May Your Children Turn Their Faces from You.

Via Ben Ralston
on Aug 7, 2010
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Get Real.

Being real in this world of fantasy film, video games, mass media marketing and 24-hour-everything isn’t easy, is it. Real means whole. Whole means complete. To me, ‘being real’ means spirituality.

Our society wants us to be less than all we can be. It wants us to turn from our intuition and from our heart, and to live from our head space: want more, think less, be good consumers.

So I swim against the tide of the conditioning and ‘mis-education’ that I experienced as a child and as a young adult, at home and at school.

There is a battle going on—between the side of me that wants things to remain the same, to control, and thus to ease into a lazy life of comfortable mediocrity; and the side of me that wants to embrace change, go with the flow and surrender fully to the wonder and magic of this present moment.

They say that ‘all is fair in love and war.’ Well, I use all the weapons I can get my hands on. I employ every strategy available.The purpose of this article is to share one of those strategies with you.

It is: constantly remembering my motivation.

I try to keep in mind why I walk this spiritual path. So much of the world around me is geared towards making me forget, keeping me down, putting me to sleep—I find that if I start to fall, it’s good to have a reminder of why I’m fighting this battle.

So I want to share one of my reminders here with you now…

Primo Levi was a Jewish-Italian chemist, who in 1943 became a partisan to fight against the Fascist regime. He was later captured, and finally ended up in Auschwitz concentration camp. Of the 650 Italian Jews in his shipment, Levi was one of only twenty who left the camps alive. The average life expectancy of a new entrant was three months. He survived just under a year there, and wrote with great courage and honesty about his experience in the book ‘If This is a Man’. This is the poem he wrote at the start of that book:

You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:

Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes or a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter.

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

‘Meditate that this came about.’ This is the line that gets me.

Meditation is not navel gazing. It’s not a self-indulgent temporary escape from reality. It’s not about ‘feeling better.’

It is about being whole again. It’s for putting things right, and remembering our divine nature: our perfect essence.

When enough people do that—practice spirituality rather than just talk about it as an idea—then we will have created a world in which Auschwitz can finally be forgotten. There will be no more Holocausts, Srebrenica’s, and Rwanda’s.

Terrorism will be a thing of the past.

The real war is inside.

I keep this poem close by, so that from time to time I can remind myself of why it’s important to keep fighting. It’s hard for me to read that poem and then go back to sleep. I carve the words in my heart, and I will repeat them to my children, and I do commend them to you, because it helps me to be all I can be. It’s a strategy I use in the ongoing ‘war against ego-ism.’


About Ben Ralston

Ben Ralston has been practising personal development—necessity being the Mother of invention—since he was about six years old. He’s been teaching and sharing what he’s learnt along the way for a couple of decades. His main thing is Heart of Tribe retreats—whose very purpose is to help you fall back in love with life, no less. Leading these retreats alongside his woman Kara-Leah Grant—also an elephant journal writer (that’s how they met!)—they combine a deep well of lineage-based yoga teaching experience, with expertise in healing trauma and various other methods of personal development. Ben also works with clients one-on-one via Skype, writes, makes videos from time to time, and is passionate about parenting. He lives in an intentional, tribal community in the hills of Croatia, where you might find him gardening barefoot and talking to the rocks. Connect with Ben on Facebook or YouTube or check out his website for more info.


13 Responses to “May Your Children Turn Their Faces from You.”

  1. Gillean says:

    What a super post. Well done and thoroughly enjoyable!!

  2. Ben Ralston says:

    Gillean, thank you.

  3. Tony Samara says:

    Thank you for helping the world to understand, Ben.

    Peace Begins

  4. Sri Mahatma Satprem says:

    Great! Please continue sharing your deep insights and wonderful inspirations. The world sure needs, and deeply appreciates, to have more and more conscious beings like you. Thank you.

  5. Ben Ralston says:

    Dear Sri Mahatma Satprem,
    Thank you for your kind comments 😉 With love, Ben

  6. Ben Ralston says:

    Tony Samara, thank you for helping ME to understand.

    Peace begins indeed.

  7. K Sequoia says:

    "The war is inside", indeed. And the world reflects our seemingly private struggles. Thank you for this wonderful reminder.

  8. Ben_Ralston says:

    "The world reflects"… yes. Thank you for understanding!
    Love, ben

  9. Ben_Ralston says:

    Yes! This is the true Jihad. Absolutely… thank you Roger.
    Love, Ben

  10. Cheryl A. Lowitzer says:

    Ahhhh, exactly the positive nudge i needed right NOW to sit for awhile before going about the rest Of My Day. NAMASTE.

  11. Ben_Ralston says:

    Namaste to you too 🙂

  12. Annamarie M says:

    Ben, You are an inspiration – a true beacon of light and hope. Thank you for sharing your insight and posting a poem that will help people remember what is most important in this world.

  13. prana38 says:

    Yeah! So refreshing to read your words Ben. Imagine a world where everyone meditated or had some kind of practice… where all knew in their hearts that was where peace began. Where separation was forgotten and union the norm. Articles like this help that world come into being.