In an attempt to start accessing those wonderful artistic aspects of my being, I've started reading through my daily meditation books. The one that struck the chord today was from Caitlin Matthews, the question was, What, for you, are the gifts of being human?
I think one of the main ones, that I think is more specific to humans, is the ability to create something beautiful for the sake of creating beauty. Most animals, when you watch them create something, are doing it for the sake of utility. I don't discount the idea that they may have a concept of beauty (just watch a bird making her nest) but I have yet to come into the presence of another animal creating something in that manner.
When I look to shared gifts…compassion and understanding are the ones that come up next. To ostracize someone, we withhold both of those in order to make that individual feel worthless and unwelcome. We also tend to do that for the wrong reasons, sometimes solely because we can. But we can make the choice to let those barriers down and let people be who they are, without strings attached. Making that choice requires a willingness to be injured in some manner. Sometimes it pays off in a reward, and other times the payoff is a new learning experience to benefit us the next time we step out on that ledge.
One that we neglect is our instinct. Other animals live off of it, so they are completely in tune with how that functions. Our instincts tend to be dulled by our opulence, falsified safety created by imagined wealth and material objects. Sweet talkers who seduce us with things we want to hear or games we refuse to take full notice of. We play into those because of our own desire for some kind of acceptance, because we don't accept ourselves, where we stand. We have this idea in our head as to who we are, but fail to look in the mirror to see if that's who we can be, truly, or if it's just a magnified fantasy that can never materialize. Society has told us that going after the unimaginable is a flight of fancy. But if we look at where we want to go, and look and see what is available for that first step, we can find a way to make a path – if that is what we really do want. Complacency is what keeps us from moving forward. Stagnation is what propels us to make those changes.
A concept of failure. When things don't work out, we either have the option to leave them there, or figure another route. When everything is given to us, what do we miss out on by not looking down those other paths, or making a new one?