David Karchere recently spoke about “ersatz masculinity.” Ersatz is defined as a poor substitute. It occurred to me that what’s prevalent on the planet are ersatz humans—people who have forgotten who they are and have become a bad substitute for what a real human being is supposed to be and what a real human being, a loving human being, is designed to deliver into the world.
In a letter written by Nelson Mandela to his wife, Winnie, while he was in prison, he says this:
The cell is an ideal place to learn to know yourself, to search realistically and regularly the process of your own mind and feelings. In judging our progress as individuals we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one’s social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education. These are, of course, important in measuring one’s success in material matters and it is perfectly understandable if many people exert themselves mainly to achieve all these. But internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being. Honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve others—qualities which are within easy reach of every soul—are the foundation of one’s spiritual life. Development in matters of this nature is inconceivable without serious introspection, without knowing yourself, your weaknesses and mistakes. At least, if for nothing else, the cell gives you the opportunity to look daily into your entire conduct, to overcome the bad and develop whatever is good in you.
The qualities Nelson Mandela mentioned are a good starting point for being a true human being:
Honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve others….
We have the opportunity to develop these things without being locked in a cell. We can touch what is real and magical in the Invisible by making space for it. Human beings distract themselves with things. They lose track of the mystical and the magical that is within them and become very concerned about the stuff that surrounds them. They don’t want to lose anything, as it has become a part of their identity. Nelson Mandela didn’t have any stuff to distract him. He chose to work in the realms of internal magic. These internal realms seem mysterious because they are not visible but they are very much present for anyone who pays attention.
We are surrounded by mystery and magic. We breathe and our heart beats without our conscious participation. Is that not a mystery? Seeds and bulbs are planted and grow into food and flowers and trees without our intervention. The mysteries that Nelson Mandela discovered while being in a jail cell are available to us. But we often aren’t paying attention because we are awfully comfortable, and then we become awfully comfortable complaining about the things that we don’t have; things we believe will make us whole and happy.
We also have created ways of measuring the world and ourselves that limit our ability to deliver the wonder and magic that is within us. We have cultural beliefs about what it means to be a real man or woman. These vary from culture to culture. How we look physically, how we share our feelings, what we do for a living, whether or not we have children. These things do not determine our value. What is important is how true we are to ourselves. Each of us has a unique gift to bring, a special way to love, to engage, and to create. This mystery, this love that comes from the Invisible directly to us, needs to be released into the world through us.
As this precious gift of love comes to you purely and generously, you have the privilege of revealing it to the world through your voice, through your spirit and through your smile. If you believe you are not man enough, not woman enough, not good enough, that gift is transformed into something that perpetuates a culture of lies. You engage in the ersatz human experience. The real experience is being yourself.
How invested are you in being yourself? Are all the things that are attempting to be born through you being filtered through the things that are not true?
Let’s pay attention to the magic that is coming down to us all the time. How is it that the air on earth is in the right oxygen-nitrogen-hydrogen formula for human beings and for us to sustain life? How did that happen? The magic of life and love is keeping it so. It is keeping this entire planet, this entire world, working. It’s allowing you to breathe, it’s taking care of the bulbs that we plant, the seeds that fall, the smiles that we naturally can give.
Whether or not we see it, we are the perfect people and this is the perfect time for the delivery of the magic of life. This love is coming to you. For what purpose? For delivery into the world. And if you have everything in your heart and everything in your head skewed with erroneous beliefs about what it means to be a lovable human being, it has to go through all that misinformation, and what you are delivering into the world is not the joyous reality that is your gift to give. It’s coming out in a way that isn’t life-giving, and you become an ersatz human being. When you realize that the magical reality that’s taking care of everything else is trustworthy, you can take a deep breath into being yourself, and ask, “What is mine to bring right now?” The world is hungry for your smile, for your gift, for you.
You have the power to change the world. The world is changed when the power of love comes to you with all your passion, all your life current, and all your wisdom—all that sunshine. It is coming to you to be delivered through a human being who knows who they are. And it is me and you and anyone who has woken up to the fact that they are part of the mystery; they are animated by the magic, and the magic coming through them brings the glory of life. It’s glorious, what human beings can do. It’s amazing what we can do together when we let the design and the mystery and the magic be revealed through us. There’s a lot of things we can’t see until they are manifest. And who is going to manifest them, if not the sons and daughters of the mystery?
There are ways in which we have become so closed to the possibility that things could be holy and wholesome that we really do need to be kick-started back into how wonderful this could all be. We do not need to meet the cultural criteria to have a fulfilled life. We don’t have to be thin or strong, pretty or handsome, young or wealthy. This incredible magical mystery substance of love is coming into you, this gorgeous Being, wanting to be delivered into the world. Are you providing that blessing? Are you being kind, thoughtful, smiling, humble? Humble enough to be yourself, humble enough to know that you haven’t been being yourself?
There can be pain in losing your old self when you start to become what’s real. It can be difficult to stop playing the cultural identity game. It can be lonely. If you are honest, the current cultural way of living is already painful and lonely, as there is no place for the magic that is yours to bring. There can be pain in the loss of the acceptance of an old life, but there’s the glory of life coming into you now. And as that life moves into the world, there is the returning cycle back to you.
This takes a little practice, to allow yourself to step out and be yourself. As Patrick Campbell says in his poem:
This, then, is the Pattern of Creation:
it is mysterious and as simple
it is as powerful and yet as effortless as gravity;
as a smile.
Let us start with a smile; a genuine smile from a genuine human being. We can stop looking for confirmation from the culture that is passing away and know this is the perfect day, the perfect time for the revelation of what it is to truly be a human being, animated and lit up by the magic and mystery of life.