Embracing the Human Condition

by meditative - March 23rd, 2015

In our lives, we must come to know that we will some day all get old, sick, and die. It is through the realization of our own impermanence- all the uncertainties- the pain, difficulties, and suffering that mindfulness can be a skillful way for us to help see through all our hardship into the beauty and wonderment of being so much more than the conditions of ‘self’. The ‘full catastrophe’ of life is embraced for all that it serves to teach us about who and what we are.

Our mindfulness practice helps us to develop the awareness for how the human condition can be used to better understand and appreciate the essence of truly being alive- for ourselves and for others. We are not hard-wired to wallow in our inadequacies or in the unfortunate aspects of our ever-changing circumstances, but rather we are genetically engineered to thrive as a species to realize its potentialities. The perpetuation of the species is conditional upon our nourishing and cultivating these seeds.

Out of a human condition that seems at times to be so limiting, there arises a limitless capacity to change and affect both our inner and outer worlds. Mindfulness brings us the awareness to see how our own natural intelligence can be used with hope and devotion to rise above even the most difficult and painful of conditions- and to transcend habits and patterns that limit our fullness of life. Wanting, grasping, and attaching to things to be different from what they are only escalates our individual suffering. To carefully embrace our human condition is to accept it openly and objectively. It is our “critical mind” that accentuates the burden of difficult moments. What may be painful or uncomfortable is simply part of the fullness and wholeness of being human- to repress or avoid is to simply ignore the completeness of our own humanity.

Mindfulness refines our capacity in self-observation- to stand by and be there for ourselves as we genuinely witness and reflect the “comings” and “goings” in the mind- and in our direct experiences of “awarenessing” both our inner and outer worlds. In this process of the observing self, our path between heart and mind becomes clear. It becomes one with an intention, disposition, and devotion to explore and examine with gentle curiosity & kindness the essence of our humanity as it relates to a condition of mind-body that isn’t always pleasurable or comfortable. The ‘full catastrophe’ of living with mindfulness can open our capacity to clearly see the beauty of the rose while enduring with resiliency the prick of its thorn. In the light of this open and compassionate ‘mindsight’- of clearly seeing the nature of our own mind’s process- the pain of the thorn is somewhat diminished.

When the heart is open to receive the “human condition” as it is in the present moment, the mind tends to follow in resonance with a kind of quieting and calming acceptance. In the “here and now”, we discover that resistance only creates more friction and tension in the mind-body experience. The more sensitive we become to our direct experience- the more compassionate we become of the “human condition” not only as it relates to our own being, but to the lives of others. The “human condition” does not need to be a programmed cycle of suffering. We all have the capacity to break that cycle and to step into living a life of greater peace, harmony, and joy. Mindfulness practice provides the tools to take a different path with a shift in consciousness that embraces the ‘full catastrophe’ of living freely with the wholeness of our shared humanity.