Personhood is different from individual because it is more articulated within. Teilhard talks, as many do, that one of the things we get to do on the journey of our life is to express, to bring forth, that which was only in latency when we were born. In that sense we recapitulate the entire evolutionary journey we are talking about. You start out as this great potential, and as you go through life, you manifest it. You break it into reality. You individuate, to use that wonderful Jungian word. You become less and less an exterior and more and more an interior. You reflect on your existence. You stop being a three. You deepen, and then your deepening substances, your deepening reflectivity, allows you to begin to attract of like depth. You can begin to have extraordinary conversations with people who have similarly individuated, and you can share heart to heart. You can plumb into things because there is more of you there.

Remember the gospel of Thomas says in one of its most harrowing passages: If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you fail to bring forth what is within you, that which you fail to bring forth will destroy you.

We come into this planet with a destiny. Our life is a journey, through all the hurdles, through all the things that are thrown in our way, through our opportunities, through our gifts, through our talents, through our challenges, to individuate, to develop a relationship with the raw material of our life.

This doesn't just mean to develop 15 or 20 external skills. But to integrate them deeply into your being, so that as the great philosopher says, you live a life that has been reflected upon. You live a conscious life. That is our opportunity.

And this same idea that life itself offers us an opportunity, an invitation, to differentiate, to individuate, is beautifully echoed by Rilke in a passage, Letters to a Young Poet, which is one of everybody's favorite. He is talking about love, and he says, "For one human being to love another is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the work for which all other work is merely preparation. That is why young people, who beginners in everything, are not yet capable of love. It is something they must learn.

Love does not mean at first merging, surrendering, uniting with another person. For what would a union be if two people, who are unclarified, unfinished, still incoherent. It is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world in himself for the sake of another.

Both where Rilke and Teilhard are going, when an individual ripens he or she becomes a person. We are here on this earth precisely for that ripening. And the great tragedy is that so many of us miss it. The external web is so set up to favor external credentials, accomplishments and embellishments. We fail to realize that the real opportunity here is to take all that stuff and plough it back in, so that something else can ripen in us, what the great mystics like Boehme call the "tincture" of a person, the quality of their aliveness, the presence of their being, which is a gift of age when you have lived your life thoughtfully and reflectively, and be a gift of youth. Already you know infants that radiate that life, that reflective being. It is for each one of us the invitation to hand back in our elderhood the ripened life.

As a matter of fact, one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Ladislov Boros, deeply influenced by Teilhard, suggested in his wonderful book the Mystery of Death that life is so set up for this ripening, and for preparing us to prepare for the micro-omega point of our own consummation. He says that when the soul, the being, the person has matured to the point, where the most important thing is this interior ripening, then and only then is the biological set in motion to move the aging and diminishment of the body. Our aging is the ripening. It is so counter intuitive to our culture.

T. S. Eliot, Old men ought to be explorers. Here and there does not matter. We must be still and still moving into another intensity for a further union, a deeper communion.

The individual is the inhabitant of the biosphere, and the person is the inhabitant of the noosphere.