Seven years in the desert

In response to Jean’s question . . . Was it difficult to integrate back into modern society after seven years in the Kalahari Desert?

The first year was difficult . . . I sat on my stoep with not much reason to get up and do anything . . . it all seemed so purposeless, there were no men to hunt with, no snares to check . . . it was like living in a five star hotel with all the expenses paid. It was also funny . . . I remember running my first bath, and keeping, and re-using the water for three weeks, simply because I could not bring myself to waste it.  Where I had lived, that much water would have brought joy to many people. Anyway, after repeatedly washing in the same water for three weeks, without soap, I scooped the water out of the bath with a bucket and watered the trees.  I went to London to edit the film, People of the Great Sand Face, and that was a real culture shock . . . I was not only from a different continent, but from a different planet!  I was given a luxury apartment to live in, in Park Lane, by Lord Aubrey Buxton . . . he found me to be quite a curiosity, and seemed to enjoy my company . . . no doubt because I was not in awe of him in the way that all his English minions were .  . . I came from a world in which all things and all people were different, but equal.

I recall walking down Park Lane one day with my gemsbok skin cloak over my shoulders for warmth . . . it was snowing, and I was barefoot . . . I had not worn shoes for many years.  Anyway, two dear old ladies stopped me and politely told me that I should be careful not to cut my feet on broken glass or any other sharp thing. Equally politely, I thanked them for their concern and told them with complete conviction not to worry, because ‘my feet could see’. They believed that I was sincere, because I really was, and went off about their English day with something odd to think about. It took me a while to realize just how different I had become . . . not only in outer mannerisms and doings, but more on the inside, as if through some deep osmosis of spirit, my whole being had taken something else into itself.

So, it was very difficult integrating back into modern society, and it is perhaps something that, fortunately, I shall never entirely do. The difficulty lay mostly in the fact that I was trying to reconcile my journey from a fundamental existence into a largely incidental one. So much of what had become within me, had no place of recognition in the modern world.

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5 thoughts on “Seven years in the desert

    • I think my greatest lessons were learned in the years after that time, the years of thinking and coming to understand the true nature of humanity in my own successes and failures. And the lessons learned in trying to bring the truth of this ancient race into word-form, so that in the reading, it would be said that I had honoured the SoulSpirit of these people.
      Life goes on forever, and I am coming to understand the accountability of all my doings, of our doings. I am still learning these lessons . . . the true nature of my Being, and of my place here between heaven and earth.

      • Hi Paul. Like water to my roots which are clearly not evident in the 46 years I have lived. Thanks man. I have a question though. You speak of the return into a “largely incidental” existence from a fundamental one. I wonder about the guilt aspect of those years spent learning truth. You’ve reached a point where you understand the greater healing and where it will come from if we acknowledge so much about our beginnings. The reason I ask this is that I find guilt to be a powerful obstacle to enlightenment. Through your time with the Gwikwe, did you come to have a clearer understanding of why guilt is such a controlling emotion? The Gwikwe seem to not possess this debilitating emotion. Did you feel guilt when you saw their role in the greater scheme of things and what material greed has brought upon them? They remain one of the last real resources of learning. Did you try and explain your own sorrow at this and what was the reaction to emotion? I guess the question should really be about emotion and how emotion plays itself out without the material influence (eg: ownership of a car etc.) I believe however, that the material lust we have is responsible for much guilt over the choices we make over our ‘spiritual responsibilities’ … and I think this impacts on our constructive progress in the spiritual world. Sorry for all the questions, just fascinated by your deep will to learn from the last resources we have available and carry that story through to our next phase. Humbled.

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