From my youth, I observed my grey strands.
I moaned for a while
And I vainly began to ponder
Why would the signs of aging
Descend upon one with such youthfulness as I?
For surely youth and aging
Both have their time and place?
Does a baby walk before it begins to crawl?
Does a tree sprout from a seed?
Without first tendering its tender shoots?
But I came to learn as I learnt to observe
That wisdom was being promoted in me
Even from the bowels of my folly
In the glory of my youth
I began to understand
Wisdom is not necessarily to the old
But to the experienced
Who choose to learn, of its ways
Truth is not heard
If it is not first understood
By those who hear or speak it.
For without understanding
There can be little ability
To comprehend truth
I learnt that black and white
Are not the only colours to celebrate
But in addition, a whole spectrum of shades
To what is black, to what is white
And to what is in between and beyond
There is the story of life and the experiences of it
That speak to more than the black and the white of the matter.
I learnt that tears are not always to be hidden
But to be expressed as an outlet of healing
I learnt that emotions are a barometer
For measuring the condition of my heart
What stirs me? What triggers me?
What is evoked within me?
What compels and indeed what impassions me?
To know these, is to know my heart for sure
I learnt that I am a flawlessly flawed being
I learnt that I am a being comprised of spirit, soul and mind
Ephemerally encased in a conceited body
I learnt that the depletion of my spiritual capacity
Is a direct consequence of the excess
To which I subject and indulge this perishing form.
I learnt that discipline is not mastered
By spelling the word right
But cultivated by effort, practice and more practice
I learnt that true humility is not the quality of acting humble
But by knowing to be humble always
It is by understanding who you are
In relation to the purpose for which you were created
Learning to live and to walk in that purpose
It is appreciating that our differences
Of status; whether high or low
Of race and origin,
Of educational accomplishments
Of intellect; of all forms of prowess or none
Make me no better nor more deserving
Than the one who has all or none of these.
I learnt that some are born victims,
Some are made victims
And some turn themselves into victims
But I learnt that my place
Is to help the one who is a victim
Irrespective of whether they became victim
To themselves or were made victim by others
I learnt every victim has as great a chance to be a victor
As the victor who never was a victim
So, whether victim or victor
We are all the same
The victim is as the victor
As the victor is as the victim
It is all a matter of choice
Of timing, opportunity and circumstance
Or a sense of self-worth or the lack thereof
So, in all these situations
Who I am to me and who I need to be to you
I must first understand
For we are all victims as we are all victors
Am I your victim or are you mine?
Am I a victor in your eyes or are you one in mine?
I also learnt that reading a book
Does not always make me more informed
I learnt there are different types of poverty
Poverty of the mind, of the spirit and of the purse
The worst kind of poverty is all three.
I learnt that I could be rich and still poor
That I could be poor and yet effervesce with riches
I observed that so-called advanced societies
Are often impoverished
By the burden of their arrogance
Just as less advanced ones
Are often enriched more by their sparsity
Than the riches and ‘advancement’
For which they clamour
I learnt that we can become slaves
Of civilisation and its many trappings
Which in itself is a form of poverty
I learnt that greed, corruption and injustice
And all its various ilk
Represent a deficit form of humanity
An aberration of the human soul and psyche
Hence the term ‘inhumanity’.
I learnt all that glitters is not gold
I learnt that that which does not glitter
Might indeed be gold
That diamonds sparkle for a reason
Because they’ve been through a refining
I learnt that if I too must sparkle
I would need to go through my own refining
Indeed I learnt there was and is no easy path
To gain wisdom or to becoming wise
I would be tested time and again
I would need to pass each test
To prove character and mettle
I learnt all these and the more I learnt
The more I discovered
There was so much more to learn.
Then I understood
I was still scratching the surface
Of what I was meant to understand
Then I understood about the strands of grey
That struck me in the bloom of my youth
It was simply life’s blunt way
Of introducing me to my journey
Of self-discovery, wisdom and of truth
And indeed more.
From ‘Conversations with my Soul Self’
by Kobi Emmanuella-King