On Sunday 19 April 2015 I watched the Power of the Heart film in South Africa. The film reveals the mysterious capacity of the heart to access an intelligence less known about in a world which promotes dualistic, linear thinking. In the film, one of my favourite authors introduced the story of a Rwandan genocide survivor, Immaculee Ilibagiza. Immaculee told her story and the experience rattled every part of my being. I spent the next two days debriefing myself as any trauma counsellor would do. Much as I needed to catch my breath, I was drawn to connect with this story and searched for more information online. I found many links to Immaculee and watched her talks. I connected deeply with the message of this Catholic woman from Rwanda.
At this time in South Africa her message gives me courage. Yesterday, I was irritated by the reports of “xenophobia” in South Africa. I was driving and I thought – why are we still calling this xenophobia – didn’t the genocide in Rwanda start the same way? A killing by spears in the bush and then another and then one million. And for what? Banana plantations they never got anyway! I heard Immaculee’s message – they know not what they do! Over and over I heard her as though she was here. Then late that night I saw this article “My thoughts on phobias – the genocide in South Africa” by a Nigerian woman. I was somewhat surprised and somewhat not. More and more the thoughts I am having seem to find expression in the writings, the voice, the feelings of another. Most often within hours. Not only in challenges of this intensity but also in other matters. I think it and then it appears. What was freaky was that I thought of writing an article with a title “My take on xenophobia and a subtitle using the word genocide”. Some will argue that my thinking attracted this article and there is value in that.
In January this year I had a horrifying nightmare of being trapped in a bathroom while people were being butchered in the shower cubicles. At first I did not know what they were doing but then I realised and I froze. The details of the dream were too gruesome to describe. In the dream were long grassy fields and a safe house where we hid waiting for the borders to be safe so we could flee. The net curtain in the secret room was so vivid. I recall how we looked to the borders to check if it was safe to escape. We watched how families were slaughtered in the plains. I had no idea what kind of evil would visit me like that and why. I simply referred to it as “the deep evil!”
Last Sunday night 19 April (3 months after the dream) I heard Immacule’e Ilibagiza’s story for the first time. She was trapped in that bathroom for three months during the genocide in Rwanda. I can’t even imagine having that dream for three months. I can’t imagine my dream being a reality for anyone! I realised my dream was a vivid but momentary interlude into the horror Immaculee endured for much longer than three months. Some will call my dream an intuition of what I would see in the movie. Others will say it was astral travel to the bathroom in Rwanda. There is value in all these theories.
What makes more sense to me now is that we have, as humanity, what Deepak Chopra calls, “non-local intelligence”. An intelligence which is beyond our separateness. An intelligence where we can touch each other at the level of souls – our true divine selves. This experience of seeing your thoughts, emotions, experiences expressed by another – an apparent stranger with seemingly nothing common – confirms for me that there is a connectedness beyond our 5-sensory world. A world we can tap into as often as we desire. In that world, we find our oneness and realise just how our difference and separation is an illusion. My identity number, my South Africaness and Africaness is ultimately an illusion of separation. Yesterday morning when I felt that irritation I was less a coloured citizen of South Africa and much more a soul who deeply connected to the soul of the woman who wrote the article. In that place I felt her so much that I conceived the same thought she did when she wrote the article. In the measly few hours my nightmare lasted, I had a glimpse of what it was like to fear being butchered by your friends. There are no words to describe it. In my life I witnessed a husband shooting his wife and washed her blood off their children as she went off to hospital . In a dream, I saw human butchering. Both were devastating but the latter has an energy that is beyond comprehension. I cannot imagine seeing it in waking reality.
I surrender the desire to know how such experience can bring us to healing in South Africa now. I simply know that these experiences bring me closer to compassion and connection and that brings me to love. Through Immaculee’s message I know that Love heals the unimaginable wound. We are facing the unimaginable wound and we need love. We will find it only in that place beyond our separation where we touch others at the level of the soul. My dream was a few hours. My upset with the term xenophobia lasted less than a day. Yet it was enough to touch souls and journey to the place beyond separation. There I found a connection I cannot now describe – perhaps those who study quantum physics can. I know that a compassion I have not felt before is stirring within a bigger version of myself. This is a miracle I do not doubt.
Let us reach out beyond our separation with the faith that we can touch souls and find the Love!