What is it to be human? I don't mean to ask what we're made of biologically, where we came from, or the composition of our physical elements (which, by the way, is made up of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium, along with a dash of other trace elements to complete the mix). No, I want you to consider the question in the context of what it means to live as a human in this world.
So what is it to be a human being on Earth? Is it being able to think abstractly, and subsequently communicate, document or record those abstract thoughts? Perhaps being human means that we not only exist according to a set of universal physical laws (e.g. physics, biology & chemistry, mathematics, etc.) but we have the desire and ability to contemplate our existence within this universe, forever fixated on learning how to manipulate the world around us; its elements, inanimate objects, even its living beings.
This is what separates us from so many other lifeforms. In fact, theoretical physicist and former Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge (1968 - 1979) John Polkinghorne has argued that mankind is superior in intellect to all life forms, even the stars and cosmos themselves, because we not only exist in such beautiful complexity as other life forms, but we understand our existence. What he means is that we are the only life form known to exist and be able to ponder, argue, and write about our existence.
"all bodies, the universe, the stars, the earth, and its kingdoms are not equal to the least of the minds, for it knows them all and itself, too, while bodies know nothing." [blaise pascal]
what we seek and what we fear
So, as humans, what do we seek? What do we avoid? What drives the fire inside us? What fires do we flee from in our existence as skeletons wrapped with flesh and controlled by a sort of neural supercomputer, emitting energized impulses both independently and at the direction of our mental "conductor" (persona, psyche, mind)?
It would be reasonable to say that the human desire to conquer has remained intact since the days of primal man, when survival depended on being stronger, smarter, and faster than the predators or enemies in your environment. Of course, that internal drive has evolved for most of us, save the humans that choose to disregard the moral conviction and legal obligation to do no harm to the innocent. The average human being does not need, nor wish, to conquer their fellow earth inhabitants by extinguishing their existence.
Today, the drive to conquer looks a little different. It also has many faces. Some humans are determined to change their physical or mental state, and spend countless hours training the mind and body to adapt to new situations or challenges. Some are dead set on achieving recognition in the work place, a competitive environment such as athletics or intellectual accomplishment, or simply within a social circle. And still others would be completely fulfilled in their existence if only they could change one thing in this world, a thing that may not elicit so much as a raised eyebrow in others, but meant the world to the person wishing for it to become reality.
The fear of being conquered looks much different today, as well. Make no mistake, the fear of literal death is still a very real experience for mankind. No matter how much distance we place between ourselves and some perceived "danger", the fact is that we could all perish at any point, because we exist in a universe of nearly infinite physical possibility, and alongside multiple species of organisms that might, at some point, either intentionally or unintentionally act in a manner that somehow ends our existence. However, for most of us, the fear of being conquered relates to the fear of being perceived as inadequate, whether in the workplace, the family, or society itself. On a more basic level, the fear of being conquered exists today in the need for survival - in other words, the fear that one will be conquered by life itself...that he or she will not be able to procure the necessary components for survival (e.g. water, food, shelter).
On that note, I want to be very sensitive to the fact that some humans are simply seeking another moment of existence...fighting for survival in an environment that poses daily threats to existence, living in captivity for the rest of their time in this body, or taking their final steps in this world as they journey closer to death in terminal illness. Most of what I am about to say could be considered somewhat irrelevant to these individuals. However, let us not forget that many of these people, at one point in time, lived a life that revolved around the desire to conquer - the drive to seek out something - just like the human population I am speaking to in this message still does.
So, for the purposes of this discussion, the goals and fears of man can be said to be "success in conquering something" and "avoidance of being conquered".
how goals & fear affect our lives
Despite the context, and no matter the level of technology or risk involved, the completion of a task seems to provide a consistent source of satisfaction for us as humans. Riding a bicycle without training wheels for the first time; leaving school on the last day of class and beginning the summer celebration before the task of completing the next level of development arrives upon us; receiving a promotion in the workplace; remodeling the kitchen in your home; skydiving...
No matter how diverse in risk or effort required, these are all experiences that provide a feeling of satisfaction because we have achieved something.
Goals drive us forward. They direct the footsteps we take along our path, and they even cause us to avoid taking certain steps for fear of failing to achieve something...for fear of being conquered by our goals. As we seek goals, we think and act in specific ways. Recalling our introduction to this discussion, it is reasonable to assume that goals affect both our internal contemplation of existence, and our external action or communication relative to the way we view our existence. Our goals dictate what is most important to us in daily life, and guide our actions as we navigate forward in our time on this planet.
Now, let us consider fear. Fear drives us as well. I would say "it drives us backwards" but the truth is, some types of fear, in some types of situations, will drive you just about anywhere, even forward... so long as it's outside of your current situation.
Forward, backward, left or right can become pretty blurry when you're fearing for your life, or simply your emotional or spiritual well-being. We might say that fear simply drives us into either new or familiar territory. When something threatens us, or is simply so foreign that we wish to avoid it altogether to eliminate any risk of an event outside of our normal existence, we either charge forward into battle, or we flee back into familiar territory. We fight or we retreat.
From the way you see yourself in the mirror as you prepare to start your day, to the things you say to others, whether in person or via social media...the desires and concerns of your spirit shape both your emotional character and your physical appearance in this world.
Your goals and fears drive you.
Dealing with the outcome
As humans, we inherit the burden of emotion. The events of our universe, which might otherwise be characterized simply as chemical reactions, present our brain with scenarios to which it assigns a physiological response. Whether perceived as happiness and excitement (serotonin and dopamine), fear or anxiety (adrenaline and cortisol), or anger and aggression (testosterone), the events of our lives affect our physical and emotional state on a daily basis. This is part of being human, and as we mature in age and wisdom, our ability to contemplate these events and reflect on their impact in our lives grows as well.
So how do we deal with the outcome of our goals and fears? It could be said that humans react to the accomplishment of goals with joy, pride or satisfaction (perhaps all as expressions of the same underlying emotion of happiness), and the materialization of fears with anxiety, sadness or anger (the same underlying emotion of pain or distress).
When we lose a loved one or prized possession, we experience the pain of loss, or the removal of a stimulus we had come to love, even depend on. When we fail at a task, or end a relationship or term of employment, we experience the disappointment of being told (either implicitly or explicitly) that we're not good enough. On the far end of this spectrum of loss, lies the loss of life - the end to our existence, at least in our current state of humanity. It can be said that beneath all other fears or desires in life there lies the basic fear of death and desire to survive another day.
Alternatively, when we accomplish a task, unite with a loved one, or gain a new friend or promotion in the workplace, we experience the joy of success. We have increased the number or quality of things in life which create positive feelings; the feeling of accomplishment or being well-liked or respected as an entity (human). It may be fair to say that dealing with a positive outcome is not so much "dealing" at all, but rather "enjoying" it...In the daily search for goals and avoidance of fears, witnessing the completion of a goal can most certainly be considered "success".
"we learn from failure, not from success". [bram stoker]
understanding the cycle
Existence is life. Literally, to be born and to live is to exist. Life is a cycle, so it must follow that existence places one inside that cycle. What I'm getting at is this: All beings in this existence shall one day cease to exist. All things will some day die, and no matter how hard you fight it, that ultimate fear of loss (e.g. your own life) will eventually materialize into reality.
You might be thinking "Wait a minute...you started this discussion off with a bold statement that is nothing less than founded on the concept that nothing is ever truly created or destroyed! How can you sit here and tell me that everything that has been created will some day be destroyed?"
What if I were to respond by stating that I stood behind and fully endorsed each of those two contradicting statements? That I believed that all energy was, in fact, conserved, yet all living beings experienced a cycle of birth and death? Perhaps more specifically, that all humans will eventually die.
I believe that those with a sound mind (e.g. you, hopefully) , at least eventually, consider that in order for both of these statements to be true, a source of energy completely independent of physical mass (e.g. bone, flesh, tissue or cell all) would have to exist within every living thing. A living being would have to be able to perish without its energy being extinguished.
As science has proven the first law of thermodynamics (The Law of Conservation of Energy), and we as humans have very clearly witnessed the reality of death, I would argue that both of these statements are indeed valid, and this most certainly implies that there is an energy that travels through us but does not die along with us.
When we view life through this perspective, we begin to understand that our experience of humanity is simply that...an experience. One experience, to be exact. If what we know from the study of physics is true, our experience is not a one time occurrence, but rather a continuous (even infinite) chain of experiences in which our energy moves throughout this universe. In fact, if we really wanted to isolate this discussion in the context of modern science, we would have to recognize the fact that physics tells us that energy moves not only continuously, but according to specific laws and principles.
Read that again...Speaking strictly in terms of scientific knowledge, the energy inside us is in constant motion, even after our flesh has decayed, and even continues on in an orderly fashion after we have relinquished our conscious control. I don't believe I'm reaching too far when I say that our existence as we understand it right now (e.g. "I am alive and existing in this world right now") is simply one chapter in an ongoing saga. Whether the subsequent chapters can be read or experienced in the same context remains a mystery, and I can't offer an explanation or even discussion of why we wouldn't remember our past lives if we were living in a cycle of reincarnation, but I do know that the scientific concepts we've discussed are enough for me to have hope that I am not simply going to disappear from existence when I die.
karma, reincarnation & science
How does our worldview change if we consider reincarnation as a possibility?
Does the idea that our actions in this lifetime determine the outcome of our afterlife really affect our decisions?
But what is the purpose of reincarnation? The purpose of reincarnation is for us to grow and evolve spiritually until we return to the Godhead from whence we originally came. Each life is the result of the ones preceding it and is shaped accordingly–not in the sense of reward or punishment, but as precise mathematical reaction to our actions in those previous lives. We reap what we sowed in them through the exercise of our free wills. Though we may forget it, we are at all times masters of our destiny and not being swept along blindly by karma–which is really our own creation.
If we consider reincarnation from a purely energetic standpoint, it is simply the recycling of energy. A burst of light that exists in this universe and returns to cycle once again through the spectrum of frequencies on our planet until it ascends to a high enough frequency to not return.
There are many resources to learn about reincarnation online, and I suggest that you explore them all.
Becoming a Vessel
So, as we begin to understand our energetic presence more on this planet, the question arises, "Why am I here? What do I need to do? Who am I?"
I am fully convicted in the belief that we are here to heal our past lineage. That our ancestors lived a certain life here on this planet, and we are here to close the karmic gap...to complete the cosmic loop. We exist to move a step further in the journey that our ancestors started,