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Journey To Radiance ☥ Sankofa ☥ Part I

Updated: Jun 14

Sankofa                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           A word in the Twi language of Ghana meaning 'to go back and get.'                                                                                                                                                       Sankofa is often associated with the proverb, 'Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi' which translates as, 'It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten [or was stolen from you].'                                                                                                                                                                                                     ☥ Wikipedia ☥

rice pudding

Every sensation shares the same characteristic: it arises and passes away, arises and passes away. It is this arising and passing that we have to experience through practice, not just accept as truth because Buddha said so, not just accept because intellectually it seems logical enough to us. We must experience sensation’s nature, understand its flux, and learn not to react to it. S. N. Goenka

I was struggling with meditation, so one of my teachers suggested that I attend a Vipassana intensive meditation retreat. It was hard core for me because it required that all attendees take a 10-day vow of silence while learning this particular type of meditation. I went all-in and was surprised at how much I enjoyed the silence. The retreat center was run on donations and the course, which included meals and lodging, was free for anyone who wanted to attend. I loved the fact that people who wanted to learn meditation would not be turned away because of the cost, and they made sure that people without transportation were connected with other attendees. I was in a carpool with three other people, and loved the idea of the community coming together to make sure everyone could get to the remote area. The rustic retreat center was in a mountainous area of Northern California, and was run by volunteers who would ring chimes so that we knew what to do. There was the morning chime to get up and ready for the pre-breakfast meditations, the chimes that let us know the meditation was about to begin ☥ end, for meals, lights out, etc. Our last meditation for the evening ended with a recorded lecture from S. N. Goenka, who had an uncanny ability to know exactly what we were going through each day and offered strategies for transcending our perceived mental, emotional and physical limitations. One night, S. N. Goenka told a story that truly resonated with me.

In meditation you withdraw from others and focus your attention inside to gain purity of mind and wisdom energy. Then you must become extroverted and use this energy. When you take a long jump, you must first take some steps backward. Then you run, and make the jump. Like this, you first withdraw, observe yourself, develop clarity and unlock the wisdom. Then you make a long jump into society, to serve society. These two steps cannot be separated.                                                              S. N. Goenka

A young child kept asking his mother to make him his favorite dessert which was rice pudding. All day, the child kept after his mother and so she finally made it for him. However, when she brought the rice pudding to him, she forgot to take out the cardamom, which her son thought was a stone. After a short while, she noticed that her son was not eating the rice pudding and so the conversation that followed went something like this:

Removing old conditionings from the mind and training the mind to be more equaimous with every experience is the first step toward enabling one to experience true happiness.                             S. N. Goenka

African women

Still strangled by the Star Spangled                                                                        Baby Girl, you’re beautiful don’t get your thoughts tangled                                   Frozen to the image that they gave you                                                                   Young Brother, you’re a king not a slave, true?                                                        Sankofa - Black Family we need you …                                                                                                                                                                                                         ☥ Sizwe Abakah

Mother: Honey, you've been asking me to make this rice pudding all day, and now you are

not eating it? What's wrong?

Son: "It has a stone in it." The mother looks and notices the cardamom.

Mother: Oh! That's just the cardamom. It is a spice. It is why you love the rice pudding so


Son: "No, Mommy, I can't eat it. It has a stone."

The mother tried a few more times to explain to the child that it wasn't a stone, but then she realized that he was too young to understand the concept of spices, flavorings, etc. So, she took the rice pudding into the kitchen, removed the cardamom and then returned it to her son. He was so happy, and he ate it all.

Rather than converting people from one organised religion to another organised religion, we should try to convert people from misery to happiness, from bondage to liberation and from cruelty to compassion. S. N. Goenka

S. N. Goenka explained that as we evolve and grow on our Spiritual path, we may encounter "cardamom pods" that look like "stones" in our "rice pudding." At the time that we see the "stone," we may not recognize that it is the very thing that flavors our growth experience. His advice was to stay very aware of when we feel inner resistance, and instead of throwing the "stone" away, put it up on a shelf somewhere and revisit it at another time. Like a young child who grows up to understand the concept of spices, flavorings and eventually cardamom, we will also grow in knowledge and understanding. We too often knee-jerk react when we see a "stone" in our "rice pudding," which causes us to shut down a part of our awareness and prevents us from reaching a higher level of understanding. The rice pudding story has helped me to keep my awareness open when a foreign concept comes my way, and if the concept is too unusual for me to accept, I shelf it and revisit it at another time. But, I don't allow it to keep me from enjoying the rice pudding.

For real happiness, for real lasting stable happiness, one has to make a journey deep within oneself and see that one gets rid of all the unhappiness and misery stored in the deeper levels of the mind. S. N. Goenka

Africans of the diaspora

I am one of the scums of this earth, a creature rejected and ridiculed by university professors, professors who later came sneaking into my home seeking the very information that they ridiculed me for revealing.                                                                                                                                     ☥ Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa ☥

The rice pudding story also helped me to begin a process that I call "defragging (defragmentation of) my brain." Most modern computer systems complete this defragging process in the background, but back in the day, we had to manually go through this process of defragmentation to keep our computer systems running smoothly.

In computing, file system fragmentation, sometimes called file system aging, is the tendency of a file system to lay out the contents of files non-continuously to allow in-place modification of their contents. It is a special case of data fragmentation. File system fragmentation negatively impacts seek time in spinning storage media, which is known to hinder throughput. Fragmentation can be remedied by re-organizing files and free space back into contiguous areas, a process called defragmentation. ☥ Wikipedia ☥

One of the many side effects of colonization is that it causes the "fragmentation" of our minds by breaking up elements of who we are. Blog posts such as What Is Ayurveda? and What Is Qigong? explore some of the ways that I am attempting to put the fragmented pieces of our history and culture back together again so that we may heal, honor our ancestors and restore their dignity. Because the defragmentation process can be a bit overwhelming, tedious and time consuming, our digital devices now do the work for us in the background. Colonization is sustained through the fragmentation process, and Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People do not have a sophisticated software program that automatically activates ☥ runs this process of defragmentation for us in the background. Or, do we?

Our ancestors always had some kind of notion that says that we will be traveling. Sometimes physically in our bodies, sometimes traveling in our minds. And we have to always have the recognition that you must always be able to go back to your essence. What Sankofa really means ... think about a bird walking forward with its head turned backwards with an egg in its mouth. The looking back is not just to go back to your past ... the egg is the essence of life. That egg symbolizes the very core of life. We must go forward in the future, but we can't go forward without going back to the essence of who we are. Sankofa represents the ability of us as divine human beings to go into the unknown and to guide that exploration into the unknown with reclaiming our essence of who we are. Sankofa represents that process ... of how we as human beings become greater than what we are today. Dr. Wade Nobles

Sankofa is a process that facilitates the defragmentation of our minds. As we reclaim our essence ☥ ancestry ☥ culture ☥ identity ☥ history, we discover ☥ recognize ☥ activate the parts of ourselves that have been suppressed. The activation is like plugging in to the source of our power - a connection that allows what Psychologist and pioneer in the African Psychology movement, Dr. Wade Nobles calls our "Divine Energy Made Manifest (DEMM)" to catalyze and continue the process of defragmentation.

Africans of the diaspora and continent

For the purposes of healing ☥ distinction and NOT the purpose of separation, Dr. Nobles refers to two categories of Black People: the continentals and the diasporans. The continentals were colonized, but born and raised in Africa and allowed to keep their language and culture. The diasporans are Black People who were stolen from Africa and stripped of their language and culture. Within the diasporans are a group that WolfHawkJaguar calls the "North American Africans." These people are unique in a shared experience of the extreme stripping of our language and culture. There is another group that I’d like to call the continental ☥ diasporans. These Black People were prehistoric nomads, traders and travelers who left Africa with their language and culture, but then settled in another part of the world where they fell prey to Aryan invaders who instituted caste systems and enforced the use of Aryan language, cultural norms and religious practices. We have lost more than we can process with words. However, Sankofa reminds us that nature consistently seeks balance. For example, if a person loses their eyesight, their other senses become more keen. If this person is not self-aware, they may become overwhelmed/distracted by their heightened sense of hearing, smell, taste, etc. and may not be unable to perform at a higher level. Because what we have lost tends to reappear within us in different forms, we could interpret its arrival as being a strange "quirk" or an unwelcomed/shameful aspect of ourselves. This dynamic represents a major missed opportunity for our growth ☥ protection. Sankofa is a process that shines a light on areas in our lives that need illumination. It fills in the gaps that were created by colonization and helps us to heal through knowledge and acceptance of who we truly are. Within this knowledge is the recognition of our unique gifts and talents, which we may not realize is nature’s way of balancing the scales to replace what was taken from us and offer us a new opportunity to transcend oppression.

I am very curious about what connects us as a people beyond the struggle ... Textiles played a very big part in every single ceremony that we had at home. When you’re born, you’re given a blanket. When you turn a certain age, when you come of age, you're given a blanket, and when you die, your casket is wrapped with a blanket. I think we need to heal ourselves and decolonialize all these ideas that we grew up thinking and feeling and all these things that we had to subscribe to as Black People and as Black artists.    ☥ Nkuli Mlangeni-Berg

1970's retro scene of Black Americans dancing underwater

Culture is a process that reflects the vast structure of behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, habits, beliefs, customs, language, rituals and practices that give people a 'general design for living and patterns for interpreting reality.' There are at least four expressions of culture: 1) authentic, 2) adapted, 3) adopted and 4) aberrant. Culture emerges as a dynamic human system of features, factors and functions with sets of guiding principles, assumptions, conventions, beliefs and rules that permit and determine how members of a group relate to each other and develop their creative potential.                                                                                                                                   ☥ Dr. Wade Nobles

This blog is making the distinctions of continentals, diasporans and continental ☥ diasporans so that we can recognize what we need to heal in order to dissolve the separations (caused by colonization) between us. One of the many qualities that each colonized group has in common is communicating in code. These codes evolved over time as a way for our ancestors to cope with the forced stripping of their identity and culture. For example, many Africans who were forced to worship Catholic saints, identified them with an Orisha who shared similar attributes. Africans would also sing songs to assist escaping enslaved people or the Union Army. These communication codes show up in every aspect of our lives, but sometimes we miss the message and the opportunity. We often miss the opportunity because we’ve been programmed to believe that what is lost is gone forever. Even conventional science has proven that what is lost is still there in a different form. If a person has an amputation of a limb, the energetic signature of the limb still exists. If the person is fitted with a prosthetic, they can learn how to regain function by sending the same electrical signals to move that prosthetic with their mind.

I used to draw stickmen with star glasses when I was at school. I didn't realize that would end up being me! The whole idea was that the glasses had mirrors, and if a youngster looked at me, they'd see themselves. Everybody is a star.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             ☥ Bootsy Collins Of Parliament Funkadelic

When I was a young child, I was introduced to a band called Parliament Funkadelic (P-Funk). I thought they were really fun to look at because they were so eccentric and the epitome of cool. I took some time to think more deeply about our beloved P-Funk crew beginning with the name of the band:

☥ Parliament ☥ the concept of a group of leaders who come together to develop

    strategies to serve ☥ uplift the people

☥ Funkadelic ☥ the concept of funk → putting in the effort until we work up a sweat and

     smell "funky" ☥ the immersion into ☥ connection with soul ☥ SPIRIT → creating music

     that unlocks unknown potential (probably of the mind as in psychedelic, but I doubt P-

     Funk would limit the definition)

Between losing power for a few days due to storms and repairing a shower head, I’ve had what I consider to be a few unpleasant experiences of sitting with my funk. I thoroughly enjoy being freshly showered, so I do not welcome this particular aspect of funk. However, from a Spiritual perspective, I came to recognize a few common denominators of funk:

☥  There are no shortcuts to funk. Funk is an indication of sustained, dedicated effort. We

either work for it or wait for the funk to arrive because of an action that we took or didn't

take. Working for the funk can include being totally immersed in an activity until we

happen to notice that we are funky. Waiting for the funk to arrive can include skipping

our grooming routine. Either way, the funk is not instantaneous. Time has to pass

before authentic funk arrives, and funk can't be purchased or appropriated.

☥  We can be oblivious to funk when it first arrives because we are lost within an activity

that is often euphoric (such as being “in the zone” dancing, running, making love, etc.).

     At some point we realize that funk has arrived to authenticate the experience.

☥  Funk is potent and creates a bubble of funk around us. The smell is sharp, strong and

     often offensive. Funk takes the initiative, it pushes forward and it sticks to us until we

     scrub it away. Just plain water will not remove funk. We’ll need plenty of hot water, soap

     and an exfoliant such as a wash cloth, loofah, etc.

☥  Funk can be felt by others. When we put in the work until we are funky, the results of our

     work reverberate out to other people who “catch” the funk in consciousness because

     they are “feeling” the funk. This causes a positive chain of reactions where the people

     feeling the funk raise their vibrational energy until it matches the person who brought

     the funk, and the funk spreads until everyone is feeling the funk. This is not the same

     as being infected by funk or being contagious. Funk is a choice. If we want it, we have

     to opt in and vibe with it (put in the effort) until we ourselves become funky. Those who

     don’t feel the funk will sit on the sidelines and watch or leave.

☥  Funk may smell bad, but it feels good when we are in it. It feels euphoric to cultivate the

    funk and incredibly refreshing to wash it off.

Funk is the absence of any and everything you can think of, but the very essence of all that is. And saying that, I'm saying funk is anything that we create in our minds that we want to do, what we want to be …                                                                                                                                                              ☥ Bootsy Collins Of Parliament Funkadelic

There is one P-Funk song that I thought was too goofy to be a hit, but I did like the rhythm. Many years later, I discovered Parliament Funkadelic to be incredibly creative code communicators. The song is called “Aquaboogie” and features a computer synthesized narrative from a character in the song who calls himself “Sir Nose.” As a young child, I thought it was just goofy gibberish:

Collage of Black People fighting for dignity

I am Sir Nose Devoid Of Funk I can't swim I never could swim I never will swim Oh, put me down Let go my leg I told ya ... will you shut up ... I told you I can't swim ... (Aquaboogie baby) Never learned to swim (Underwater boogie baby) Can't catch the rhythm of the stroke (Aquaboogie baby) Why should I hold my breath? (Underwater boogie baby) Feelin' that I might choke From The Song, 'Aquaboogie' By Parliament Funkadelic ☥

Then one day, after I became a healer, the following lyrics hit me like an African drum message:

Black People at ease underwater

Things ya blow through Because of things ya swim through Why hold your nose to spite your face? With the rhythm that makes you dance to what We have to live through You can dance underwater and not get wet From The Song, 'Aquaboogie' By Parliament Funkadelic ☥

I contemplated these lyrics for a long time, and then realized that I hadn’t thought of Parliament Funkadelic (P-Funk) as a traditional continental African group, even though their behavior is very continental African. My friends would joke that if we went to a P-Funk concert, they would play just four songs in five hours. Traditional continental African and even AfroPop artists such as Fela Aníkúlápó Kútì would compose songs with long intros before we would hear lyrics. Part of the purpose of the long intro is to elevate the energy in the room (the time is needed to bring the funk). This African practice shows up in the Black church where the singing and activities can go on all day long (the funk in the church often shows up as the sanctified dance/catching the Holy Ghost). It also shows up within continental ☥ diasporan culture, such as East Indian music that gradually increases in intensity.

'Alasal-Teray' is a concept from the Songhay language in Mali, West Africa. It means the 'process through which you come to know and understand yourself as a human being by serving humanity.'                                                                                                                                                                                      ☥ Dr. Wade Nobles

Black People dancing underwater

Never mean to drown Can't comprehend all the strokes Why should I hold my breath? Feelin' that I might choke There's a magic rhythm one with a real drum Why blow your nose to spite your face? With the rhythm it takes to dance to what we have to live through You can dance underwater and not get wet From The Song, 'Aquaboogie' By Parliament Funkadelic ☥

What is so powerful about our communication codes is that they function like sleeper agents. They come through us (with or without our recognition) and can have multiple meanings based on the context/our current level of understanding about the world. I chose "Aquaboogie" because the concept of a “magic rhythm, one with a real drum” that allows us to “dance underwater and not get wet” is the wisdom of Auset ☥ Goddess Of Alchemy, who could walk through hell without being infected or affected by it. It also alludes to rhythm as Spirituality in concept, for strategy and protection. In this song, we have a large group of African griots who tell the story of how colonization imposes conformity, forcing us into and to swim through its vile waters. They then offer us a solution through the elevation of our consciousness that allows us to “dance” underwater (be unapologetically who we are, be untouched by the attacks of colonizers, etc.) instead of having to “swim” (with the sharks) and without “getting wet” (succumbing to the tricks/attacks/games of colonizers, lowering our consciousness by becoming like those who seek to oppress us, etc.). The aspect of the "magic rhythm ..." and "dancing underwater without getting wet" is also an affirmation that if we tap in to the truest part of ourselves, the oppression that we experience can be transformed into a bubble of protection if we are pulled into the water against our will. Just in case we are not convinced of the game we are forced to play, P-Funk "peeps us to the game:”

Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop's The motion picture's underwater, starring most of you-loops ☥ Parliament Funkadelic ☥

A “doloop” refers to repetition so, “you-loops” is not a lazy way to force a rhyme. It is a coded a wake up call to see the manipulation of ourselves in a repetitive cycle as the stars of the colonizer's oppressive motion picture. If we are forced to be star of the colonizer's movie, then what is our counterstrategy? There is also the euphoria of the rhythm, “Oh it feels good” and Sir Nose's constant fight throughout the song as he’s coerced and pulled into the water. African continentals, diasporans and continental ☥ diasporans are so creative and innovative. We can create a musical experience that we interpret as pure entertainment until we are ready to awaken - if we pay attention to the code. I don’t know how many times I heard that song, before I finally paid attention to the lyrics. My childhood perception of the song was part of the reason why I didn’t take it seriously. Now, I see how SPIRIT works through every possible avenue to get messages to us that will help us find our way back to ourselves and stand in the truth of who we are. In this way, "Aquaboogie" provides a Sankofa process of action. Understanding the process is an important first step, but it is not the same as taking action. When we immerse ourselves in the essence of who we are until we get funky, we are in the Sankofa process of action. A few ways to activate self-awareness include:

☥ Getting into the rhythm of an empowering song to lift our vibration to the level of the

solution (which may require that we listen to the song repeatedly)

☥ Waking up to the truth of the reality of our situation

☥ Accepting our reality as truth, but not allowing it to seduce us into conformity; under no

circumstances do we swim with sharks

☥ Finding the “rhythm” (Spirit) within us that guides us to the actions that allow us

to transcend the sharks and staying connected to the truest part of ourselves (dancing

underwater without getting wet)

Black man visioning himself in Africa

Culturecology recognizes that the 'relationship' between persons and environments must also be understood and that the 'relationship,' between person and environment cannot be understood in absence of their cultural meaning. Culturecology recognizes that (1) 'the nature of the person' and 'the nature of the environment' are inextricably connected, (2) both the environment and human beings are cultural phenomena, and (3) the 'cultural grounding' and meaning of each (person and environment) must be culturally understood in order to fully understand the interactive relationship between persons and health and disease. The inviolate assumption of culturecology is that the human well-being is a 'relational event' resulting from and defined by situationally bound units of relationships between the person as cultural agent and the environment as having cultural agency.                                                                                                                                              ☥ Dr. Wade Nobles

The African diasporans in America have lost our language, but our ability to communicate has always transcended the spoken word. There are messages in "Aquaboogie" that I can’t translate into English, but nature has gifted us with the ability to bypass language and download messages from Spirit telepathically. I digressed on "Aquaboogie" because it is an example of a song that would get completely ridiculed by colonizers to the point that we might be ashamed to listen to the song in public. I am also hoping to inspire us to stay open so that we can catch the messages that may be coming our way through unconventional methods such as a billboard, song, sign in a window, an overheard part of a conversation, etc. If something catches our attention and we breathe ☥ pause to heighten our awareness ☥ weed out manipulation/misinformation, we generally find a hidden message, clue or solution that we’re searching for. But, it is vitally important that once we get the message, we take the inspired action. Heightened awareness is a pathway that leads us to the door of Sankofa. Taking action is like the key that opens the door.

Most smokers don’t realize that it is not the cigarette that gives them peace, but the slow deep breath that they take to pull the smoke into their lungs. Unfortunately, that slow deep breath also takes the toxins of the cigarette deep into the lungs which gets circulated throughout the body. However, it temporarily helps the smoker to forget the trauma that caused them to pick up the cigarette in the first place. Meditation would guide the smoker through the process of directly addressing the trauma, but in a way that heals that trauma and liberates the smoker. Yet, the fear of facing the trauma drives the smoker back to the cigarette over and over again.

The science of African American human functioning, i.e., Mental Health, must be congruent with the culture and historical experience (condition) of African American people. The only mental health science that is intentionally designed and created by and for African American people is Black Psychology. As a system of thought and action, Black Psychology examines and utilizes the processes that allow for the illumination and liberation of the spirit. Black Psychology is culturally congruent with the humanity of African people. As a science, Black Psychology is concerned with understanding the systems of meaning of human beingness, the features of human functioning, and the restoration of the normal/natural order of human development for African people. In the form of professional practice, academic discipline and intellectual discourse, Black Psychology is the self-conscious 'centering' of psychological analyses and therapeutic applications in African and African American realities, cultures, and epistemologies.                                                                                                                                              ☥ Dr. Wade Nobles

Black woman in the foreground, psychedelics in the background

A similar effect is created through psychedelics. Of course, we can’t talk about P-Funk without acknowledging psychedelics. There can be no doubt that psychedelics were a part of the 70’s music scene and have been proven to help people relax. However, connection with our innate wisdom is the reason for the deep insights, not the psychedelics.

Taking psychedelics to achieve higher consciousness is sort of like preparing to compete for a race by being driven to the finish line.

In this way, psychedelics make us mentally weak because instead of training our mind, we let the drug do the "work," and we become both unable to transcend random thoughts and dependent on drugs to help us find peace. The dependency also makes us unreliable and easier to manipulate. The drugs take us to the finish line quickly to satisfy our emotional addiction to the instant gratification of the “feel-good” sensation. What psychedelics do is help us to get comfortable with silence by distracting us with good feelings or incredulous visions. We aren't bothered by random mental chatter because we are too focused on a hallucination or a feeling of euphoria to notice anything else. It is a sneaky sort of way to get people to mimic meditation, but with many negative side effects such as headaches, metabolic syndrome, vomiting, diarrhea, paranoid delusions, dulling the mind over time, reckless behavior, etc. Psychedelics pander to our ego by seducing us with euphoria that is unsustainable and creating illusions of grandeur while we're under the influence of the drug. Because we are not troubled with random mental chatter, we may experience deep insights or "ah ha" moments. However, the new discoveries didn’t come from the psychedelics. We were able to recognize fresh insights because we relaxed and quieted our mind long enough to allow the knowledge to come through. The knowledge was already there. We have been tricked into believing that we need the psychedelic in order to access the knowledge. Consider this description of a science fiction nemesis to the Star Trek Federation called “The Borg:”

Borg civilization is based on a hive or group mind known as the Collective. Each Borg drone is linked to the collective by a sophisticated subspace network that ensures each member is given constant supervision and guidance. The mental energy of the group consciousness can help an injured or damaged drone heal or regenerate damaged body parts or technology. The collective consciousness gives them the ability not only to 'share the same thoughts,' but also to adapt quickly to new tactics.                                                                                                                                                      ☥ Wikipedia

Like most people, we don't realize or believe that we can learn how to relax and quiet our mind without the use of drugs, and without any negative side effects. We can access that knowledge by learning how to outsmart our monkey mind which allows us to tap into the truest part of ourselves. If we want to prepare for a marathon, we have to train. Shortcuts will sabotage our development and tempt us to cheat in order to win the race because we didn't invest in the proper training. We cannot expect to get to the finish line immediately. I understood Sadhguru (a continental ☥ diasporan) to say that if life is a race, and we are so desperate to finish it quickly, he can show us how to get to the finish line as fast as possible by taking us to a crematorium. The pain that we feel as we strengthen our muscles and the struggle to expand our lung capacity helps us to improve our strength, endurance, confidence, stamina and much more in a way that cannot be taken from us. People who are caught up in psychedelics want to get to the finish line without doing the work of training (or are afraid of the "work" because either they don't know how to heal, or they don't trust that they can reach the Spiritual realm without drugs so they convince themselves/others that the drug is needed to connect them to Spirit), and they imprison themselves within an endless loop of jumping from “feel-good” sensation to “feel-good” sensation. They also make themselves vulnerable to internal/external personal/professional sabotage. We have all watched drugs ruin the lives and careers of high profile people who have access to the best treatment facilities in the world. I have received many invitations to engage in Spiritual practices that involve taking some form of psychedelic, and I have yet to hear a reason that justifies taking the drug. I have also watched and interviewed people who were under the influence of the drug and noticed that they perceived themselves to be at a higher state of being, while I witnessed a dulling of their mind. Sankofa is a process of reconnecting us to a power within us that functions like the Borg Collective's "sophisticated subspace network" (guiding ☥ protecting us) and transcends psychedelics and other drugs (higher consciousness ☥ deep healing without side effects). However, the Sankofa process requires that we bring the funk. There are no shortcuts.

There are a few scenarios common to most accidental super humans. They don’t know that they have super powers. Their powers just begin to activate, and they:

☥ Think that they are imagining things

☥ Become fearful that they are going crazy

☥ Spend time alone to research/experiment/figure out what is happening to them

☥ Look for a person that they can trust to tell

They usually have to take some time to process the transformation of their life, which often includes feeling isolated from others, overwhelmed with responsibilities and resentful that this “thing” happened to them. However, once they have accepted their new destiny, they practice honing their skills and figure out how and when to use them to serve the greater good. Continual training becomes a part of their new life, and they develop a uniform that allows them to bring out the best of their abilities. Although their old life often becomes their cover story, they realize that they can’t go back to their pre-super human life. Their new life determines who they work and hang out with, who they trust and what kinds of relationships are safe for them to have. Our immersion in oppression can blind us to the fact that we have super powers. Because we are focused on what has been taken from us, we can’t see how nature continually fills the gaps hoping that we’ll crack the code and follow clues such as:

☥ The magical way that we can walk in a room, see another Black ☥ Indigenous ☥

Immigrant Person and can communicate with them without saying a word

☥ The frustration that we feel when we pause because we don’t realize that our stolen

native languages are still within us, but are communicating differently

☥ The taste in our mouth or feeling that we get when something is "off"

☥ Our slang that has meanings that we understand but can’t fully translate into our

colonizer language

[Jegna is a concept from the ancient kingdom of Abyssinia (the region that is now modern day Ethiopia ☥ Eritrea)]. Jegna (Jegnoch - plural form) are those special people who have (1) been tested in struggle or battle (2) demonstrated extraordinary and unusual fearlessness, (3) shown determination and courage in protecting [their] people, land and culture. (4) shown diligence and dedication to our people (5) produced exceptionally high quality work (6) dedicated themselves to the protection, defense, nurturance and development of our young by advancing our people, place and culture. The easiest and foremost interpretation of the Jegna is one whose central focus is on the culture and character of one’s people. The Jegnoch cherish and love their people.                                                                                                                                                                                                    ☥ Dr. Wade Nobles

I’m using the metaphor of the super power because super humans are forced to adapt to their new life. They spend the rest of their lives with an alert edge to them because if their powers are required, they need to be ready to act. The alert edge exists within their latent potential so they must train regularly in order to develop and level it up. What happens if we don't cultivate self-awareness?

Colonizers can more easily satisfy their emotional addiction to the subjugation of others through psychological manipulation/warfare/terrorism because Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People are either distracted with the trauma of racism and economic suppression because we don't know how to heal, or (as reflected in the clip above) we are distracted through social programming that uses herd mentality to seduce and then trap us within a toxic cycle that we believe we are enjoying. In the scene above, the characters were on a time sensitive mission that required that they pass through the casino as quickly as possible to retrieve something on the other side of it. However, the casino is designed to trap whomever enters to prevent them from dismantling the current power structure. The father (a metaphor for Spirit/our ancestors) of one of the characters manages to send a telepathic message during a moment of pause which is just enough of a prompt to cause the character to question and investigate for clarity. The seduction of/addiction to the "feel-good" sensation of the drugged cookie is an example of why S. N. Goenka (a continental ☥ diasporan) advises us to "experience sensation’s nature, understand its flux, and learn not to react to it." When we train to develop our super powers, even if we succumb to the seduction, something inside of us will activate to help us set ourselves free. If we don't train, we stay "trapped within the casino" feeling good as long as we keep taking the drug and enabling the subjugation to continue.                       

We have many super powers but they usually don’t show up the way we’ve been programmed to see power. Because each person is different, all I can offer are universal clues to help us recognize them within ourself:

☥ Some "quirk" or unusual habit that we have

☥ A certain way that we approach a situation that is unique to us (people may call us out

or tease us because of it)

☥ Something that we can get lost doing (i.e. doodling, staring into space, etc.)

☥ A secret place that we go to when we want to be alone

Instead of investigating our unique gifts and talents, we hide them for fear of ridicule. However, we don’t have to conduct our investigations in public. The results may require that we improve ☥ refine an aspect of ourselves and may surprise us. For example, if we like to count all the time, we may have some musical ability. But, because we are embarrassed about the counting/think something is "wrong" with us, we don’t investigate “why” counting relaxes us. If we were to follow the clues, it might lead us to music or art. It could also lead us to a dead end, but the experience broadened our perspective which helped us to see the real reason why we count (i.e., the need to heal unresolved trauma triggered by a song, etc.).

Assumptions bring us closer to fear, worry and doubt. Investigations bring us closer to truth, answers and liberation.

For example, when I was in massage school, I realized that I would close my eyes shortly after beginning a massage session. I could “see” what was happening with the muscle so clearly, that it took a while for me to realize my eyes were closed. Once I became aware of what I was doing, I hoped no one else noticed. When our class would practice massage as a group, I tried to hide how quickly my eyes would close. I even attempted to force myself to keep my eyes open, but I finally accepted that this was how I worked. During my time in the clinic, I remember a large man who didn’t want me to work on him because he didn’t think I was strong enough to perform deep tissue massage. But, after our first session, he became a regular client. Because it was out of my scope of practice, I didn’t want to say anything specific, but I could “see” and “feel” that something was very wrong with him. I convinced him to get a comprehensive medical exam, because I didn't think a regular exam would pinpoint the issue. I didn’t see him again until the week before I graduated from massage school. He was relieved to see that I was still working at the clinic and wanted to thank me for encouraging him to go to the doctor. He had emergency triple bypass surgery, and is convinced that my intervention saved him. What society labels as a "quirk" may reflect a much deeper meaning for us worthy of our investigation. So far, every "quirk" that I have investigated has turned out to be a super power.

A Black woman with a magnifying glass looking at a Black woman and man and statue of a pharaoh

How To Develop Our Super Powers

Even though the suggestions below are comprehensive, our investigation can begin simply. Review the list below and just devote about five minutes a day for contemplation investigation. Five minutes may not seem like a lot of time, but the defragmentation process can vary. Sometimes cleaning our room can be as simple as picking up a pair of socks. Other times, we may have to pull back the dresser to dust, and we may be pleasantly surprised to finally find our favorite piece of jewelry that we thought we'd lost. Similarly, our daily investigations can be a five minute adventure. Some days may require more time or we may skip a day. Consistency is more important than the amount of time. Trust the process and stay with it until clarity arrives.

☥ Identify and investigate our "quirks." Some quirks require development and some are

the result of a misinterpretation, often because of something that we witnessed as a

child (these can turn into coping mechanisms). That said, our quirks require a thorough

investigation that can occur over time. An example of a quirk that we can develop

could be that we organize the clothes in our closet by color. Upon investigation, this

quirk may indicate something that we are subconsciously attempting to "defragg"

within our consciousness. Some quirks are clues that lead to a deeper level of

healing (a trigger to take action) or a hidden super power (a trigger to investigate

further). We learned in What Is Qigong? that our body prioritizes what it heals based on

its innate connection to nature. If we are disconnected from nature, then we will not

understand our process of healing. Similarly, our quirk investigations may appear to

run us in circles for a bit. It is important for us to follow through with the investigations until we find clarity. Our organization by color could eventually lead to a billion dollar

idea that was hidden beneath disorganization. An example of a quirk that needs healing

could include continually rocking back and forth while in conversation, watching TV,

etc. This kind of quirk could indicate a coping mechanism for unresolved trauma. The

investigation is vital because a quirk can appear to be a combination of something that

needs to be healed and then developed. Major quirks can turn out to be minor or minor

quirks could be developed into a life changing super power. How will we know unless

we journey inside ourselves?

Black superheroes with a man investigating with a magnifying glass

☥ Meticulously move through the process of healing. Be patient and gentle with the

process, but make sure to keep moving through the process. Getting stuck (i.e.,

distractions, procrastination, etc.) is an indication that there is a deeper level of

unresolved trauma to heal.

☥ Accept the unique way that we view and navigate our experiences. When we accept

ourselves, we can take action. We cannot leave quirks alone because some quirks have

the potential to create harm. We act to heal, develop or both.

☥ Ask questions that help us to move forward such as:

☥ What is the quirk? Providing language to express what we observe helps us to

understand and pinpoint root causes. What are the components of the quirk? Are

they fragmented? If so, identify the fragmented pieces and meditate on them over

time until a pattern emerges. Each piece is a clue, but could be connected to a

different quirk. If you've ever had a bunch of chain necklaces that get tangled into a

ball, you know that you cannot untangle the ball quickly without damaging/breaking

the necklaces. You need to take your time and work your way up to the point where

the entanglement occurs and untangle the knot. Then you repeat the process until

all of the necklaces are untangled. Approach the understanding of your quirks in a

similar fashion.

☥ When ☥ how ☥ where does this quirk manifest? Take notes to serve as a reference

guide and to track progress/changes over time. I love the idea of keeping a journal

because as we review the journal, we'll begin to see that we are incredibly complex

and interesting human beings. It may take a bit of defragging to get past our

programmed judgment and self-deprecating habits, but once we begin to heal past

traumas and investigate who we truly are, we'll be fascinated by what we discover

about ourselves.

☥ Does this quirk cause harm to me or others? If so, stay in the process of healing until

clarity emerges. Read or revisit How To Demystify ☥ Heal Our Emotions and                             Discernment ☥ Wisdom Of Our Chakras. Practice Qigong to develop self-mastery and


☥ What does this quirk do for me? Does it temporarily relax me (by distracting me to

make me feel better)? Does it make me feel like I'm better than others or in control?

These could be symptoms of a coping mechanism. Does it solve a problem? Nudge

me to see things differently than other people? These could be indications of a major

super power, so take actions that help you to understand how the quirk solves the

problem/shifts your perspective. Once a pattern emerges, attempt to connect the

dots. If you consistently arrange things in a certain design, attempt to

understand the design. For example, does it look like an indigenous symbol?

  ☥ What does my secret place do for me? Do I need it to be secret for privacy (to

contemplate, focus, train, be alone) or to hide something that I'm ashamed of (sexual

perversion, etc.)? When we understand what the secret place does for us, we'll know if

we need to heal or develop something within us. What are the components of my

secret place? The components are clues that may help us to figure out what latent

potential we are attempting to activate within us. When I don't need to be alone, are

other (trusted) people welcome to visit my secret place?

Futuristic Black man and woman with man watching with binoculars in the background

☥ When the quirk shows up, breathe, pause and observe to heighten self-awareness.

Imagine observing yourself as if watching yourself through the lens of a camera. The

camera doesn't judge - it objectively records what it sees. What do you notice?

☥ Resist the temptation to over think/analyze. If nothing comes to mind, then move on to

saying that a "watched pot never boils." Live your life fully. Become more self-aware and

the clarity will come to you. Sometimes it arrives instantaneously. Other times, it may

slowly become clear, like a camera lens that gradually comes in to focus. Grappling with

an issue builds mental focus, acuity and dexterity. You may need to develop those skills

first before the pieces of your puzzle come together. Trust that divine intelligence knows

what it is doing and practice Qigong to help you tap into that intelligence.

☥ Once you figure out what your super power is, practice using your skills. As you begin to

practice, what you need to refine will become clear. Work on refining those areas.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Afro futuristic image of a Black man and Black woman


Copy/Paste Version Of A Full Citation Example: 

Hubbard, P. S. (2020, September 27). Journey To Radiance ☥ Sankofa ☥ Part I. PHYLLISHUBBARD.COM.<>




About Dr. Phyllis SHU Hubbard's work


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