Monday, December 29, 2008

The Work of Becoming Human | Kabir Helminski

Surely We created man of the best stature. - The Quran 95:4

There is a great deal of human nature in man. - Charles Kingsley

In Sufi conference 2004, Kabir Helminski of Mevlevi sufi order started his talk titled, 'the work of becoming human' with the following opening lines:

"And our subject today ... is a subject of humanness. Its not an accidental subject. its really at the heart of this path that we call Sufism.

I remember when I first encountered this path, my first and most beloved Shaykh said, 'you know, you need some work to be a human.' in one sense its given to us, but there is also work of being human.

So those of us who are interested in Sufism, you and me, this is our business, its nothing less than the education of the whole human being. So that makes it a vast subject. It touches on every aspect of life, its nothing so small as meditation and meditation is immense. Its more than any spiritual practice, its how we live our lives, it is how we incorporate into our consciousness all the levels of being on which a human being can be conscious. In another words it expands our whole notion of life, from a limited dimension to a multi-dimensional reality.."

To listen to this talk, follow the two audio links:
[Audio] Part 1 (click to play the mp3 audio file)
[Audio] Part 2

. More talks from Sufi Conference 2004 is available via Golden Sufi, Recorded at the May Sufi Conference, Black Mountain, North Carolina

In his article. What is a Human Being?: The structure of the self within spiritual psychology Shaykh Kabir Helminski mentions few important aspect:

Psychology means “knowledge of the soul (psyche).” Our best contemporary psychologies are mostly a collection of subjective and culture-driven conjectures. There are dozens of theories of personality, theories of learning, and so on, but a true science still proves to be elusive.

The psychology of traditional spirituality provides a vocabulary with which we can know and understand ourselves and our relationship to the Divine Being, Allâh. This sacred psychology and its spiritual vocabulary offer an implicit model of humanness as well as a map of a spiritual landscape.

Education as it is currently understood, particularly in the West, ignores the human soul, or essential Self. This essential Self is not some vague entity whose existence is a matter of speculation, but our fundamental “I,” which has been covered over by social conditioning, and by the superficiality of our rational mind. In the world today we are in great need of a form of training that would contribute to the awakening of the essential Self. Such forms of training have existed in other eras and cultures and have been available to those with the yearning to awaken from the sleep of their limited conditioning and know the potential latent in the human being.

.. What is most characteristically human may not be guaranteed to us by our species or by our culture, but is given only in potential. A person must work in order to become human. What quality makes us most distinctly human? What is most human in us is something more than the role we play in society, and more than the conditioning (whether for good or bad) of our culture. What is most human in us is our heart, which is our point of contact with infinite Spirit.

The human being is the end product of a process in which this Creative Spirit has shaped and evolved a witness who could embrace the covenant it offered. If the human being is the most evolved Care-taker (Khalife) of the Creative Spirit - with the potential for conscious presence, will, love, and creativity - then our humanity is the degree to which this physical/spiritual vehicle, and particularly our nervous system, can reflect or manifest Spirit. That which is most sacred in us, that which is deeper than our individual personality, is our connection to this Spirit, Cosmic Life, Creative Power, or whatever name we may use.

[>] You may read the full article here courtesy Kabir Helminski's book, The Book of Language

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