Happy Easter and a Happy Sunday all,
I’ve coined the phrase ‘Soul Vision’ after an event which happened recently. All to often we get all bent out of shape, feel insulted and upset by the actions or words of others, when if we simply looked ‘below’ the surface water and practised ‘soul vision,’ we might see the ‘truth’ to the clear waters below.
It feels good being back here
It’s been far too long since I put fingers to keyboard and I have to admit to many moments self admonition as I found myself unable, week in, week out to write. It’s not that I didn’t have thoughts and ideas to communicate you understand, but for some inexplicable reason I had no idea that I would find adjusting to a new life, in a new continent, to a new culture and way of being so all-consuming, that I would have little of me left to do anything but work, eat (sometimes) and sleep (not long enough!)
So,Today I’m determined
Despite doubt & nervousness, despite insecurity and apprehension, Its my intention to publish today and regain my previous habit. I hope you’ll bear with me as I find my bearings once more.
The Eyes are the window to the soul
Most of us take our vision for granted. As vital as the organs we call our ‘eyes’ are, we seldom think about their health or care until we have a need to; meaning something has usually gone awry before we consider what our eyes do for us. Practically they enable us to navigate through our physical world, metaphorically, they symbolise insight and wisdom.
without vision, we are blind…
Seven months ago I moved to Nigeria, to live and work. It’s been a challenging transition at times as I found myself bullied at work and within the culture of the country there is a spirit of avarice which is not only prevalent in the corrupt politicians the country is famous for. It’s a ‘gravaliciousness’ (the Jamaicans among you will know what I mean) that is so alien to who I am that I have had a challenging time negotiating who I am in response to it!
but one of the things I noticed almost immediately was that…
Lagos is peppered with blind people!
It’s a prevalent phenomenon which seems quite alarming! Something I couldn’t help but notice on my arrival. Yet… I’ve just come to a realisation whilst writing this. I have just ‘clicked!’
They are metaphorically the physical manifestation of Nigerian society & its relationships.
There is a focus on the ‘surface’ in Nigerian interactions.
How much money you have, who you know, what you do, the family or area, your were born into are what is important in Nigerian society. There is very little looking to the ‘soul’. Instead the focus on what a person has etc. Many people interact with you based on assumptions and stereotypes, ‘blind’ to who you truly are, they…
pay attention to the surface water-how things ‘appear’ and not to what lies beneath.
Seeing is Seeing…isn’t it? Or is it?
When I visited Oshun State last week I went to sit by the banks of the Ogun River. This river water looks brown and murky when viewed as a body of water, yet if you collect it into a clear vessel, surprisingly, the water itself becomes clear, you can see right through it.
No mud… no murkiness
So it would seem that seeing may no be ‘seeing’ after all! Metaphorically speaking, it’s the same scenario when one talks about our interactions with one another.
We would do better if we practised ‘soul seeing’ and endeavoured to look beneath the surface when we interact with each other. My example goes like this:
Seeing a live show was a thrill… a young cameraman decided to interview me for a local TV station, perhaps as a Visitor/migrant/’Ex-Pat,’ he felt I would offer a viewpoint that was somewhat different. He agreed to get a copy of the interview to me. There was, at this point, no mention of payment. We exchanged numbers and agreed how he could get it to me. He dropped the disc in reception. Of course I was working (plus I never take money into work).
After returning his disc to him (via reception) he later called, and because he couldn’t be reimbursed straight away, became enraged and rather abusive! He refused to accept the disc back and left it there. His choice.
Now the point is this!
Over a week later I receive yet another message less abusive yet still complaining. My first response, the surface one was to react to the ‘surface’ of the words he was saying. I felt insulted and defensive and I fought back. I failed initially to practise ‘soul vision’ and like the Ogun river all I saw was the muddy brown top layer of his insults, the outer that he was showing me.
Mightily confused, I couldn’t understand his attitude nor his insistence on being so aggrieved. Then I asked myself…
What is this about really?
Soul vision seeing beyond the murky surface
There was another way to look at this to see through the ‘surface,’ the murky brown of aggression and insult and attempt to see through to the clear water beneath.
What my intuition told me was to consider that perhaps he was seriously struggling, that the reasonably paltry sum he was quibbling about with me, might, at this very moment mean the world to him? The difference between eating and not? And that perhaps he had taken a risk having the disc produced, in a desperate attempt to make a living that week. Nigeria is a POOR country, Life is very, very hard!
‘Perhaps he really is in need of the money?’
So based on my deeper looking, on my practising soul vision, I reached out and asked him if he was in need and re-assured him that it was OK to ask. His first reaction was still one of defiance and ridicule, sarcasm even, but then after some hours I awoke to another message from him. Asking this time for some humble support.
- I complied and offered more than he’d asked for
- Result: a conversation ensued of a wholly different nature and tone
- Conversation based on mutual respect…
- One which allowed us to lower our ‘surface’ guard and allow each other to see the clear water beneath.
- A discourse of understanding
- He then confessed I had confounded his usual view of human nature and our interaction had changed how he viewed the world. he would now be less cynical and had a renewed hope.
It takes a village…
They say it takes a village to raise a child, A child becomes an adult and adults create the physical world we live in.
So what does it take to change the world?
Change the adults within that world!
Perhaps, just perhaps, by practising ‘Soul Vision,’ one instance at a time, one day at a time, one month and one year at a time, we can indeed Create a more compassionate world. A world in which our ‘eyes’ are open and truly ‘SEE?’
Blissings and much love