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Meditation Changes Everything

Episode 9 Unlocking Our Superhuman Nature

In this episode, Craig explores what may be meditation’s greatest promise: the remarkable discovery of our superhuman nature. We’re all familiar with the idea of human nature. It governs our behavior as individuals and as a species. But is there another dimension of who and what we are that once revealed, can empower and free us to live an extraordinary life?

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In This Episode…

“Spiritual awakening or enlightenment is about the discovery that we don’t just have a human nature and an animal nature. We have a supernature. Which means there’s another dimension of who and what we are that is a spiritual essence, a super essence.” —Craig Hamilton

As Craig explores in this episode, meditation can be the key that unlocks the door to a “supernature,” unleashing a set of remarkable higher potentials that are already latent within us. These “supercapacities” include spontaneous wisdom, deep inner strength and resilience, heightened sensitivity and empathy, and dynamic creativity.

Rather than laboring to develop these capacities one at a time, we can engage in meditative practices designed to open us to the source of all of these potentials, ultimately propelling us into a profound new experience of being alive.

If you’re interested in exploring more of Craig’s approach to meditation, you’re invited to tune in to a 90-minute online workshop Craig will be hosting called Meditation 2.0 – The Miracle of Direct Awakening. Register for free at FreeMeditationWorkshop.com

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Episode 9 Unlocking Our Superhuman Nature

I want to speak today about our human nature, who and what we are. What is a human being? What’s operating in us? How does this whole thing of being human work?

We’re all familiar, of course, with the idea that we have a human nature, which means that we have a set of natural tendencies of predictable ways of being, predictable ways of relating to situations, of responding to the world around us, to each other, and to life.

 

What is Human Nature Anyway?

There has always been a debate about what exactly we should include in human nature. Some will say that one thing is part of our nature and others might argue with that. But when you ask anyone to describe our human nature, they’ll probably tell you that, on one hand, it’s our nature to try to be good and do good.

It’s in our nature to take care of each other, to be altruistic, to be self-sacrificing when necessary, to be heroic even at times. It’s our nature to strive toward our goals and work hard for them. It’s our nature to be innovative and creative. Most of us would agree that there are many wonderful things about human nature.

On the other hand, all of us would probably say, “Yeah, and it’s part of our human nature to avoid change, to fear the unknown, to mistrust the other. It’s our nature to be self-interested, to put ourselves first. It’s our nature to seek pleasure and avoid pain at any cost. And under the worst of circumstances, it’s our nature to cheat, to lie, to even be violent and destructive, and many other negative things.”

So our human nature includes all these wonderful tendencies toward the good, a lot of tendencies that we would all agree are not so good, and some that are in between.

 

Is Our Animal Nature Primary?

Thanks to modern science, we now realize that we also have an animal nature that’s part of our human nature. We’ve realized that we’re animals who evolved from other animals, so we understand that we have this primitive nature. We have raw instincts that we share with other animals. We have a fight-or-flight mechanism in our brain and biology.

As we’ve studied animal behavior, we’ve come to see that in fact, even a lot of what we would consider our higher human nature is also shared with other animals: many of our social instincts, the tendency to bond and connect with family members and be attached to them and to take care of them, and even signs of altruism in different animals.

Certainly, the more complex, intelligent mammals and birds share a lot with us, and we’re understanding more about that all the time. To some degree, it has demystified the complexity of our nature to realize, oh, okay, this has a deep enduring background in our biology as animals for eons of time.

So this whole idea of human nature, to boil it down, is recognizing that some of it is very biological, and there might be parts of it we don’t quite share with animals. We have aspects of our higher nature that are unique to being human, or at least humans and a few other animals high up on the intelligence spectrum. But if we just boil down human nature for most of us we would say, “Well, okay, we have our good parts and our bad parts.”

 

Our Primitive Nature vs Our Better Angels

Certainly, one way of looking at the spiritual path would be to say that the spiritual path is about learning how to strengthen or develop the better aspects of our human nature, what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature,” and to learn to listen to those better angels, metaphorically speaking, to be guided by these higher potentials.

The other part of the spiritual path would be learning to let go of, to leave behind, to renounce, the lower aspects of our nature, the negative ones, the destructive ones that I spoke about a few minutes ago. So we could, through one lens, just say that’s what the spiritual path is. It’s the evolutionary movement from our more primitive nature toward our higher potential to be a more evolved species who is increasingly manifesting the better aspects of our nature.

I think that’s a reasonable way to look at part of the spiritual path. I think it is that kind of work. Some people would even say that everything I just said isn’t even spiritual. Why do you need to call it spiritual? That’s just the human endeavor. That’s the great human project of evolving human nature—becoming kinder, less violent, more compassionate, less selfish.

I would say I agree with you. I don’t even think we have to call that part spiritual. That’s just the great endeavor of uplifting who and what we are. But we could also call it spiritual, and that’s reasonable too, because it has components of that, and certainly a big part of what spiritual teachings have always guided us toward.

But when we’re talking about spiritual awareness or enlightenment, I want to highlight that we’re talking about something a bit different.

 

Beyond Our Human Nature AND Our Animal Nature

Spiritual awakening or enlightenment has always been held up as the ultimate goal of the spiritual path or really the meaning of life, the ultimate potential for a human being is this radical awakening, this profound enlightenment, this great liberation.

So when we’re talking about the endeavor to become spiritually aware, to awaken or become enlightened, we’re no longer just talking about trying to be less bad and more good and trying to struggle with our human nature to manifest the better aspects and restrain the worst aspects.

Spiritual awakening or enlightenment is about the discovery that we don’t just have a human nature and an animal nature. We have a supernature. Which means there’s another dimension of who and what we are that is a kind of spiritual essence, a super essence.

By super, I don’t mean in the sense of Superman or a superhero, but I mean it’s a supernature in the sense that it radically transcends the constraints of our human nature, of our ordinary nature, meaning it’s not bound by the same rules that seem to govern our ordinary human nature or potential. It’s a leap beyond human life as we know it, human consciousness as we know it, human nature as we know it.

 

Discovering Our Supernature

The supernature has been called different names in different traditions. It’s been called our Buddha nature, our true nature, our divine essence, our true self, and many other terms. But all of it points to the recognition that who and what we are is not only the part that we’ve come to know and learn about and experienced up to this point.

But there is a completely different dimension of who and what we are that radically transcends—that is a profound leap beyond—the human being we have until now known our self to be, and human life as we’ve taken it to be.

The reason it’s important to recognize that it’s such a radical departure, or it exists on such a different level, is so we don’t relate to it like something else that we need to work to try to cultivate or grow and develop into. If we’re just looking at it on the spectrum of our ordinary human nature where we have our better tendencies and our not so good tendencies, and we’re just trying to restrain or inhibit the bad parts, and we’re trying to amplify and enhance and support the good parts, it’s all something that just exists in this realm of effortful self-cultivation. Effortful self-cultivation.

We’re all used to that. We all do lots of that, hopefully. I’m sure we do because people who get interested in anything like this are doing a lot of effortful self-cultivation, self-improvement, self-development. It’s all good. Well, most of it is good. Hopefully, it’s all good. We have a tendency when we come to spiritual awakening or spiritual enlightenment to then try to relate to that in the same way. Okay, this is something I need to effortfully cultivate.



We Don’t Cultivate Our Supernature. It’s Already Here.

But this supernature that we’re talking about isn’t something we gradually cultivate. The whole point of referring to it as part of our nature is to acknowledge that it’s already here. It’s a supernature that already exists fully formed, and it’s something we just need to uncover.

We need to remove the obscurations to it. We need to make room for it so that we can see it, so that we can know it, so that we can experience it, and then, ultimately, so that we can manifest it so we can allow it to take over our life, to take over the steering wheel, to begin to live this life that until now we thought belonged to me, this separate skin-encapsulated ego with my goals and dreams and ambitions and fears and history and traumas and story. I thought it was my life.

But when we realize we have a supernature, a super self that would also like to live our life and would probably do a much better job of living our life than we ever could with all the constraints of our ordinary human nature and struggles, then we become interested in trying to get out of the way so that this supernature can start to show up and make it all work.

 

Propelled Beyond the Limits of Your Ordinary Self

So another reason I’m calling it a supernature is that this dimension of who we are already contains a set of what I’ve come to call supercapacities that are far beyond our ordinary human capacities. This is something hopefully all of us here have at least tasted if not experienced in-depth.

Look in your own experience for a moment, and think about the moments of your life when you experienced a level of spiritual awareness, and were most awake to this higher nature, most available for this depth to show up and are having the most potent experience of being propelled outside the limits of your ordinary self into a deeper, wider, more expansive experience of self and life.

Did you notice that you suddenly seem to have a whole set of capacities that weren’t there before, weren’t there even an hour before? And by this I’m not talking about superpowers in the sense that you could suddenly fly, or read people’s minds, or move objects with your mind, or those things. Again, maybe some of that happens, but not what I’m pointing to specifically here.

 

Six Supercapacities Of Our Higher Nature

  1. Subtle Knowing and Seeing
    What I’m pointing to when I talk about these supercapacities is that there’s a sudden ability to see directly into situations, to see the motives of other people, to see the things that might go wrong, and to see the opportunities that exist, a kind of natural wisdom capacity starts to emerge that seems to be very intuitive, but also rational, but it transcends the rational. It seems to have access to a kind of field knowing that’s in tune with the group and the collective and the situation, and a very precise rapid responsiveness that comes from that. That’s one kind of capacity.

    2. Deep Inner Strength
    We may have experienced an inner strength, a sudden inner strength or resilience where difficult situations that would normally really throw us off now don’t throw us off. We are able to encounter them and deal with them. It doesn’t mean we might not feel uncomfortable. It doesn’t mean we might not feel pain or hurt or any other thing, but this natural deep inner strength and resilience that’s just there as part of our deeper nature.

    3. Overwhelming Care
    We might find a kind of profound capacity to care. Because often our capacity to care and love is limited by how big we can make our heart. Often we feel limited that if we care too much, we’re going to be overwhelmed. We’re going to be overwhelmed by our inability to deliver on all the care we feel, or to express every bit of it, or if we do express it we might have opened ourselves to being hurt, and so we often feel like we can only care so much. But in this awakened consciousness, our heart is as wide as the universe and we’re able to care infinitely. There seems to be no limit to the ability to care.

    4. Creative Flow
    We find an innovative kind of creativity that seems to be just part of our consciousness. An ability to just have all kinds of creative responses to situations to problems, as well as inventiveness, coming up with new ideas like, where does it all come from? It didn’t come from me. Suddenly, I just feel like I’m a conduit for this creative flow and impulse.

    5. Sensitivity
    We find we have an enormous sensitivity in our consciousness. Sensitivity to others, sensitivity to ourselves, sensitivity to the context in a situation. We’re very attuned to it. We’re very sensitive to it. We feel it, which gives you a sense of appropriateness, inappropriateness, what’s going to be helpful or beneficial, or what’s not. We’re suddenly feeling everything in life on a much deeper, more sensitive level.

    6. Adaptability
    We find an adaptability where we’re able to adapt very organically and quickly to changing circumstances. The rigidity that we may have experienced in ourselves previously seems to have melted away and been replaced by a fluidity, a flow, a responsiveness—dancing with life as life keeps changing moment to moment.

 

Piercing the Veil That Obscured Our Higher Nature

Any of the qualities I just mentioned you could put on the list of things we want to improve about ourselves. You could say, “Well, those are all some of the better aspects of human nature and yes, I agree we should all work on being more that way. Craig, you just give a good list of how we should all try to be more wise, caring, resilient, strong, intuitive, creative, sensitive, adaptable. We should just all try to be more that way.” We probably are all trying to be more that way and we can work to be more that way.

 

But the point I’m making is, what if all of those remarkable capacities that really transform our way of being, they transform our experience of being alive, and they transform how we’re able to show up in life.

What if all of those were the natural qualities and capacities of the deepest part of yourself, and that rather than trying to work to cultivate them all a bit at a time to become better, all we had to do was find the key that would unlock the door to this spiritual awareness, this deeper dimension of who we are, this supernature that all human beings have.

What if it was just about getting the key that would unlock that door so that that supernature could naturally manifest and express itself in the form of all of these supercapacities? Wouldn’t that make sense? Even if this sounds like a stretch to you because you haven’t experienced what I’m talking about, doesn’t it make sense?

Just think about human beings at their best. Given what we are able to do and manifest, doesn’t it make sense that we’re these naturally extraordinary beings, these naturally superbeings? That’s really our true essence, that’s really our true natural potential, and what’s really going on is that it’s obstructed. That our natural supernature, our extraordinary potential is actually right there, but it’s been obstructed.

It’s been obscured by our animal nature, by our human nature, by all the tendencies and habits of ignorance that we look at and explore on the spiritual path, by the ego structure, the defense mechanisms, our cognitive biases, all the things that work together to weave a veil that obscures this deeper supernature.

The Promise of Spiritual Awakening

This is the great promise of spiritual awakening. This is the great promise of spiritual enlightenment, and it always has been. This isn’t a new idea. This isn’t a new scientific spiritual idea. This has been the essence of spiritual awareness and the spiritual path for millennia, and has pointed to what I’m trying to unpack here. I’m saying it’s a perennial truth, and when any one of us does the work to remove the obscurations, or shift our attention in such a way that we awaken to our supernature, our true nature, we find that the floodgates open to this completely different possibility, this super possibility.

Even having said all that, since I’m describing this part of me that has super abilities has a supernature, I know there could be a tendency for us to still have some version of the Superman metaphor where I just have to learn how to go into the phone booth and take off my office clothes, and lo and behold, I’ll be in my Superman suit and with all my powers, ready to go.

I want to really make it simpler than that and more human than that. I just listed a number of what I was calling supercapacities and described them. What I want to say is the reason they exist, the reason that those super capacities are the natural expression of our supernature of awakened consciousness is because when we awaken out of the gross ego structure into this higher nature, this true nature, what we find is that we’re relating to life differently. We’re relating to our mind differently, because we see things differently. So, we’re perceiving life differently and therefore we’re relating to it differently. And because we now have a different relationship to this experience of being alive, our capacities shift as a result.

 

A Different Relationship to Life

When I say a different relationship, what I mean are things like, when you’re awake to who you are beyond the mind and ego, when you’re awake to this deeper higher consciousness, the way you relate to the workings of your mind and your thoughts, changes radically, doesn’t it?



1. A Different Relationship To Thought

The mind from the point of view of awakened consciousness, the mind meaning thought stream, is now no longer seen as reality. The stories your mind is telling you are no longer seen as reality. They’re just constructs. They’re just stories. They’re just pictures that your mind is making, stories your mind is telling, and you’re no longer what’s called identified with the mind.

When we’re awake, we’re not identified with the mind, so we relate to the mind very differently. We’re free from the mind, whereas in an unawakened condition our thoughts tend to dominate us, torture us. We very often feel overwhelmed by our inner critic or overwhelmed by other critical voices inside, voices of doubt, and voices of fear, and voices of greed, or impulsiveness. The conditioned mind tends to dominate and guide so much of our life.

When we’re awake, it doesn’t. We just see the mind for what it is. Oh, it’s just this story-making machine. It’s just this interpretive machine. It’s not necessarily accurate at all. It’s not telling me the truth necessarily at all. I am much more circumspect about my mind. I’m not so interested in everything it’s churning out. So we discover freedom from the mind.

 

2. A Different Relationship To Feeling

When we’re awake, we relate to our feelings differently. Whereas previously, we’re often at the effect of our feelings. If we feel good, we’re going to show up in life with a good mood and a good attitude and be an effective contributor to life. When we feel terrible, we want to just crawl in a hole and withdraw from life and not fully show up, and we feel crippled by our feelings.

Certainly, if not that extremely, we’re in reaction to feeling. We have a conditioned, habitual relationship to feeling so we feel certain feelings that trigger certain behaviors, have other feelings, they trigger other behaviors. This awakened consciousness is free from feelings. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel. We feel everything as we’ve explored here, but we’re no longer in reaction to them. We’re no longer identified with feeling. We’re identified with consciousness, which is much bigger and free from all that.



3. A Different Relationship To Time

When we’re awake to our true nature, we’re relating to time differently. We relate to the past very differently. We’re not feeling burdened by our past choices, we might be freely learning from our past choices, but there’s not the sense of living under the weight of our past.

We relate to the future differently. We’re no longer looking to the future as the time when we’re going to finally live, when everything is going to be just right and we can be happy and full because our circumstances have all worked out. We’ve let go of the dream of a future, and we’re fully here in this moment, investing everything here and now.

 

4. A Different Relationship To Challenge & Opportunity

We relate to challenges very differently. We’re not afraid of them. We’re just available and responsive to deal with them. We relate to opportunities and higher possibilities differently.

The bigger point is that we become nonreactive and free from conditioned habit. We become open, receptive, intuitive, responsive, and we start to live our life out of a natural trust and in an attunement to this deeper flow. We seem very fluid and free.

It’s out of that, the higher capacities I talked about just flow naturally, because they’re really the natural way for us to be here, our natural state. Once all the conditioning, habit, reactivity, identification with thought, identification with feeling, once all of that has been removed, then we naturally function in this extraordinary way that starts to look a little bit like superpowers. It starts to look super normal. But my point is it’s not. I wouldn’t see it as supernatural. I would see it as utterly natural, our deepest nature.

 

Participating in the Energy of SuperConsciousness

I’m bringing this all up for two reasons. One, just to again orient us to what spiritual awakening is, what enlightenment is, what any spiritual path that’s designed to awaken us is really about, what it’s really pointing to so that we don’t orient to it in a different way, so we don’t make it smaller, so we don’t make it something we’re just trying to cultivate.

We always remember, no, I just need to get out of the way of this supernature so that it can come through. I need to make room for it, which means I need to remove my attention and cease to participate in the energy and momentum of unconsciousness so that I can participate in the energy and momentum of superconsciousness. As opposed to trying to force myself to be superconscious, or trying to force myself to act in a way that’s superconscious. I need to let this natural process occur. I need to cease to participate in that which is unnatural.

The second reason is that in light of everything I was just saying, this really allows us to underline again what the practice of direct awakening is that we’re doing here.

 

We Don’t Need to Wait for Spiritual Awakening

The core premise of this approach is that we don’t need to wait for spiritual awakening to happen to us. We don’t need to do a set of preparatory practices to try to get ready for some big moment of awakening when everything will shift.

In fact, because there is an awakened relationship to our experience, there’s an awakened relationship to the mind and enlightened relationship to our feelings, there’s an enlightened way of relating to the future and the past. There’s an enlightened way of relating to consciousness itself, that because awakened consciousness functions in natural predictable ways, it is therefore something that we can practice in meditation. We can practice relating to our experience in an awakened way.

When we practice relating to our experience in an awakened or enlightened way, we are inherently aligning ourselves precisely with our supernature, with our higher nature. So therefore we’re making room for that supernature to show up and do the practice. Because, from one point of view, all the practices that we do here, your mind and ego can’t really do them.

But when you, the conscious self, the person, chooses to do a practice of direct awakening in meditation, you’re basically creating the invitation for that supernature to show up to really do the practice, because it’s the only part of you that really can.

So, in this practice of direct awakening what we’ve really done has taken all the natural attitudes or qualities of awakened consciousness of our true nature and said, “What would it mean to practice that? How can I, in meditation, practice that? How could I practice not identifying with the mind, not grasping onto knowing, not participating in the endless compulsive need to know and be certain and the identification with thought  that comes with it? How could I practice not doing that? How could I practice not reacting to my feelings? How could I practice not waiting for a better future moment? How could I practice giving my attention to consciousness itself, awareness itself?”

So that’s what we’re doing here. That’s what we’re doing in these practices. That’s what we’re going to keep doing is we’re going to keep going deeper and deeper into the practice of direct awakening, exploring the natural qualities and dispositions and tendencies of awakened consciousness as our self in meditation.

 

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