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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Human Spirits Never Become Free

“And it is you, spirit--with will and energy, and virtue and purity--that I want, not alone with your brittle frame.” 

--Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

I believe humans contain primordial matter of the spirit. We who believe that some part of a living, material being is immortal regard a vital inner force of pure spirit within us as one step away from eternal existence. Thus, on earth, we live as mortals with immortal souls.

“What matters most: What he had yearned to embrace was not the flesh but a downy spirit, 
a spark, the impalpable angel that inhabits the flesh. Wind, Sand and Stars.” 

--Richard Bach

Our intangible spirits defy conceptualization, yet we who believe know that a unique spirit dwells within each of us and often wells up in a stream of individual or sub-conscious objectivity. No wonder many who feel this habitation believe the spirit contains the material soul.

Flesh, bones, and blood restrict the spirit. Our physical form entangles the force and prevents the spirit from realizing full expression. The conscious release of spirit is, at best, incomplete.

Thus, others witness this outward, visible interpretation of our inner character after it has been strained through matter that dilutes its substance. This becomes a fractional substitute for the true element of our person -- what passes for the essence of a divine presence, a beautiful fragment of the energy of God.

“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”

--Black Elk

Our bodies allow animation as an interpretation of this immaterial consciousness -- the spirit is left to remain the ghost within the machine. Of course, our spirit survives this rendering and accepts the distorted views imposed upon it by others. Often, we feel no one else can comprehend our best spiritual intentions.

The spirit of a human is always searching for what is perfect -- for harmony, for peace, cognition and realization, for knowledge, wisdom, truth and beauty, for love and especially for truth concerning the true Creator. This is a search for things of eternal duration.

 “Humans are amphibians...half spirit and half spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for to be in time, means to change. Their nearest approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation--the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks.” 

--C.S. Lewis

Most of us can never consistently communicate on a spiritual level with others. It's not as if we don't attempt to do so. But, as we walk through a world of people with whom we share our emotions, we find ourselves unable to become what we truly desire to be. In addition to our restrictive flesh, delicate situations and unavoidable problems hamper our intentions. Others often unintentionally disillusion our ideals, and our skin becomes even thicker as we gain experience in the real world.

To keep our feet moving forward, we acquire skills to help relay the necessary things we must say and do. Yet even the most communicative of us seldom bridge the gap that separates our persona from the honest spirit we desire to become. We yearn for fulfillment and seek an answer in physical connections. The tools we employ -- gestures and symbols -- lack the intensity of our inner beings ... and we eventually discover they prove insufficient to convey the spirit, so we recognize we must become actors with roles to perform.

 "Every spirit makes its house, and we can give a shrewd guess 
from the house to the inhabitant." 

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

At best, we spend our fruitful times fulfilling our yearnings for love -- we practice friendship, generosity, affection, respect, and passion. We become happy and thankful, satisfied to a point of mutual acceptance between us and the ones we love. Yet, all of this tenderness seems to leave us facing that core void. We grow older, mature with some grace, but we still feel incomplete while lacking the merciful fabric sought by our own ageless spirit.

Perhaps, this nagging emptiness stems from the physical boundaries of living, the shackles imposed by the very oxygen we breathe. If so, we will never reach our goal of spiritual completeness on this earthly plain. God and nature provide us with glimpses of uninhibited spirituality: we occasionally taste drops of undiluted joy.

What are the manifestations of holy spirit? The Bible reveals its message in the following scripture:

1 Corinthians 12:8-10  

"8. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9. to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10. to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues."

Although we may be aware of our absolute limitations, to stop believing and searching for spiritual completeness because of trials native to living a human existence betrays all the finer intentions we possess. The quest for discovering something of lasting value beyond our simple desires is a mission we must take though it may steered by fate, never really requiring the illusion that we guide our responsible, individual lives with our ever-conscious hands on the wheel.

As we move from place to place, how quickly we discover no one is like us. Armed with intellect and limited wisdom, we sift through our little bucket of  acquaintances to befriend and to love those we judge acceptable and to find even one who "truly understands us."

We choose to become bound to others in a noble myth we call "eternal devotion." Within the framework of pledges and promises, we still manage to rip into the psyche of those we call "our loved ones" and carelessly restrict their liberties and freedoms. We impose our very personal wills upon those we "care for" the most, and, in doing so, we tarnish their spirits. And, in return, they willingly do the same to us. We, at best, share remarkable times with friends and lovers; then, they and we change and accept dimming influences as part of the nature of familiarity.

Most of us associate a free, less-inhibited spirit with careless, immoral, animal desires. As we do that, we judge the person by our own personal standards, which are not necessarily without prejudice. Perhaps the intent of the free spirit becomes the hinge point of controversy. We often assume the worst intentions without thorough understanding, and then we reject the notion that a decent free spirit may live among us.

But, we also feel an honest attraction to the most free-spirited. Relentless reality after reality eventually confirms our belief that all humans are unique, each is a distinct fingerprint of protoplasm, each an inadequate vessel for a restless spirit. When we recognize a good soul with a strong and caring uninhibited spirit, we know we have discovered a rare jewel whose worth is beyond measure.

"We are fascinated, all of us, by the implacable otherness of others. And we wish to penetrate by hypothesis, by daydream, by scientific investigation those leaden walls that encase the human spirit, that define it and guard it and hold it forever inaccessible.”

--Tim O'Brien

I believe we, as humans and objective beings, succumb, but the subjective spiritual entity implanted within each of us lives forever, for the true spirit is incorruptible and immortal. This piece of godliness within us eventually passes on to a new home.  In truth, whatever its earthly existence, it failed to reach its destiny in the polluted environment of this planet.

The ache of the spirit in a human being is due to incompleteness, and the remedy to fulfillment cannot be found by those with flesh, bones, and brains. As Stephen R. Covey suggests, "We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey." And, that, in itself, limits our realization of discovery.


Sara Teasdale

From my spirit's gray defeat,
From my pulse's flagging beat,
From my hopes that turned to sand
Sifting through my close-clenched hand,
From my own fault's slavery,
If I can sing, I still am free.

For with my singing I can make
A refuge for my spirit's sake,
A house of shining words, to be
My fragile immortality.

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