Ubuntu is the essence of being human. Ubuntu says, ‘I am because you are. I can’t be me, unless you are you. I need you in order for me to be me, as you need me in order for you to be you.’
Beauty is about more rounded, substantial becoming. When we cross a new threshold, if we cross worthily, we heal the patterns of repetition that were in us, that had caught us somewhere. In our crossing, we cross on to new ground where we don’t repeat what we went through in the last place we were. Beauty is about an emerging fullness, a greater sense of grace and elegance, a deeper sense of depth, and a kind of homecoming for the enriched memory of your unfolding life.
At some point I thought, ‘Well, I’ve been really lucky to see many places, now the great adventure is in the inner world.’ I’ve spent a lot of time gathering emotions, impressions and experiences. Now I just want to sit still for years on end charting that inner landscape. Anybody who travels knows you’re not really doing so in order to move around— you’re traveling in order to be moved. What you’re seeing is not just the Grand Canyon or the Great Wall but moods or intimations or places inside yourself that you never ordinarily see when you’re sleepwalking through your daily life.
Have you been compassionate to yourself today? Have you looked at the sun, the blue skyand known they were made just for you, A soft quiet place to rest your headyour heart. Have you read mystical poetswhose words are the arms of an infinitely tender Godopening for you. Have you taken a momentto visit the child in your heart, laughing if there is laughter, playing if there is playfulness, wrapping your arms around slowly, easily if there is painif there are tearsmurmuring, ’My little onemy dear little one.’
‘H’m’and one said speak to us of loveand the preacher openedhis mouth and the word of Godfell out so they tried again speak to us of God then but the preacherwas silent reaching his arms out but the little children the ones with big bellies and bow legs that were like a razor shell were too weak to come
SANTIAGOThe road seen, then not seen, the hillsidehiding then revealing the way you should take,the road dropping away from you as if leaving you to walk on thin air, then catching you, holding you up, when you thought you would fall, and the way forward always in the end the way that you followed, the way that carried youinto your future, that brought you to this place, no matter that it sometimes took your promise from you, no matter that it had to break your heart along the way: the sense of having walked from far inside yourselffor something that seemed to stand both inside you and far beyond you, that called you back to the only road in the end you could follow, walking as you did, in your rags of love and speaking in the voice that by night became a prayer for safe arrival, so that one day you realized that what you wanted had already happened long ago and in the dwelling place you had lived in before you began, and that every step along the way, you had carried the heart and the mind and the promise that first set you off and drew you on and that you were more marvelous in your simple wish to find a waythan the gilded roofs of any destination you could reach:as if, all along, you had thought the end point might be a city with golden towers, and cheering crowds, and turning the corner at what you thought was the end of the road, you found just a simple reflection, and clear revelation beneath the face looking backand beneath it another invitation, all in one glimpse:like a person or a place you had sought forever, like a broad field of freedom that beckoned you beyond; like another life, and the road still stretching on.
A BRIEF FOR THE DEFENSESorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babiesare not starving someplace, they are starvingsomewhere else. With flies in their nostrils. But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants. Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would notbe made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor womenat the fountain are laughing together between the suffering they have known and the awfulnessin their future, smiling and laughing while somebody in the village is very sick. There is laughterevery day in the terrible streets of Calcutta, and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay. If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction, we lessen the importance of their deprivation. We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure, but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world. To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the Devil. If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down, we should give thanks that the end had magnitude. We must admit there will be music despite everything. We stand at the prow again of a small shipanchored late at night in the tiny portlooking over to the sleeping island: the waterfrontis three shuttered cafes and one naked light burning. To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worthall the years of sorrow that are to come.