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Astuteness Learned From Eastern Thought
10/3/2012 2:13:28 PM

By Hakim Abdul-Ali

I take very seriously the opportunity to share my feelings and thoughts of life with you, a member of the loyal and respected “Charleston Chronicle” readership base. “The Charleston Chronicle’s” a renowned “our-storical” weekly beacon of insight that feeds and informs the hungry masses.

In no uncertain words of praise, I honestly can say “All Praises are due to God Alone” for the gift of having devoted fans (and critics) of my column for over the last twenty or so years that I’ve been doing what I do. Thanks again from the bottom my heart, no matter what your views may be.

That brings me to another recent happening in my worlds of existences that has challenged me to write about what I experience. Two days ago I met a truly beautiful Afro sister of soul, who asked me to write another piece on my vibes about Eastern thought and philosophy.

To that end, she also asked me why I was impressed by the wisdom coming from the East and what drove me to write a previous article in “The Chronicle” from that point of view. She seemed genuinely interested, so I told her that if God (Alone) gave me a further thought, vibe or two, I’d try to pull together another article on this area of fascination for me and her.

I told her, if you really knew me and where my head’s at spiritually speaking, you’d know that I’m stuck on things relating to uplift and betterment of the “hue-man” psyche and spirit. I tend to be more into motivational application than aimless discourse and, therein, lies my lifelong curiosity in things relating to ancient wisdom and thought.

When I studied martial arts I was a different kind of student because I was drawn to the mystical thinking of the masters and teachers of the arts. I knew that I always inquired about the reasoning behind why the great teachers of the Orient and the Motherland thought the way that they did.

Their depth of spiritual insight took me to mental zones of solitude where I personally found peace and tranquility existing in a disciplined lifestyle of respect for nature and created things. I searched for clarity, and one phrase from the East that I was taught by one of my martial arts teachers was that “strength lies in the mind and not in name.”

In many ways that uncomplicated phrase told me long ago that I had to develop my inner mind and spiritual skills in order to survive in life. I used that understanding then and now to solve many of my so-called problems and issues with perplexing times and difficult periods in my life.

As I told the sister “The friend of a king is like one that rides on a lion; men fear him, and he fears the animal on which he rides.” That’s an Eastern sentiment that I believe describes a lot of “hue-mans” in their approaches to handling life’s challenges and people.

Is it your perception, or are you of a uniquely different trend of thing? Pause before you answer, because as the Eastern wise folk say, “to accept excuse shows a good disposition of heart.”

You don’t have to be an honored Ph.D. to understand the powerful symbolism behind what the Eastern giants of thoughtful teaching taught in their lives, both verbally and in practice. Life to them was a grand expression of living in order to “first think, then act.”

How many “hue-mans” do we know in our personal spheres of social associations who do this as a constant mandate from the East suggests? Don’t forget that you are included in that questionnaire also.

As I think about what else to include in this article I could never forget the things that Eastern wisdom has revealed to me about friendship. I was challenged by life, earlier on, to know and understand the motto from the East that “The fruit of kindness is many friends.”

My sensei used to teach our martial class in New York that “Three are known but in three places: The strong in battle, the wise in (controlling) his anger and the friend (helping) in distress.” I’ve worked hard to be a friend to as many “colored” folk in “hue-manity” as I possibly could, and I’m a work in progress in that area until this very moment.

I shared this emotion with the sister who I was talking to. She said that it was hard for her to trust most people, because most of the folk in her worlds of existences are always two-faced in one form or the other.

I told her “that’s life,” as the ancient sages would say, but  first she must understand that friendship, according to venerable African griots is “If your associate is insane, then you should be sensible.”

That makes sense to me and I think, respectfully, to you, as we, the living in the age of the relentless me, myself and I, attempt to put some reality to today’s faux relationships and plastic personalities. Unfortunately, many of the “Hollyweird” folk we come in contact with today have some sort of mental and psychological baggage with them. Again, “that’s life.”

Sadly, that’s a never ending and continuing narrative of the “hue-man” growth experience, and that’s why so much from the ancient wisdom of Africa and the East guides me with positive insight. I told the sister, in my head and way of thinking, it spoke the truth then, just as it does now.

As an African-American brother of color, I especially feel sadden by the lack of ethnic pride among some folk in my culture. The Eastern teachers said a thousand years ago that “bad morals destroy what the ancestors have built.”

Now, you talk about truthful words about the state of our utopian harmony, they say a lot to me. It should say a lot to you about where the Afro-American community is headed in terms of self-professed unity in the age of survival of the spiritually and mentally aware among us.

Eastern thinkers qualified that life is a school for the prudent among us and to know that is a feeling of wanting for your brother and sister what you want for yourself. I’ve learned from the African pearls of wisdom that “He who seeks a faultless brother will have to remain brotherless.”

None of us are perfect, but we must strive to be better peaceful beings before the Most High Alone. On that point, I’ll close for today by mentioning one of my favorite sayings from The East, and it states, “Oh, my friend, may God bless you.” Said the friend, “Take half of the blessing!”

That’s what I told the sister, and that’s what I’ll leave with today as you digest some of the reasons that makes me reflect upon the ancient words and thoughts from the East and beyond. For today, and always, that’s, “As I See It.”


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