The way forward is to accept nature as our culture

The only way to move forward is to accept the fact that nature will show us the way, not our self-imposed culture. If we are to lead a wholesome life without boundaries, we have to look to tribes like the Mbuti pygmies and the Cherokee Indians to learn.

Picture yourself in the middle of the rainforest, the perpetual sound of rain enveloping your ears, the sounds of the leaves swaying in the late afternoon winds, as the sunlight peeps through the gaps and falls on the rain-soaked ground below. This surreal vision may also sometimes take the form of a heavy atmosphere full of dread and fear as unfathomable sounds arise from the darkness around, the sound of high pitched screeches from invisible entities in the trees, the heavy presence of the humid afternoon engulfing you in a state of hot frenzy as you keep glancing all around you at the unknown wilderness. The Mbuti tribe of pygmies also inhabits this forest but they see the wilderness around them in a very different way. This is because they know the forest for what it is; their home which provides them with everything they need. In essence, they see nature for the unlimited beauty, knowledge and inspiration which it provides them.  This is what we lack in modern day society, an appreciation and an urge to learn from nature. We have lost our once deep rooted connection with nature and instead crowded our minds with the “barely-there” half-knowledge of mainstream society, which namely consists of fear-drenched thought patterns born out of ignorance.

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The tribal communities are in reality much more advanced than we are or claim to be. The kind of understanding that they possess with regards to the various patterns and rhythmic changes in nature, including aspects such as those which we have not even come close to exploring, let alone accepting. If we were in possession of the wisdom that nature has to offer we would have very quickly found ourselves living in a very otherwordly, alienated and programmed existence. The sad part is that we have immersed ourselves into such a limited and restricted reality that we have not even started to scratch the seams of the untimely wisdom that is being passed down the generations in tribal communities.

In order to begin accessing this immense ocean of knowledge that is right at our disposal, we first need to go through a thorough cleansing of the mental barriers that have been constructed around us by society. In this aspect it is a very wise move to look towards the practices and the belief systems employed by tribes such as the Mbuti. These communities have incorporated practices, such as ritualistic dancing, singing and celebrations to mark numerous special events and occasions in their daily lives. The Mbuti look towards the learnings and teachings of wisdom that their ancestors offer them through the voice of nature.

Tripped Out Fact: The Mbuti believe that their ancestors reside in the forest around them, a belief which is highly intertwined with the fact that they have countless bouts of information about the large diversity of flora and fauna.  They attribute this knowledge to the answers they receive from their ancestors, analogous to the information and knowledge they receive from the forest.

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The Cherokee Indians believe that their ancestors ascended from their earthly realm during death to become stars. This belief goes much deeper than superstitions like associating bad luck to a black cat. This belief system has been shaped through a deeper understanding of the workings of nature and the cosmos, which essentially show us who we are and how we have/can evolve.

To explore how the stars can be our ancestors too, check out this article.

To gain from the fruits of nature, we have to be in sync with the patterns that it follows, instead of being taken over by awe and fear which ultimately lead to our own confinement in mind-made prisons of judgments and prejudices.  These layers of social conditioning prevent us from gaining insight into the essential ways in which we coexist with nature as well as with each other. By submitting to and learning from nature, we have an opportunity to co-exist in a beautiful harmony, which is evident in the communities of tribes like the Cherokee and the Mbuti.

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The gatherings and ritualistic practices in these tribes involve the coming together of the whole tribe to celebrate their oneness with nature as well as each other. For them, music, dance and body art are essential forms of self-expression as well as portals for reaching out into unexplored territories. By using these art forms to channelize their energy to search for answers, the tribes indulge in these art forms regularly in the right sense of community.

The modern society has slowly begun to awaken to the importance of art for self-expression as well as self-realization. While there are still numerous ways in which art has been degraded on the grounds of monetary gains as well as judgments, modern society has recognized art forms such as music, painting, dance as well as writing to be an essential escape from the narrow-minded conditioning that we have been forced into. More and more people are realizing the importance of community gatherings, such as music festivals for releasing and returning to the patterns of our ancestral roots.

Click here to check out some of the most tripped out music festivals where the spirit of community is nurtered.

The essential side to take away from this is that we are moving towards our roots as we slowly but surely transcend the boundaries of a pre-defined culture, exploring and accepting novelty in our lives.

The society is trying to cure itself by an archaic revival, by a reversion to archaic values. So when I see people manifesting sexual ambiguity, or scarifying themselves, or showing a lot of flesh, or dancing to syncopated music, or getting loaded, or violating ordinary canons of sexual behaviour, I applaud all of this; because it’s an impulse to return to what is felt by the body – what is authentic, what is archaic – and when you tease apart these archaic impulses, at the very centre of all these impulses is the desire to return to a world of magical empowerment of feeling” – Terrence McKenna

It is time for us to realize that inner calling from our roots, a call which all of us are familiar with but still do not choose to heed. The human spirit wants to be set free, so do not chain it with the burden of idealistic and limited perceptions. The way forward is in the hands of nature, which we can go back to through the footprints left in time on the path of evolution by our ancestors. The way forward is towards our roots, which the tribes of the world have stayed true to. Just by grasping the extent of their knowledge about nature and the immense ways in which they are connected it, we would be open to a whole new world of opportunity.

Further Tripping…

Video:

Book:

The Forest People by Colin Turnbull

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3

About Ashwin Ramesh

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