Spring 2021

Blessings and Curses

 Venerable Notions for Our Modern Times

We give to the world around us everything that we are and everything that we become. We touch each other’s lives in ways that we are, for the most part, not conscious of. Intentionally or not, we have an impact on the ocean of human experience that surrounds us not unlike that of the pebble dropped into the liquidity of the many moments that become our lifetime. We touch, and are touched in return by the presence and dynamism of all those, and all things with whom and with which we occupy time and space.

The awareness of this reality should cause us to be more conscientious about how we live our lives. Not that we should force upon ourselves the innumerable variations of the human experience in ways that would negatively constrain us. No… We can acknowledge the variety of our experiences as a fact of life, and at the same time allow ourselves the liberating joyousness of lives well lived. The ability to do so is encapsulated in a notably timeless formula. That formula finds expression in the wisdom that implores us to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us”.

Those who refuse to be guided by this timeless piece of wisdom become the creatures and servants of the dysfunction which causes malice among us, and consequently chaos. The resulting inhumanity that we display toward others, and our disregard for the creative/generative capacities of the world we inhabit, renders impossible the very possibility of a durable community. It invalidates our justification for being, and renders unviable all our attempts at creating the kind of domestic tranquility that we seek to establish as an ongoing fact of our lives.

Blessings and Curses are not outdated notions that we can now ignore. They are constructs of the perspectives that we operationalize as a result of the quality of our engagement with each other and with our environment. They are as real as our experience of joy and sorrow… of pleasure and pain.

Curses, we may say, are the flaming arrows of an unforgiving bow. They can strike and keep us down. They can hurt and eventually destroy us via the wrath of their ragged edges. Curses force their way into the vulnerable souls of those who become their victims, and they disable the vital systems that make us viable human beings.

Out of an assumption that we can manufacture our own best interests through the misery we cause in the lives of others, we create illusions that invariably come back to haunt us. The seeds of distress that we sow produce a harvest of sorrows. We get back that which we seek to give… in double measures. The curses we intend for others boomerang, that is their nature, and we reap in their wake a harvest of hurt. Do not wish upon others that which you would not want for yourself. The delusion that we can escape the harvest of our own dysfunction is just that… an ill-informed myth that the true story of our shared humanity has debunked in its entirety.

Blessings on the other hand, are like beautiful melodies. They join forces with the Wind to give our spirits needed wings. Blessings lift us up like Love expressed… and they inspire us to rise to our fullest potential. Blessings generate the joy expressed in an open smile. They build up in us healing resources that we can benefit from, and then share with those around who are in need of restoration.

We can choose to live our lives in a way that validates the claim of others to all the benefits of our shared humanity.  There is no greater Blessing than that which comes with this kind of Livity. What is “Livity” you ask? Livity is a spiritual concept espoused by those who seek an alternative to a worn-out religiosity and its culturally hollow formulations.

“Livity is the Rastafarian concept of righteous, everliving living. Its essence is the realization that an energy or life-force, conferred by Almighty Jah (God), exists within, and flows through, all people and all living things. This energy is the presence of Jah living within us, and is often expressed in Rastafarian vocabulary as “I and I”, where the first “I” refers to the Almighty, the second “I” for oneself. A primary goal in Rastafarian meditation is maintaining awareness of I and I.”Wikipedia —*{Now you know… Add this concept to your existential vocabulary.}*

In its anthropological application the appeal of “I and Isupersedes its context as a basis for talking about our relationship to or with any god. In the post-colonial world that gave birth to the necessity to re-examine our theology, it was a rebuke to what the philosopher Martin Buber describes as the I /it conundrum of an oppressive society. You see, I and I challenged the social structure of oppression by destroying the very foundation of all “Supremacy”. No one was superior to another person… not by virtue of race, or gender, or nationality, or possessions. “I and I was not just about one’s relationship to a god, it was now a declaration for equality and justice in the relationship between You and I! Thus was articulated the end of cultural imperialism and all forms of oppression.

Rasta Livity for iver!! (forever that is) – – – Remember the feeling you got from helping an elder across a busy intersection… Remember the joy of a gift needed, and given, and well received… Remember the upliftment of a heartfelt “Thank you!”… Remember the satisfaction you experience every time you are able to complete a day of worthwhile work. Remember the empowerment that becomes your birthright when you embrace a commitment to preserve the sacredness of this shared space in the universe that we call home…Earth… by being just in all that you do. Let us live our lives in a way that blesses others, and the world. In so doing we shield ourselves from the raging arrows of a cursed existence. Now hear this…


“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Gospel of Matthew 5:3-10

R. A. G.
Roy Alexander Graham
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