What Makes Us Human?….

Rohini Reflections, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

What makes us human is a level of consciousness that goes beyond the five senses and a basic striving, a basic will to live.

What makes us human is a degree of consciousness that allows us to perceive, to desire, to will, and to be transformed into Love on a universal level.

What makes us human is Love. Love in the greater sense rather than the lower levels of attachment, which are merely will and desire.

Animals possess will; they desire to live, whatever that means for them. The will to live is encoded in all of us; it is the most basic form of Love. A true human being transcends personal will, transcends personal desire, to and for the greater Love of All.

If the will to live is the most basic expression of Love, then if I feel my life is being threatened in any way, I will actively destroy what is preventing me from living. We see that all around us now. Isn’t that what we all do individually—defend our idea of living?

The Love that a human being is capable of, that full consciousness, is for all—not just for a selfish individual. So if I am truly human, then I want the right to live, and to Love, for all.

We therefore need to choose consciousness if we want to be human, to Love, to transform our desire by disciplining our wills to turn to the Heart. Only then can we begin to Love as God Loves us.

But if we are clouded, if we are numb, we will not, we cannot Love. We are selfish. Our humanity is gone. We are not conscious. The person or people who put explosives in that ambulance in Kabul the other day thought they were conscious, thought they were sure, thought they knew what they were doing and that it was the right thing to wreak destruction. Somewhere they felt their lives were being threatened, because their beliefs on how to live were being threatened. They saw themselves as making a sacrifice for a greater good when all they were doing was destroying themselves and others.

How many times do we blame and destroy because we are so sure we know what is going on, what life is, and what it means? And we reject Love because our lower form of desire—which is will—is devoted purely to our shrunken self’s narrative, a misguided understanding of who we are. Our lives are not threatened; our narratives are. And that is enough for us to do terrible things to ourselves and to others.

Last week’s blog discussed asmita, the loss of subject in object. This is not the same as avidya, or ignorance. In Sanskrit, vidya is knowledge; avidya is not the lack of knowledge but a different kind of knowledge—in this case, a shrunken, limited knowledge in which we take the non-Self to be the Self, the unReal to be Real, the impermanent to be permanent. Asmita is a consequence of avidya: we lose sight of our true nature as the Self of All, as Love, and instead locate our subjectivity in our intellect, which is to the Self as the moon is to the sun—only a mirror.

So for us, the intellect—the mirror—is now “me”. I look in the mirror, it’s me. That’s I-ness, I am-ness, I am—but it isn’t the Self, our true identity. From this place of identifying with the intellect, we lose ourselves even further, in a panoply of wrong identifications. So once we get to “being” our bodies, our jobs, our cars, our anything, we are involuted completely into the material world. And we now cling for dear life to that shrunken existence. That is affliction.

Mired in this limited condition, we look for bliss, and maybe even for truth, but we avoid consciousness. Everyone wants Sat and Ananda, hold the Cit. We do not want to be conscious and therefore responsible. So we choose to be less than human. And we can make this choice to be less than human while convincing ourselves we are completely aware and fully human.

Baba used to say that you have to have a strong mind to get rid of your mind. We have to have agency to be able to give over our agency to God. Our wills have to be redirected to God, away from maintaining our wrong identification. And if we are strong enough to understand what we must do, we will surrender that shrunken self to uncover who we truly are: fully human, universal Love.

The wills of the people who chose to put the explosives in that ambulance were completely separate, sure, and honed in on their commitment to wrong understanding. They could not be more involuted away from God.

In our asmita, we appear to limit Sat-Cit-Ananda—Absolute Truth, Absolute Consciousness, and Absolute Bliss—to the small pleasures and indulgences of the shrunken self. We insist on seeing everything as it relates to us and our desires. We choose unconsciousness, when our humanity comes from our being conscious.

Through all this, the Self remains the Self. Our true nature abides beyond all ignorance and attachment. We will all eventually make the choice to return there. That is our destiny, and also our task. Sadhana is therefore not selfish; every step we take toward the Self is contributing a step toward Love for the whole world.

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