A colleague shared an African proverb with me recently.
“Until the story of the hunt is told by the lion,
the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.“
I was moved by her sharing. It’s a proverb that points to a couple of things that have long been part of me. Most namely, hmmm…, a desire for perspective. There are, of course, many sides to every story. Behind that, the proverb points to things I’m growing more awareness of. Like default and systemic power. And by extension, power in the story telling. Not all stories are true, even the ones that have been told for decades or centuries as givens.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Art of Hosting gatherings and the very natural tensions of participants’ needs for tools and the needs to remember simple presence together. Often, these conversations favor the need for tools. When I say favor, I think I mean that they “default easily.” It sometimes sounds like, “What if we created some space for people to be in silence to integrate what they are learning? No, we should give them another framework.” It’s often spoken with an unclaimed fear — I recognize it because I’ve done it myself many times.
I find myself not so aligned with this. It’s not that I’m arguing against tools. However, I’m the kind of human that continues to learn that it is the change in the inner condition underneath the need for tools that has a kind of transformative power that most compels. That’s where people get their money’s worth, and more. That’s where I see people at pretty much every event crack open with an awareness that they did not plan on having.
Until the story of the event is told by those shifting consciousness,
the tale of the event will always glorify the tool-transactors.
I was raised in this work 20 years ago – I would say awoken – by people who invokes such things as “the journey of nowness” and “the real work is to learn to flow with life itself.” These people were lions. These were people daring to interrupt the glorified tales of the hunters. They were people that couldn’t deny the inner work, and at times, the spiritual language that best helped describe that.
Until the story of the journey is told by those seeking the spiritual,
the tale of the journey will always glorify those that deliver the material.
I have reached a time when I really struggle to see the default to the tales of the hunter, the tool-transactors, and material-deliverers. Most often, this feels like a default to a layer of fear that I don’t fully understand myself, yet, feels central — that’s what changing decades or centuries old stories does.
I’m finding it more and more difficult to not stand for the deep inner work — that changes everything. I don’t want to be ingenue about any of this. I have no desire to trick people into a room in some bait-and-switch ruse. But also, and almost undeniably, I notice that my stand is for the fierce invitation to welcome the most transformative change from the inner. To rediscover the applicability of nowness. To see the mass practicality in flowing with life itself.
Let the lion speak.