Nomads & The Evicted ‘Teacher’

Oil Lamp

Nomads & The Evicted ‘Teacher’

Lately there have been more news from the world about nomadic populations being evicted, oppressed, scape-goated, used as human shields in conflicted territories. This has struck a chord with me as just in these past weeks, I have been shown some beautiful teachings by a nomadic tribe I crossed paths with, in an unexpected way, one of life’s surprises that seem to come when we ask for  guidance but do not prescribe which way this should arrive.

The teachings will find a different space on these pages, but when I received them, I marvelled at how apt, how important, how crucial, even, it seemed to me for us all to have a ‘nomadic heart’  at this point in history (this, I was told, is what will help me).

This type of heart knows about resilience and how we are inextricably connected to everything and everybody, about generosity and opening up to receiving, about gratitude and honouring nature and giving back and protecting it for everything it gives us, about treasuring every nourishment, every little joy, about moving through, building on connecting and exchanging rather than on owning and exploiting, about finding our tribe and being home in ourselves wherever we are, and only staying where enough love and nurturing can be maintained and grown.

Yet this way of life is often persecuted and excluded, chased off the land, looked upon with suspicion and object of endless ‘dark’ mythology. Why would these populations harbour any more darkness than any of us, any more secrets and possibility for destruction and disturbance than any member of our ‘settler’ communities or any other population groups in our cities or rural areas, especially where deprivation and social exclusion are a dominant factor?

I can sniff  ‘shadow’  (repressed, disowned parts of a process or ourselves) here…  

I suspect the ‘nomadic stranger’ becomes, to some of us, a threatening archetype. An archetype – for those who are not familiar with this language – is a symbol, in the form of a term, an image, a behaviour, a character or role that represents meanings or ideas we can all understand intuitively and can relate to, as they are part of the shared world of the human psyche . Tales and mythology contain archetypes, and so do our everyday lives  as we navigate our existence, life stages, change, relationships and the meaning that we find and seek in our experiences.

So where is the threat in this particular archetype? What might we be denying, wanting to exorcise in ourselves, in our societies, that we then ‘dislodge’ from our own psyche and place on the ‘nomadic stranger’, trying to ‘cut off’, ‘chase away’, which bit of our realities do we want to keep separate, stop from ‘integrating’?

More in depth social analyses have been and are being carried out around this elsewhere, but just for now, here on this page, I’ll make a guess at the fear of the unknown we might be harbouring in our shadow.

Shadows in the desert

Photo by Clardlluna.

Our societies are being pushed to maximize certainty, stability, security, predictability, risk elimination, control over the forces of nature and of our psychic emotional world, over illness and death and fundamentally over any aspect of our life that faces us with our impermanence, our limitations,  and the ultimate uncontrollability and unpredictability of our existence.

This – in its extreme current trend – kills creativity, impairs resilience and severely suppresses the ability to live fuller and more empowered lives, closes us up to love and wonder, cuts us off from our rooting in the cyclical place in all that lives and dies and transforms in nature, and therefore ultimately renders us more ill, more dependent on props, and more frightened.

However, it keeps us staring at the lights and turning our back on the shadow cast behind us (which grows and grows the more lights are added to the show), it keeps us feeling ‘safe’, ‘in control’. So those who face us with a different reality, with instabilities, with impermanence, with a tight relational connectedness we long for but ‘have to’ abandon in the name of safety, with passions and freedoms we ‘can’t afford’, with spirituality and beliefs that embrace necessity and complexity, bring us a world that we defend against, a relationship with life, others and ourselves that we have made ‘alien’ to us.

We shun and evict and oppress the ‘other‘, even when no crime has been committed, no law broken, no actual threat posed to justify our ‘defense’ , and this way we shun and evict and oppress parts of ourselves, lose the opportunity to integrate what we have lost, to enrich our lives, and yes to take more risks and come alive, to ‘receive the teachings’ from this unknown world, as much as we can from anything that we fear, if we discover the ‘ally’ in those places we keep in the dark.

We dis-own, in fear, the fact that WE ARE ALL NOMADS PASSING THROUGH…

I am immensely grateful to my nomadic teachers, who gave generously and unpretentiously, whom will never be seen on the internet, who will never speak in conferences or run personal development workshops, who will not feature in the top 20 enlightened masters of the world.

Who left my heart cracked open to quiet, down to earth abundance.

…Who are your disowned, ‘evicted’ teachers?


Next Post Previous Post
  • Nice talking to you on Saturday. Your piece on Nomadic Life is a good insight into those aspects of who we all are, not just the so-called ‘Travellers’. Stillness in the ‘Mind’ can sometimes give one a sense of greater peace. Just as ‘Settling’ for a place of permanency enables individuals and communities to develop in a more peaceful setting and cultures to unfold in different and more interesting ways. By taming and cultivating those parts of our mind that enhance our creativity and those parts of nature that we feel most connected to, we discover all manner of diversity and create many more ways of relating to the world.

    A natural progression one might argue? But with those developments we tend to lose touch with a wilder, more naturalistic part of our ‘being’ and as a society, start to sink into a more artificial existence than we might of otherwise chosen – leading our ‘wilder’ and perhaps our more authentic side, to retreat into the shadows.

    The price we pay for greater levels of sophistication and comfort is that the natural world becomes something a bit alien to us and is seen more as a resource, to prop up our lifestyles, rather than something we are intimately part of. This makes us more distant and fearful of the wilder more reactionary parts of our minds too, as we lose touch with our more innate, communal identities!

    When lifestyles become more diverse and complex and if we ‘collectively’ forget to a large extent, our shared evolutionary routes, the ways in which people identify themselves will become ever more divisive; making it even harder to take seriously a common bond that isn’t just about the practical aspects of life.

    What beliefs arise as a result of this departure can, if not kept in check, give rise to a perverted or twisted view of whom, or rather ‘what’ we really are as ‘humans’ and our place or roll in the world.

    My belief right now, having worn out my ‘naval’ from years of contemplating my own inner thoughts, hopes, fears, confusions, sense of inadequacy and incompleteness; let alone my search for acceptance, recognition, validation and the occasional ‘killer’ one-liner, witty remark, is that we, not all perhaps, but certainly most of us, are living a ‘Lie’.

    It is not intentional. Nor are we necessarily conscious of it. However, the lie that we mistake for the truth is this… ‘We are who we think we are and pretend that we are not ignoring the fact that we do not really know!’

    Maybe there is no way of completely knowing what we really are and maybe, just maybe, that’s ok! Maybe, all we can ever really hope to know or find out, is what we ‘are not’ and learn to live with that?

    And so… we create beliefs and find distractions.

    Beliefs that make us feel safer and surer of ourselves; and distractions that take our minds off what we are unsure of! (Actually, we might be forgiven for thinking that a greater proportion of modern life is devoted to distraction more than it is to anything else. That’s how much energy is needed to keep our doubts and fears at bay!)

    My hope is this; once we are liberated from the ‘untrue’ all that we will then be left with is the ‘truth’, whatever that is! The truth in this case isn’t like the search for an idyllic identity. It is more a process of dis-identity, a de-programming, an elimination of that, which is false. So it’s not so much the search for ‘what is true’, but more the recognition of the presence of what is false!

    If life becomes a process of not just an accumulation of knowledge, but an elimination of falsehoods too, a continual process, we can then never really settle for a belief system that fixes the world and states with certainty who the enemy is, whereby turning them into the source of our woe.

    It’s not just our doubts and fears that cause conflict either, but it can be our certainty! Our certainty of whom we think we are. If we can learn to live with those parts of ourselves we are unsure of and fear the most, then being ‘righteous’ becomes less appealing and our dependency on the ‘moral high ground’ far less necessary.

    The fear of change and what we see as ‘foreign’ or culturally unacceptable is something we may understand better if we stop to question the idea that our cultural identity and what that includes, plays the biggest part in our reality and start seeing our version of reality as just a preference that’s been influenced more by the accident of our birth than it has by knowing the truth!

    It’s not just a question of agreeing what else there is beyond our personal or collective identities either – if anything – spiritual or otherwise. Or whether hierarchies, elitism, groups, laws and rules have their place or not; they do and must be allowed, as it’s the only way society can run itself. But it’s ultimately, the degree to which we are conscious of how our views of the world are dominated by a pre-conditioned understanding or acquired prejudices, rather than a personal growing wisdom.

    The clash between the so-called travellers and so-called settlers is not necessarily, to do with whose wrong or right. Its cause has as much to do with a mistaken identity on both sides of the argument, as it has to do with anything else! People with fixed ideas about who or what they are and the degree to which their place in the world takes precedence over someone else’s, will inevitably meet with resistance and be challenged.

    That’s when we need to highlight our shared underlying commonality, which includes as much as anything else, all our fears, doubts, insecurities and suspicions and addressing what it is that gives those power and makes them mean so much to us, when in truth they may turn out to mean very little!

    Maybe we can only know peace when we have learnt to live with the unsettling state that is caused by the unknown in ourselves, as well as what disturbs us about other cultures and stopped throwing rulebooks at each other!

    What separates us, as people, we cannot ignore, it will always be there to be seen and, therefore, needs to be addressed; but what truly unifies us as creative, compassionate, vulnerable, proud and spiritual human beings, maybe got buried a long time ago, along with those more natural, wilder aspects of our identity and we need to work out how we can engage in the sometimes painful process of digging it all back up and recovering our ‘true selves’.

    And maybe only then, once we’ve done that, we’ll be in a better position to consider whether we want to start up the bulldozers or not!