For some reason this phrase has had an abiding presence in my life lately. I don’t remember where I heard it but it keeps speaking to me. It has such a kindness. It has dignity, it has forgiveness. It’s a great reminder to myself but it’s also all of humanity speaking with one voice, saying ‘we’re only human’.
It let’s me off the hook when I’ve done something dumb but it also reminds me that life is about learning and of course, I will make mistakes. It’s because I’m human that I can make mistakes, otherwise everything would be perfect and that would be no fun at all. To feel something inside that is in harmony and calm and then to be in a world that is very complex and loud is such a contrast. I think it’s designed for adventures, so of course you’ll step in a hole, get a flat tire and bang your head on the ladder. This is considered humorous when it happens to someone else. Movies are made about it.
The human species has been around for about 200,000 years and only in the last few thousand years have we been ‘civilized’. Before that we were pretty much trying to climb up the food chain so we could be the eaters, not the eaten. We invented farming and villages and governments and businesses and banks to hold the wealth we had created and cars and computers and endless gadgets and all of these inventions were meant, of course, to improve our lives. I mention this because these inventions are also what have made our lives so busy and so prone to disaster. Not unlike those Marx brothers' films where something always goes wrong at the last minute — the car crashes or the ladder falls. We seem to wear this crown of civilization just a little askew. We’re only human!
I think I've heard Prem Rawat mention this. It sounds like something he would say. It’s humorous but it has great affection — love is something we need more of, and humor. We may be wound up too tightly in this civilization thing. We’ve already won the race: we're on top of the food chain. We can go to the grocery store and buy anything we want without fear of being attacked and eaten by a tiger. Maybe it’s time to just be human.
Being human means being self-aware. It means we have the aspiration to make things better. It means we want to be happy. It means we have the treasure within us, which is, of course, what this website is about. It means we make mistakes and need to be forgiven. It means we can forgive. I think it means we should lighten up a little bit and enjoy this.
After all, we’re only human.
Illustration by Sara Shaffer.