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Mark L. Takefman's Blog
Mark L. Takefman
Posted Feb 9, 2010 in
January 23, 2010
It took awhile.
I was a suspect from the beginning even though every bit of reason dictated otherwise.
They needed to see for themselves who I was. I was not going to find a secret way to steal money, or take over the leadership and fire them all. I was not after fortune and fame. I was not trying to make them all look bad and discredit their work. It took awhile for them to finally figure out that I was there for only one purpose, to help them be better, and on their own terms.
The tipping point came the second when they saw at me as someone with honest intentions and a sincere integrity and only then did they understand: I had no hidden agendas.
It’s hard to trust others. Even our 1st world notions of relationships carries with it the warnings of distrust. The hierarchical structure of the typical Indian NGO along with the upwards delegation process are common manifestations of barricades against trust, against teamwork, and even against loving ourselves. Rumi wrote that “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” These same barriers work at all levels of our lives, at all levels in our brain and at all levels in society. And in India, as a VSO India volunteer, I see this exemplified all around me. But are these images we see, also reflections of who we are, of who I am?
Of course this is not how we like imagine ourselves. But patterns of behaviour based in culture and genetics continue expressing themselves through us unabated, following very old and well established groves. We have long stopped reviewing these for possible change. Perhaps because we don’t even see them. Then along comes some Rumi quote like the one above that makes us stop in our tracks and recognize that we have been blind, that we have not been living our lives out in the genuine and open way we thought we were. It’s one of those “ah ha” moments that humbles us and then allows us to grasp a tiny bit more of who we really are.
Thich Nhat Hahn, the Vietnamese Buddhist tells us that “
every day we do things, we are things that have to do with peace. If we are aware of our life, our way of looking at things, we will know how to make peace right in the moment we are alive
.” Sounds simple, yet how do we go about living in the moment? How do we live in peace, or in gratitude and in forgiveness? Rumi reminds us that we don’t have to look for peace, or love, we only need to break down those hidden agendas embedded within that takes us away from a state of mind or a state of being that is focused, alert and loving. This is the state that Baba Ram Dass calls “
be here now remember
”, it is the state of Zen, the state of nirvana, it is the Chi and the state of enlightenment. And what is so utterly preposterous about this presence of mind, is that it is there in us all the time! We have it, it is ours or rather it is us! We are just not looking at it, seeing it, living it. Sadly we have lost sight of who we are.
This is what I think has happened: You know those pictures that have a plastic lens on top of them that is comprised of v-shaped grooves so that if you look at the picture from one angle you see one view and when you shift your visual position you see another? This is the metaphor. Both pictures are in the same place, but we have unlearnt how to shift our perspective to see the other side and at the same time, recognize that we are not only both aspects of the picture, but just to add one more dimension, we are also the picture.
“In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself. You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems and suffer and understand, for all that is life.”
- J. Krishnamurti
Mark L. Takefman is a Canadian working as an organizational development advisor for (the) Society to Uplift Rural Economy (SURE), one of Rajasthan's largest and oldest Citizen Organizations under the sponsorship of VSO India and CUSO-VSO Canada.
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