Greed, War, Making Enemies – This is not Human Nature.

Greed, War, Making Enemies – This is not Human Nature.

I often hear, ‘Greed, war, creating enemies – its human nature.” I couldn’t agree less. Fighting each other for crumbs. Believing we’re not enough. Feeling we have no option but to kill someone to achieve what we want… or think we ‘need’. None of this is human nature. It’s common. We see it everywhere. It’s so common most of us feel completely discouraged that it could possibly be ended. But it’s not natural to humans at all. It’s more a measure of our distress than our humanity.

 

If you asked me, ‘What is the natural way of humans?’ I’d tell you, that’s very easy to see. We, as a group of beings, are naturally hopeful, loving, playful, energetic, funny, giving, cooperative and flexible.

 

‘No,’ you say. ‘That can’t be! Where do you see the evidence of that?’ I tell you, I see it everywhere, throughout history, in every moment of our lives. Maybe you’re not looking in the right place.

 

Ever been out with a friend who took out a mint for themselves and offered you one? Why would they do this? If we were naturally greedy and non-cooperative, why would we do this kind of thing with such ease? It would go right against our grain – against our nature. We would feel in conflict after, and ill-at ease. Repeating this kind of behaviour over and over would cause us dis-ease in the future. (Don’t focus on the sugar in the mint here, stay with me…) But it doesn’t. Giving to others is as natural as anything, and after we do it, we feel good. Really good.

 

Move on from a mint. Give someone you love something that makes their life easier. Tell me how you feel? Do you feel conflicted, tense and worried? Or, do you feel relieved, inspired and happy? That will tell you which one is our nature.

 

Do something for a stranger – someone you don’t love at all, you don’t even know. Do something that makes their life just a little nicer. How do you feel? It turns out we don’t even have to have any attachment, any investment in the person we give to or cooperative with for us to feel good after. We are simply being ourselves. That’s our nature.

 

Human beings are designed to feel good. Anytime we do something that (naturally) makes us feel good, we thrive. We have as great a need to be loving towards others, as we do to receive love. It’s simply how we’re made.

 

Not sure if it’s our natural state to be energetic and playful? To be hopeful? Watch children before they get discouraged by the harshness of the world. It’s all about play. They know (what we spent our lives trying to remember) that life is about having fun, not ‘getting things done’. And, they love learning. They are so naturally curious and learn through their play. They also persist, are determined and strive through any challenge to get what they want, and they do it because it’s fun.

 

One of the worst things that has happened to this world, is how we’ve taken ‘play’ away from people. Once we hit a certain age, usually early teens, we are systematically told we are ‘too old to play.’ (I mean really play. Let me give you a definition I’ve just made up for ‘play’ now: so using your whole physical body (like running around) while wildly using your imagination, the result of which is laughing out loud.’ Yes, I like that definition. I think if adults got to do this more often – every day at least – we’d see generally better mental health as a whole. Simply put, the world would be a much better place.

 

This brings me to the start of this article – the disastrous state of this world on a large scale. War, greed, hunger, and death way before one’s time by unnecessary means. None of these stem from our human nature. They are the result of what happens when we get hurt, and we don’t come together to heal those hurts, but instead sit on them, encourage others to sit on theirs, protect them, believe in them and act them out over the generations. These hurts affect our thinking – making it narrowed, rigid, reactive and repetitive. In fact, I wouldn’t call this thinking at all anymore. If real thinking is new and flexible, and this kind of thing is rigid and repetitive, then it’s a survival pattern and couldn’t really be recognised as ‘thinking’ at all. This is the state we are in, and it’s a backlog of human distress rather than a reflection on our human nature.

 

The truth is, we can see evidence of our nature everywhere, in every moment. Humans are more often kind to each other than non-cooperative. We like being together. Actually, we’re designed to be together. And we have always gained pleasure in giving and receiving. We enrich our lives more when we train our attention to notice the truth about us, then when we allow it to be pulled to our backlog of distresses.

 

(By the way, it’s also natural that the attention gets pulled to the distress, so don’t beat yourself up when this happens. It’s because a part of your mind knows it’s not supposed to live there and wants us to notice it so we can do something about it. But, too many of us have lost the belief that anything useful could ever be done about it and so we lose our attention in it for no purpose. When we practice bringing our attention back to what is really true, we are finally back in present time.)

 

Here’s the other wonderful thing: Those distresses, no matter how old, can begin to be healed at any time. We heal them by connecting with each other, with loving attention, being pleased with each other, and of course, letting ourselves be in touch with our natural ways of releasing them – through our laughing, crying, shaking, sweating and yawning (yes, yawning). Naturally human!

 

 

P.S. This article was written as a challenge I set myself – to go from inspiration to published in 30mins. I did it! It was inspired by today (2nd October) being Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, and his quote, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean get dirty, the ocean is not dirty.” This is the first time I fearlessly published an article without checking and re-checking. Tell me what you think! Comment below or on Facebook.

  1. Pamela Steffens says:

    Wow!!! 30 minutes and this!!! So much in this article I will only address the comments on fun and playfulness. I love your idea of engaging everyday!!! I, too, wonderful how different our world would be if each of us learned to be childlike for just a little bit everyday.

    Look forward to next Thursdays group!!!

    • Shalini Sinha says:

      Thanks so much Pamela. Really appreciate you taking the time and commenting. Yes!! Wouldn’t it be great if we could play more? So, play more… new resolution…

  2. Carol Munsey says:

    Love it! So true!

  3. Debbie Gador says:

    Lovely, Shalini! Very thought provoking. (And if this is your 80%, then your 100% must be amazing!)

    • Shalini Sinha says:

      Thanks Debbie. Yes! Did this in an 80%! Had an inspiration about it though… so that was already a spark into momentum. really appreciate you taking the time to comment.

  4. Breda says:

    Love it…………..
    Oh yes we sure do need to play more

    well done enjoyed it 🙂

  5. Anne Shumate says:

    Yay! So glad to have you sharing your beautiful insights with us again!

    • Shalini Sinha says:

      Thanks so much Anne. Your encouragement helped me get them out again! Please help me spread the word to anyone else who might know who used to. I would love to be back in touch with them… =)

  6. Teresa says:

    Love this article Shalini packed with valuable insightful information. I so agree human beings are designed to feel good. Giving is a feel good factor. Equally receiving and acknowledgement of the good deed is equally a good factor. Sometimes we are blocked from receiving be this information. The way we communicate or even the way we act. Example, Ever see two people argue over who will pay for a coffee. The person on the receiving end finds it hard and wants to give. I am not saying you are always the taker here. The human way is to share and if we do this we will create abundance for all and to all.

  7. Tara says:

    Nice to see your writing again Shalini – please publish more!

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