Posts Tagged humanity
We are once again standing at the threshold of a new year. This is a time when most people make resolutions and set goals. More often than not these resolutions and goals are broken, and we tend to then tell ourselves how bad, or weak we are. Upon our life journey’s we will often stumble and break our resolutions. If we fail, all we need to do is to pick ourselves up and keep on trying until we do succeed. Especially in tough times persistence is the key to success. There is a wonderful tale told by Vladimir Slovyov in his book “War, Progress and the End of History” that illustrates this beautifully
“Two hermits had gone out into theNitrian Desertto save their souls. Their caves were not far distant from each other, but they themselves never talked together, except that they occasionally sang psalms, so that they could hear each other. In this way they spent many years, and their fame began to spread in Egypt and the surrounding countries. It came to pass that one day the Devil managed to put into both their minds simultaneously one and the same desire, and without saying a word to each other they collected their baskets and mats made of palm leaves and branches, and went off toAlexandria. They sold their work there and then for three days and three nights they sought pleasure in the company of drunkards and sinners, after which they went back to their desert.
And one of them cried out in bitterness and agony of the soul:” I am lost eternally! Cursed am I! No prayers and penance can atone for such madness, such abominations! All my years of fasting and prayer gone for nothing! I am ruined, body and soul!” The other man, however, was walking by his side, singing psalms in a cheerful voice. “Brother,” said the repentant one, “have you gone mad?” “Why do you ask that?” “But why aren’t you grieving?” “What should I grieve about?” “Listen to him! Have you forgotten Alexandria?” ‘What about Alexandria? Glory to God who preserves that famous and God-fearing City!” “But we, what did we do in Alexandria?” “You know well enough yourself what we did; we sold our baskets, worshipped St. Mark, visited other churches, called on the pious governor of the city, conversed with the good prioress Leonilla who is always kind to monks…” “But didn’t we spend the night in a house of ill fame?” “God save us! No! We spent the evening and the night in the patriarch’s court.” “Holy martyrs! He has lost his mind…
Where then did we treat ourselves to wine?” “We partook of wine and food at the patriarch’s table on the occasion of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin.” “Poor, miserable creature! And who was it whom we kissed, not to mention worse things? Are you making a fool of me? Or has the Devil himself entered your soul as punishment for yesterday’s abominations? They were wretched libertines, you blackguard, that you kissed!” “Well, I don’t know which of us the Devil has entered; Whether he has entered me, who am rejoicing in the gifts of God and in the benevolence of the godly priests, and am praising my Creator-or whether he has entered you, who are now raving like a lunatic and calling the house of our blessed father and pastor a house of ill fame.” “Oh, you heretic! You offspring of Arian! Accursed mouth of Apollinarius!” At this the hermit who had been grieving over his lapse from virtue fell upon his comrade and began beating him. When the outburst was over they returned silently to their caves.
All night long the repentant one wore himself out with grief, filling the desert with his groans and cries, tearing out his hair, throwing himself on the ground and dashing his head against it, while the other quietly and happily sang his psalms. Next morning the repentant one was struck by a sudden thought: “By my many years of self-denial I had been granted a special blessing of the Holy Spirit which had already begun to reveal itself in miracles and apparitions. And if after this I gave myself up to the abominations of the flesh, I must have committed a sin against the Holy Spirit, which, according to the word of God, is for all eternity unpardonable. If, however, I am irrevocably doomed, what can I do in the desert?” And so he went to Alexandria and gave himself up to a wanton life.
It so happened that soon afterward he badly needed money, and, in company with other dissolute fellows like himself, murdered and robbed a wealthy merchant. The crime was discovered; he was tried by the city court, sentenced to death, and died an unrepentant sinner. At the same time his old friend, continuing his life of devotion, attained to the highest degree of saintliness and became famous for his great miracles. When finally the day of his death arrived, his decrepit and withered body suddenly became resplendent with the beauty of youth. A wondrous light surrounded it; from it proceeded the perfume of sweet spices. The pilgrims both committed every other crime, but only one met his doom – the one who became despondent.”
The most important resolution you can make this year is to never give up on what is important to you.
What I treasure most about humanity is the incredible diversity found among us aa it is reflected in the biodiversity nature. Life itself, in its essence, is diversity; it is only in the process of death that all becomes alike. Life as a vital energy generates diversity and love embraces the vitality of diversity. Yet, when I look around me into the prevailing culture, I smell the scent of death rather than the scent of life. The prevailing culture engenders death rather than life. Death of body, mind and soul.
In today’s world marketing is everything. At the basis of marketing lies the concept of finding a market for your product and then to apply proven strategies to capture the market so that they will buy your product and not another. Underlying this is the concept of dominion, or the winner takes all. Marketing is the final stage of the process of commercialization and is derived from the Latin word merx (commodity; merchandise, goods).
We can indeed say that the world is in the final stage of commercialization. Just as there is nothing left in this world today that isn’t polluted just so there is nothing left in this world that hasn’t been commercialized. Everything is seen through the filter of “How much is it worth?” Even the most sacred of all human qualities – love – has been tainted by commercialization.
In his essay “Love and Need: Is Love a Package or a Message?” Thomas Merton comments that we are taught within the framework of competitive consumer capitalism to see love as a business deal: “This concept of love assumes that the machinery of buying and selling of needs is what makes everything run. It regards life as a market and love as a variation on free enterprise.”
His comment gives an insight into why it is virtually impossible to find unconditional love in this world. Commercialization makes everything conditional. It breeds insincerity and mistrust. Commercialization is the framework within which we are raised and is thus so deeply imbedded into our way of thinking that it will take a lot of digging to uproot its enmeshment within our psyche.
Dana Gioia laments the state of the prevailing culture; “When virtually all of a culture’s celebrated figures are in sports or entertainment, how few possible role models we offer the young. There are so many other ways to lead a successful and meaningful life that are not denominated by money or fame. Adult life begins in a child’s imagination, and we’ve relinquished that imagination to the marketplace. But we must remember that the marketplace does only one thing — it puts a price on everything.” In a recent survey done in England vitually all the children responded to the question of what they wanted to be one day, that they wanted to be famous.
The way commercialization impoverishes our lives is that it reduces everything to what will sell best. This of course directly affects biodiversity but it also affects creative expression. A reflection of this is seen in the wine market where the wine critic Robert Parker’s particular likes in wines have global effects. “As wines rise and fall on the basis of Parker’s judgments, and as producers respond to his presence, the industry worldwide is moving in an unexpected direction, toward denser, darker, and more dramatic wines.” (Ref) The production of wines now is geared towards what will be best received by the critic.
Creative output is tailored to suit the market, not the artist’s particular vision. With the result we are seeing less and less creative work that comes from the heart and more and more creative work that comes from a marketing campaign. Creative work that comes from the heart is still out there but we are less likely to encounter it because we are less likely to pick it up in the search engines which operate in a hierarchical way. Even in the blog world that once encouraged individual creative expression we are now seeing more and more work that are produced with the specific aim to get as many hits as possible, using specific recommended marketing formulas, rather than coming from the heart. Even spirituality has become a huge marketing campaign.
Commercialization has been around in some form since ancient days of trading. The big change today is globalization. Now commercialization is tailored for the global market or more specifically for tastes the biggest market. Before globalization more diversity was allowed to flourish because brand consciousness was more localized. Now everything is tailored to reflect what is most successful on a global level. “If you sing, then you must be able to sing like the best in the world or give it up.”
On a pure economic level there are of course countless examples of the devastation that global commercialization has had on smaller economies, of which Somalia is a classic example. Michel Chossudovsky summarizes in “Somalia: the Real Causes of Famine”
“While “external” climatic variables play a role in triggering off a famine and heightening the social impact of drought, famines in the age of globalization are man-made. They are not the consequence of a scarcity of food but of a structure of global oversupply which undermines food security and destroys national food agriculture. Tightly regulated and controlled by international agri-business, this oversupply is ultimately conducive to the stagnation of both production and consumption of essential food staples and the impoverishment of farmers throughout the world. Moreover, in the era of globalization, the IMF-World Bank structural adjustment program bears a direct relationship to the process of famine formation because it systematically undermines all categories of economic activity, whether urban or rural, which do not directly serve the interests of the global market system.”
Commercialization is of course rooted in our need for survival on the most basic of levels – survival of the fittest. Yet, if humanity is to advance in consciousness we must find another strategy for survival. Up till now we have even used the same strategy of dominion to bring about change in our social environment against “hierarchical domination.”
In her essay “Love as the Practice of Freedom” Bell Hooks concludes “that many of us are motivated to move against domination solely when we feel our self-interest directly threatened. Often, then, the longing is not for a collective transformation of society, an end to politics of dominations, but rather simply for an end to what we feel is hurting us. This is why we desperately need an ethic of love to intervene in our self-centered longing for change. Fundamentally, if we are only committed to an improvement in that politic of domination that we feel leads directly to our individual exploitation or oppression, we not only remain attached to the status quo but act in complicity with it, nurturing and maintaining those very systems of domination. Until we are all able to accept the interlocking, interdependent nature of systems of domination and recognize specific ways each system is maintained, we will continue to act in ways that undermine our individual quest for freedom and collective liberation struggle.”
A strategy that is based in the ethics of love rather than that of dominion is a strategy that is inclusive rather than exclusive, allows for us to live and let live. The reason humanity has not made much advancement in consciousness since the dawn of modern humanity is that we still apply the same strategy for survival as we did so many thousands of years ago. To evolve, to develop, we must first want to be different from what we are now. This is the first requirement of evolution.
“The significant problems we face cannot be solved with the same level
of thinking we were at when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
This way of survival is simply not sustainable. We have reached the zenith of this strategy. From this point on it will further impoverish us on every level, and rob us of all that we once held dear.
It will be a long and far road
I came from far to search for far things. will you show me the way ?
You must come when the moon says goodnight to the sun, just before the white bull is in the blue land, at the other side of the hill.
The night before full moon?
Yes, then there will be enough light to travel into the shadow side of the hill…..There are places in the desert where we have to walk at night.
Do you have enemies there?
I want Twihi, my daughter, the child of the winds, to come with us.
Is she old enough for such a long road?
Others of her years, have children run around them.
Why do you want such a one to walk at night?
Where the great hunters of the desert lives, I first only want to show her footprints. Among us, you see a woman best, by her tracks. Beautiful little feet tread footprints in the sand that transfers into the hunter’s heart.
Do I hear you right Xameb, are you looking for a husband for your daughter?
First we must only show her footprints to the hunters White Father.
Then many of the White Fathers questions will be answered without him asking the questions. You just have to look with your eyes and listen with your ears.
Aren’t there any men here, where we are now, good enough for her?
The beggars of the big roads?
But they are your people…
They are just shadows of what their fathers were. Wait till you see Twihi, my daughter, and hear her speak. Then you will understand why these beggars of the big roads for your iron horses, no longer can put a bow in front of her shelter.
Where do you hide such a one that I have not seen her cook a meal for her father?
Xameb turned to look into the distant horizon and answered quietly.
Two nights before the full moon she will be here with me waiting for you White Father.
OK then Xameb, three nights before the full moon you will see the light of my fire on that hill. Then you will know that I have not forgotten.
Our eyes will be on the moon, White Father.
Day after day, Schoeman observed the waxing moon and impatiently consults his calendar. Four nights before full moon he could no longer wait and he packs his truck with provisions for the long journey. Among the contents are several bags of tobacco.
At the appointed hill he settles and wait. He gets out his binoculars with the setting sun and search the breath-taking panorama. In the distance he could hear the night cries of the Berg patryse. His eyes search the landscape, for the patryse. He spots them observing something quietly. In the distance he sees two figures following the truck tracks. They stop at intervals, to peer towards the hill. The older figure sits down. Giraffes cross the view. The smaller figure has disappeared. A lion roars close by. As the sun disappears behind the distant hills, he sees a fire flicker into being.
Schoeman struggles down the hill in the dark, towards the fire. On his way down he hears someone singing.
He arrives at the fire and sees Xameb sitting next to fire. Xameb does not even look up. He just adds another stick to the fire.
Who is singing?
The child of the winds.
Tell me in a language that I can understand, what is she singing about.
It is more beautiful just to listen to it, than to skin it.
Yes, for you who know the content
Xameb does not answer. Schoeman adds more wood on the fire. He walks towards the truck to fetch a kettle. He stops and listens entranced to the song.
Far and long ago….. before the white bull with his red horns tore the black blanket….before he could tear the black blanket covering the dark cave to allow the red morning to open a path for great blue eye of Eloib…..the dark lying deep and quiet…..under the dark waters in the deep cold mud. A child was blown out of the dark night to a seedhut of a white lily. Who among us will know why women are still like their first mother….she sings her song of loneliness in the night.
Xameb rubs his chin, stares into the dark, and speaks as if from far away.
The roads upon which the young hearts search are far roads, but beautiful paths. On those paths you can walk, with your eyes on the far mountains. You don’t bump your toes on rocks. You don’t step on thorns. There aren’t snakes in the vlei-grass with the many mouse paths. There is no tired voice of a mother that calls you to take a crying child, or to come and wash a pot. Beautiful are the roads the young heart visits with their dreams.
Did you yourself visit those roads?
Xameb does not answer. From the hill Twihi’s voice suddenly sounds clearer. The wind must have turned, because the smoke suddenly brought tears to Schoeman’s eyes. He gets up and stands with his back towards the fire. From the darkness he hears Xameb’s voice.
For two winters’ nights I felt Twihi’s mother’s warmth against my body. Then she was taken from me. Then I found another, she was also taken…What roads are left for me?
But there are men that build a third fire?
Not among the Heikum, White Father. Among us the a women will not take a man that has been left alone twice. They say that he has the hands of death. You can ask all the Heikum men that you will meet on the long road. It is an old law among our people. It is never broken.
Did Twihi learn about the beautiful roads from you?
For many winters only she was with me next to the fire and what child’s heart ever tires of stories? It is the sunshine and the rain from which a child’s heart grow. With whom else could I make the long nights shorter?
Now that your hair is white, do you still long?
Is it not at night that we want to be alone the least?
Twihi arrives at the fire. Xameb and Twihi speak together.
The White Father can now listen to the paths on which the young heart travels. I will translate for you.
Twihi stars to speak, Xameb translates, the story of Xa-xeib – the man with the full moon on his chest.
There once was a man. His name was Xa-xeib. He had a fullmoon on his chest.
He also had a wife. She was very beautiful.
The two of them was as if one person. Where he walked, there she walked too. There were not two foot paths to their hut. At night when the others were already asleep, the two played in the bright light that shone from his chest. The night was theirs. They never became tired.
But as her months became shorter, she could no longer walk the veldt with him. For the first few days he did not wander far. He found no pleasure in walking their old paths alone. With the days he had to walk further and further, for his wife wanted honey, then eland marrow.
So he arrives at one day at a rocky ridge, where he sees bees flying against the midday sun.
But there was another who also saw the bees against the midday sun. It was not a honey bird, nor a honey badger.
It was a woman.
The first afternoon he left her only one small cake of honey.
The next day he was there earlier, to take out more honey.
She was there too.
This time he gave her two honey cakes.
The next day he left earlier and the whole way he was argued with himself.
She was not there, but there were fresh footprints.
His heart said to him he must go and look to see whether she is not trying to show him a new nest with her fresh footprints.
His head turned, and his eyes looked to the path that was behind him.
He found her in the bush that was denser than it was at the honey nest.
They stayed together till late because he had the full moon on his chest.
When he arrived at home that night, his wife cried a lot. It was dark in her house.
There were clouds covering the moon. A woman sometimes knows without having seen.
That night he did not sleep.
The next morning he told his wife that he would only look for food on their old paths. At first he did only look for food near the hut. But when there were more and more trees between him and the house he did not look back so often.
Then his heart won again and he left for the bushes denser than the honey ridge..
Far behind him at the home where previously there was only one foot path, she that must become mother, waited and waited. Only when the evening breeze blew colder and colder, did she go inside and tied the door from the inside. She did not want the owls and the wolves to see her tears.
On the new road, ahead where the bush was denser than the honey ridge, a bright light shone all night. There was a lot of playing and laughter.
For the one the night was without beacons. For the two it was a few winks of the eye.
When the white bull with the red tipped horns, tore the black blanket to shreds, for the morning to climb out from behind the mountains, Xa-xeib – the man with the full moon on his chest – did not feel like drying tears for the second time. He was also clever. In the bright light that shone from his chest, he could see that one woman does not like to cry in front of another woman. So he brought Kai-oris, his new playmate with.
And Kai-oris the black tipped vulture, came, looked around a little and said to herself; this house is for two not for three.
He, who brought his wife company, then went to a place in the field where the wind did not blow, and the sun shone bright and went to sleep. His honey knife he left behind.
Kai-oris saw the knife; she took the knife and prepared the house for only two. Before she dragged the one that did not want to cry before another woman, behind the trees, she took out the baby.
Because the child now entered the world too early, she stuffed him into a milk-calabash. She closed it with a grass stopper and rocked it to and fro as if the fat was separated from the milk.
When the white bull arched his back on the mountain and tossed the black blanket with its red-tipped horns backward over the plains, Xa-xeib got up. He was well rested.
Kai-oris heard him coming and hid away the calabash.
In the light that shines from his chest, Xa-xeib saw the empty place in the house. But when the blackwinged-vulture’s eyes said that this house is not for three but only for two that plays all night, he did not hear the wolf crying for his mates behind the trees. His blood warmed. And he tied the door from inside.
Many days passed. And little red toes in the calabash kicked harder and harder against the round walls. Kai-oris heard it and kept Xa-xeib outside by day.
One day the calabash burst open. When she rubbed the child of another mother with fat, she saw the full moon on his chest. She tied a hard skin around his chest and hid him in a big hole.
One day Xa-xeib returned on his old footpaths and saw the child. Kai-oris was not close by. He picked up the child. The child’s one little foot kicked against his heart. It was a small little foot that still did not have hard toenails. But it caused a small drop of blood to drip from Xa-xeib’s heart. Then he knew whose child it was. In the pain that came to his heart he could see the child clearly. He could also see the little full moon under the hard chest-skin. And he became afraid that the black-winged vulture would cut out the full moon with the honey knife. He held the child tightly and looked around. When the little foot again kicked against his heart, he did not wait for Kai-oris to come back. He took the little full moon to his first wife’s sister. He told her that the child has a weak chest and that she must never remove the skin.
But a child that does not drink from mother’s milk is no one’s child. Everyone speaks loudly to him. On no one’s lap is there a place to cry, for one such as he, when a thorn sticks in his foot. He had to carry wood for every one’s fire. He had to clean every one’s ash heaps.
When his shoulders became hard from all the loads of wood he had to carry, and a thorn could no longer penetrate the soles of his feet, he went to look for another house. He walked for many days.
One day he arrived at a big city. There was a rich king that needed a lot of wood for his fires.
There was also a beautiful princess. But the illness from the swamps wanted to take her away each summer. One day he had to help build her a high platform of Tambotie poles, where the little wings from the swamps could not reach her.
For the milk that comes from Tamboti wood, his shoulders was still not hard enough, and his shoulders became bloodied. And just once he carried a lighter load. The king’s men saw it and said that he was becoming lazy. They nearly beat him to death and dragged him away to a little hut just outside the city and left him in the forest.
The king’s daughter saw how he was beaten and dragged away. That night she thought she kept hearing something in the forest. She thought she heard someone cry and then she thought she heard someone sing.
She waited till everything was quiet in the big city, and sneaked out to the forest. The door of the hut was closed, but from the inside she could hear some one play on a bowstring. It was so beautiful that she opened a small gap to look inside. There was a great light inside the hut and she could see clearly who was making such beautiful music. He was for her more beautiful than any man she had ever heard from her mother’s stories was. His clothes were so beautiful that it took her breath away. She became afraid of the small voice in her heart that asked; This man, who was kicked and hit by everyone by day, this man with the bloody shoulders could he not be the one I have so often dreamed of, the great hunter from that will come from the desert?’
In the days that followed, she sat on a hill near the king’s city and her eyes searched on the roads of the great desert. Every night when it was quiet in the king’s city, she sneaked back to the little house in the forest.
One night the man with the full moon on his chest heard a finger opening a panel in the dark hut. In the bright light that shone from his chest, he saw who it was. He sang-spoke to her on the bowstring:
In the great desert there is a high mountaintop. Ahaa
A house with many windows will be built on top of it.
At night many eyes will look towards it, and will ask;
‘Whom of our princes built that house with many windows.
Many will ask but only she will know who built that house on the high mountaintop for her.
Only she will know that it is not lamps shinning in that high house.
She will know where the many light comes from.
The next night she was there earlier. On each of the following nights she was earlier, until one of the king’s men saw her.
Whom amongst us would have the heart to scold her because she went earlier each night?
Whom amongst us would have scolded her for staying later and later each night?
Did not our hearts entered with her, when first the little door was opened from the inside for her?
Did not our hearts form a wide guardian circle around the little house in the forest?
Only the king’s spies did not join us in the wide guardian circle, which we formed around the little house in the forest.
It was a dark night when the king and his spies encircled the bush house.
First he called his daughter.
In front of the people with the hearts of hyena’s, he lashed out at his daughter with his tongue, and said that she was no longer his daughter that from now on her job will be to carry away the ash heaps.
Then he told his hyena’s to quickly get rid of the dog in the bush house.
The dog, though, was a lion.
And what lion hits out at hyenas?
He slung her across his shoulders, and just opened a small section on his chest to light the way ahead. She whispered in his ear; ” Run, there is nothing here for me to look back to. Take me to the house on the mountain top.”
After not many days the people in the King’s city started to ask each other at night;” That house with the many lights…It must be a very rich man to afford so many lamps in his house?”
Some people went to look. And those that went did not return. Then more went.
One day the King saw that all his people were gone.
By then he was so poor that that he himself had to carry his winter skins.
He followed the footprints of his people. It was a hard road for one like him.
When he arrived there no one could believe that once he was a king.
He had to look for his food outside the city, where the ash was thrown.
Because he wanted to throw the two young hearts to the black bee, his hard heart made him eat ash.
When Schoeman looked up from the fire after a long silence, he saw that Twihi was no longer at the fire.
She went to the koppie. Tonight her dreams will visit far paths.
Did she make up the story herself?
There was an old skin that she made more beautiful with beads and shells of her own.
Will she tell us another story tomorrow night?
She is a child of the winds. Who would be able to say where she will be tomorrow night?
Do you still want her to come with to the far away land?
Did the beads and the shells on the old skin, not tell the White Father how she longs for the big hunter of the desert?
Then we will wait.
We will wait white Father …so that the two of us will not also eat ash.
Adapted from “Jagters van die Woestyn” – PJ Schoeman
So, often people utter this phrase, as a justification for not improving themselves. Why do we limit ourselves to our lowest denominator rather than aspire to our highest? Why bond ourselves to our failings and not our successes? What does it really mean to be only human?
Look at how great our power of destruction is. We as humans are capable of wiping out all life from this planet. That’s an awesome power. But remember that for every power in existence there is also an opposite in existence. If we are capable of such destruction, then it stands to reason that we are also capable of equally creative, and productive powers.
Imagine you possess an awesome power, however, you are not aware it, and oops, one day quite by accident, with the slight of a hand you cause a whole building to collapse in a moment of anger, or thoughtlessness. Now, on discovering that that you do possess such a power, you can either deny that you have it, under a cloak of guilt, and say that something else caused the building to collapse, or you can admit you do have such a power, and take responsibility for it. Once you have acknowledged your power, you could then make sure that you train yourself to use the power in a skilled way.
If you do not admit to yourself that you do have such a power you would continue to wreck thoughtless havoc, and perhaps some random acts of positive creation. Only by acknowledging to yourself that you do have such a power at your disposal could you train yourself, to use it with care and skill, for a specific well thought of purpose; for the good of all.
We are not “only human” in the limited sense of it, we are also human in the limitless sense of being human. If we as humans stopped concentrating only on our lowest material abilities, jealousies, and insecurities, and belief in scarcity, and rather turned our concentration to our highest abilities, who knows what we could be capable of? If we rather aspired to be like our most honoured fellow humans, and we judged ourselves rather according to what the best of us are capable of, then we as humans are actually incredibly powerful beings.
Those amazing men and women, that have astounded us with their capabilities, acts of endurance, kindness, and creative genius, are not just flukes among us; they are there to show us what we can be like at our best. If you put together all the incredible feats you have ever heard human beings capable of into one super being, you would indeed see the human being as an awesome creature.
“Ah”, you might say, “but that is all very good and well, but I am still just struggling to make ends meet, all alone, with no special talents.”
Do you see yourself as a drop in the ocean, or as a drop in the ocean with the whole of the ocean’s power flowing through you?
The focused human mind is capable of incredible feats. What are the united focus of human minds capable of?
The ‘Maharishi-effect’ is an interesting example of this. This concerns the statistically significant effect of meditation (or of meditators) on a community. In 1974 the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi revived an ancient Hindu notion when he suggested that, if but one percent of a population were to meditate regularly, the remaining 99 percent would be notably affected. Subsequent statistical studies, by Garland Landrith and David Orme-Johnson among others, showed that the classical insight was sound. There appears to be more than random correlation between the number of meditators in a community and community crime rates, incidence of traffic fatalities, deaths due to alcoholism, and even levels of pollution. (Ervin Laszlo– David W. Orme-Johnson, ‘Higher states of consciousness: EEG coherence, creativity and experiences of the siddhis, ‘Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology 4 (1977))
What are our minds preoccupied with mostly? Is it the positive aspects of our nature or the negative aspects? Remember “Energy goes where attention goes, and attention goes where interest goes.”
Next time you want to say ,“Unfortunately I am just human,” think again.
When the world was still wet and covered with marshes, one night a big black bee – the ones with the red-hot needle – carried a dull mantis to a dark clay house, there to lay an egg inside him. But tonight she would not reach her dark little clay house, for a teeth-chattering wind blew over the vast dark waters. The freezing wind made the black wings stiffer and the drab bundle, heavier and heavier. The carrier looked for a resting-place, but of all grasses sticking out of the wide world of swamp waters, pointing towards the sun, not one blade was stiff enough to carry a double load. The eyes of the black one with its load of death and life, searched the endless stretch of water for a resting-place. But all there was, was an endless stretch of swamp waters and more limp grasses.
The dull bundle forced the bee lower and lower. When the black eyes could see the ripples on the waters from the little folk that lived below, in anticipation of their nearing meal, she saw a big white flower, on the dark waters. The inner leaves, in anticipation of the rising sun, still upright. Tired wings, a heavy load, and the nearing death under the marsh-waters, made her who carried life and death, dive headfirst into the still open lily. She crawled deep inside the stiff leaves, deep, to where the seedhut have never been touched by the rays of the sun. And there, where the cold from the deep mud still waited upon the rays of the sun, from a new day, the bearer of the hot arrow head, was pressed firmly between the tight lips. And she died in the kiss of death…the kiss of death from which the first Heikum was born.
It was a woman. Her name was Kai-a-xamabis. Never was there a woman so beautiful, nor so wise. But she was very alone among the marshes of cold mud. And that, is the story about the great night from which our first mother was born. It is the story of the drab-grey world, of the time when the cold winds blew the black bee with its red-hot arrowhead-sting, far from its course. We the Heikum were born from the winds. The!Kung, and all the other San, heard the song of the wind over the grass, from us, the Heikum.
Do you mean the song of the wind over the swamp waters?
You ask many questions White Father. It is now the third day that you want to know from me, where us yellow people come from, how we live and which of our old laws we still have. For every answer I give, you just ask more questions. Listen now to this answer, and thereafter do not tire me with more questions.
I will listen carefully, Xameb.
The three stories about the Heikum-people are no longer told in full by the menfolk.
Yes the story about our birth, the story of our great suffering, and the … story about our slow death – the hunger death of the yellow orphans of the desertland.
Xameb, I came from far, far away to search for the still living yellow orphans of the desert There are many of my kind, who carries a deep hurt in their hearts, because they heard that there are less and less of you in this great waterless desert land. If you give me the answers to my questions that I seek, I will have enough firewood to make a big fire in my land. And when the people are drawn to my fire, and hear the three stories, their hearts will open to you. Can you at least tell me one of the stories in full?
Yes… maybe the second one… the one about our great suffering today. But you must wait until I am finished with braaing this Puff adder, and have eaten it.
And since when do you, the great hunters of the desert eat Puff Adders?
Since we live like we do now….Since you white people, and the black people, drove us from the land of running waters.
Wait a moment, let us understand each other well, because I came from far. If you did not steal our cattle, we could have lived in peace together.
Aai….White Father, must you who came from so far, who have seen so many of us hungry and thirsty and dead here in the desert land, also echo such a lie?
What is written in books Xameb, does not have a short memory.
Are there also written in your books with the long memories about who slaughtered whose cattle first?
But you have never had cattle and sheep, how could anyone ever slaughter anything that is yours?
Aa…all the. buck of the plains and mountains were ours. They were our food, our clothes, and that with which we won our women. Then you came, and started shooting until not even the vultures could eat it all…In those days it was the law of my people; one buck for another buck…one skin for another skin. When you exterminated our livestock like that, and we had to watch our children get thinner and thinner, from eating Puff Adders, we aimed our arrows on your livestock and you live. That was the only law we knew in those days. You did not teach us another law, only the law of death. You made us into a nation of scaterlings and fugitives. Our pregnant women had to give birth on the run. In flight we had to leave our old ones of many days to the wolves. Ugly footprints mark the trail of our flight…the scattered bones of our old ones, and our infants for whom the road was too long.
Ai, Xameb…let us not first begin with the story of death. Let us go back to the story of your birth.
The story of our birth? That you have to ask the oldest of our mothers.
Why from them? Why a new search? Here the two of us are together. Every day I will shoot a springbok for you, then you do not have to go hunting for Puff Adders.
Go to the very old mothers.
But the hearts of the very old mothers is in desert land.
The breeding ground may have turned to desert, but still the wind-blown seeds roll, searching, searching for a damp fertile spot….Go to the deep cold mud out of which the sun of tomorrow and the day after, may call a seed to life…a second Kai-a-xamabis can be brought forth as a new mother for my scattered people. For the old people like me the sand dunes have blown too high. Their arrowheads are rusted and blunt. They are now moving to the great roads to hold out their hands, where you and your iron horses put the game to flight – holding out hands for bit tobacco and some old clothes. That is what the rusted arrowhead and the Puff Adders do to us old men.
But why have the old mothers retained their folk pride?
Say that thing again, my White Father.
Why didn’t the old mothers also become beggars at the roadsides? Do the old days live stronger and warmer in the hearts of the old mothers than in the hearts of the old fathers?
I have asked myself that question, next to more ash heaps than I can remember …
And what answers did your heart bring you in dark hours of the quiet night?
In the late hours, I hear two voices calling….the one voice calls from this side of the hill, the other voice on the other side of the hill. It is as if the two who are looking for each other, lost the way… as if the dull-grey rain winds covered the tracks before the seekers could find each other….Then the old stories from my mothers mouth comes back to me and I think; The Black bee that carried the grey mantis to a dark clay house, blown from its course…The cold and the night once was stronger than the day, but out of the deep cold, black mud a white lily grew….If I understand the far voice, the one on the other side of the hill, then it says; ‘ The white fen lilly can not die, because it is stronger than the night’…..Can the White Father now see the way?
Translated and adapted from P.J.Schoeman’s “Jagters van die Woestynland”
Each of us has a very individual path to follow. Although each of us is
uniquely different, we do share a very specific sequence of unfolding with
the rest of humanity. Take children for example; all over the world, no
matter what of what culture or circumstance, at more or less the age certain
changes are experienced in the unfolding, to prepare the individual for the
stage of growth.
The following is a brief summary of stage specific development as presented
by William Bryant – The Veiled Pulse of Time (Life Cycles & Destiny)
I have found it to be true in my own life and to those around me.
First 7 years of life – The trailing clouds of Glory: ‘growing down’, the
way the self gradually penetrates body and soul and enters mortal space and
7 to 14 years – from light to shadow: This period is ruled by feelings,
emotional expansion and awakening of intellectual activity.
14 to 21 – Flush of Independence: Feeling of self and sense of isolation
brings a need for community and the desire for relationships with opposite
21 to 28: the Chase of Experience: Psychological advancement now depends
largely on our efforts. – Digestion of outward experience becomes part of
inward self. This exploratory phase of life tempts us to taste the
bittersweet fruit of life. Our need for the emotional and intellectual food
offered by human relationships plays a major role in this period. False
paths and dead ends, but the exercise of liberty prepares the still-emerging
self for a greater challenge – destiny.
28 to 35: Adjusting the Course: A phase of contraction, and our
inward-looking self assessment primes us for the vital expansion towards a
life that now demands more exacting and thought-filled decisions in keeping
the emergent sense of self and our social responsibilities. We are forced to
reconsider our position: how and where do we fit into life? Are we on the
35 to 42: under Self-power: A subtle change in the quality of our mental
relationship to ourselves and to the world. The patterned methods of
thinking and reaction conditioning our intellectual connection to our inner
life and outer world are less satisfactory. The self-observer senses that he
is deeper and more enigmatic than he previously thought. This deepening
perception stirs new doubts and hopes in the soul. Our development, the
deepening of our humanity, is now a matter of fate or freedom – it is our
42 to 49: the Dark Wood”:
“Trying to unweave, unwind, unravel
and piece together the past and the future,
Between midnight and dawn, when past is all deception,
The future futureless, before the morning watch
When time stops and time is never ending.” T.S Eliot
It is a time that challenges us to disperse the shadow of our psychological
past, which includes all the character weaknesses and imperfections
imprinted in our youth and reinforced throughout the years. It is a time for
change, for self-examination and self-acceptance, a time for truth, a time
to stop fooling ourselves
Bio 49 to 56: a second wind: Newly found self-reliance can reshape
lifestyles and relationships because there is the realisation that real
security resides not in things or other people but in the self and its sense
of purpose. Only by developing the capacity for change can we find
Bio 56 to 63: Reaping the harvest: All our experience, the reactions and
conflicts which comes to us by way of the external world, sinks into the
interior cauldron of synthesis. Experience is distilled and assimilated into
Yet within the sameness of stage specific unfolding also occurs the
individual characteristic unfolding that reveals each person’s unique path.
In this unfolding there are also stage specific unfolding, in this I have
found the 5 stages as presented by Harry R. Moody and David L. Carroll in
their book “The Five stages of the Soul”, the most accurate; The Call, The
Struggle, The Breakthrough and The Return or 1, Ethical training, 2.
Attentional training, 3. Emotional transformation, 4. Motivation 5. Refining
awareness, 6. Attainment of wisdom.
Of course many get stuck in specific stages and never progress beyond,
although points of crisis would always come along to nudge us along, but
even this can be ignored and result in a hardening, simply causing an
atrophy of ourselves. The choice is always ours.
So well do I know this, the layers of revelation. The layers of unfolding. The layers of revealing.The unfolding of consciousness. If there is one thing that makes me belief that there is a grand plan somewhere it is this perfectly timed unfolding.. The fortunes, the misfortunes in my life have had equisite timing, in guiding my revealing.