Greetings Still Looking
Give thanks I for being bold and kind enough to share a piece of yourself with the rest of us. I hope that you have passed on my reply to your wife and she will participate in the forum more often. Thanks to her too, it was nice to hear a voice from home and as I said my work is in Zimbabwean womenís writing that reflects that period and if sheíd like to talk more about her role in the struggle, Iíd truly appreci-love that. Now back to the I and crafting a response that I hope is as lengthy and worthwhile a read as yours. Iíll go through each thing I wish to reason on:
Firstly I you say ďif I ask someone to prove to me there is a god and they say "look, that tree is a sign of god" I say no that tree is a sign of lifeď This is a liĎl confusing to I because to me that which is life, or a sign of life is God, for the Most High is life. ThatĎs HIS signature mark of His existence, as a seed is planted in the ground and generates into a tree that bears fruit and more seeds God Ďplantedí Creation that grew through the processes of nature from seed to tree, rivulet to a river to ocean, even from a grain of sand into a mountain. For I JAH is that process, that force which initiated the beginning of nature - like the energy the I sees as having begun something, I name that energy, whereas you donít. The energy cannot be seen as a singular force, its a multiplicity, to I something that is continually generative and mutating so that there are many forces of God at work - all so different but connected as one. Its like God as the power of the Trinity as Spirit, Man and the Father - all in one as Sellasie I. And this is how I choose to name God. For I giving creative force that name - JAH/God/YHWH further explains what life means, giving it a special kind of value. So naming things through God gives me insight into this world.
Maybe Iím going round in circles, but Iím unravelling things in my mind as I write so thatís how I express myself. Iíll try n explain further in the hope yídonít get muddled, but in naming there is power, not only in claiming that tree as begat of some supernatural force but also in reclaiming that supernatural force whose power has been disavowed by many disciplines such as science, history, some philosophies (like Des Cartes I think therefore I am which is an individualist form of thought that has been used to give humans a distorted God complex). Even theology itself has viewed God as non-existent and Iím not talking spiritual atheism as the I termed but of God as totally devoid of any substance in this world and then you have various religious factions from the fundamentalists to the happy clappers forcing people to submit to their authority by claiming the apocalypse is now. Invoked with fear people part with all their riches, children and worldly values to avoid judgement from God, such fallacies do a disservice to God, they misrepresent and misname God because He is not to be found in these discourses. I feel that in renaming the tree as a sign of God one is giving back the power of God, giving back to the physical signs of His presence - not some of the misguided theories of people. Redefining God by naming something not as awe or wonder as the I does, also seeks to spiritually anchor this world; give trees, birds, a grain of sand as elements of the power of God. To say its life is not enough for I, it has to go a step further, to get the fullness of what life means and I see it in HIM.
So for I the power of naming extends into so many areas of I levity - where the I says naming puts people in boxes, I see self-naming (not labelling) as that which seeks to give back oneís identity. Its like being Black and female - historically Black women have been raped, beaten, colonised n enslaved physically and mentally. They have been written out of history as thoug they were the silent maids n slaves of an oppressive system or miswritten as the ímothers of the nationí who do nothing but give birth (I am not talking about the power of motherhood in a negative way please) as though thatís all women can do. In Zim women fought in the Chimurenga but their experiences were sidelined and only in 1988 was the first novel portraying womenís voices, 1990 was the first published real-life testimonies. Such silencing is what I am against too in religious matters, for I saying I am Black, I am woman is me taking back the power to speak of my body, my self, my ethnicity or my race (as specific to me and not necessarily for ALL Black people). So for I being rooted is something very important, being able to stake my place of belonging as a vantage point from which I can view the world and gain deeper understanding of I self. Rasta gives I those spiritual roots and its not about being put in a box, but speaking about me seen? Others can label and categorise for their own specifications but in terming myself as Rasta I am staking my claim in this life, for all time and its not about holding fast to doctrines either. But for me its my relationship with the life-giving force. There were no rules in Rasta, just levity so thatís how I came to it. Like you I donít like boxes n boundaries, but where we differ is I believe in self-definition as a form of expression, I believe naming restores power and I believe in roots for I roots were taken away by colonisers n slave masters and now I come to take them back. My cultural form of worship was smashed to pieces and I have is bits n pieces so Iíve got to re-order that through this form, this movement which is Rastafari. I hail Sellasie I in recognition of a Black Christ King and also in recognition of my ancestors too who guide I in this life...
But this does not mean I am inflexible I. I am open to things but if I were speaking to a Hare Krishna on their consciousness, we would reason of Krishna but I would not say I was Hare Krishna. No I would see how I can relate the notions of karma n such to Rasta levity. I used to go for Yoga classes n learnt the chants of Raj Yoga, the philosophy of Om Shanti n such and for I it was about overing JAH more, not about switching n saying I Yogi because Iím at the Raj Yoga centre but soon as I walk out of here Iím back to I self. I have to know where I stand so I call myself by the many things that make up who I am. My roots are Shona but they are coloured red, gold n green and thatís how I grow as a tree to the sky, reaching out and taking in a little of everything.
Finally sometimes people ask/assume things of others because of their own desire to have belonging or as evidence of the power of group think - everyone is of the same mindset and for someone who is different/minority it feels exclusionary. Iím still learning not to be presumptuous, but that I think will be a life-long lesson.
There is still much to cover in your post, but I hope this shall suffice for now. Blessed Love