Human Beings Week

During the past twelve months or so, I’ve attended four funerals and received the obituaries of three more people who live far away. I’ve attended two weddings and received one additional invitation but did not attend because it took place overseas. Add to these events, the fact that I’m getting older and slower. I need to be much more mindful of my health than in the past.

Generally, as we grow older, we lose more and more of our familiar family members and friends to the sands of time. Somewhere along the personal time-line, we attend more funerals than weddings. Hopefully, we can become more attuned to the process of being human because of this observation.

For most of us, when a loved one passes away or if something happens to one’s health or well-being, there is a “normal” type of sadness or mourning. This is a big part of being a human. For the self-aware person, this period of sadness can be a profound learning experience.

My old guru gave talks about the “Four Sublime Qualities”. They are: 1. loving-kindness 2. compassion 3. sympathetic joy 4. equanimity. He reminded his students that all four of these qualities will bring the practitioner peace, harmony, and mental stability. When sincerely practiced, these four qualities will enable us to live lives that are free from hatred, prejudice, and ill-will.

The Four Sublime Qualities come to mind at the beginning of “Universal Human Beings Week”. The commemoration was inspired by Article One of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It states that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

“Long view of history shows evil triumphing more often than we’d like to admit. That’s just how it is. I don’t despair too much about dying, either. It’s just a fact of being human.”–author, journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates

As a species, homo sapiens sapiens are thought to be more intelligent than other creatures, at least according to our own standards. We can use the gift of intelligence to treat others abominably or we can use it to treat others compassionately. Most of us are aware of these choices. Somewhere along our time-lines we made choices to treat people poorly or richly. For as long as we live, we will continue to have these choices.

One of the values of commemorations like Universal Human Beings Week is that we are reminded about how all of us share common humanity. We honor humanity above unjust doctrine and laws. We are reminded of the choices we have to place human beings and ethical behavior towards others above international borders, strife, and material wealth.

As we ponder the “Four Sublime Qualities” and “Universal Human Beings Week” we realize the importance of good will, peace, and friendship. We also remember that for millions and millions of our fellow human beings that good will, peace, and friendship are unattainable dreams and wishes. There are the downtrodden and shunned peoples of the Earth.

Another of my thoughts after pondering the funerals of friends and our own mortality regards the popular idiom, “It’s never too late to begin again.” Statements containing “always” and “never” are shortsighted. In many cases, believing that it’s never too late to begin again enables procrastination. When I’m on my death bed, it will be too late to fulfill certain dreams. We don’t want to put being fully human on the back burner we call “never too late”.

This is a week when we can back away from our own desires and thoughts in order to think about the bigger picture. Setting aside our egocentric beliefs is empathy. Practicing empathy is a major part of being a bigger person. It is a part of just being a human being.

Ciao
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes musician, singer Matisyahu. “I think there is a tendency for people to get rigid and caught up in their beliefs of what is right and wrong, and they lose sight of humanity. Being human has to come first.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, cultural highlights, Politics, religion and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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