They were just some inanimate molecules doing what they do best—nothing. Why? Well, because they weren’t alive. They couldn’t do anything but lie in some primordial puddle. A storm moved through and bolts of lightning nearby energized the molecules. They crossed the barrier we know as life. That is, they became alive—albeit, in a barely discernable way.
Fast-forward through 3.8 billion years. There were hits and misses along the way. Some forms developed all the attributes of life: metabolism, reproduction, sensitivity, growth, respiration, excretion, and nutrition. The one condition that all life forms require is a suitable environment for sustaining life. Turn the environment negative and, slowly or quickly (just ask the dinosaurs), some forms of life will die.
So, what does that mean for humans? Well, one characteristic of life listed above, sensitivity, has become our realization that we are alive and that we have a relationship to everyone and everything. That consciousness is the quintessential aspect of being human.
Every specie must look out for itself. Most species can’t consciously control their long-term relationships nor their environment. Humans can. We are therefore driven to create a positive environment and workable relationships for our survival.
Life must always bend toward good or we won’t survive. Humans basically know that good relationships, good behavior, and a good physical environment are a necessity. So, I define “good” as that which contributes to the wholeness of individuals and the healthy survival of humankind.
Humans have built into them the capacity for more than just a life of existence. They can enjoy. They can be giddily in love. They can have the deep satisfaction of serving others. They can have hope. There’s an aliveness that goes beyond just staying alive. Have you ever felt satisfied about your day, but wanted to be and do more? You were looking for that heightened condition of aliveness.
Aliveness is what we feel when we hear the calling to lift ourselves up; to help others be lifted up; to consider lifting up the whole world—no, not on our shoulders, but by cooperating to make it a better place.
The purpose or calling for each of us is to advance as individuals, families, tribes, nations, and collectively as humankind. Our aliveness comes from knowing we are not in this life just for ourselves. We are driven to foster wholeness throughout the world.
Our fulfilling experience is recognizing and celebrating that we’re connected to each other by a power greater than all of us. It also calls us beyond mere survival to aliveness.
Maynard Moore of Union Graduate Institute & University, sums it up this way: “human flourishing entails community. …Fulfillment comes through living for others, whether this be healing the wounds of the afflicted, calming the fears of those distraught, or in the larger sense of what Judaism call tikkun olam, ‘repairing the world’ in all its brokenness. Building this sort of ‘beloved community’ is a task worthy of us all, challenging our highest aspirations and consistent with values inherent in all the great religions as well as for science and the highest forms of human learning.”
Life began. Good is required for the survival of life. Recognizing oneness calls us to live beyond ourselves. Doing so is aliveness!
Here’s a challenge for you readers. Can you think of a time when you felt truly alive; when you practically tingled with aliveness? A time when you sensed some special energy beyond yourself. A time you realized it’s really great to be here; and you wished you could share this feeling, this moment with others?
In just a couple of sentences, would you describe what you were doing in that situation and how you felt, and send it to me? I’ll collect them and make a future article out of them. Recent notes I’ve received tell me that you resonate with and enjoy the personal experiences and comments of other readers. Don’t agonize over finding the “perfect” example, (that’s what I’d do). Just pick a time you felt especially alive and send it to me. I think we’ll be pleased to see the range of circumstances.
___________________________________ June 4, 2018
If these messages intrigue you, please share them with others who might like to consider different meanings in life. You can receive these as soon as they’re posted (and in an easier-to-read font) by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and say “subscribe.” Of course, you can also unsubscribe the same way.
Art Fabian is on a spiritual journey to enjoy more aliveness and to share the goal of wholeness with others. He has no special training or degrees in this field. He’s not a religious scholar or theologian. However, he hopes you might also enjoy walking towards a richer life that benefits us, our neighbors, and all creation.