When we consider the Yoruba of Nigeria, we're talking about people who have lived in the same family houses for hundreds of years, being surrounded by scores of millions of other Yorubas, spread out over thens of thousands of square miles. As a spiritual discipline, Ifa is integral to practically every dimension of Yoruba civilization. In many ways, we cannot extract Ifa out of Yoruba tradition. The two are so deeply intertwined that one inevitably activates the other.
What I am trying to say is that we should pause from time to time to clarify our perspectives of things. There are over 40 million Yorubas in Nigeria and other West African countries (i.e., Benin, Togo and Ghana). In spite of the real impacts of colonization, Yorubaland is still very thick and heavy laden with culture and tradition. Sometimes, we only see the surface. Other times, we look directly at something but we cannot see the obvious. Yoruba tradition is very much alive and part of the modern culture as well.
This is the case wherever Orisa Lifestyle is practiced with sincerity. That is, the spiritual discipline evokes a cultural awakening and enables the practitioner to integrate her ancestral awareness into the contemporary reality that she is living on a day-to-day basis. Said another way, when you practice Orisa Lifestyle with your head, your heart and your hands, the ancestors will move THROUGH you, making sure you apply ancient wisdom to modern problems.
The OLA16 member site is an online learning library; not a "cloud" but a constellation. And like the stars above, the Academy has been designed so that you can hear, see, question, discuss, teach and practice the lessons associated with Orisa Lifestyle anytime, anywhere. The activities invite you to personalize the lessons by first applying them to your own life, thereby creating the direct experiences that are necessary to cultivate personal wisdom. The activities will also create opportunities for you to demonstrate your values with the people you serve. The more you practice, the more you'll internalize the lessons.
Live the Medicine
Since the advent of Google, in conjunction with smart phone technology, it is no longer reasonable to aspire to be the smartest person in the room. Of course, it was never wise to be a “know it all.” But nowadays, it’s just too easy to pull up information that will completely refute one person’s attempts to come off as the smartest kid in class. Instead, the wise thing to do is to invite other people to share their unique insights and contribute to the collective pool of knowledge on a particular subject. This is a super valuable lesson I am learning with my good brother, Osafirole Fanikanse. Over the years, I have seen the way he makes it a point to highlight the everyday experts in his circle of influence. In addition, he consistently demonstrates how it’s even better to create opportunities for these individuals to earn their share of praise and recognition. In other words, adopt the “Each one teach one” model.
Learn more at the Orisa Lifestyle Member Site.
Live the Medicine
We all love the idea of being part of a community. But very, very, very few of us actually grew up in a real African centered community. Even fewer have chosen to become truly absorbed into such a community. Allow me to define community by what it is not. Community is not wearing the same style fashion, dancing the same way or even living in the same area. A community overlaps itself through millions of invisible pathways that create interdependence between the members. In a community, people need one another, the land and the rules that protect the human and natural resources. When you want to really join a community then, it requires sacrifice, compromise and change.
What I see today among folks who worship Orisa is a lot of confusion, pretense and denial. That is, the majority like to talk nostalgically and lovingly about family, community, culture and tradition, but utterly refuse to do even the small things that would make that happen. And so, superficiality and shallowness rule the day. But there remains a loud minority, who have vision and determination. They will not accept half measures and surface change. They will not stop until they bring about the Good Condition!
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | www.ObafemiO.com