What does it mean to be a human being?


What does it mean to be a human being?

This question haunts my thoughts a thousand times each day.

During my seven years of employment at the Utah state Prison, I was exposed to types of HUMAN BEINGS that by societies standards were not human at all. They were monsters. Yet, when you interact with them on a daily basis, you can sometime glimpse a shadow of humanity hiding behind the monster.  My time inside the correctional facility is the reason I ask this question to myself so often.

What does it mean to be a human being? 

Who gets to decide?

To talk about turning towards your own questions and letting them guide you brings up, I suppose, the matter of answers. How do you know when you have an answer? What kinds of answers can you trust? I’d have to say that I think answers are… well, not the answer. They’re not even all that interesting, once you begin to engage the questions.

Because living into the questions means opening to a quality of living presence flowing through you, through the moments of your days. So you become the questions, unfolding and ever new, revealing the possibilities of this human life.

In my life, to me everything is an art form. The way we talk. The way we dress. Even the way we sit quietly, to me is a form of artistic expression.

So, what is art?

Is this question any different that the one I asked earlier about what is a human being?

Listen for your own deep questions and follow them. Let them guide you the way a compass guides a lost traveler, marking true north when there are no maps… or when the maps you have no longer show the way to where you want to go.

Listening like this is soul level listening. You have to be willing, or longing, or desperate enough to turn away from other people’s answers. You have to turn toward your unknown self. To take time.

Your question doesn’t have to look like a question. It can be a fragment of conversation you overheard on the bus yesterday or the line of a song that won’t go away. Or a poem. It can be something someone asks you.

A question can come from something you see and can’t make sense of. It can come from a memory or a set of memories or a photograph hanging on a wall.

It doesn’t really matter where the questions come from, just that you take the time to allow your soul to discover the answers.

Life is a gift.  But in order to appreciate the gift, you have to take the time to unwrap the coverings, remove the gift you discover inside the box, and then use it, and use it, until it no longer serves its purpose.

Then, go find your next “gift”.

At the end of the day, I suppose it doesn’t really matter what the answer to my questions are to anyone but myself. Maybe the question I should be asking instead is;

What kind of human being was I today?

If we all took the time to reflect on that one simple question every evening before we went to bed, and if the answer to that question is not a positive one, pray for more wisdom and compassion tomorrow, we could change the world overnight.

So, what questions do you ask that keeps your heart pure? I would love to hear from you.img_6752

 

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