Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Three Universal Human Processes

--by Angeles Arrien (Sep 13, 2011)

There are three universal processes that every human being is involved in whether you’re in Africa or China or among the island people of the world. They are, first, the work with self. That is the longest relationship that you are ever going to have. Who you eat with the most, sleep with the most, shower with the most is yourself. That’s the relationship that you have to really begin to trust. Be a great friend unto yourself. The second universal process is one that we are all involved in as human beings: our relationship with each other; one-to-one work. Then the third process is a group work, collective work, community work, or teamwork.
The work with self involves attending to character development. Human beings are here for two purposes: one, to learn about love and to express love, and the other is to create. What is it that I am creating? What is my life dream or contribution that I want to make to the world, and how can I express what’s in my heart? The love of friendship, the love that’s found between a mentor and a mentee, or a teacher and a student is where we impact each other, and there’s a lot that can be done in that one-to-one work. Many of the cultures of the world believe that there is much we can do by ourselves, and that we can do with our partner, or with our friend or colleague, but there are a thousand and one things that we can do in community together or in a team. Many of the old cultures of the world know that you can only survive in community. For example it has been discovered that if you truly want to survive you must be in communities of at least eleven or more people.
Some of us like being by ourselves. We like solitude, enjoy self-containment, and that work with self. Others hate being alone and hate solitude. Some like the one-to-one work, the relationship work, and others love being in groups. Some people hate groups, and love the one-to-one work and being with themselves. Still others love being alone, love groups, but when they get together one-to-one at lunch they get all shy and awkward. The mark of a healthy person is someone who is comfortable with themselves, comfortable if they were to just hang out with one other person, and comfortable in a group or team.
--Angeles Arrien, in an Interview at Mount Madonna School

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Previous Reflections:

On Sep 10, 2011 Conrad wrote:

Thanks for the opportunity to respond. My first impression is that there is no growth without awareness. I was enlightened by what Angeles had to say. When we are aware that we are one with everyone and everything, there is no separate self. I frequently fail to notice that I'm one with everything and everyone, and when I fail to notice that I often have desires to be more and have more. Those desires make it difficult to be peaceful and harmonious. I expect our childhood influences affect how comfortable we are alone, or with another, or with a group. I rarely notice that I am no one going nowhere unless I'm writing a response to a I journey article. When I am no one going no where, which is to say no separate one who happens to be everywhere all the time,then when I am alone, or with another, or with a group makes little difference.


How does the awareness of my comfort level with the three universal human processes help me grow?"

On Sep 13, 2011 smile wrote:

This is a b'ful passage with so much value in it. I have experienced that being a great friend of self makes so much difference to inner peace and joy.Blaming oneself or fighting within, leaves you so weak and vulnerable as you are confused, not sure and negatively oriented about your own self.

As a teenager, I mostly fought with my own self and always put blame for anything which went wrong. This was I wasted so much energy and time into negative thinking and blocking my own growth. Later, after I became mature and became calm and supportive to self , my happiness and peace of mind were much more and my relations became healthier too. I realised that my mind was much less noisy now and this gave me more time and energy to work or relate as I wanted.

The comment below adds value to this too. Realising that we are part of the system and unify with all makes us considerate, loving and happy in every situation.

On Sep 13, 2011 David wrote:

Thanks for the inspiring article.I believe we need to also remember our personal  relationship with our God- the creator of us all and he who sustains the universe on love.

If we can this right then our hearts will be ready to form a meaningful relationships with others.

It becomes easier to love others when we begin  to see some goodness in every human being we come in contact with.

Thanks once again


On Sep 13, 2011 Padma PD Ghimire wrote:

I am awakened by this thought. Though it come daily in practical life, I was thoughtless.

Things happen to us with different knowledge. It is oneself to grab it or not.

In my personal experience, I need to fight most with myself to get victory over my negetive thoughts, regression, low self esteem and decisionlessness. As I get simple way  out , life is esay and natural. There will be peace in mind despite the uncertinity outside. More the way outs, more peace will come in mind.

Making one to one relation and team relation is distace thing without peace in mind. Or it will end shortly.

My conclusion is that I must lead my  unconditional life.

On Sep 13, 2011 4to. tourism wrote:

 Dear Students:

I am sharing with you this valuable reflection that encases everything we have worked on, in class.  Please, share it with as many people as possible.  Remember "Good things should be shared"

Kind Regards,


Ingrid de Lòpez

Human and Professional Development Teacher

On Sep 13, 2011 Ricky wrote:

I am uncomfortable with the last statement:

“The mark of a healthy person is someone who is comfortable with themselves, comfortable if they were to just hang out with one other person, and comfortable in a group or team.”  Learning these processes is the work of a lifetime.  Just the awareness of being uncomfortable gives us the opportunity for this growth (as stated in an earlier comment submission).  We are not always unhealthy in the absence of the skills necessary to carry out these three processes.  It is in the ‘aha’ of facing the idea we have different levels of comfort within ourselves that provides the opportunity to know when we can expand out and reveal who we are while working in a group perhaps, and then too know that we are not going to die when faced with revealing our true selves to just one other.  If when we become aware and have no one to guide this newness, lacking confidence of listening and recognizing our inner guide, sometimes we do give up and become unhealthy.  There is a distinct level of confidence gained in learning strategies to work through this new consciousness…this character development.  This confidence signals to me that I am worthy as an individual-ok in my own skin-but also realizing that I am not separate-I have something to share with another and something to receive as well.  The tyranny of judgment and expectation looms large in the infant stages of this awareness, and we need to recognize that our human journey is enhanced by choosing our one-on-ones and group work wisely.  This is how the awareness of my comfort level with self, relationships, and community has helped me grow.


On Sep 13, 2011 Godi Gutierrez wrote:

most politicians in capitol hill have these 3 qualities... they are comfortable with themselves, comfortable if they were to just hang out with one other person, and comfortable in a group or team.

On Sep 15, 2011 Alex wrote:

"For example it has been discovered that if you truly want to survive you must be in communities of at least eleven or more people." Have you any references to this interesting stat? 

On Sep 16, 2011 Krishna wrote:

Just wanted to share with all you that we had wonderful sit on Wednesday with few old and few new folks. It is amazing to see that Wednesdays in Bloombar is slowly blooming in its own pace. Everybody had unique reflection on the reading " Three Universal Human Processes"  The passage emphasizes how important it is to be in self, self love and express that with one another, which eventually creates a greater community.  In this spirit, Wednesdays are meant to be a time to find our own self and express ourselves with a small group  and eventually manifest into a larger community, community of consciousness and harmony.

Besides the reflection from the reading, our discussion emphasized the importance of the smile and agreed that a smile can have such a contagious impact, which surely changes the entire atmosphere. And also everybody was so touched by the story, Ruth told us about the mowing community she and her husband have created in her neighborhood just a few blocks from Bloombar, and how they have inspired the whole community to step up to help each other and mow each other's lawn and maintain tidiness of the block throughout the year. Hoping to see the more detailed story in  someday soon.



On Sep 17, 2011 raj.sinha wrote:


On Sep 17, 2011 M.V.MOOVENDAN wrote:

When we realise our Real Self we are happy with ourselvesWhen we experience the oneness of self in others even for a thin moment of time we can get along well with poise with others eithier In single and in group.If we are not able to move beyond our senses we unconsciously build a bondage with sensory idntities.We, infact,cause discmfort for ourselves with others eithier in groups or with a single person.In fact seeing through our sensory identities abruptly distorts our perception and diminishes the intensity of our experience.

On Sep 17, 2011 jelly wrote:


On Sep 17, 2011 Dinesh wrote:

Some audio clips from our local circle of sharing this week ...

On Jan 7, 2012 Chika Onyekwere wrote:

      As a christian, the bible makes us to understand that 'self' is 'the old man', also known as 'flesh'. So, it this write-up encouraging us to be friends with our 'self'. I am getting a bit confused, I need someone to elaborate more on this issue. iJourney, pls reflect more on this, I need a feedback.

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