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.
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?