“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
These words epitomises the premise of Seeing into Being from my perspective. A few years after being released from prison, after 27 years of incarceration by the Apartheid government, I had the good fortune to interview Ahmed Kathrada, an anti apartheid activist. My inquiry of him was how did they manage to sustain their courage and hope throughout those years? His response was that firstly, they knew that they were on the right side of the cause. That morally it was the right thing. Secondly, they did not wait for freedom to come but prepared for it. In their discussions and reflections they contemplated the kind of democracy and society they wanted to create for all South Africans. Did they know they would live to see a democratic, free South Africa? It didn’t matter, they just knew that a democratic free South Africa will happen. They lived the dream, not only desired it.
We create the worlds we dare to see or dream of. However what we see cannot be driven by simply desire and want. When a dream is simply on desire, it becomes an obsession which imprisons us. The power of a vision lies on a strong foundation of wisdom and knowing that it holds righteousness and benefit for humanity. Such a vision has no boundaries and is timeless. Irrespective of the challenges one faces, this inner conviction gives courage and births a capacity to act on that vision. Such a vision, can never be alone, but will always inspire a collective vision which begins to create its own ripple and influence. It is a vision that lives long after the dreamer has passed on.
We live in a time where the fragmentation of the world is no longer subtle, but almost seems like a domino of events cascading. All that was built was created on the basis of materialism, and so it is no surprise as we see its breakdown. But when we step back and look, we see beneath the destruction a new way of being coming through. Living in a fynbos environment, each year in summer are the threat of wild fires. The fires destroy vast tracks of land on the Cape Nature Reserve mountains. In the heat and intensity of those fires, the seeds of the fynbos are dispersed. So within a few weeks, the darkened fields are scattered with new plants bursting through the ashes. can we see the seeds of our deeper nature and being.
Our ability to see a new way of being, to see a new world is embedded in the awareness that, we can only conceive a vision if it is a part of our reality, if the experience of this lies merged in our consciousness. As Ahmed Kathrada had said, we knew it will happen. We are driven to see a new world because the experience of that lies within our consciousness. Time and circumstances are simply triggers to reveal “what we know and what we are”.
The greatest challenge, to seeing into being, in some way is our own fears. We fear what is not visible. We are so accustomed to thinking of ourselves as physical beings and that we perceive reality to be, that which can be measured, manipulated and controlled. That which we cannot measure or control we either dismiss as “not real” or fear it. When we awaken to the awareness that we more than the physical, that our deeper self is consciousness manifesting itself as thoughts and vibrations, then we can begin to see how our thinking and feeling is the seed which influences the physical. The world we know today is as a result of how we thought and felt collectively, and the world that we want depends on how we choose to think and feel today.
Often, we conditioned into believing ourselves as being insignificant or powerless. Growing up in apartheid South Africa, whether directly through the laws or indirectly you were constantly given the message of being less because of your race. As a child it was the influence of a school teacher when I was ten, that made me realise how that conditioning was being internalised, particularly remembering the first history lesson when he defied the set textbook and said the first peoples in South Africa were not the Dutch but the indigenous San people with a unique culture and nature of not controlling but sharing the earths resources – you can imagine what our school curriculum was at that time!!! In my experience, intellectually one can defy this conditioning, but it takes deep introspection to see how the collective pattern has been internalised. It was after my travels to Australia when it became very apparent to me – Australia reminded me so much of South Africa but the people there seemed to have a natural confidence. And it struck me, that in South Africa there is this talent and creativity but its waiting for permission to be expressed… it lacks the natural confidence of its worth. This almost offers a powerful example of how entire generations and societies can be influenced by a powerful vision – be it flawed. It is for this reason that it was so significant to all of us when Nelson Mandela during his inaugural speech as President quoted the following from Marianne Williamson, “We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
We are afraid of our own greatness, to embrace it is to take complete responsibility for what we think and feel. But greater than our fear is a truth that cannot be denied, suppressed or ignored. Its the paradox of our times, as all that has been built on the basis of arrogance, prejudice, manipulation and greed falls apart – it reveals that our true nature as human beings is love, compassion and selflessness. What makes us human, in Africa is the principle of Ubuntu. I am because we are, we are because I am. The individual creates the collective and the whole reflects the individual. What makes us human is recognising that society is the cooperation of every individual to a greater whole, be it through our thoughts, attitudes and actions of kindness and consideration for each other. No society can call itself successful, if the individual within it is left deprived. We are called upon to see a greater whole of a co-existence of harmony, respect equality and openness. When we dare to take on the responsibility of such a world, it inevitably calls upon the individual to examine oneself deeply to free the self from patterns of prejudice and judgement. It is only through this individual “cleansing” of the self, can our actions truly hold the integrity and power to create the transformation we seek.
The courage to dare to embrace such a vision, is more than just a moral imperative – it is a vision that can only be awakened through Divine intervention – there is a Higher Source who is silently awakening this deeper truth in us. Ultimately, it only love that is pure, unconditional and Divine that can rekindle truth. When we become still in our minds, we invite the presence of Divine Love to transform our hearts.
Seeing is the seed…. feeling is the capacity …. so that we can step into being.
By Pratiba Daya