African Meditation

African Meditation  - Silence - allows you to listen.

 

 

The breeze of dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really wanDawn comes and sun arises over Africat.
Don't go back to sleep
People are going back and forth
across the doors where
the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

Rumi

 

Silence:

It is quiet out, the door is open, the rain softly caressing wherever it falls and yet the sun is shining in the distance. I am sitting on my balcony in Kampala, Uganda, drinking it all in. The smell of fresh rain on parched Kampala in the distanceAfrican earth, enhanced by the scent of the bougainvillea flowers below me.

My heart is still; there is an absence of turmoil. I live in a world of sounds and noise, where I am bombarded by sounds, questions, answers and commands. Stillness of heart, my soul is like a calm sea at dawn.


Even silence has its varieties: There is the silence when I do not know what to say. We can reprove a person without a word with silence. That is the silence that condemns, like not speaking to a person for a number of days can reduce them to rubble within.

Out of my silence I speak. I have found that we cannot speak if we are never silent, we only rattle. Silence is a way of communion with one self, with the divinity within. The Muslims say that two people have only learned to love each other when they can be silent together.

When I am at home with God within me, I do not have to speak. My spirit communicates with His in silence. I am finding that I can speak words that have an effect on my world when I come out of my silence. Wisdom, sensitivity are imparted to me, there is a birthing of something that  takes place only in the silence.

Silence allows my inner fractions to dissipate, no longer am I the center of the earth but become centered. Out of silence comes hope, I am not pessimistic, not cynical, but a person who can run this race of life once again with purpose.

I am sitting in the silence of the sunset...jon 


 

Morning Reflections overlooking Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria, 2nd largest lake in the World.The African morning sun was already beating down on me, but I did not mind.  Sitting there on a giant water cistern, my eyes wandered over the hill covered with shrubs. I had just sat down after picking small oranges off of the trees nearby. The sounds around me were wonderful, almost overwhelming. A gentle warm wind caressed me, I was taking it all in - Africa. It was my second day on this mysterious continent.

I had wanted some time to sit quietly and just meditate on it all. I still could not believe that here I was, right on the equator, in the middle of a continent I had dreamed about as a boy as I laying in my bed at night, wondering. There had been a few detours along the way, but now I was here.

I wanted a new start in life, I had seen a lot of pain, rejection, and then the divine plan and timing came into play and I had an open door set before me, to come here and run the field operation of a small nonprofit humanitarian relief and development organization.

I had to chuckle, as I looked at myself. I even dressed the part. I had rushed out and visited the local Bass Store, bought Khaki pants and shirts, new boots, a Swiss Army knife, a Levi's belt. I was ready for adventure...or so I thought...but most of all I wanted a new start...those were the thoughts in my mind as I sat there and wroLake Victoria, Kisumu, Kenyate into my journal, the emotions of the moment.

I thought that most people I have met wished that they could start over again. Every New Year's Eve, every Monday morning, every birthday, most of us look for what I was doing. All of us are looking for a solution to our dilemmas, a way out, and a way through, a way around. Some would say, that I was running away from my problems, not knowing that wherever we go we take the pain of our failures with us and until they are worked through, resolved in heart and soul. They remain tattooed on our mind, never leaving us. We might even be doing something pleasant and the thoughts that we do not deserve this may come to us.

Over the years I had read so many self-help books,  books written by learned men and women, about the dark nights of the soul, about inner pain, about being happy, joyful, successful, but the reality is that we all come to a place, where all the formulas in the world do not work anymore and all we can cry is "oh God" from the depths of our hearts.

When we no longer struggle like a fish caught in a net, flapping about, but when we discover that even in the darkness there are treasures to be found.

As I sat there writing away, I still felt the desire to blame someone, to point the finger, since it becomes so much easier to justify most anything if one is the victim.  We can always look around and blame someone or something, rather then looking to ourselves.

It might be our Karma, our Stars alignments, our background, our family of origin, our childhood; it might even be something in my genes. We can blame most anyone, our bosses, our bosses can blame the government, and the government blames other governments.

Yet by now, on this second day in Africa, I realized that the pointing of the finger never brings inner freedom. It was that which I was really seeking, an inner liberty that would translate into all kinds of outward actions. Experience the real Pearl of Africa-Uganda its people

I stopped writing, put my paper and pen down and looked out at Lake Victoria, at the moving clouds above, listening to the sounds coming to my ears, sounds I had never heard before but felt at home with, sensing them, allowing them to sink in. Sounds that altogether create musical symphony as if an orchestra was playing. I closed my eyes, drinking it all in, a drum began to beat, I felt it in me as a call to the newness of the day, it evoked thoughts, dreams, visions, hopes...I sensed this was my place to be, my moment in time. I was in the right place, at the right moment in time.

I got up and walked toward the house to be greeted by the cook, a young woman who was hanging early morning laundry on a line. I smiled at her as I approached her...she looked at me, stopping her activity and said, "Why have you come here?" I laughed, replying "I am finding out why I am here."

It is amazing how things are put together, just like the universe was put together with a plan, so our lives are brought together...at that moment in time, I did not know all the reasons of my being there. I was tired, burned out, worn, cynical, wounded...what good would I be here?

Over the next seven years I came to find out that God in his Grace never throws us away, but puts us back on the potters wheel of life and restores us, and the broken places in our lives, become stronger, more put together than they ever were before.

An ancient Hebrew Prophet once said these powerful words "For I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for your calamity to give you a future and a hope."

Victor Frankl who gave us "the psychology of hope" was in a concentration camp during World War II, the SS guard had just destroyed his life work, urinated on it, torn it to shreds. He watched thousands dies around him and go to the gas chambers and yet he chose to live, chose to keep on dancing his dance of life in the face of death.

The miraculous creative process of God is a wondrous thing that most religious people never experience since they put the divine intoI have three drums at home - all I need is some lessons, but then there would be no more silence. a box and will not let it out.
Africa, was a discovery of the grace that is so available to us all. One does not have to go to Mount Kilimanjaro to find it. It was simply in my plan, in my path to go there and to discover the person I was, had been, could be, would be, am now, and still becoming.

New starts? We all want them, there are no five steps to an easy new start, no self help tapes will bring us there, but in the stillness of the morning, if you listen, you just might hear the sound of a drum calling you forth into being. Just you - a living soul with a body...jon...

 


Below you will find thoughts and observations of my time in Africa.  They reflect both an inner and outer journey.  May they lead you on your own personal one, wherever that may be. Click on the picture link and enjoy the journey.

Africa-The Inner Journey...

Reflections of my ongoing African JourneyExperience the real Pearl of Africa-Uganda its people


Africa One Man's JourneyAfrica - One Man's Journey:  Places, people, events that deeply touch our hearts. When you go on a journey there is something you see with your eyes, hear with your ears and even smell.  Here is my journey in Africa both the inner and outer reflections. 


Africa - Reflection on the JourneyAfrica - Reflections on the Journey:  Stories and thoughts of inner reflections in Africa.  As we travel along, things from our past illuminate the present.  Here you find some thoughts shaped in Africa.


Acceptance - Meeting a leper in AfricaAcceptance:  An encounter with a leper.  Acceptance is something we all crave.  To be loved and accepted means safety for us, space where we can simply be who we were meant to be.


African Carving - The shaping of the soulAfrican Carvings - The Shaping of the soul:  Events tend to mold and shape us.  The events of life shape us into who we are.  Here a carver of of soapstone teaches me about the shaping of the soul, the making of character.  In some ways it is easier to shape a piece of soapstone than it is to shape a human being.

 


African Night SoundsAfrican Night Sounds:  African Nights are filled with sounds that you never forget.  They stick with you and living in Africa they become a familiar sound, they even become welcome.  In a city there is hardly ever total silence and even in the wilderness there are the sounds of the night that do something deep within.


Messengers sent to usMessengers Sent to us:  We don't meet people by accident, often they are messengers and to our surprise they impart to us exactly what we need at that moment in times.  The key is the one who is receiving the messenger to recognize that the message is for us. 


Easter in Africa - Reflections:  Some thoughts about hollow chocolate bunnies and a fulfilled life instead of a hollow life that is simply empty.  There are not many chocolate bunny treats here in Africa, instead Easter for most Africans is a celebration of life.


Celebrations with an African Twist:  Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years in Africa.  Sometimes finding a turkey is a bit tough but there is always a reason to celebrate in Africa. 


Seasons of LifeSeasons of Life:  Lessons learned along the way.  As you get older, one of my observations is...that you either get bitter of better. There are new temptations along the way.


My African Puzzle RingMy African Puzzle Ring: How do you put a puzzle ring back together?  How do you put life back together.  Some observations as I attempted to put my puzzle ring back together.


Beauty of the HeartBeauty of the Heart:  This is about inner and outer beauty, while looking at the Kaloli Bird (Marabou Stork).  The stork is quite ugly, at least I think so, but when you see them soaring over Kampala city, there is a grace and beauty to them, you simply have to see it.


Why AfricaWhy I went to Africa and left:  Doors open and doors close for us.  Some years the events of life unfolded and I wound up in Africa, I have come and gone and once again I am back in Africa, it simply gets to you.


Sitting on the River NileSitting on the Nile River:  To some almost sacred, the Nile, a source of water for many, a place to fish for a livelihood, for some such as myself, a place to sit and reflect as the water flows by.


One Question asked - Who are you?One Question asked -Who are you?:  As I landed in Kigali Rwanda I was questioned and asked "Who are you?  It has stuck with me...who am I?  A human doing or Human Being?


Different Paths - Similar HeartsTwo Men - Different paths - Similar Hearts:  Reflections early in the morning as the sun rises awakening to the call to prayer in Uganda.


African SolitudeAfrican Solitude - Reflections of the Soul:  The stillness outside of us bringing stillness within.  To be still for some is a labor, we love sounds, instead of the simple sound from within, the sound of silence.

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African Meditation

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