The Human Spirit

October Books, England. The Human Spirit at it’s best in action. (Photo credit: NPR)

When we engage in something bigger than us then we are using our human spirit.  The human spirit isn’t always always nice. It fact, in can also be downright gruesome.  There’s a part of you that is hard wired to survive and when it gets activated you find yourself doing things that you otherwise would never consider. Then there’s a whole another part of you that goes beyond humanity.

Come take a peak inside the two halves of the Human Spirit.  Hit play or read the full transcript below.


Thank you for joining us for this podcast episode 031 of
True Connections with Weston Jolly



The human spirit is often used as catch all phrase to describe both things wonderful and the not so kind. What kind of human spirit do you have? Assuming the dichotomy of human nature there is a desire to think very highly of our selves. These two opposing halves are within us but we don’t want to ignore the polarity.

Further, it would be a mistake to forget the pull that you and I are indeed animals. Animals like to survive. They are built to survive but unlike other animals we are conscious. Because of this we are able to demonstrate choices that are unimaginable because of this choice.

This is why we have challenges in society. Each of us knows that there is a back-and-forth contest between your human spirit and that part of you that wants to win. Survival means winning. But what happens when survival instincts get mixed up?

This happens all the time. Anyone growing up on the street, which could be restated as growing up in the wild, is bound to see everything in terms of suffering. This means everything is a contest to win. To survive.

Your life changes when you go to war because this choice significantly alters the mind. Regardless of what you think you believe this is likely to be totally ignored when the first bullet goes whizzing by your head. Human nature seemingly takes over and you and your body following the reptilian brain. While this is part of the human design, you are not limited to this expression.

Let me offer an example by focusing on the animal kingdom. A Labrador retriever can be trained from it’s earliest moments to be a service dog for people with disabilities. The wash out rate training such an animal is high even for dog breeds that are both smart and exceedingly loyal. If a dog doesn’t follow orders consistently or they have “an attitude” or other undesired trait they are immediately cut from the program.

A good natured dog that can’t keep it together under the most stressful conditions is relieved of duty. If this sounds a little like being in the military, it should. This is the intent; to train or condition these dogs to ignore their normal animal instincts to serve people who don’t have able bodies. Imagine how catastrophic it would be for a dog who is leading their blind master through a crosswalk to jump, run and follow a mischievous cat that wondered nearby.

Let’s come back to the human spirit. If someone survived the street growing up it can be pretty tough to walk away from such extreme reinforcement of not feeling safe. Such characteristics can be seen in many areas of life but especially business. Consider this excerpt from the movie the Founder, about Ray Kroc, who was in the midst of stealing the McDonald’s corporation from it’s true founders.

“…Would you like to know what I came up with? I’ll tell you, Mac. I came up with a concept. A highly novel concept called winning. You boys are content to sit back and be a couple of also-rans. To let the future run roughshod over you. Me, I want to take the future. I want to win. And you don’t get there by being some aw-shucks, nice-guy sap. There’s no place in business for people like that. Business is war. It’s rat eat rat, dog eat dog. If my competitor was drowning, I’d reach out and stick a hose in his mouth. Can you say the same?”

I think this perfectly demonstrates the human spirit on the survival plane. Only thing is, business isn’t war…. unless you think it is. What I mean is selling hamburgers isn’t really the same as going to war. …not unless you think it is. Life is what you make it.

This part of human spirit can get really disgusting. People have done unpardonable things in this vibrational state. In 1972, a soccer team crashed while flying over the Andes. Acts of cannibalism took place. In the words of one of the survivors, “Each of us came to our own decision in our own time. And once we had done so, it was irreversible.” This same survivor also said, “It was our final goodbye to innocence.”

These aspects of humanity are not pleasant. Even worse is to dwell upon the fact that each of us possess this part of the human spirit. But not only this half. There is another half.

The human spirit at it’s best is something to truly celebrate. This is the other space wherein we get to choose to exist. We can die in an act of war or we can die saving another from such a fate. Private Desmond Doss walked into one of the bloodiest battles of World War II but never fired a shot. This man was offered the Medal of Honor by President Truman in recognition of his service.

Mr. Doss never carried a weapon and refused to kill another but instead served his country and his men as a medic. How is it one person can justify business as war!? So much so that he’d hook up a hose to his drowning rat competitor? And then how can someone else declare not to kill another, even during a time of war? This is the duality of the human spirit.

The human spirit is something that goes beyond the physical and even the biology of your own body. Even an agnostic can acknowledge this part of their human behavior that isn’t necessarily religious. There is part of us that is enabled to go beyond the physical. This means possibly putting yourself in danger, not for the thrill of it, but for some reason that goes beyond life itself.

Conscious implementation of the human spirit isn’t always life threatening. We should be clear about this. For some people, there is a switch, that if activated they put away their body and mind to do something that is spiritual. A spiritual action if you will.

Spiritual actions are sometimes taught, sought and very desired. Sometimes vainly so. But how do we explain someone who embodies the greatest examples of the human spirit who’s not consciously practicing? Where does this come from?

A Labrador can be taught not to chase a cat, or other animals, even when the dog has an instinct to do so. Humans can be learn, develop and apply their human spirit too. But even with training it doesn’t guarantee that you will engage in the highest aspects of the human spirit. This can be tough to hear.

Further, it can be disappointing to think that when and if the time comes to employ your human spirit that your biology might reign supreme and take you in a different direction. It can feel like you’re body is betraying you. This can be enormously frustrating and it can be quite a let down to “what you think you’d do” -spiritually speaking. As one surviving member of the rugby team plane crash stated, “such a choice can be the end of your innocence.”

I want to rephrase this. Instead of ignoring the reptilian part of your brain with whitewash about what you think you would do -let’s honor it. This part of you doesn’t need be an excuse with words such as, “I didn’t have a choice” because you do. You always have a choice.

The choice isn’t honored or judged, it’s living with whatever choice you make. Betraying your physical instinct to live can feel as “wrong” as your betraying your desire to exercise your human spirit. To that end there is no correct choice. Entering such conflicting crossroads can be seen at one large event or in common every day decisions.

If you choose to embrace your human spirit, this daily practice will solidify your connection to the Divine and those around you. It does significantly engage your human spirit, but like I said before, it doesn’t guarantee it. Pragmatically, it might appear to someone in the survival energy that you’re weak and without substance but that isn’t true. Exercising your use of the Human Spirit positively affects everything around you.

Instead of life, or even business, being seen as an act of war, everything becomes what you create it to be. If you engage in offering yourself as a conscious person creating with the energy of the human spirit then you will also see it manifesting all around you. This kind of manifestation won’t necessarily be seen as some gigantic act instead it will be observed as conscious series of decisions. The human spirit is best seen as an interconnected flow.

When the human spirit is at it’s finest, it is so smooth that it can be difficult to see the challenges in executing it. Here is such an example. October Books, a small bookstore in England, needed to move their entire retail store down the street to a new location. The problem with the move, was the cost of moving along with the opportunity loss associated with the store being closed so long.

The owner had an idea. They would ask their customers to do the moving. It’s was a wild idea to hope that a hundred people would come volunteer their time on their day off. On the day of the move, what actually happened was even more fantastic.

Two hundred people showed up to form a 500 foot shoulder-to-shoulder human chain moving more than 2,000 books in less than an hour. As you can see in the picture on the post on my website you’ll see children intermixed with the elderly. This action is perfect aligned with the greatest aspects of the Human Spirit. Let’s break it down and see why.

First, most people when asked to volunteer for the best causes don’t show up. Obviously, this isn’t always the case but it is most of the time. A lot of people want to volunteer but when it really comes down to it, they don’t show. So, what did the bookstore do that encouraged a 200% turn out?

They are connecting with the human spirit. Let me share with you something more. Before the move, this same bookstore was struggling to make rent. They turned to their customers and asked for them to lend them them the money to purchase their own building. Again, the people responded by offering loans and even offering donations… Again, why would a customer lend, or even donate, their own money to a bloody bookstore?

People will move Heaven and Earth when they feel aligned with the beliefs of another or an organization -even a business. It’s unusual, but when it happens it becomes a normal act of the human spirit. The spiritual action becomes transparent. Moving 2,000 books happens in less than an hour.

In this case, even the other business’s surrounding October Books wanted to be involved. They donated tea and other things to support the people volunteering. I want to especially highlight this comment by one of the bookstore’s staff, “It was really sort of surprising and positive, and just a really moving experience to see people chipping in because they wanted to help. And they wanted to be part of something bigger.”

This last comment is worth repeating. …They want to be a part of something bigger. If you had to summarize the human spirit it would be in this action to be a part of something bigger. Perhaps we can further modify this definition; that the Human Spirit is a desire to create and then be a part of something bigger. Ahhh, that feels right doesn’t it?

Exercising the high side of the human spirit is always going to be a challenge when you encounter the physical mode of survival. This shouldn’t be ignored or thought of as some ego thing as clearly we are wired to survive. But most of us aren’t faced with trying to survive daily are we? I really want to remind of you that.

For me, I have some old patterns of survival that run through my blood as if I served in the Vietnam War and was held in a prisoner of war camp. I wasn’t. I’ve experienced nothing even remotely close to this yet the same reptilian wiring can kick in to take my human spirit down.

Recognizing this is powerful. You can feel it. It’s like any other kind of energy that runs through your system. There comes a point, through awareness, that you don’t have to submit yourself to this side of your human spirit.

Tapping into the side of you that wants to connect, as previously stated, to something bigger is quite the clue. You’ll actually feel this too. It won’t be the same as just volunteering or showing up. You’ll want to be involved.

I think some channeling about the Human Spirit would be really informative… Here we go…

“First, you should know that the divisions that you make to create phrases such as the human spirit aren’t exactly accurate. For example, while souls incorporate the human bodies there is no spirit this is literally human. We understand that you have coined and use the phrase to communicate a connection between you, of your species, and even everything else.

This is quite accurate. The spirit that you house and connect with one another, and to the world and universe at large, is infinite and couldn’t ever be limited to the human body. Thus, the phrase the human spirit could be described as a little misleading. With that understanding, let us share with you further the depth of your ability to connect.

The spirit within you that is not limited to the body or the mind —is quite tremendous. Like a fictitious troll fearfully controlling access to a bridge, the ego within the mind thinks of itself as it’s own being. This is designed and it does provide for your sense of self. Without the ego you would be unable to participate in your ways of pretending to see and experience yourself as separate. This ego allows you to participate in your individual experiences.

Yet, the powerful connection of the spirit within you, that you reference as the Human Spirit, desires to cooperate. It is opposite all things self and represents all things whole. Can you perceive the difference? This is important.

As you remove your self from your body and mind you are able to access things that are much greater in capacity. This includes knowledge and understanding in the greatest of ways. The human spirit within you is recognized by this desire to cooperate without thinking. Instead, there is a part of you that feels compelled to act spiritually through whatever part of the spirit that moves you.

This last point is quite interesting. For you see, what moves you to connect and act spiritually may not have the same interest for another. Having said that, it is important that there are plenty of places that there is a global calling to act. These acts of the human spirit while are acted upon individually, do in fact get acted on globally, by those who are listening.

We reference listening as if you use your ears, which can be used, but your hearkening to such invitations is not limited to any physical sense of hearing or any other physical sense. To think we wouldn’t incorporate your physical senses into your spiritual perceptions would be silly because of course we do. But be clear, we are in no way limited to the physical.

This should provide you quite a clue as you aren’t either. You are merely participating in the physical for a time. It could be said, you are playing in the perception of the physical. What is real is the spiritual. Therefore, your human spirit is more real in terms of your spiritual connections than any of your human connections.

We do realize that you use your humanity to create a bridge to your spiritual selves and this too is encouraged. The desire to participate as one within the spiritual realm is but a treat to any and all who act. To act means to do. To engage.

To engage in your human spirit is to set aside the control, demands and limitations of the mind to access that which is so much greater. There is much to share on this topic of the spirit within man and how you can access it with greater frequency and consistency. There will be more that is addressed on this subject matter in the very near future.

Until then, it is encouraged that you realize the power of your human spirit and to put it in play once in a while or all the time – in whatever way you should feel so drawn.”

In conclusion, it appears that the human spirit, in the half that we want to practice, is not an act of war. Honoring the physical parts of us that want to survive is wonderful but we don’t have to be subject to them even if such drama is seemingly before us. This enables us consciously to engage in the human spirit in ways that we are just beginning to recognize as omnipotent.

1. How to move a book store.
2. We are good after all.


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