29 December 2008
I've written previously about MysticSaint's blog, a blog where you can spend hours reading about spirituality. I thought his post today, The Work of Becoming Human, was not only excellent but timely.
What is this work of becoming "human"? I know that the longer I walk this path the more I "change." well, maybe not "change" in the usual definition as a transitive verb (yes, I was an English major!):
"To cause to be different; to give a completely different form or appearance to; to give and receive reciprocally; to exchange for or replace with another, usually of the same kind or category; to lay aside, abandon, or leave for another."
But maybe more so as an intransitive verb:
"To become different or undergo alteration; to undergo transformation or transition; To go from one phase to another, as the moon or the seasons."
I especially like the last line: "to go from one phase to another, as the moon or the seasons."
When I began my teacher training about 7 years ago and especially when I wanted to go to India for the first time three years ago, the man in my life was not supportive of me whatsoever. In fact, he was negative about my plans to become a teacher and then especially later about my plans to study in India. Finally one day after years of negativity I calmly asked him, "what is it about my spirituality that scares you so much?" He said, "you've changed." I told him that no, I had not changed, I've always been like this, only now I am deeper, and it's just that he had never noticed it in all these years of being together. He had stopped growing and I had not. Or put another way, maybe his growth was at a snail's pace and mine was exponential.
I got back into yoga in the mid-1990s after dabbling in it over 30 years ago. Only this time, now, I was in the right phase of my life to be able to immerse myself in it. It is said that one discovers or re-discovers one's essential Self on this path and I know that I re-discovered that which I had put on a shelf many years ago. So just as fine wine becomes more deeply embodied in richness or the sound of a violin becomes sweeter with age, so I have become more conscious through this practice. As I move into this final season of my life, I know that my phases will continue to change as do the faces of the moon, because if they did not, I will have learned nothing from yoga. If I did not transform, I will have stopped becoming more human.
Carl Rogers, the founder of humanistic psychology, wrote On Becoming a Person. Rogers emphasized the concept of "self-actualization" and he believed that self-actualization implies that there is an internal force that calls to develop one's capacities and talents to the fullest, that it is the individual's central motivation to learn and to grow. Growth occurs when the individual develops new aspects of their skills, capacities, and views about life. Life is an endless process of creatively moving forward even if only in small ways. Life, therefore, is a verb and not a noun.
What is your idea of becoming more human? I always ask my students to bring yoga off the mat and into their lives. As a yoga practitioner how do you incorporate into your consciousness all the levels of being on which a human can be called "conscious"? and if you are conscious, do you believe yourself to be truly awake?
Complete Human Being: Spiritual Qualities
Self-Knowledge - The degree to which we know ourselves - our weakness, limitations, characteristics, motivations.
Self-Control - The ability to guide and transcend the promptings of the self.
Objective Knowledge - A knowledge that is in accord both with the practical needs of life and an objective Reality that can be known through an awakened and purified heart.
Inner Wisdom - The ability to access guidance and meaning from within oneself.
Being - The capacity to remain in a state of presence, to consciously witness experience.
Selfless love - A love for God and His creations without selfish motives.
Sustaining the Divine Perspective - The ability to always see events and people from the highest perspective of Love and Unity and not to slip into egoistic judgment and opinion.
Divine Intimacy - Awareness of one's connection of the Divine Source.
(thanks for the inspiration today, MysticSaint!)