to see that we are whole and complete just as we are in this moment? Are we willing to give ourselves the gift of presence and let go of the endless search for more of what we really don’t need? I hope you will engage with me in these questions as we traverse our way into being the evolutionary human we were born to be.
Thank you for being part of the Well of Light family. We are here to serve you in the great awakening that is happening all around us.
With love and gratitude, Michael & the Well of Light Team
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. Mother Teresa
*Full Rilke quote: I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.