Loosing The Helm
In a world where McDonalds and Coca Cola are the new Idols and ?instant?, ? no effort? and ?I? has become our daily mantras, many people have lost the helm of their lives and are slowly but surely sinking their little boats against the sharp edges of the storms of life.
They struggle to keep their heads up and reach out to others so they can be saved by them. Others resign and disappear forever below the waves of agony in the vast ocean of despair, hatred, negativity and envy.
Few boats are capable of saving these people. In fact, some of these boats are just not strong enough to handle the extra weight and get pulled down as well. Think about the families destroyed because a family member was a drug addict. Other boats will take you on board but after a while, only to kick you back out into the ocean. These are the so called friends who are only there when they need you. Be aware of the ?black ships?, those who claim to save you, so that when you get closer they will push you down and kill all hope remaining in you. These are the cult leaders and terrorists who promise you heaven if you give up your life for them and so on.
This is our modern society and its inhabitants. The more people and boats that sink the more waves and reefs are made and the more difficult it becomes for us to keep our little boats floating, not to mention staying on the right course. Modern society is constantly bombarding us with advertisements of how to enhance and boost our primordial instincts but never any attention is given to who we are, where we come from and why we are here.
In the old days, thousands of years ago when we still lived in tribes, the people were guided in spiritual, mental and social affairs by the spiritual leader of the community. He was consulted every time people lost their hopes, their illusions and dreams. This was the natural way of things. The spiritual leader, known to us as a shaman, medicine man or the like, had a very important task to fulfill which also carried a serious responsibility. He was the one solely responsible for the well being of his tribe. He did this through interpreting and explaining the will and nature of Spirit which he found by reading the signs of nature. Whether his explanations make sense to our western minds- and way of thinking is not relevant. Algebra doesn?t make sense to me but it seems to be useful.
The importance of these messages from the spirit world was to be found in the fact that they gave people something to believe in. It was like medicine and food for their souls. Their hopes and believes gave them a clear course in which to steer, a mission and a goal in their lives. The spiritual nature of these messages and their lives based on them, made people more connected to themselves and the world around them. This made them think even more about their place in this world, where they came from, what was the reason for them being here and where they had to go to.
In their search for answers to these questions they reflected upon the nature around them and came to understand that they were part of nature and had to play out their role in it. Through spiritual guidance and revelations they came to understand why they were here and where they came from. This connection with the spirit world was very important for them and kept them from falling into extremes. The American Indians are a very good example of this connection between the tribe and the spiritual world.
-?Wait a second?, I hear you say.
- ?There is no such thing as a spiritual world?.
- ?I never saw , touched or heard a spirit in my life and now you tell me there is a spiritual world? .
- ?You should be locked away in a mental institution?.
This is the typical reaction of the modern, rationalizing western mind. We have to be able to explain everything, and make it fit our way of doing and seeing things. Because we lost our spiritual foundation we are afraid of what might be out there surrounding us. Thus we end up putting people in mental institutions, convert them to our religions, or even kill them. (Remember the witch hunts in England or the Spanish Inquisition)
But now I ask you; Do you feel the cells in your body growing and dying? Do you feel the blood in your veins? Do you feel your thoughts running through your brain? I don?t think you do, do you? But this doesn?t mean that they don?t exist. It only means that we are not sensitive enough to feel these things.
Where our ancestors could experience and connect with the spiritual world, we have instead lost this ability, as it has been sacrificed on the altar of money, power, lust, hate and envy.
Let?s assume for the sake of discussion that there is such a thing as a spiritual world. Is there a need to be connected with this spiritual world?
Just take a look around you, look at the news on TV, read the newspapers, visit the prisons in your state or look at the homeless on the streets. Can it get any worse? My answer is yes. If we don?t find back to our spiritual roots, and let us be guided by its wisdom, I think it can.
While we lose this spiritual connection, the beast within us will only grow and slowly gain strength until we turn into empty shells with dead and staring eyes, always hungry, wanting to satisfy our most base instincts. We become the living dead; the nazgul of the 21st century. Finally, we end up like human animals without compassion, love or kindness, etc?
To return to our first question, is there a need to be spiritually connected? I have to say yes. I think it is of the utmost importance if we don?t want to turn our paradise, this earth, into a toxic waste belt swarmed by creatures that were once human beings.
But how can we do this? How can we get back in touch with our spiritual selves? First and most importantly is to know why you are here on earth. What is your purpose, your mission? I found mine through a spiritual revelation 7 years ago. My mission is to guide others through the practise and teaching of a very special martial art. But my mission is not yours. You have to find yours yourself and a big step into the right direction is going back to our paradise, nature. Feel, enjoy and connect again with the living creatures that surround you on your trips into nature with its joys and wonders. Eventually, they will guide you into the right direction and you will find your personal mission.
In your daily life, try to be like a flower. A flower doesn?t choose to whom she is going to give her beauty or smell. She doesn?t reserve it for the rich and the famous. She shares it with all, expecting nothing in return. Try to be like this: give to others your kindness, love and compassion. Help those around you to rediscover their spiritual selves.
Live your life according to the principles of Chudo, the middle way. Not falling into excesses and always maintaining a healthy balance between our physical, mental and spiritual needs. Don?t let one of them starve. Give every part what it needs, food for our body, education and knowledge to our mind, love to our spirit and soul.
About the Author: Peter Vermeeren is the chief instructor of the Genbukan Ninpo Bugei and KJJR in Spain and is training and teaching martial arts since 1974. He is a personal student of grandmaster Tanemura. You can contact him through his personal site www.takaharudojo.org or through the federations site www.genbukan-ninpo-bugei.com