They are disturbing, these troubled times when the excesses of history and all our current actions add up to a chaotic present. Unable to trust our leaders, we need a haven where we can settle and collect ourselves, muster strength, find hope, discover clarity.
We each have such places - a park, a beach, a mountain, but we require somewhere instantly accessible. Don’t worry, no New Age-y moment is being proposed, but something quite animal, quite natural, a quality we all have within.
Mine matured for no other reason than growing, up at a crucial period of my development, with a tribe who valued this mindset. Merely a boy, my friends, much older, were pre-teenage lads who guarded their family cattle upon the open savannah. They stood on one leg, half-leaning on their spears, shorter than those the warriors nearby had, but just as deadly. However, their strong culture taught them only to use these as a last resort, for to kill a leopard or python was to unbalance things.
Like those brave people, I learnt to reside in a sense of being there in the wilds, erect, aware, calmly waiting, ready for anything. Inside, each flirted with that presence, that faint mindset, each in our own secret way. Rarely discussed, we knew this was our haven, that if things kicked off we could rely upon that strong, calm mindset to trigger whatever response was necessary. In short, we came to trust our deeper selves.
OK, this was an unusual childhood, but in a sense no different to any other, for we each met our pythons and learned to face or avoid them, to flee or respond, be we in a suburban setting, country location or wild cityscape. And today, this weekend, we can return to that place inside without complication and enjoy relating to our inner strength. It only takes sitting, waiting a moment, for that’s all it can take.
Sink into what you are right now without getting involved. A being upon a bench, a body gently tugged by gravity, a bundle of settling emotions, a whirlwind of thought. In there, slinking along as if it didn’t want to be noticed, did you glimpse that faint shadow, a presence which flitted away as soon as you looked at it?
This character leaves an aftermath, a soft impression on your mental state. Linger there, catching the illusive reflection, however dim. It is a mindset, a bundle of thoughts, emotions and feelings constructed when you were younger. Simply being aware of this glorious ghost is enough. Bit by bit, as the days slide by and as you laze with this shadowy state, you will grow closer to this shy bird, but only if you try not to catch it and enjoy its fleeting passage, will it settle one unexpected day.
This haven will give you strength amid the chaos of environmental, economic and political uncertainty. It is worth far more than that new smartphone, holiday or new home that society has taught us to want. It may be invisible, but as you rest by it you will one day sink into it and it will enrich and enhance your life.
Go on, you, like the rest of us, need this.