Within all human beings, no matter what part of the world they’re from, what their environment has been, what culture they come from, what their religious tradition is, there lives a certain kind of greatness. Everyone knows that this greatness lives within them. We call it different things, but the bottom line is that we all have a central wish to be as good, true, kind, and as profitable a human being that we can be. It’s in our very DNA. And that divine code if you will, is the same in every human being. We just dress it differently.
Within every individual there lives a wish to embody something grand, beautiful, kind, true, and loving. None of us , no matter where you go in the world, can escape the need we have to realize the truth of ourselves. And this longing we have to be free, to know ourselves, and to express ourselves, was given to us by something sacred. Nothing in the world has the right to take it away from us.
We all have common needs: the need to love; to grow as human beings; to continually perfect ourselves; and to integrate our lives with the universe around us. These needs are common to all of us, regardless of the place in the world we live in or the discipline we grew up with. The commonality of these needs means they were placed in us by something that came before our culture Ð that came before our religious backgrounds and traditions.
It is honoring the true needs we have as human beings that places us in relationship with that which put those needs within us, that places us in relationship with that which transcends all boundaries, that transcends all of the moralities and the mores, and all the other things that currently govern and divide human beings. If you know the truth of yourself, you will find freedom, because to know the truth of yourself is to come back into relationship with these essential needs that were put in us so that we could discover our connection with something that is timeless.
We share an uncommon possibility as human beings, which arises from the fact that we all share common heartaches. No matter where you go in the world, you’ll find men and women in one way or another whose dreams have been broken, who have lost something that they love or someone they love, who have a regret or a disappointment that they’re unable to shake free from.
As a rule, when we meet people with problems, the first thing we tend to do is distance ourselves from them because “I already have enough pain.” But we can start to understand that in the truest sense of the word, this man or this woman is in fact a celestial brother or sister because we have the same needs. And if I am going to be able to help another human being to hear, to understand, to bring any light whatsoever into the heart or mind of another individual. I do so because I have found that understanding first in myself. And the extent to which I am capable of adding some light to the life of another human being, is the extent to which I have first found that light in myself, and know that we all hold that light in common. In that common sharing of a new understanding lies the uncommon possibility for a transcendent life that we all have as human beings.
There have been great individuals in the past who have truly helped and changed mankind, individuals like Christ, Buddha, and Mohammed. Compared to them, our efforts to help one or two people discover the truth of themselves and their connection to the sacred may seem insignificant. But one of the most beautiful things you will ever learn is that no one on this earth is more important than you, not important because other people say you’re important, or because you have some social standing or you own possessions that lend you a sense of power, but because it is the individual who changes the world.
Long before there was Christianity, or Buddhism, or Taosim, or Hinduism, or Islam, or any other religion, there was an individual who felt compelled to learn the truth of himself in response to a need seeded in him by the celestial. When that individual was touched by what he had reached for, and that was reaching for him, then he brought forth what he discovered within himself. And those discoveries became what we now call the world religions. They all started with an individual. And each of us, in our own way, and in scale, is meant to do the same thing.
Add to that this one important and beautiful idea: You cannot add a measure of light to any measure of darkness that doesn’t change the darkness everywhere. This is a law in physics. How much more true is it when it comes to us and the world we live in? If I understand a truth, if I embody it, if I become the instrument of that awareness, then wherever I go, whatever I do, no matter who I’m with or what is taking place, the very discovery and relationship I have to that little bit of light in myself changes everything around me, and the Universe itself.
What is really empowering is the recognition that this little bit of understanding, this little bit of awareness, this little love we may have for what is true and timeless, changes all human beings, makes it possible for all creatures on this earth to have a different order of being. It is possible because the being of the individual changes first, and then that higher being is all there is.
(Excerpted from The Seeker, The Search, The Sacred: Journey to the Greatness Within; Weiser Books)
Guy Finley is the best-selling author of more than 40 books and audio albums on self-realization. He is the founder and director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center for self-study located in southern Oregon where he gives talks four times each week. Guy is a faculty member at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York and is a regular expert contributor to Beliefnet and the Huffington Post. For more information visit www.guyfinley.org, and sign up to receive a free helpful newsletter emailed to your desktop once each week.
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