How do we get Wisdom?
Peace-of Eden Series: Wisdom from Nature No.2, 2006
According to Credo Mutwa, considered to be the modern day wise man in the Zulu culture, dolphins are called hlenghetwa. The verb hlenga means to redeem, ransom or save and hlengeto is the ‘fish of salvation’ or ‘redeemer fish’. We all know of many stories where this gentle mannered mammal has rescued many a sailor or an ‘out-of-his-depth’ swimmer from a watery grave. Dolphins in the Zulu culture are considered to be the custodians of knowledge. How often we need wisdom to rescue ourselves from a ‘watery grave’ of a soul nature? How do we get that wisdom for ourselves?
Some of the answers formulated for me as I watched the wild meerkats of the Ungulungu family this past weekend. Impi chases a cricket he cannot see, but he can smell it. The Meerkat Man’s comments, ‘he did not chase that cricket by chance, he could smell it even though wild Meerkats’ close-up vision is poor.’ Their distance vision is amazing! Yesterday they ran for a bolt hole from an aerial predator we could not see. Seconds later we heard the micro-light and only saw it as a very far distant black dot on the horizon long after the wild Meerkats had scurried for safety. Today Jabulani, the pregnant alpha female of the group uncharacteristically emerged from the burrow first and almost immediately set-off to forage for food. Characteristic wild Meerkat behavior is for one of the other warriors in the family to protectively emerge first, scan the surrounds for predators, and act as weather-forecaster for the rest of the tribe. When he or she gives the, ‘okay the weather is good and all is safe’ communication, then the others enthusiastically emerge. Usually with the unfolding sunrise they stand like little ‘earth-men’ with their bellies to the sun’s rays to get their motivating energy ‘fix’ for the day. Jabulani did not ‘hang around’. Why? Either, she may have been exceptionally hungry with the growing fetuses in her tummy gnawing for food, or she had been listening to the radio and heard that today in Oudtshoorn, Sunday 12th February, 2006, temperatures were going to soar to 41ºF! Essentially all the wild Meerkat activities – Impi catching the cricket, the family running for the bolt hole or Jabulani getting up first and leaving the burrow without characteristically sunning, are indicative that they are all in synch with who they are and what they need - food, safety, early morning feeding before the day escalates into heat waves that dissipate foraging energy - and consequently they have the wisdom to know how to get it.
The insights for us as we learn from the way they know themselves and appropriately connect and respond to their environment and the others in their tribe, is to also get out into nature, take time to get in step with who you are, what you need and how to make your life happen. From the wisdom of nature we can learn about the balance and interconnectedness of Creator designed systems reflecting His unconditional love and favour – you can just be who you are and that is ok, as well as good self care; about knowing your place in the whole ecosystem of the natural world as well as being responsible and proactive for your unique contribution to your own well-being and to caring for others on your ‘patch of earth’.