How do we evolve?

To be human is to accept ourselves just as we are, with our own history, and to accept others as they are.

From Becoming Human by Jean Vanier

What are the signs of evolution? How do we evolve…?

“First: all humans are sacred, whatever their culture, race, or religion, whatever their capacities or incapacities, and whatever their weaknesses or strengths may be. Each of us has an instrument to bring to the vast orchestra of humanity, and each of us needs help to become all that we might be.

Second: our world and our individual lives are in the process of evolving. Evolution is a part of life but it is not always easy to determine the good and the bad in something that is evolving. How to maintain the old and prepare the way for the new? It is not a question of rejecting the past but of letting the past flow into the present future. It is a question of loving all the essential values of the past and reflecting on how they are to be lived in the new. These values include openness, love, wholeness, unity, peace, the human potential for healing and redemption, and, most important, the necessity for forgiveness. So everything that permits and encourages the flow of life and growth is necessary.

Third: maturity comes through working with others, through dialogue, and through a sense of belonging and a searching together. In order to evolve towards greater maturity and wholeness, we humans need a certain security; only when we have attained this can we advance in insecurity with others towards the new.

Fourth: human beings need to be encouraged to make choices, and to become responsible for their own lives and for the lives of others.  We need to be encouraged to evolve in order to become mature, and to break out of the shell of self-centredness and out of our defense mechanisms, which are so oppressive to others as there are to ourselves. In other words, we humans need to be rooted in good earth in order to produce good fruit. But for this we need to freely risk life in order to give of ourselves.

Fifth: in order to make such choice we need to reflect and to seek truth and meaning. Reality is the first principle of truth. To be human means to remain connected to our humanness and to reality. It means to abandon the loneliness of being closed up in illusion, dreams, and ideologies, frightened of reality, and to choose to move towards connectedness. To be human is to accept ourselves just as we are, with our own history, and to accept others as they are. To be human means to accept history as it is and to work, without fear, towards greater openness, greater understanding, and a greater love of others. To be human is not to be crushed by reality, or to be angry about it or to try to hammer it into what we think it is or should be, but to commit ourselves as individuals, and as a species, to an evolution that will be for the good of all. “