Nature Meditation – UBUNTU

… a person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed, or treated as if they were less than who they are.” Desmond Tutu

Sitting on a log, with my head slightly tilted forward, I noticed an ant on the ground moving among the pine needles; the same needles that at some point resided on the tree. Once, they fed a wooded giant by collecting sunlight and capturing the air; now, they create an obstacle of monumental proportion to a species 2,000 times smaller than me.

The beauty in the moment was filled on a total different level; when alive and green, these coniferous leaves were the benefit of one organism; now dead and brown, they were finding a new purpose. Fallen and released from their host, their collective shear number covered the ground and acted as a blanket that kept the heat trapped under. The heat was necessary to energize the micro organisms that fed on organic matter, needles included. Decomposed and turned into nutrients, these needles were now feeding the soil, the same soil in which the tree was rooted, the same soil from which the tree fed itself from.

Nature is an endless cycle of dependency and duality: the needles wouldn’t exist without the tree and the tree wouldn’t exist without the needles. The soil wouldn’t exist without the trees and the trees wouldn’t exist without the soil. Nothing in the world exists by itself, everything and everyone “is” because of its relationship to another, or to others. This understanding of life is at the core of the South African philosophy, Ubuntu – “I am because of You”, “I am what I am because of who we all are.”

While it’s true that Africa is a harsh place, I also know it to be a place whose people, animals and ecosystems teach us about a more interconnected world…” Boyd Varty

It is hard to look at what happened in Paris last week and see that our lives are not only deeply connected to the ones who perished in the event but also to the ones who committed the crimes. Without taking away the severity of the atrocity perpetrated mercilessly, we must surrender to the reality that these actions happened only because they are part of a bigger, connected, and an unfortunate vicious cycle, one in which we all participate.

“You are who you are because of me.” “They are who they are because of us.” 

Understanding the reciprocity of life is crucial if we wish to learn how to prevent future condemnable acts of extreme violence. And the place to start is within ourselves. This week, lets meditate on the past, moments in our lives where we felt attacked, disrespected, or accused; moments of anger, frustration and impatience. If the world is in reciprocity with who I am, if my surroundings is a mirror to my being, am I then a source of love and compassion? Am I inviting kindness and forgiveness or am I creating the exact monster I am now battling?

“So Ubuntu — for us it means that the world is too small, our wisdom too limited, our time here too short, to waste any more of it in winning fleeting victories at other people’s expense.” Bill Clinton

The Power of Nature to Nurture, Awaken, Transcend, Uplift Restore, Elevate, the Human Spirit


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