Becoming Fully Human

April 20, 2024 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

At the head of all virtues … you will find human-heartedness (jen), which is not so much benevolence, as often translated, but being fully and honestly human.” Alan Watts

It is not uncommon in many religious circles to place outrage at the foul nature of the human condition. I understand the notion. However, for me, it is quite apparent that that idea is only true when referring to the broken human condition. The one that is centered on the aggrandizement of the self or the selfish ego. We find this kind of personal desire thriving among all people of all cultures and traditions.

Disregarding the False Self

In fact, I recently did a podcast about what the mystics call the False Self in search of power, prestige, and possessions—a most deviant quest that ends up in want of something truer. The “truer” is what spiritual master Alan Watts refers to as “human-heartedness” (or the Chinese/Confucian term jen.)

In our endless quest to discover a true and full life we continually begin at the wrong place. We begin with self-service and love of self which always leads the opposite direction of where the spiritual masters teach us to go, which is, in search of love and service to others and to the Divine.

Taking on Things that DO Work

Although my show was titled, “Getting Rid of Things that Don’t Work,” the real message is about taking on new things that do work. And that leads me back to the Alan Watts quote above. The most valuable of all virtues is to begin the process of Becoming Fully Human. Being fully (and honestly) human means to give with a heart of empathy and compassion to those in need, (even when they live in the same house as you). It is not about what you get but what you give.

Love and Service at Work

Just this afternoon I attended a gathering of like-minded givers representing two or three dozen charities devoted to giving what they had to those that those that had little. The sponsoring charity, Higher Ground, supervised free dental care, free eyeglasses with prescriptions made onsite, free clothing and shoes, and free food. In addition, there were dozens of bikers from So Cal representing biker chapters of BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse) and more than thirty trainees for the OC police department (not “policing” the event but serving the attendees).

Serving the needs of the neglected were also more than two dozen local charities including groups like OC Rescue Mission, Stand Up for Kids, Cristo Rey, and Restoration Diversion Services for victims of sex trafficking in Compton (and please, please forgive me for not being more familiar with the names of tireless other givers).

Let’s Become Fully Human

Approximately, 2,000 people from the local community were served today, yesterday, and tomorrow by these groups of givers who know what it means to Be Fully Human.

It begins with you and your heart, getting rid of things that don’t work so that you can make room for giving the things that make life tolerable and even precious for those that are in need today.

Becoming Fully Human

Is Less About You than Those You Serve

Photo courtesy of Don Mo at istockphoto

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