What is Human?

In school we learn all sorts of goofy things, 90% of which we probably won’t remember.  But the most valuable information about who we are and what our purpose is, is not even discussed.  Many indigenous peoples have origin stories like the Christians have the biblical story of adam and eve.  But that is not what I am talking about here even though the story that we are most familiar with does inform our lives, even if we are unaware of it.
I’m talking about the most fundamental parts of being a human.  What makes the most sense to me and what I have been taught, is that being human consists of 4 different interconnected arenas: Physical, Emotional/Vital, Mental, and Spirit.  Our physical bodies come with our biological systems and sensory perceptions of taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing.  Our emotional bodies come with a complex array of emotions such as sadness, anger, excitement, appreciation/affinity, and fear.  You can identify these in all sorts of ways, but they originate from, what in the yogic tradition and probably others call, our vital energies.  These are very strong and are the driving force behind most human actions.  Then there is the mental or our thoughts, which definitely have a great influence and interconnection with our emotions.  This is even more complex than our emotions as the categories are endless, and which part of us in fact makes categories – our mental.  Language is here, beliefs, judgements, etc.  The last is spirit, which is a general categorization for something so large it encompasses everything.  The sixth sense is part of our spiritual abilities, some call this the psychic, our intuition, knowing without knowing how you know, seeing/having a sense of something before it occurs, etc.
Spirit is the subtlest part of the system, and in many traditions the origin of all the others.  So instead of saying we are physical, emotional, mental, and then spiritual beings, we would say we are spirit in a system that comes with a thoughts, emotions, and a body.  Spirit is the great interconnector, that which is intangible, but wraps us all in a warm blanket of oneness.  When we have an appreciation for this oneness then we can honor differences and sense the connection between us.  It is the bases of intimacy.  This is why unconditional love is one of the main principles of many spiritual traditions.
We can build intimacy/connection with ourselves and our humanness through slowing down, and placing our attention on this spirit, this body, this arising of sensation, thought, and/or emotion.  We can build love with others by knowing this about ourselves, and that we share this with other humans, but in different variations and complexities.  Knowing who you are is one of the greatest gifts you could give yourself and those around you.

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