DAY 90: Traditional Knowledge of the Ancient Nomadic World & DAY 92: Everyday Life and Spiritual Practices in Nomadic Culture in Kyrgyzstan
By Chinara Seidakmatova, Eindhoven, the Netherlands, 24 & 26 October 2017
Chinara Seidakmatova went to the Netherlands to share her knowledge and questions in two Days of Learning, in the form of a lecture and a workshop during the world design Event. Two months later she writes how she experienced her interactions.
DAY 90: Traditional Knowledge of the Ancient Nomadic World
Our modern fragmented way of living is a consequence of a lack of understanding of the world. The absence of this coherent picture of the world separated humanity for millennia. A dialogue as such will not develop from the pursuit of materialism. Mutual understanding will result in the universal recognition of priority of the natural above anything else. Interconnectedness with each other, nature and the universe are beliefs that are of major importance within nomadic culture, and are represented in all aspects of their traditional lifestyle.
DAY 92: Everyday Life and Spiritual Practices in Nomadic Culture in Kyrgyzstan
The workshop dealt with the traditional religion practiced by the nomadic Kyrgyz culture. This is called Tengri, which means ‘Blue Sky’. Tengrism is all about the intricate connection with nature. It revolves around the sun deity and focuses on balance with nature, incorporating characteristics of shamanism, animism, both polytheism and monotheism, and ancestor worship.
The temporary distance that separates me from participating in the 100 Days of Learning project by Age of Wonderland during the World Design Event in Eindhoven, made it possible to soberly assess my impressions, since after my arrival, I was in a state of euphoria for a long time from the delight of the first impressions. For two months I did not have any critical thoughts about the trip. Today I sensibly see all the pluses and minuses of my participation in the event.
Undoubtedly, such events enrich all participants, mutual cultural exchange. The most important of my understanding was the realization of the path of our Asian development. My country now is Holland a hundred years ago, when cities grew and settled in favor of business and profit, when no one thought that for a comfortable life of a person it is not enough to have a toilet in the apartment, that it is necessary to preserve as much of the natural environment in the city. So it was with our city in Soviet times. It occupied the second place in the USSR in the presence of trees and water in the city.
I was amazed at the lack of trees in Amsterdam and Eindhoven. I went around many blocks around the hotel to find four trees for a night breathing yoga session. It was immediately recalled that trees were cut down all the summer long in Bishkek when building high-rise buildings and expanding the roadway of streets. Many people went to protest demonstrations, signed petitions, but I did not participate in this resistance. In Holland, I realized that I must be very sensitive in preserving nature in my environment, and I felt ashamed of my non-participation.
I understood the difference in the understanding of the environment among the Dutch and our people. We have not yet lost the global sense of the environment, that is, for us the environment is sky, mountains, river, trees, air. We perceive the environment in a natural complex, feeling part of it all, not paying attention to the buildings. Our consciousness is not yet completely urbanized. At the festival, walking at the exhibition and considering the design ideas of designers, I talked a lot with the Dutch and other foreigners. Even with my meager English, I realized that for them the environment is part of the city where they are located, so designers are very eager to bring in the urban environment natural elements, at least somehow decorate the stone forest of the city. I was scared how little separates the Kyrgyz from the European “civilization” consciousness, how soon we too, like the Dutch, will artificially depict nature in our cities, as we will need trees and flowers. We would now, considering the past mistakes of Europeans, begin to harmonize the construction of buildings with natural oases, in order to preserve the spiritual and emotional balance of the city’s residents in the future.
The high desire of man to harmonize the habitat in accordance with the need of the soul makes the designer very resourceful and talented. Exhibits of the exhibition were amazing in terms of their contrivance and ability to combine functionality with aesthetics. I was touched by such trifles as bus stops made of glass with flowers on the roof, shrubs planted in the most unexpected places, according to these signs, I felt how Eindhovend needs the breath of flowers, trees, stones. How much man, even the most urbanized, needs a living nature. All the photos I showed our architects and carried them to the department for supervision of construction and architecture. Perhaps it will be a small contribution of Eindhoven to the development of our city.
The most enthusiastic impression I had from ordinary Dutch. They shocked me with their cordiality, responsiveness, kindness. Nowhere in the east, nowhere in the west, before I could not meet so many good people. With bad English, I arrived on time without an escort to Eindhoven, directly to the festival, only thanks to strangers. For four hours of searching Eindhoven, I turned to twenty-four people, none of them remained indifferent, it’s amazing. In 1998, my spouse came on a business trip to Holland, he told me a lot about what extraordinarily friendly Dutch people, the degree of this friendliness I realized only when I came across it, because it is difficult to imagine.
Warm impressions from people erase all negative impressions, so on arrival I completely forgot how unpleasantly I was stunned by the common toilet at the University of Design, where my last performance was. This episode showed me how different the mentality of our peoples. How much the face (perhaps artificially) between the male and female identity has worn off, as the Dutch live with it, I could not find out due to lack of time, but according to my feelings this can not be comfortable if it’s disharmonic with nature. In our spiritual worldview, everything that is contrary to nature is harmful to man.
Perhaps that’s why, everyone who approached me and tried to share impressions, complained of depression. After all, the discrepancy between the laws of human society and the laws of nature subconsciously undermines a person without understanding the cause, a person is tormented by discomfort.
Already there I saw and felt how the teachings of our ancestors pleased and impressed listeners, now that many of them in the correspondence with me still ask questions and share their spiritual problems, I was convinced that my trip was not in vain.
The message from the Mayans of the genus Maya, brought by a guest from Guatemala, made me happy, because it absolutely corresponded to similar prophecies of our spiritual messengers. “Pure waters from the western high mountains and clear waters from the eastern high mountains descended into the lowlands and filled the bowl, now any sufferer can quench his thirst.” Probably everyone understands this allegory, I gladly agreed to the ritual of rooting the energy we brought in the local territory. We lit the ritual fire of the goddess Umai, connected it with the underground fire of Holland and grounded the energy and information of our ancestors. Mystics like ours and Guatemalan elders can easily say “now everyone can get drunk”, I have a lot of questions as a rational person familiar with Western approaches to promoting information. Because “pure water” in the allegory is spiritual knowledge, then we must think about in what format, what methods to disseminate this knowledge?
In my opinion, the next step would be to familiarize the interested Dutch group with the truly nomadic, shamanic practices of our Tenier teachings. I am interested in finding donors who will help in the continuation of the initiated initiative because in our traditions the prophecy of ancestors obliges to fulfill the assigned responsibility. I have no right to dismiss this responsibility, since the universe has chosen us to fulfill the mission. We perceive such a mission as a work process. Once the mosaic began to take shape, it will end up to the end.
I was greatly enriched by it, it expanded my vision that all visitors, representatives of traditional culture, said that everything I said was like the knowledge of their ancestors. I imagined how young the mankind is and how our common ancestor did not far away, wishing all of us to his descendants — Europeans, Asians, Americans, prosperity and happiness. Happiness He represented for everyone the same Peace, Peace, A little meal, A little clothing and Pure nature without cataclysms. We modern people are deceived, thinking out problems and different happiness for themselves, when serious natural problems begin, all our human attachments will be a trifle. I want that, as few people as possible are subjected to such tests.
A summer meeting in the mountains with a group from Holland, will never fade in memory. It was a landmark meeting that expanded my outlook, when I realized that it was not in vain for fifteen years that I was studying traditional knowledge that they were very useful for someone. I felt happy that young people found a sense of freedom in our mountains, because I know for myself, it’s not enough to understand, we need to feel many things, such as happiness, freedom, filling with spirit, that’s what they described then, in the mountains. At that moment I realized how valuable new impressions of our reality for Europeans are, how instructive for us are the transformations that have occurred in Europe, the more a person moves away from the natural wildlife, from its patterns, the harder it is to survive to the human soul. The human mind is sophisticated, it adapts, but the soul suffers. Suffers from a lack of natural beauty, colors, sounds, smells, from distortion of natural relations dictated by nature between people. This need for each other, the need to live in communities, it is a natural necessity to win a woman by a man, this is a competition of physical opportunities between strong men. Modern society has replaced the principles of the community with individualism, physical competition of the material. The natural desire of a person to have a large family and surround himself with the warmth of loved ones is replaced by workaholism and the desire for a well-paid job. What’s next?
All these impressions and questions led to the realization of the need to integrate the two systems of knowledge, traditional and civilizational. Separately, neither we nor they can not survive. In its technocratic development, the Western world has reached perfection, and, precisely, it leads them to self-destruction, because technical development went at the expense of natural nature, human nature. We are following the path of thoughtless copying of Western attitudes: material comfort, technical material development. As a result, we all come together to one bleak end. With all these challenges, humanity has a chance for a harmonious development. The combination of the most ancient spiritual knowledge with the most advanced technologies for the prosperity of everything natural will lead us out of the impasse. In Holland, as the birthplace of the Renaissance, in this plan of revival an important mission of the pioneer of the process. We hope for you and your help in the global revival.