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Nowhere to hide

Some years ago, I was member of a cult. It was there that I discovered the intensity of emotions when there is absolutely nowhere to hide. You’re on show, exposed, naked – physically and psychologically. I had a similar experience on the Camino – not as intense – yet, at day’s end – I often felt vulnerable, exposed, and ill at ease in the company of fellow pilgrims. I remain perplexed by the arising and fading of these emotions over which I have no control. I began to feel comfortable and at ease only after adjusting and adapting to that ever changing companionship landscape.

The qualities of the evolved man

Let me speak plainly. I’ve met few men/women who fit my concept of the evolved man as reflected by their speech, awareness, humility, spirituality, plant diet, kindness, compassion, wisdom.

The evolved man does not treat other life-forms cruelly or consider them for his/her consumption. This is the significant stepping-stone for peaceful coexistence. I cannot foresee a peaceful world in which one life form controls, dominates, and consumes another. The current world is abominable, cruel, nasty, primitive, in fact barbaric. All life forms must be respected. No god could ever have said:

Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

The idea that man has dominion is plainly ridiculous. There is no quick fix to secure a peaceful coexistence and that would take eons to change. HH The Dalai Lama told his audience that his diet includes meat. He squandered an opportunity to change his audience’s relationships with other life forms by changing to a plant diet.

To be truly alive

When in Santiago de Compostela, I observed a party of Japanese tourists being herded onto a coach. They were not truly alive. Whereas, those pilgrims walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela are totally alive, resourceful, determined, vital, and aware of the daily demands of daily long-distance repetitive pounding of the footpath. The Camino means being alive, alert, aware, awake. It cannot be otherwise.

I’m certain that it is this aspect that is missing from daily life, and that aspect of modern life brings increasing numbers of people to undertake this adventure in contrast to their mundane daily existence. To experience new friends and comrades, to have fun, to receive support, kindness, care from strangers.

To lead or follow

I dislike having to lead, no I hate having to lead, and even more so being a follower, and I’m unable to strike a happy medium. And, I quickly loath those individuals who automatically and quickly assume command of a situation. I view my personality as anti-authoritarian in contrast to the authoritarian who is predisposed to follow the dictates of a leader. The lament ‘I was following orders’ had reappeared time and time again during the course of my life when some atrocity in the form of crimes against humanity was before an international court of law.

I resent being in either situation. I’m much more at ease facing problems and situations that demand my attention, awareness and vigilance, and above all else my personal responsibility. I hate blaming, scapegoating and having to deal with another’s mistake(s) that directly or for that matter indirectly affect me personally.

I know that leaders are respected, encouraged and praised, and much is written about leadership qualities – library shelves are packed with learned articles and books on the subject. The subject of leadership is dominant in academia and the corporate world. Yet, I’m not convinced by the MBA culture that is in no small part responsible for the European and US on-going financial mess.

Gods, angels, guardians

We are all Gods, angels, guardians but fleetingly – when we demonstrate kindness, offer a smile – then we are transformed into a god, angel, guardian. That’s how it is. Of that I’m certain based on my own experiences receiving and offering acts of kindness. Of course, the transfer to these elevated states is only obvious to the receiver. I recall several recent examples that support my view.


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