From the ‘Heart of the World’ John Lundin October 7, 2013
ed: the extract below is from here
When I arrived in Colombia from the United States two years ago, I had no idea I would still be here two years later, or that I might live the rest of my life here. But that‘s what’s happened. I’ve fallen in love. No, not with a beautiful Colombian woman. I’ve fallen in love with the Heart of the World – la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. And you know what they say: the only danger is in never wanting to leave!
I came to Colombia at the invitation of the indigenous elders, the Mamos, of la Sierra. I’m a writer, something of a spiritual writer. I had written a book with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and I was in New York where he was to be the featured presenter at the Newark Peace Education Summit in May of 2011. Earlier I had met a delegation of Kogi, Arhuaco and Wiwa elders from la Sierra. They had been participating in an historic gathering of Native American elders from throughout the Americas, and were also presenters at the Peace Summit. They would also be meeting with the Dalai Lama.
During the ten days in New York, the Mamos and I became friends and they extended an invitation to me to come to Colombia, to live with them, to learn from them, and to write a new book that would present their environmental and spiritual message to the world – their message that our Earth Mother is in danger, and she will surely die if we, the ones they call the Younger Brother, do not change our ways.
Obviously I accepted their invitation.
I arrived in Colombia in September, two years ago, and spent the first three months living in Medellín with friends who worked with the indigenous peoples on issues of protecting their sacred lands from exploitation. I loved Medellín. It’s the best of both worlds – a thriving modern city, yet nestled between two fingers of the Andes countryside. City life and country life rolled into one; the perfect place for me to get my first taste of beautiful Colombia and its people and its culture. If I ever felt the need to live in a ‘city’ again, I would probably choose Medellin over any of the many cities I have visited throughout the world.
But I was in Colombia to experience the rural life, and in fact a country life of a sort that pretty much disappeared from the earth some five hundred years ago. The indigenous peoples believe la Sierra to be the Heart of the World, and I would not disagree. I’m now living part-time with the descendants of the Tayrona, in their villages of thatch roof huts, and full-time in my simple home in the beautiful eco-village of Minca, surrounded by coastal jungle and only a half-hour drive up the hill from Santa Marta.
Little has changed in the indigenous villages since their ancestors fled the conquistadores five hundred years ago. There’s no electricity and no machines, most notably no automobiles. Very few metal tools. In the village of Minca things are not much more modern either. Electricity, yes, but very little need for it. Few modern conveniences and the automobile is largely replaced by the trusty mule. I live a very simple life, by choice, and I’m rediscovering my connection with my Earth Mother. My one concession to modernity is a laptop computer, the one on which I’m writing this note and also writing my book, a novel, tentatively titled, Journey to the Heart of the World.
below is an excerpt from John’s blog. read the original here.
Update – January 4, 2011:
Today I am heading to La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to begin learning from my friends the Mamos – the Elders – of the Kogui, Arhuacos, Cankuamo, and Wiwa. I will be posting updates on my adventure as often as possible, but there will be extended periods of time when I will not be on the computer or the internet. Photos and wisdom will be shared with all of you soon…
…from July, 2011:
This fall I will be accepting an invitation to journey to the Heart of the World – the high Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta of Colombia. This past May, I was honored to greet and escort the Mamos (the Elders) of the descendants of the Tairona of northern Colombia – the peoples of the Kogui, Arhuacos, Wiwa and Cankuamo. The Mamos had left the seclusion of their mountain home to participate in an historic gathering of Native American Elders from throughout the Americas at Menla Mountain in upstate New York.
The peoples of the Sierra Nevada fled the onslaught of the Spanish conquistadors at the time of Columbus and settled into seclusion in the Sierra Nevada, where their ways have remained largely unchanged for five hundred years. The Mamos are intensely spiritual and fully in touch with what they regard as our Earth Mother. They consider their purpose in life to be the care and nurturing of the planet, and they regard themselves as the Heart of the World.
They came to New York with a message for the peoples of the world – that their world, your world and my world, is in serious jeopardy. And the cause is not climate change or the over-use of fossil fuels. No, the problem – and the solution to the problem – is a spiritual one.
The Mamos refer to themselves as the Elder Brother, and to us in the so-called civilized West as the Younger Brother, and they have come to call us to participate in a global shift in consciousness. It is time, they say, for us to shift from blindly taking our marching orders from economic and political authority, and return to the natural order of spiritual authority. They are calling us to fundamentally change our relationship with our Earth Mother, to reclaim the spiritual relationship with Her that we were born with, but which we have un-learned. And we need to return to our spiritual roots NOW – before we destroy our Earth Mother forever, and ourselves with her.
The Mamos have invited me to be one of the very few outsiders ever allowed to become a part of their cultural family, and to learn at an experiential level their wisdom and their profound understanding of – and love for – our Earth Mother. And further, they have asked me to help them communicate their urgent spiritual message to the world. They have asked me to be a voice for the Heart of the World.
In the months to come, I will be using this forum to share with you my preparation for my journey, and then periodic reports from La Sierra. I will be largely “un-plugged” and living embedded alongside my new friends, exactly as they live, and will only have sporadic opportunities to return to the base of the mountain and update my journal here. And after my adventure of several months, I will be writing what I hope will be an important and engaging book that chronicles my journey, and mytho-poetically presents the poignant and important spiritual message of the Mamos – the spiritual message from the spiritual Heart of the World.
I invite you to follow my journey through the journal that will be this site in the coming months.