Boureh Kargbo was a tall Sierra Leonean fellow with a particularly obtrusive stomach. My father and I always picked him up as we made our way to the golf course on the weekends. We would park outside his house and watch him comically scamper towards the car and he would always finish getting ready in the car. Boureh was an average Sierra Leonean who spent most of his time working in order to barely maintain a roof over his family. Just like most Sierra Leoneans, Boureh received an underwhelming salary and was forced to work extra hard in order to lead a tolerable life. Strangely enough, Boureh was perhaps one of the happiest people I´ve ever had the pleasure of encountering. In today’s standards, he would understandably have all the reasons to be bitter, depressed and blameful. Instead, he was fun, loving and often exploded in big boisterous laughs that always reminded me of Darunia from the legend of Zelda (for all you Zelda fans out there). Saying Boureh was a happy person is a stark understatement. He radiated positive energy, to the point where he would walk into any room and people would automatically cheer up and acknowledge his formidable presence. I truly looked up to his character without really understanding how or why he exuberated such charismatic energy. In the summer of 2004 Boureh passed away prematurely after having been diagnosed with aids. I never had the chance to see him in the final stages of his life but I know left us peacefully. This post is not about Boureh directly. It is about what he represented. 11 years after his passing I think I finally understand why he was the way he was.
I think one of the biggest misconceptions we have as humans is believing that we can possess or control everything. While I do believe a lot of things should be influenced, some things are much simpler to accept as is. There is a special sense of relief in allowing certain things to fall into place on their own. That is not to say we should not work hard to achieve things but rather to recognize the distinct difference in the things we can directly manipulate over the things we cannot. If we take the time to observe people who enforce feelings of gratitude or trust in a higher power we can identify a sense of calmness. Some people seem to naturally radiate a sense of ease even in the center of a feverish environment. They remain composed while the rest of us go through anxiety. They seem to trust that the universe will unapologetically unfold as it should and it tends to be in their favor. I find it hard to trust unempirical processes but I know for a fact there are physiological benefits in being harmonious to the clandestine flow of the universe. We observe this in animals as they trust and rely on their senses to dictate their movements. We, on the other hand try to manipulate everything with our subjective brains. Over time we have evolved to be exceedingly dependent on observations and thought processes that disconnect us from the harmonious flow of the earth. I receive glimpses of this pleasant sensation in the mornings, where I wake up reminding myself to be grateful for having been granted another day that was never particularly promised to me. In reading about spiritual teachings I came across certain words consistently. The words persistently communicated are gratitude, trust and acceptance. There is a certain reconciliation in accepting that life will give us exactly what we need when we need it in order for us to evolve.
We all have a part of our consciousness that is occupied by our egos. We often mistake our beliefs and thoughts to be genuine when in fact it is that of the ego´s. It is vital to comprehend that the ego is a false sense of self that aims only to justify and satisfy itself through deceptive means. Whenever we experience feelings of unmerited pride or seek to defend ourselves unreasonably we can experience the ego trying to establish itself. Whenever we feel the need to be absolutely right or make excuses about our predicament, it is the ego further imposing itself. Self-pity, self-justification, self-fulfillment are classic goals and characteristics of the ego. If we delve further into egoistic behavior we notice that people consumed by their ego will always relentlessly seek to enhance themselves in the eyes of others. They tend to especially start their sentences with the words I or myself.
Frankly, I am not sure if it is possible to be fully altruistic. But I do know that it is possible to put ones needs secondary. But for that to happen the ego has to be obliterated.
There is great deception in attempting to satisfy the ego for the ego can never be satisfied. In pursuing ego satisfaction, one will always feel unfulfilled and cause the same for others. It is common that we feel a certain sense of relief when someone commits a crime or has an accident, for it gives us the facility to separate ourselves from the negativity. It is vital to notice the many shades of the ego in order to overcome its exorbitant presence. We must remain aware of the ego in order for it to dissolve. We cannot try to defeat the ego forcefully as it may serve only to enhance it. Be the awareness behind the ego´s manifestation and we find that as it lessens we will be more at peace with our perpetual insecurities and false sense of self.
I find that generally there are two kinds of older people. You have the ones who appear blissful and maintain child-like personalities. Then you have the bitter ones desperately clinging on to older and “better” times. I find the main reason for this is because most of us anxiously identify ourselves with structure. When someone asks the question “who are you” we quickly resort to things that define us. It could be nice house, a nice watch, a nice shirt,a good job, a good sports team, an attractive instagram profile or even a pretty partner. We all attempt to surround ourselves with positive things in order to appear appealing or to compensate for hidden insecurities. By trying to let positive outlooks define us we fail to define ourselves from within. We rely on these exterior elements so heavily that we ignore the potential consequences of losing them. And believe it, everything we think we own we will one day lose. Some people are identified with their nice body or good facial structure. But even that is deceiving, because one day it will fade.
Successful marketers have understood people´s unchecked need to appear appealing, which is why they persistently promise that products will enhance our self worth. With time, we let go of older things and replace them with newer things that continue to enchant us, all the while failing to realize that there is no ultimate fulfillment in allowing your happiness to be determined by things that are constantly changing form. Money comes and goes. Success comes and goes. People who are identified with form come and go. But inner peace and unbound happiness is eternal. We have enough only when we become enough.
I think the next step in human evolution requires us to transcend beyond a profoundly conceptualized world. If you think about it carefully, most of the ideas and values we pride ourselves on having are actually thorough forms of conditioning. With time and effort potentially anybody can be convinced that the world is flat and not round, regardless of what the truth is. Its time we start letting go of this preconceived notion that we can merely reason our way through life. We can´t live life only through calculation and logic. Do not get me wrong the world has made incredible strides in meticulous areas. I, by no means, want to disrepute the incredible scientists, doctors and engineers of our world. I don’t even study this stuff so in sense this is all theorized in itself. Hopefully it doesn’t sound pretentious either. We sometimes do have to determine risk over reward and we sometimes have to adapt to the mechanized living standards of society. But not to extent in which we forget the meaning of being alive. In the movie “Dead Poets Society,” Robin Williams phrased it perfectly when he said “Medecine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”
I guess I´m trying to say that there is another side to existence. A side that is profound, peaceful and heavenly. Some people will mock this claim and say it is the invention of idle minds. Some people who have experienced finding God or achieving enlightenment will accept the criticism because argument in a spiritual context is futile. I myself experience this awakening transitorily. When we find this inner peace and remove the excess weight that the subjective world has placed upon us, we realize that a lot of things gradually stop mattering. We stop letting situations define us and instead try to define it. We stop trying to making the right decisions and instead make our decisions right. We stop trying to look for meaning and start creating it. We start behaving more genuinely. We start to see the oneness of everything and how we are all interconnected. We are able to sense different energies the same way animals can. We become free from possessive thoughts that have manifested in our brains for years. In other words, we awaken from a conditioned, egoistic and calculated mind that had us convinced that we were in control. We are truly in control when we consciously breathe and become aware of the infinite blessings and privileges life grants us. Heaven is where the mind and body align. This can only happen from within, and from within this capacity, arises unbound beauty, genuineness, creativity, objective happiness etc. I think this is something Boureh had understood.
Thank you for reading 😊