“Know thyself” is the famous adage attributed to several of the ancient Greek philosophers, though what matters more here is not who said it but what it means by its suggestion that the unexamined life is a life not worth living. The reality of being human is that we are Hu – ‘light’ and Man – ‘mind’. So a human being is in essence the light of the infinite that resides within us all, projecting out through the mind.

This probably seems quite a grand way to introduce the human experience that we all share, but the potential of all beings is a rather magnificent one. The goal of the human experience is to transform from giving away power to external authorities into becoming a being who has embodied all parts of themself and thereby is fully empowered. It is clear then that for many the art of being human has been somewhat lost, but again what matters more is the journey back home.

How many of us are looking constantly to things outside ourselves in order to find our way? Or needing constant feedback from others in order to feel we fit in and therefore can feel OK about ourselves?

Yearning to belong is a fundamental part of what is it to be human. Being part of a community of like-minded people is a deep need that rests in the heart of human reality. Connection, being in a relationship, is a basic requirement. We can be in many different types of relationship in our lives, so learning how to relate to others and our environment is fundamental. Yet giving priority to our internal life is the key to a living a balanced life.

The fact is that we need to keep looking outside of ourselves until we have exhausted all those external validations in order to find the impetus (and the courage) to finally go inwards. And these last three years since the coronavirus pandemic first changed all our lives have created the propensity to do just that. There is now an intensity that can help create major shifts in our lives that in turn will create change in our relationships and in the larger environment. Nothing is really as it used to be – and we all know now that there are no external structures, authorities or standards to hold on to for security. Only by turning inwards, by creating space, and by listening to ourselves will we find a way to not only survive, but flourish.

At first when we do this it can feel as if everything is overwhelming. We may prefer to escape, but being fully present, being aware of ourselves is all we have. Watching our own lives is the only way to begin to wake up. We must start where we are and be real about our confusion.

There is very little known by us about the mind on an experiential level, but we have the potential to know the truth of who we are. To become the watcher is not an intellectual exercise. It simply involves creating space inside us. We begin to slow down, and we become more aware. We start to understand everything that has happened inside us and outside of us. All confusion and fragmentation diminish. When parts of us are not claimed, we have no centre, so our attention goes outside of ourselves, but when we begin to give ourselves space, we begin to let go of old patterns. Sitting with ‘what is’ real, transformation begins.

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change myself.” – Carl Rogers

In the present, there is an invitation to go deeper to a fuller awareness of all parts of us and this is when we begin to experience that there is no thinking. We are alert, and our life has a deeper quality. Real change comes from the centre of our own being. Being aware brings us towards what is right alignment. It’s not a mental choice: it’s a movement that comes from our core. There are no decisions to make, no weighing up from one side to the other. There is a deep knowing, and the movement towards that takes place.

What our future holds is already in our current state of consciousness. It might be seven years from now, but already we are building this. So our whole life consists of this one moment, which is why it requires our full attention. Being has to flow into what we are doing, otherwise we lack consciousness and lose ourselves to the past. We come from a small, limited space that seems very personal, but when we begin to unravel and untangle from our stories, we begin to have more spaciousness. We start to receive more love and accept ourselves more fully.

Relying on our spirit, which is love, is the real source of our security. The quality of our lives then changes, because we are attuned to the cosmic energy. There is harmonic resonance within us and outside of us, and our choices come from that expanded place. Everyone benefits from this, including the planet, because we are in our natural state, in our innocence. A new dimension opens, and this is where miracles occur.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of Nature in its beauty.”

– attributed to Albert Einstein

Please note that the interpretation in this article of what the word ‘human’ means is specific to the teachings of the Kundalini Research Institute.

Sat Nadar is a person-centred therapist with a background in informal and community education. She is also one of the UK’s leading Kundalini yoga teacher trainers. You can see more of her work at www.acceptancetherapy.co.uk