Often the question arises, what is meant by Development
of Human Potential? After all most of us consider we are quite
living up to our human potential by being “good as we can
be,” at our jobs, family, parenting, love relationships,
or our place in society.
Throughout history in sacred writings, the ideas being
conveyed in religious, philosophical and spiritual texts, which refer
to higher meaning, reference the awakening from a state of sleep. This
is not meant to be literal, but a truth that must be seen
by humans internally.
Development of our human potential is referring
to this inner awakening of our essential Self. This awakening
is a latent or potential ability available to us all, and which for
the most part is not accessed by us, in our daily life. Our early education
does not refer to this latent ability in our self. We in the West are
educated intellectually to think soundly, with some emphasis on religious
or moral consideration, seldom if at all, is consideration given to
our practical Humanity or our potential to become complete Human
The questions “Who am I”
or “Why am I” are questions that
are not generally addressed by conventional education. In my experience,
this becomes the quest of the “second education,”
that may come to us when the outer world considerations have been experienced,
even conquered, and yet one is left still with a question,
a yearning, that there has to be more meaning to life than this.
Enter here the quest for the essential Self, and
the contact with spiritual meaning in one's life. The Work
says we are more than our personality, that there also exists within
us higher aspects of ourselves, which are available to us at will, when
we recognize through the work of self-observation, the multi-faceted
dimensions of the personality and practice separation from it.
The exercises of separation and right efforts will open us to
the presence of the essential Self. The common experience of
attempting to become a “better version of oneself”
is the danger here. Yet through the effort of self-observation
and separation we begin to recognize the difference between my behaviors
and “I” my Self. The increased consciousness brings
a new increasing awareness of our self as individuals and as a participant
in the cosmic energies. Another practice, one of bringing
oneself back to the moment, over and over again, when we find ourselves
identified with the personalities act or reactions, will facilitate
the awakening to the Presence within. The gap, which exists
in the quiet inner space, when there is no mind at work interfering
with the experience of the moment, is what will facilitate those
moments of real Presence. Then, in those moments, the question
of “meaning of life,” “my life” or
even “who am I” becomes no longer a question. The
answer is clear.
Coming to the point of awakening an awareness, a presence,
and of activating and sustaining the human potential in oneself, does
require a great deal of practical work on oneself. This Work
is not simply about knowing something, but of truly making it real
in oneself by experiencing it fully. It is a process of
inner work with oneself, and in concert with others, to come into contact
with the presence of the essential Self. This is practical Fourth Way
Work carried out in ones daily life. The Work describes the process
as “being in life, but not of it.”
The following Zen teaching story says it simply, clearly.
The fact that it is Zen and not “The Work” . . . matters
not at all . . . . .
Truth . . . . .is.
“A monk once asked his Master, “No
matter what lies ahead, what is the Way?” The Master Quickly
replied, “The Way is your daily life.”
This concept is at the very center of the Way of Zen. The principles
that govern the Way are directed toward all of our existence, not just
to the part that takes place in the meditation hall. The challenge
of Zen is to meet each day, each moment with a clear mind and a cleansed
spirit, so that the moment to moment union with existence becomes the
And . . . . . .So it is!