It has been brought to my attention that a lot of people believe or think that spirituality is all about weakness. In the eyes of many, it was this meekness that is confused with weakness that led to Black Africa’s downfall.
I remember when I started this journey I use to think this way as well. In fact, my idea of spirituality was based upon the character Kwai Chang Caine of the 1970s mini-series Kung Fu. Caine was bad son-of-a-gun in my book. He walked around being all nice and all but if you tested him, he kicked your butt with his Shaolin style kung fu. The only problem or problems I had with Caine was that he was broke. He had no money, wore bummed out clothing, the only thing he had to his name was a flute. Everything else was a hand-me-down and oh by the way, even though he never stood outside with a sign, dangling from his neck was the sign, “Will work/and do kung fu for food”. Since Caine was my idea of what spirituality was, I experienced a similar fate; feeling and being grossly impoverished for a number of years, and only defending myself when provoked, Today I am not like rolling in the money but I am doing a heck of a lot better than I was ten years ago when I held this erroneous belief. One of the reasons why I am doing better is because of the character Pedro Cerrano played by Dennis Haysbert in the late 1980s films Major League I and II. The movie has a host of stars and is one of Wesley Snipes first movie gigs.
In Major League 1, Pedro Cerrano is a heavy hitting outfielder defected from Cuba that can hit every ball out of the park except for curve balls. So, he turns to “Voodoo”, specifically a little loa he calls Jobu to give him more power to hit the curve balls. Cerrano explains that the reason he turns to Jobu instead of Jesus whom he likes btw, is because Jesus can’t hit a curve ball. It is funny because throughout the movie Jobu demonstrates that he is real.
Jobu even manages to win over a few converts but Cerrano still struggles with hitting curves balls throughout the entire season. It isn’t until the end of the movie that Cerrano finally realizes that he has to depend upon himself that he is able to hit a curve ball, which he knocks out of the park and gives his team the winning advantage. In the end, his team wins.
Cerrano realizing what he has to do.
In Major League 2, Cerrano believing he has too much power and is too raw, travels to Asia and studies with a supposed Buddha master, who teaches him the alleged ways of the Buddha. The problem with these teachings, which Cerrano doesn’t see, is that they make him extremely gentle. As a result, the opposing teams take advantage of Cerrano’s confused weakened spiritual state and strike him out every time he comes to the plate because, instead of running to first base when he hits a pop ball. He is more concerned with saving a pigeon. Or instead of focusing on hitting the ball, he is instead fascinated with the metaphysics and speed of the ball.
Anyway, as the movie progresses, the team desperate for any good talent, that the general manager can afford, recruits a Japanese baseball player (btw Japanese are real serious about baseball) name Tanaka who tells Cerrano that his teacher is wrong using choice Japanese words of course. Unfortunately for Cerrano, Tanaka can’t speak English very well so he is not able to understand exactly what Tanaka is saying. The best way Tanaka can explain it to Cerrano is by insulting his manhood or machismo.
Tanaka continues to tell Cerrano that Buddha was a warrior and that Cerrano has no marbles. He yells at Cerrano, “Buddha inside, outside warrior!” Tanaka even puts a little sword on the Buddha statue. He does everything he can to get Cerrano fired up and to see that Buddha is about balance.
Of course, it isn’t until the nearing of the climatic end that Cerrano finally gets it and it becomes clear to him what Tanaka is talking about – “inner strength”.
So, to create a balance, Cerrano introduces his old friend Jobu (rawness) to his Buddha (gentleness), and explains to the two iconic figures that they need to get along. If you have not seen these films, you have to because they are really hilarious. Later Cerrano and Tanaka become good friends.
The interesting thing about this movie that relates to this post is who told Cerrano that he was too raw or too powerful? It is the same with this belief that spirituality or any philosophy from another culture is about being docile. Where did we get this idea from? I am not absolutely sure but my research has led me to the late 1960s and early 1970s Peace/Love/Flower Child /Hippie Movement. It was through the pop culture of this era that many young Westerners began adopting foreign expressions with the hope that they will help everyone get along and bring peace to the world. It was realized later that this Utopia was a pipe dream stimulated by the excessive use of alcohol, LSD, marijuana, heroin and other euphoric drugs, when a host of heinous acts started making headlines.
Even though it was realized that the Utopia of this era was not feasible, it has not stopped people from striving to achieve it still. This in my opinion is the reason why people are so fond of the Ancient Egyptian forms because it allows them to play dress up. I say forms because a form relates to a costume that can be taken on and off.
The point of making all of this known is to inform you that true spirituality cannot be taken on and off as if it was clothing. This is a Westernized concept that has at present been glamorized by pop culture, that all you have to do is read some books, change your name, stop eating meat and start wearing some clothes from another culture and/or era, and…VOILA! “You are Spiritual”now. This is a way of life.
A thorough analysis of Kamitic/Kemetic history will reveal that when the Greeks entered our ancient lands, they were the first to imitate the ancient Egyptians by making statues with Kamitic/Kemetic symbols and Greek togas as seen above. Clearly, if the Greeks had understood what Kamitic/Kemetic spiruality was all about they would have turned the country back over to the founders. Proof that they didn’t can be seen that Kamit/Kemet spiraled into a state of imbalance and was invaded numerous times afterward.
The contemporary Western approach to spirituality is as is said in the spiritual circles, truly linear, lopsided, and left-brained and illustrated on the maa aankh, on the red side all based upon the physical and what is seen. It is in the red zone also because this is TASETT, the desert, the realm where there is nothing but problems. This is what happens when we do things totally by what we see. As they say in the church we walk by “Faith, not by Sight” because in the desert there are all sorts of mirages and illusions.
Now, this is not to say that there aren’t any good Western traditions. It is just that in general Western culture is polarized on the left side. . It is truly imbalance, which is the reason why when Asians come to North America and see Westerners practicing their philosophy, they “run” in the other direction, because they realize that this Westernize pseudo Eastern spirituality is nothing but garbage as Tanaka tries to tell Cerrano.
True spirituality is all about balance and has always consisted of two parts. As Tanaka tells Cerrano, “Buddha inside, outside warrior!” This Westernized approach to spirituality is not balanced, which is why in the long run it doesn’t work and doesn’t produce any long lasting physical results. This is the reason why the Utopia of the late 1960s and 1970s didn’t work and the reason why it doesn’t work to this day. This in my opinion is where we got the idea that spirituality is all about being meek or weak. It is from the Westernize cultural perspective. It is the same reason why the gentle loving aspects of Jesus are depicted over the rebellious, revolutionary and at the temple angry aspects.
If your spirituality is not bringing you true peace and helping you to improve your life, then maybe you ought to reconsider your definition and idea of what spirituality is about. What do you think?
For a complete discourse and in-depth analysis see:
MAA AANKH: Finding God the Afro-American Way, by Honoring the Ancestors and Guardian Spirits.