Being fully human is a lot trickier than riding the awakening train. Awakening, ascending as some call it, is the ticket out, the great escape, the demise of attachment and aversion, of judgment and craving. It’s the end of life as we know it, and in that way, when you are in pain, when your heart aches and you feel like life’s runt, it seems very attractive, although nearly everyone still opts for awakening lite whether they are aware of it or not. Awakening isn’t a choice anyone makes.
Don’t get me wrong, awakening isn’t an easy ride. It’s bumpy and twisty as hell. Anyone who’s been there, who is there, regardless of flavor, will tell you that no one in their right mind would consciously choose it. Choosing it is possible, even probable, when far enough down the rabbit hole, but not at the beginning and rarely in the middle.
Awakening means walking away from normality, a life of propped-up, not truly real comfort, of fitting in. It means letting go of most of your friends and family — if you thought you were the black sheep before, hang on. you ain’t seen nothing yet. This ride is a step off the steep spiritual cliff, a step you must take alone. Being ripped to shreds, dismantled one heartache at a time, experiencing death by a thousand losses, only to be scattered by the winds of impermanence and left with nowhere to stand, isn’t for wusses.
So no, awakening isn’t the primrose path. It’s more like running the gauntlet.
And with that said, with full understanding and appreciation of the level of difficulty, bringing the holy into human form, being fully human, is much trickier.
Thich Nhat Hahn once said, “People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.”
I don’t know if he meant it in the fully human way or if he simply meant walking on earth oblivious to our divinity. Either way works. It is incredibly hard to be human, regardless of one’s level of understanding. Oblivious to what we truly are, we walk on earth attempting to protect ourselves from the pain, hardening our hearts, cocooning our bodies, tricking our minds into believing we are okay. To be here, to function at all, trapped like a bug in oil, unable to escape the dense prevalence of fear, that is as Hahn says, the real miracle.
To consciously enter in, to come back down from the heights of heaven, to walk free of the idea and need of protection, dropping the lies we told ourselves to get by, letting all hope of something better die, and opening our hearts completely, allowing ourselves to feel all life offers without dampening, without hardening, without cocooning, that’s a miracle of another kind.
And it is beyond tricky.
And yet, that is the next natural step, one that many hesitate to take. Heaven is too comfortable., bliss too intoxicating. Knowing love, plying the sweet flows of heaven, abiding as Awareness is wondrous and yet, eventually we are compelled to come home to earth, to the body, to the messy human life.
This That Is leaves none of itself behind.
It is because we know love, because we abide as awareness that we are drawn back to earth. This That Is naturally heals itself, just like a cut closes. Skin cells grow and return to their wholeness. These expressions we are grow and return to wholeness too. We awaken in an upward arc, settle in, only to return to earth, to bring heaven home in human form. Quite naturally, the child grows into the adult; the raw form, the bodymind, morphs into the fully human being. This That we are does not change … and yet, the expression changes and changes and changes …
What is possible? What is the true miracle? It seems we will find out. Now or later? It doesn’t really matter for it is inevitable. It is the nature of our nature.