The Art of Being Fully Human (#935)

The other day, I was speaking with a client who in the midst of her tears about a difficult situation in her life kept reassuring me that she was “fine”. Hearing that word used to describe someone’s feelings always calls to mind a quote from the remake of The Italian Job where the wily older gangster defines “fine” to be an acronym standing for “f#$%ed up, insecure, neurotic, and emotional”.

Normally when faced with someone claiming to be “fine”, I simply smile to myself and allow the conversation to unfold, knowing that at some point the thoughts and feelings underneath “fine” will emerge if they’re relevant to the deeper conversation.

But for some reason, last week, I was struck by an insight as blindingly obvious to me now as it was completely invisible to me the moment before I saw it. In order to share that insight with you, let me first take a few moments to go back to basics and review the principles behind the human experience.

1. We live in a world made up of the energy of THOUGHT. This Thought energy is simply the raw material of our personal experience, regardless of the content of that experience. So whether you’re thinking about someone you love or someone you hate or a giant beetle wearing a necktie while singing the blues, the raw material (THOUGHT) out of which those thoughts are created is exactly the same. This is true in the same way that MARBLE is the raw material of many statues, regardless of whether those statues depict biblical figures, scenes from nature, or abstract imaginings from the artist’s imagination.2.  We have the capacity for CONSCIOUSNESS. As I wrote in The Inside-Out Revolution, “Consciousness is like a kind of developing fluid for mental photographs, bringing whatever passes through its field to life. It’s the light that illuminates the film strip – the special-effects department that takes the illusion and makes it seem real. It informs our senses and brings whatever we’re thinking to life.”

3. There is a deeper intelligence at work behind the scenes in every area of life. We call this the principle of MIND, and its workings are evident in everything from the miracle of nature to the wisdom of the body to the still, small voice within every one of us that that is there to guide us through life if we let it.

We live in the feeling of our thinking, not the feeling of circumstances. And behind the ever-changing projections of our thoughts onto the screen of consciousness is the projector of MIND – the constant and unchanging source of all life.

Which brings me to my insight. I had always thought that to transcend something was to move past it – i.e. to leave it in your rear view mirror as you carry on speeding your way towards enlightenment. Yet somehow as I listened to my “fine” young client sobbing away, I realized that to transcend is not to leave behind, but to expand beyond. It’s less about floating above the muck of life than being able to go down into the muck without any fear of getting lost or drowning in it.

In this sense, being “a spiritual being having a human experience” is like being a Russian nesting doll. Even as you expand into higher levels of consciousness and understanding, you still take the lower levels with you. And instead of using spiritual understanding as an avoidance strategy, we can use it as a safety net, allowing us to experience our human thoughts and emotions ever-more deeply, knowing that the intelligence and peace of Mind will always be there to catch us if we fall.

So I can sob without suffering and feel fear without being afraid. My divinity can inform my humanity. My heart can break open without breaking apart.

For me, the unexpected gift of a deeper understanding is that I’ve never been more willing to feel my frailty – and I’ve never felt stronger or more whole in my entire life.

With all my love,



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