Valentine’s day gifted me a series of inspirational dates with many Masters! My first date with a master was at the Annenberg Center for Photography in Los Angeles. How did I get so lucky?
Wade Davis, a world-known anthropologist, ethnobotanist, national geographic photographer and clearly a modern-day wayfinder, gave a lecture on “Why the ancient wayfinder’s knowledge is important to our modern world”. The room was packed with a diverse group of people from all walks of life. Producers, actors, photographers, researchers and seekers such as myself who gathered to soak in the world of knowledge Davis so generously offered. We traveled through the Andes, Borneo, Haiti, Tibet, the Amazon, the Arctic, as Davis our guide, through his profoundly moving photography and mind opening questions, gently woven into his eloquent witty delivery.
The primary message was that the ancient wisdom of the wayfinder coalesced on being in tune with the environment and maintaining strong connections with all. Davis, with his decades of research and first hand experience of being in the presence of many such cultures, demonstrated that all indigenous cultures consistently practiced this oneness and reverence for the environment and for each other, both for their well-being and survival and the well-being of all who inhabit this Earth. Did you know that someone in Tibet has being praying for your well-being as their sole life’s purpose living in a space that is no longer than the size of your dining room table? Would you be able to intuit your way to your car in the vastness of a parking lot where masses gather for work, food, supplies or pleasure? (A very practical skill in our modern-day living I know I could use!)
Think about it…Or perhaps, close your eyes and meditate on it for a while.
Davis said (paraphrasing here) that “indigenous cultures see the mountain as a deity, a living being, who provides for the village and protects it, the modern cultures (a term we choose to associate with) see it as a place to mine”, while pointing to a breath-taking view of a sunrise on untouched land rich with mountains, trees and water. “The important question is not which one of these beliefs is true”, Davis continued. The important question is that we share this world with many cultures and we are making choices that affect the face of the world we share. Do we consider the effects of our choices in the light of oneness?
This sign caught my eye as I left the Annenberg lecture hall and headed towards the parking lot. It was sitting in the dark on a patch of grass carefully nurtured for our future enjoyment under countless high rises of concrete towering over it. Perhaps like the mountains in the Andes, the buildings in our civilized environment now house the deities of the new age watching over every piece of green that our livelihood depends on, ever so carefully.
Davis’s lecture was a meditation…Just as we can talk about meditation for hours and probably write or read about it in various media, until we experience it ourselves we are missing out on the full potential of the expansion it offers. Good news is that the lecture will be available shortly on the Annenberg’s website. Phew!
In the mean time, here is the one question that summed it all up. Ponder at your leisure. It will take you to places.
What kind of world do we, as people of the Earth, imagine for ourselves?
(Dates with the Masters to be continued…)