I Am Only Human
By Freya Secrest
Editor’s Note: For the next several weeks the Lorian Blog will feature posts on the topic, “Lorian: Who We Are, What We Stand For.” Blogs will be written by regular contributors and also newer voices who have been exploring Incarnational Spirituality in their own unique ways. If you have a story you’d like to share of personal experiences with Lorian and Incarnational Spirituality, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Incarnational Spirituality honors life on earth, human life and consciousness, nature’s life and sentiency, and the life of other subtle realms and qualities. I am drawn to the way it celebrates the wonder and diversity of daily life on earth, the way it looks to understand and affirm the sacredness and beauty in incarnate form. Working with the principles of this worldview has supported me in coming to stand simply and honestly in my life and discover my value as a human being here on earth. It speaks to an internal impulse that has called me to look for the sacredness of all life, my own and that of the world around me.
My quest to learn to embrace myself and the world in this way began when I was a teenager. I can remember a friend in high school using the phrase, “I am only human”, when grumbling about something he was expected to do. Somehow that phrase set me on edge, like fingernails squeaking across a blackboard. I realized I had heard it used in this same way before as an excuse for a mistake. It suggested to me that our humanness was not a useful resource to be proud of. Something inside me felt that to be human was something to celebrate, but this phrase undercut that idea. After that, any time I heard it used I would launch into a heated defense of that person’s value. Unfortunately, that did not seem to move the person I was lecturing away from apologizing for their humanness.
As I see it now, it is this phrase and my reaction to it that set me looking for my place as a human in the world and brought me to my work with Lorian. What was an unclear impulse back then has gradually become a more focused backdrop to my life. I want to be able to affirm myself as a person and not apologize for my humanness. I want to uphold others in their pride-of-self and what they contribute in the world. I want to know the whole of my experience, including my mistakes, as integral and valuable.
I am reminded of this poem by Fernando Pesso,
“To be great, be whole;
Exclude nothing, exaggerate nothing that is not you.
Be whole in everything. Put all you are
Into the smallest thing you do.
So, in each lake, the moon shines with splendor
Because it blooms up above.”
I’ve “put my all” into my search for the value of being human in various ways over the years. In high school I explored more traditional avenues of “good works” and social service such as becoming a Big Sister and participating in local humanitarian projects. As a young adult in the 60’s and 70’s, I engaged ecological actions, feeling the need to integrate the value of all life, not just my human life. I saw it important to extend the same generosity and recognition I wanted for myself to the interconnected ecology of our planet.
All this in turn led me into an exploration of different spiritual understandings – Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Earth-based, Esoteric. Each of the disciplines I looked into had something to offer. But none of these perspectives held a full picture of the value of being human. The future they imagined did not portray time on earth itself as a cherished or valued part of human life. It was only a school which prepared one for a “real” or meaningful life elsewhere. Something inside me still needed to know how to say a wholehearted “yes!” to the value of my personal incarnation as more than a means to an end.
In the spring of 1971 I arrived at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland and met David Spangler and others who became my colleagues in Lorian. Findhorn’s demonstration of collaboration with nature provided a rich field for exploring the value of human expression because it seated me in a view of a community of life that honored all elements of its diversity. Awakening to embrace the truly infinite variations in life, my quest found its center. I was no longer isolated in order to define my humanness; as a being who is human, I was one contributing part of life discovering itself.
I have helped to foster Incarnational Spirituality ever since that time because its approach to the value of humanness celebrates a person as a part of the rich web of life. It honors the gifts of human curiosity and creativity that can literally generate new space. It invites us into the connectedness of belonging, where we bring the spirit of hospitality to the diversity of the world. Instead of the lecture about being human I gave in my teens, I have found questions to share that connect and activate my humanness as an asset. “What joy does this bring me and others in the world?” Am I creating a space that invites others? Does this celebrate the sacred in life?” Questions such as these help deepen my ability to choose, invite and create a space of potential. They let me celebrate my humanness in the large and small acts of daily life that weave my unique perspective into the world. An incarnational focus holds that a human life is to be celebrated in its everyday activity of being and doing. With this perspective “I am only human” becomes “I am human” and apology is changed into a statement of honor, intention and new possibility.
On Saturday, February 17 at 10 AM, join Lorian Colleague and Subtle Activist facilitator David T. Nicol for Sacred Destiny: A Revolutionary Method for Serving OUR Collective Liberation through YOUR Personal Healing. This free online event introduces an upcoming online program starting in March that will feature David Spangler as a guest teacher. Learn more and register here: http://sacred-destiny.