You are a human being. What does that mean? Mastery of life is not a question of control, but of finding a balance between human and Being. Mother, father, husband, wife, young, old, the roles you play, the functions you fulfil, whatever you do – all that belongs to the human dimension. It has its place and needs to be honoured, but in itself it is not enough for a fulfilled relationship or life. Human alone is never enough, no matter how hard you try or what you achieve. Then there is Being. It is found in the still, alert presence of consciousness itself, the consciousness that you are. Human is form. Being is formless. Human and Being are not separate but interwoven.
Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
Human Alone Is Not Enough
We have a body, two arms, and we walk on two legs. We go to work, care for our families, and appreciate the taste of fine dining and entertainment. Our brains have produced the brightest of talents, propelling us into unimaginable realms of science and technology. Within us lies the ability to discriminate. We are humans – clearly, the top of this creation.
While on the surface we collectively present ourselves as a species that functions while maintaining a sense of order, internally we seem to be in a constant state of conflict and chaos. Deriving our ever changing identities from all our role-playing and responsibilities, we barely even remember what, if any, is the purpose behind it all.
When we analyze the situation, we find that over time, the dependency on the need to be rewarded has grown significantly in everything that we do. As a result, we begin to rely on external gratification and stimulants – such as mid-day cappuccino time-outs, weekend getaways, or even late-night television – as temporary escapes instead of savouring them for what they are in the moment. At work, we are preoccupied by thoughts of the badly needed break, and while on our break, our attention is on the office … dreading going back.
We have all heard teachers’ remarks such as: “He has the potential, but his heart just isn’t in it,” or “He lacks the enthusiasm.” The same possibly applies to us now, only it isn’t school anymore; it’s the rest of our lives. This is what it means to be only human – living, but with a lacklustre attitude to life.
Being – Our God Identity
God, or any other name that we give to the Creator, at present is merely an ambiguous character or phenomenon that we have constructed in our minds as a result of all the years of reading and accumulating of information and concepts. How then, if it is even possible, is one to validate the existence of this invisible force?
Mystics have explained that the divine spark of the Lord is in every one of us. In fact, it is who we really are – the soul, our true being. We are not conscious of this due to the fidgety nature and scattered attention of our mind. ‘Being’ is our formless identity and cannot be found using tools of science.
A hint of evidence of this marvel, however, can be observed in more familiar and less philosophical examples such as athletes and artists. A tennis player is able to maintain incredible speed and accuracy in serving and timing the ball, so that it repeatedly hits its mark cross-court, while also engaging in strategy and swift footwork. Similarly, how great composers create masterpieces out of nothing. Scientists have termed this state of awareness in which these gifted persons perform as being ‘in the zone’. It is a heightened state of alertness where dissipated attention is collected and then channelized into action. However, this is only a temporary state for an interval of time, after which the attention once again spreads itself out.
Saints, on the other hand, live their entire lives in the zone. They think and act in this state of higher consciousness having realized the Being within. Not only do they operate in this mode of bliss, but they also invite and teach us how to do the same through meditation.
Human Being – Becoming Perfect
It is through spiritual practice that one is able to connect and align with Being. Meditation teaches surrender, and surrender leads to acceptance. Acceptance finally eradicates personal will, thus allowing us to align with our God-identity within.
The human then evolves to the pinnacle of the species to become perfect – a true human being, hence fulfilling the purpose of this human birth. Charged with an inexhaustible supply of divine energy, one then lives carrying out day-to-day activities with a renewed passion and enthusiasm for life.
And at death, it is only the body that dies. For those who die as merely human, the body perishes as another awaits somewhere in ‘the cycle of eighty-four’. For the awakened ones who die as human beings, the soul merges back into universal consciousness, forever ending the cycle of birth and death.