Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Honoring Your Humanness

Maybe it’s just my own perception, but it seems to me that spiritual philosophy is moving away from placing more importance on acknowledging our spiritual nature, to honoring our human nature. I used to hear more of traditions that sought to overcome the baser aspects of being human, in favor of being continually connected to ourselves as perfect spirit, and above petty human stuff.

From the perspective of spirit, we are of course holy and perfect in all that we create, but what about the perspective of mind and body? Can we honor those as completely as we honor spirit within us?

In our bodies, we are vulnerable. We experience emotions that bowl us over in their intensity. We feel anger and shame and grief, more than we can handle sometimes. We get really sick and feel terrible. We age, and try to adapt as our bodies feel foreign to us in their increasing fragility. We worry and try and then try some more, to find happiness and meaning, and somehow get our lives right.  Sometimes, life is just plain messy.

Who wouldn’t want to transcend this human condition and live in awareness of themselves as pure spirit, as much of the time as is humanly possible?

I wouldn’t. The older I get, the more I’m learning to settle in to the intensity of being human, riding the peaks and valleys of my experience not without fear, but with as much grace as I can muster up. Some days that works better than others.

I’m finding that the intensity is what being human is all about. In truth, I live for the petty human stuff.  I could spend all of my waking hours in quiet contemplation of my spiritual nature, but I know myself well enough to know that divine intelligence would still find big ways to challenge me.

I am here, in this vulnerable body and with this mind that sometimes gets confused or overwhelmed, having a glorious human experience. As my husband says when we’re backpacking, when his knee hurts, “I have a knee,” and he is grateful. I have a knee, and therefore, I am. It’s like that with every part of being human.

I embrace my mind that forgets things a little more than it used to. I have a mind, therefore, I am. I embrace my ankles that take a moment in the morning to lose their stiffness. I have ankles, therefore, I am. And I walk, and am grateful. I embrace every part of this delightful, turbulent, scary, exhilarating, confusing and enlightening ride that is being human. In doing so, I experience as completely as possible, the gift of being me.

Thank you, God, for such a gift.  May this tool be a blessing. . .


  1. I love this post! I don't think trying to spend our entire lives in rapturous awareness of our spiritual nature is the point of human life. We're here to experience, to love ourselves not just in spite of our idiosyncrasies, but because of them! "riding the peaks and valleys of my experience not without fear, but with as much grace as I can muster..." That's beautiful and I think that's the point. You also touched on gratitude and for me, when life gets to be too much and I don't think I can deal with it, I retreat in gratitude. I stop and think of all the things I have. I have a mind, if it's laden and heavy right now, it means I have a mind. If my heart is breaking, it means I have a heart. What a wonderful life!

  2. Yes!! Thank you, awitchtrying!

  3. I agree with you Sherry, accepting life as it is, accepting being human and loving it is a great way to find to God.
    Many people search for enlightenment, unity with God and more by leaving all their material belongings behind, breaking their ties to friends and family and just flee from the world. I believe you have to be in this world and see God in it.
    Much Love

  4. Hi Sherry,

    I am a 66 year old male. Until recently I struggled with the conflict of being human and seeking a higher spirituality. That is until one day when a friend said to me something to the effect that "you are simply BEINGhuman." Then it clicked. "I AM HERE to EXPERIENCE BEING HUMAN." I finally realize, I am SUPPOSE to be human. I can be spirit for an eternity, but being human... maybe only a few hundred times... (grin)... "EXPERIENCING what I already KNOW.

    Now, I can look myself in the mirror in complete peace, knowing I am SUPPOSE to be human and experience all accordingly.

    Thank you and Namaste,
    John Nail

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