Tuesday, August 26, 2008

dialogue and diversity - an indigenous perspective

27 august 2008

che often asked me to share more on diversity, and how to communicate to others about valuing it. we lived in a land where histories and policy decisions make life hard for millions of people. in such a world where one is taught to remain ignorant, fear, despise, hate or repress - che always was intent on nurturing diversity. mono-culture is too dull and insult to our vast intelligence and experience, he shared.

i offer some of our 'running-ideas' about diversity. che and i constantly allowed some ideas to run in our mind as part of our spiritual exercise, hence they are part of the field, they are running and one could gallop along them or on them as long as our energy or mind allows us. then when it gets crystallized it could be put on paper or canvas as something emerging out of a quest for understanding. what we discovered was that it does not just result in one piece of writing on a topic, but the knowledge produced comes to be lived for a period of time and when one is mindful of such moments and learnings and experiences such moments offer, one can get ahead of the game.

on diversity and dialogue - an indigenous perspective

diversity is a virtue.

in the natural world, of which we are part of, diversity is self-evident and necessary for a sense of completeness. appreciating, valuing, celebrating, nurturing diversity helps us walk in the path that leads us into a world that is more in balance, rich, peaceful and healthy. however human experience has shown us that it is not a state that we are blessed to experience for long, though there may be several 'big-moments' of sense of balance, harmony, respect, peace and healthy relations that we can experience. and as we do this big dance of life, everything around us changes too, due to human intervention. so we live sometimes in harmony with life around us.

arriving at these 'big-moments' is not an easy path to follow and requires the willingness to come to agreements on some general principles and plans while having room for infinite variations in operationalization of agreements and plans. in this path one is expected to be respectful of peoples, cultures, traditions and norms. this process gets enriched by inter-change of ideas, and nourishment received from such exchanges. the process of explaining the essence of one's beliefs, values, morals, norms by which one lives to another person or group of people is a process of exchange and transformation.

an important part of the above described process is self-definition. self-definition is evolving too, through constant absorption, clarity, information, analysis, political-life, changes in economic conditions, manipulation, beliefs and limits one puts on oneself. so a person in dialogue interacts at many different levels aided by introspection into one's own essence. when peoples or communities enter into dialog the continuous contact, engagement and development of relationship works on smoothening the rough edges and we become like stones that have traveled in rivers - smoother and edgeless. because of the smoothness we are able to see more of the world, interact with more people and because we do not have many sharp edges we hurt each other less in our interactions.

to become smooth we need to take the journey in the river and be willing to allow ourselves to be transformed. this journey is not always pleasant and wonder-filled and will have its share of trashing, falling, colliding, being stuck, submerging, and engaging with all that comes in one's way. yet, that is what it takes to transform a rock. moving from providing solid foundation to seeking new experiences with the Other, so transformation can happen amongst all - is the rewards of such an adventure.

in this journey every thought, attitude, behavior and action is observed by the higher-self that is part of our inner being, that pure and illuminating part of our selves. when one develops the art of observing oneself, being mindful - and all these are put to use to serve a bigger function, to feel part of the whole, and to feel the inter-connectedness. upon arriving at this place from where one can clearly see the connections, the distortions and destruction being caused - one chooses to apply wisdom in the interests of all and generations to come, and uses words that are sweet and respect filled. one is conversing not to put the other in place, it is a conversation about how we can co-exist and respectfully share the space.

when diversity is nurtured and allowed to be there are a million solutions for life and our well-being. and one begins to hear a call from the nature.

stop reading
come dwell in me
experience harmony
come walk in the wilderness, reclaim it
come swim in my rivers, reclaim it
every step you take, is a kiss to the beloved
she knows, your every intent
so be aware, but not afraid
it is her nature to let things be
but when you do walk light and in light
she is most generous and joyful
and opens us to her mysteries.

and such a call is often ignored. cause we struggle to have some of our needs met and have a little more to indulge in some pleasures. yet it is good to start to notice the ties and bonds that are part of ideas that have captured our futures, options and alternatives.

with what have we littered the path we walked to go where we are going?
what all are we sacrificing? for what?
what makes us to remain ignorant of virtues of diversity?

why a rhino for this topic you might wonder. che and i were both deeply disturbed to what is happening to the rhinoceros in karbi anglong and assam. poachers continue to hunt down these magnificient animals (for their clients) for their horns, believed to invigorate mens' libido and other medicinal properties. the one horned rhino is an endangered species. two-thirds of one-horned rhinos live in this region. the kaziranga national park is home to about 1850 of them. this picture was shot at the park in march 2008. che has done a painting on a young rhino, which stumbled into indian national media with its horn ripped off, struggling to get up, and bleeding.

it is not just the one-horned rhino that our rough edges hurt and maim.

it is time to smooth some rough edges, roll around a bit, make new friends and help diversity be.

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