55. John Lockley - The Leopard Warrior Returns
Fresh from spending many weeks in the wilderness of the Kalahari Desert, traditional South African shaman John Lockley dives deeply into the wisdom he has cultivated through spiritual practice involving nature, the elements, and his ancestors. In this episode we explore:
- The mystical story of how he was guided to a tracker in Botswana, who was in intuitive communication with a leopard calling for John's presence. This culminated in the creation of the Kalahari retreat.
- Using dreams to connect with your inner tracker and ancestors.
- Viruses work through nature in the wilderness to balance populations of species when needed, and how this is now illustrated at the human level with coronavirus.
- Contrast in cultures regarding coronavirus. John's work in South Africa often deals with death and suffering. For many in the US death is not in the forefront of life which has allowed for denial and detachment from the natural cycle of life.
- What he learned as an Army medic in the Angolan War, as he observed black African special forces soldiers healing at more than three times the rate of their white counterparts when the treatment was identical.
- Animal world is watching us with intelligence and communicates with us.
Visit johnlockley.com to purchase his amazing book, The Leopard Warrior, experience his audio meditations, The Way of the Leopard, book a private online session, sign up for monthly webinars, or donate to his ubuntu fund.
[00:00:18.230] - Kara
Hi, and welcome. It's a joy to be here again with John Lockley joining us from South Africa. John is a traditional, traditional South African shaman, and he was with us earlier in the year. I highly encourage you to go and listen to that where we got more of a background of his experience. And he is the author of an amazing book called The Leopard Warrior, which I highly, highly recommend. You check out. It's his story about his time and realizing that he had this calling to become a saungoma and a traditional South African healer and his apprenticeship under a traditional medicine woman. And it's all under the canopy of apartheid coming out of apartheid in South Africa. And it's just a beautifully written. It's engaging. It's unput downable. Is that a word? I'm going to say? That that's a word. And it's mystical. I mean, there's so much in there by way of just drawing you into his world of spirit, but it connects you with your own spirit. At least, that has been my experience. And so it's a joy to be with him. And last time we talked, he was about to embark on a retreat to the to be leading this retreat in the Kalahari Desert. I wanted to check in with him since that finished. That was quite a long retreat. And it sounds like he had some incredible experiences in nature with nature. And so let's start there. Welcome back. Such a joy to see you.
[00:02:26.290] - John
[00:02:29.510] - Kara
Tell us about your retreat, your experiences in the desert.
[00:02:35.630] - John
Yes. For a while now, I've been feeling about taking groups into Africa, into South Africa, into the wilderness, and teaching them some Indigenous African skills to help them with their lives. So it's been a dream of mine to do this. And then I had this incredible experience of meeting a tracker called In Myberg. And he runs this company called Matsebe Safaris. And Matse is named after a leopard. And it's quite incredible because if you remember how I finished writing my book, I was following a leopard into the Bush. That's how I finished writing the book. And then I prayed and I prayed to nature, and I prayed to my guides. And I asked that I would be able to do this wilderness work in a raw setting in Africa. And then the most incredible thing happened to me because a friend of mine put me in touch with Owen, and he said, I need you to go to Botswana. And that's why I should do my wilderness work. And it's very difficult to just go into the wilderness. You need to have all the equipment. You need to have a Safari company. You need to be registered.
[00:03:49.200] - John
And I come from another part of Africa, and South Africa is quite far from Botswana, even though we're on the border. But living is quite far from Botswana. So my friend said to me, I need to get in touch with Alan. So we've got in touch, and I spoke to him. I told him about my dream of bringing people into the Bush, into the African Plains. And then he said, okay, you'll think about it. And then Iwen had this most incredible experience with the leopard that he's been working with for the last ten years. And that leopard is the main totem of his company. And they call that leopard Matsebe. And one day he was tracking Matse in the desert, and he came across her, and he's an animal communication specialist. So he started speaking to Matzebe, who, like I said, you had a relationship with for many years. And he told her about me, and he told her about the work that we are doing or planning to do. And then he waited for a sign from her, and then he just got the response. But she said that he needed to invite me to Botswana to work with him and because she wanted to download information to me.
[00:05:07.250] - John
So if you meet Alan, you will see that he's not a hippie. He's a man of Africa, grassroots tracker. He was brought up by a Bushman Lady who was his nanny. And so he's the opposite of a hippie. So when you hear him say, there's this leopard who wants to download information, to me, it was quite an incredible thing. So what happened with Alan? He had this incredible experience with my Sabbath, where she said that he needed to invite me to Botswana to work with him. And then he contacted me on what happened at that time. I was still in a book tour, and I was actually in Canada, in Montreal. And he said, as soon as I can speak to him, he's available. He'd like to talk to me. So then we spoke, and he told me about this experience he had with Matse. And the next thing he said, I'd like you to come and come and visit me, and let's talk about this. And he lives up in a place called man, which is one of the Premier Safari destinations in Africa, actually. And so I said to him, okay, well, where would I stay?
[00:06:20.220] - John
And it's very expensive going there, going to whatsoever. It's not a cheap experience. And he said to me, you can stay with me as long as you like. And all you need to do is get a flight into Mountain, into Botswana. And I was completely blown away. I mean, I had loose bumps over my whole body. Of course I said yes. And then the next thing he said to me was a bit more serious. He said, Maxaba is an old leopard, John. She hasn't got much longer to live. So I recommend you come quickly. So I said, okay, as soon as I can get. This is February, which would have been February last year, 2019. And he said, no, that's fine. So we arrived in February, 2019, and I spoke to him, and we got in really well. And then we went tracking in the Bush, and I didn't get to see much of it. But as the sun was setting, I attract her daughter, and they knew her cups in the area. And when we got back, I described the leopard that I tracked, and he said, that's the next generation that you've tracked that's Matzeva's daughter.
[00:07:34.190] - John
And I didn't get to see Matzevi. And with the end of the year, October, I'll send you a message to say that Matseebe died. She died of natural causes near a river. And it was very sad for him. However, the main focus of me going was this call to help start something with Aaron about bringing people from overseas to transmit some of these ancient teachings of Africa and the wilderness to people. And when I was with Aarwan, we came up with an idea of doing retreats in the Calaari Desert. And we called it Dreams Tracking in the Kalahari, where I bring my teachings as a medicine man, as a Sankuama, how to dream and how to connect with your inner dream, how to connect with your inner tracker, how to connect with your ancestors. And then Alan's Job was showing people the external tracking of tracking the Spoor, the tracks in the sand, listening to the birds and tracking animal language and learning animal language and following the sand and the messages of the sand and the messages in the desert. So this was what we started off doing in terms of that was our plan for this year.
[00:08:59.700] - John
And we were very lucky. We were fully booked. We had three retreats each of seven days, and we did it over a six week period. Like I said, three different groups, people coming from all over the world, but mostly from the United States and different backgrounds. We had a heart surgeon from Seattle, which was amazing. Oh, wow. And we also got our Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, which is also amazing.
[00:09:28.410] - John
So very interesting people, lovely people who all had a focus of the wilderness and a focus of connecting more deeply with the wilderness. So much to say around that. That's how the journey started. So it started after me writing the book Leopard Warrior, where I was dreaming into the wilderness and then feeling that I wanted to lead people on a wilderness experience in Africa. And the Calahari came up naturally because that's where Iwan is from. And he was brought up by his own mom and also a Bushman Lady who was his nanny. So it was quite similar to me in the sense that I've been brought up with my mother, who's but then from the age of 26, I was adopted by my closet teacher, Mom Gwebu. So she stood by me for the last over 20 years. And in the same way, Owen has been adopted or was adopted by his Wishman nanny, who transmitted all these ancient teachings to him beyond words. So people have this experience of Africa through to African men who have been looked after by African women. So there's something very, very beautiful and very mystical around that. And that's the way we bring the teachings to the people with the sensitivity and also with an urgency because of poaching and because of the seriousness of what's happening in the world.
[00:11:04.530] - John
And during the time of going into the Kadahari, there was a talk about the coronavirus before we went into the desert. And then while we were in the desert in the Kalahari, I remember speaking to Alvin about the state of the world and what we can expect because the human population is getting so high and nature's under threat. And he just said to me as we were driving the truck, he just said, well, we all part of nature. And when he observes certain antelope and species in the natural world, he said amazing things happen where they can catch a virus, for example. And then the numbers plummet. And he said, we're all part of nature. And if nature wants to bring human beings more into balance, then it wouldn't be uncommon for a virus to come into the human population. This was the conversation we had in.
[00:12:10.370] - Kara
The desert and before everything broke wild.
[00:12:13.900] - John
Yeah. So then he went off to get some supplies about three weeks later. And then he came back and he said this coronavirus has gone out of control. So it's quite strange, but it makes sense that we kind of preempted it in our conversations. But the conversation was all about nature and how human beings are part of nature. And if you look at a species in the wilderness that gets out of control, then it just comes back into balance through natural you could say natural selection or through disease or viruses or some other way.
[00:12:55.250] - Kara
[00:12:56.770] - John
So this is what happens in the natural world.
[00:12:59.070] - Kara
Yeah. And it's interesting, but when you and I were speaking, before we started recording, you were expressing how there's such a sharp contrast between what's happening. We're all going through this globally, but we're all experiencing it so differently. And in America, we're sort of out of our depth as far as that balance with nature and that appreciation of the cycle of life and the cycle of an individual's life and the cycle of humanity and just nature. And as you're talking about population and being in balance with nature and in South Africa and especially with your work that you've dealt, you've been so immersed in poverty, in an impoverished environment and the fatality rates really, that surround that type of environment. And you've had the blessing, really, I mean, a bittersweet blessing, but of being so immersed in nature, in that life cycle and seeing that this is part of just as you're saying, it's part of balance, it's part of nature. And it's a different perspective, but it's so much more grounded in reality to a certain extent than what we're dealing with in America, where it's this onslaught, where we're used to being so protected, and we deal with death a lot differently.
[00:14:44.890] - Kara
And it's really almost like a denial that is part of life. Do everything you can. The absolute worst possible outcome would be death. And rather than it being a transitory thing to another phase of a souls journey, if that makes sense. But I just found it very interesting how we're so contrasted in culture in that way.
[00:15:18.030] - John
Yeah. I mean, if people say that if people are afraid of death and they're afraid of life. So when my first journey on working with death was as a medicine.
[00:15:36.670] - Kara
Right. In the army. Yeah.
[00:15:38.770] - John
Helping Special Forces soldiers. And I was so amazed by them because they had this stoic, silent courage, and some of them had terrible injuries, and they really taught me about dealing with illness and dealing with death. That was my first teachers when I was 18, as an army medic. And they just come from the front lines of Angola, and we had the Golden War last for ten years. And these are some of the world's most courageous and hard and Special Forces soldiers that I was working with. And they were very humble, almost like priests. And all they thought about was helping their fellow soldier. And some of them had terrible injuries, but they just focused on healing one moment to the next.
[00:16:30.030] - Kara
You talk about that in your book, how they're consciously involved in their healing. I remember you talking about, like a Salve or a cream where it was being used by everybody but the Indigenous culture or the soldiers that you're speaking about were consciously involved, not just with the Salv, but that was one of your first experiences, if I remember correctly, where you were like, if it's good enough for them, for these warriors, it's good enough for me. And you were experiencing that conscientious involvement in healing with that. That was really beautiful.
[00:17:18.210] - John
Yeah. My question, during the time when I was 18, I had a big question in terms of why was it that these black African Special Forces soldiers, why was it that their bodies healed three times faster than the average white soldier? Because one strange thing is a South African Army. There wasn't much apartheid in the army, to be quite honest, but like the United States military is a lot more quality in the military, even though there was a part site and each of the rooms would be segregated in terms of black guys or white guys. The Ward was not segregated. Everyone got the same treatment. So you'd only have one room. Okay. Just black eyes and one room white guys. This is Jing. Apartheid white. But other than that, there wasn't no big difference in terms of treatment. Everyone with the same treatment, it was quite equal. So I was asking myself the question, why was it that these Special forces, black Special Forces soldiers, their bodies healed three times, if not four, five times faster than the average wide guy. And I've made it my business to research this and speak and open my heart and learn and learn and learn.
[00:18:34.480] - John
And then I finally realized what it was was that my special force of soldiers, my African friends, they were connected to their ancestors through their dreams. And they were not afraid of death in the same way as the white soldiers, because they dreamt about their ancestors and their loved ones who passed over. So for them, it wasn't an unknown place. So this is basically, I mean, people can read my book, Lipid Warrior, and see what I went through. But that was one of my main research questions was to do with healing of the body and death. So now with this global pandemic, I've been working in our local Township for over 20 years now. So whenever I come back from America doing a tour every year, I do a tour of a few months. And then I go back home to South Africa. And I spent three months in my local Township, which is like Gehetto or Shanty town. And death is ever present. There's always new people in the community who've died. And when you see a tent outside someone's home, it doesn't mean there's a Carnival. It means it's a funeral. And often the funerals are at home.
[00:19:55.330] - John
And often we bury the people together. We go to the grave site and we sing and we pray and we put the soil and put them in the ground and put the soil on top. And death is something which is not hidden. Death is something which is real and it's tragic and it tears us all apart. However, it's also part of life. I remember the story of doing my first retreat in South Africa, the game reserve, and being introduced to a young woman. And she had just lost her husband. And she was young when she's in her twenty s. And her husband had literally died three months before. I think he was a tracker and he just got some mysterious illness and he just died. And I remember just talking to her and just saying, how are you doing? She had a few young children and she's in the Shanghai tribe near Mozambique. And she just looked at me and with beautiful English, she just said, Death is just a part of life, John. I was completely blown away by her courage and her bravery. It was just a private conversation I had with her.
[00:21:10.070] - John
Her husband had died in tragic circumstances. He was in his twenty s. I think he may be 28 to 29. And she was a young woman with two children. And she just said to me, obviously, there was pain, incredible amount of pain in her ever. This stoic strength and courage was what really stayed with me. And it was what's always stayed with me when I'm working with my African Indigenous friends and colleagues. Was this everpresent awareness of the preciousness of life and how death is a part of life. That's not something to fight part of life very painful, but it's part of life. And during my traditional apprenticeship as a Sankuama, we have animal sacrifices in terms of goats offered to the community. However, we have to be there when the animal loses its life, and we have to be there, right, until it's a carcass and we have to sleep next to it and we have to watch the burning of the bones. And that whole process. We have to sit and be with. That's the training. It's part of the training, and it's a beautiful process, and it's painful because obviously we love the animals.
[00:22:40.900] - John
We love the goats. However, for the listeners who maybe find this uncomfortable, please bear in mind that these goats help feed a whole community. So if you eat meat and you go to the shop and you buy food and you buy the meat, that meat comes from Abattoir, where the animals are not killed in a graceful way. In this case, animals are killed with lots of praise, and it's a whole different experience. And then the community is fed. So we have to sit with that process and watch the death and rebirth and then listening to the dreams that come from the girl that has died.
[00:23:20.130] - Kara
Well, and there's a mystical side to this as well, where, if I'm remembering correctly, when you did your final initiation, there was a ball, right?
[00:23:31.550] - John
[00:23:33.710] - Kara
And it's as though the right one calls to you. It's not just like, oh, we go get the bowl now. It's like the bowl has to. And is it through dreams? Am I correct with this? But it's like a two way thing. Yeah, sorry.
[00:23:56.130] - John
So basically the animal world is communicating with us, and this is going back to our experience with the Kalahari. The animals are not these dumb, stupid creatures. Animals are watching us with the intelligence of the world. Animals are watching us all the time. And when we are going through initiations at Sangomas, we are listening to our dreams for the animals to call us. So the goats call us because they want to impart a gift to us. And then they go into the other world to spread a message for us. Same thing with the Ox and same thing with the other animals. So, for example, when we in the Calahari and we will pray and we'll make our presence known, and we'll walk quietly, and then our job is to track and see what animals come to us and go quietly and gently because those animals that come to us are also giving us a message. And sometimes they give us messages in our dreams, because the natural world is not this Lang slate. This natural world is this thriving, energetic pulse of life that's also observing us. We are observing it, but they are also observing us.
[00:25:20.010] - John
And when we went in the Kalahari Desert and Botswana is one of the wildest places left in the world. And in Africa, there's a lot of places in Africa now where man has placed a large footprint. And these stories of ancient Africa and teeming wildlife, I'm sad to say it's changing really quickly. However, in the Calahari, we were very lucky to go to one of the wildest places on Earth where some animals had still not encountered man before. So when we were walking and there were certain bird sounds that our tracker friend Allen was saying, is the birds talking to the other animals and saying that these are two legged creatures that we don't know about. And it's like an alarm cord going through the wilderness.
[00:26:12.710] - Kara
Wow, what a blessing. Oh, my goodness. When you were starting to talk about this retreat, you talked about the leopard who wanted to download information, but you weren't able to get to it before.
It passed away onto the next iteration of its being.
[00:26:38.290] - Kara
But there is no time and space, right? So were you still able to be was that able to be transmitted to you in some way?
[00:26:49.990] - John
Yes. Well, I met her daughter.
[00:26:54.790] - Kara
[00:26:55.430] - John
Yeah, I met her daughter. So the daughter I tracked. And there was a daughter that I noticed.
[00:27:01.120] - Kara
And then were you able to get the information that way?
[00:27:05.890] - John
Well, she's the living generation.
[00:27:07.770] - Kara
[00:27:08.090] - John
So these things don't happen in a textbook fashion, right? This happens in a mystical way. So the mystery of this is unbeathomable, and it's hard to explain in words, but all I can say is, when we arrived at our campsites in Calahari was just me and Iwan and his team of people to set up the campsite. And I turned to him and I said, have you had any dreams like Monsieur recently? And he says, no, I haven't. So then I gave him some African herbs, and I just said, okay, well, burn this, and let's see what she has to say. So then we went to sleep, and then the next day, we were having breakfast, and he just looked at me and he said, I dreamt about my Saber last night. I hadn't dreamt about it in a long time. I said, okay, wonderful. So what did she say? And he said, well, she was watching me from a distance, and then she was walking with me, and there was two younger Leopards, and I was in an area quite close to here, and I recognized her the way she used to move. So he said to me, let's follow the dream and let's go hunting for Leopards.
[00:28:37.390] - John
So we climbed into the Jeep and we went off to that area that he dreamt about. And we're driving and driving. And suddenly he slowed the car down to that area that he saw in the dream, he looked down on the ground, and then he stopped the Jeep and he just turned to me and he said, there's leopard tracks on the right. So we got out of the Jeep, we walked onto the land and we followed the tracks. And he turned to me and he said There was two young Leopards that walked here quite recently. And he said, in my dream, Matse was guiding two young and he looked at me and he said, we don't need to see the Leopards, John, because we've seen the tracks and we've connected with their spirit because I've had the dream. And then we were just quiet. And I said to him, this is very auspicious because this has happened before the start of our retreat. So Matzeba has blessed us. She's made her presence known and she's made her presence known through the living Leopards. Do you see the tracks in the sand mirrored the tracks in the dreams, which was the sign that mathematics from the spirit world had come through and anointed us through a spirit of transmission.
[00:30:12.390] - John
That's why Allen was quiet and he said, you don't need to see the Leopards now because I see their footprints clearly in the sand. They've been here and I dreamt about them last night, which means we are being blessed by them. Wow. But Savage blessed us so beautiful because there's a huge problem now in Africa with poaching. But there's also another problem which is called consumerism. And what is consumerism in terms of the Safari industry? Consumerism is photographic safaris, where people have to bring the biggest camera they can bring and they're taking photographs after photographs of the animals. They're disturbing the animals and they are addicted what they see with their eyes. So they have to see the animal in order to know that they experience that animal. But our eyes deceive us all the time. The African wilderness can teach us so much more than just what we can see with our eyes. So when we learn to dream and we see the tracks in the sand, we don't need to see the animal because we've experienced this spirit. To experience the spirit of the animal is to experience the divine, which is to not be given, to not go into gratification with the eyes and to become greedy with her eyes, which means we have to see this animal and that animal, and we have a bucket list of animals we want to see.
[00:32:00.040] - John
And then what happens is pressure gets put on to the Safari guy. It's to see a long list of animals on people's bucket list. And that pressure drives a terrible form of consumerism because then the jeeps drive very quickly because people want to see certain animals before the sun goes down. And then people bring these huge cameras that have got shut to speed that are incredible, that are noisy and disturb the animals. And I remember this one experience in Botswana last year when I first met Alan, I was watching a herd of elephants, and it was the most peaceful, beautiful thing. And then suddenly there was this Jeep that went going past to the rate of knots, all these tourists. And it made such a noise. And I saw this Bull elephant look at this Jeep with such disdain and with such anger lifted its trunk and its body language shook because it scared it and it disturbed it. And it turned its body away from the road and started walking into the Bush. And I felt ashamed. I felt ashamed in that moment to be a human being. And I know in that Jeep they were tourists from other countries.
[00:33:26.270] - John
I know that they are not bad people, that they are good people. But I know that the man driving the Jeep at a rate of knots was under pressure from the tourists to see the animals they wanted to see. That's called consumerism. And it was putting a terrible drain on the animals because animals don't want to always be seen and have a camera flashed under their face.
[00:33:54.190] - John
It's an invasion of Privacy. If an animal wants to give birth, if an animal wants to mate, if an animal is sick, they need Privacy, just like a human being needs Privacy. And photographic safaris can be beautiful. I'm not saying they're wrong. They can be beautiful. But we have to always balance what we're seeing with our physical eyes, with what we are seeing with our inner eye.
[00:34:26.950] - John
And we can't give into this weird form of consumerism where people have to satisfy the gratification of their eyes, where they have to see all the animals, and then they're under pressure to see the animals. And then the animals are pressurized in mysterious and strange ways. But where their Privacy starts to be affected, for example, strange things happen where the people have to drive really quickly through the game observable. They have to take all these huge, big cameras and taking pictures of the animals and disturbing them. Then animal is much more than this very creature that we can take a picture of. This taking has to stop. It's better to sit with the animals and appreciate them in silence. That's going to engender a better relationship between humans and animals. What we need now is into species dialogue and into species harmony.
[00:35:36.650] - Kara
I love that so much. And it brings to mind something that I thought if the opportunity came up that I would mention because is after our last discussion, this wasn't immediately after, but some days or a couple of weeks, maybe later, as I was falling asleep, I saw this beautiful design, I suppose, behind closed eyes, sort of like a Mandala or a version of it. And suddenly the center of it started to pull forward. And I noticed that it was becoming the shape of a baboon. And then it continued to come forward more it was like stretching forward and it became a leopard, but it still had this design, this Mandala design sort of thing on it. So it didn't have the colors, but it had the shapes. And so I found this really interesting. I wasn't asleep yet, so it wasn't a dream per se. But I'm living in the suburbs in America. I don't have a lot of exposure to wildlife. I have been to South Africa and I've been to like in the last I think it was about three years ago. We went to Kruger and Cape Town and a few different places along the coast as well.
[00:37:13.750] - Kara
So I have experienced it. But it's not like my everyday reference point, but it was really beautiful, as you're saying. We need to experience this more on the site level and being relying on our physical eyes, but really trying to have that connection. And I just found it curious that that happened. And if there are ways that people can sort of utilize these we share the planet with these amazing creatures, and we're all here. Everything is here for us. The elements are here for us. All of it is here for us to awaken to a Fuller life, into a Fuller experience, a Fuller incarnation. And I don't know if there are ways that people who are kind of removed from these amazing connections to nature, such as that can still connect in that way or through dreams or through meditations. I know you have some beautiful meditations that are focused on kind of bringing in nature as part of that, too. I don't know.
[00:38:50.730] - John
Yeah. I think every human being is part of nature. Whether we living in New York City or living on a farm or even living in a prison or in a hospital, everyone is part of nature. Because wherever you are, elements of nature are going to be there. It could be insects, there could be rats, it could be small creatures, all part of nature. So I think the more human beings can develop an awareness that it's not just about us and the world isn't dead outside ourselves, then it can engender more of a sense of selflessness and more of a sense of openness and altruism, not just towards the human world, but towards the nonhuman world, because the life of a fly is just as precious as the life of a human being. I know a lot of people may struggle with that, but if you say human being's life is more important than a fly, what are you saying? So all aspects of the divine are portrayed through the animal world, through the world of the living creatures, sentient beings. As we say in Buddhism, sentient beings are numberless. We vow to save them all.
[00:40:18.840] - John
So that's the body set for vow. And Buddhism. So if we're saying that, then we need to observe the world of the sentient beings, the world of the creatures, the world of the flies, the world of the bees, the world of the other creatures beyond ourselves. And if we say human beings are the most important, then we are not really going to listen to the silent ones, the ones without voices, the silent ones without voices are watching us all the time. Even if you're in prison and there's a Spider in the room, it's watching you. And if you think it isn't, then you are not listening to nature, because nature is watching us all the time. In the eyes of nature. Maybe not be the eyes of a human being. It may be the eyes of the wild ones. The eyes of the wild ones might come forth through the eyes of a rat. And you could be in New York City and go down into the underground, take a train somewhere subway. I saw the biggest rats I've seen the biggest bit of wildlife in America in the form of these huge rats in the subways that had that New York spirit of not really being afraid of anything, even a human being.
[00:41:38.370] - John
They come running towards you and you flip and run the other direction. I mean, a New York rat, it's something to be respectful of, let me tell you.
[00:41:47.770] - John
So people want to learn how to develop their natural wisdom and their tracking skill and being part of nature. The thing I always recommend is for people to go to a park, which is listen to the birds. The birds will teach you how to connect with the natural world, because the first thing you do is you show your love for the bird people, and then they will communicate that into the natural world. The bird people, the birds will show you what you need to learn. If your heart is ready, your heart is open.
[00:42:25.410] - Kara
Oh, that's beautiful.
[00:42:28.050] - John
My mother taught this to me when my eyes opened for the first time as a baby. And she's still teaching that to me today. And she's not 83. And when she stands outside, she'll call the Owls, and the Owls will come.
[00:42:41.800] - Kara
[00:42:42.660] - John
If she stands outside, she will call the other wild birds and they will come.
[00:42:47.240] - Kara
[00:42:49.110] - John
And she's just a simple woman from Dublin, Ireland. But she knows the voice and connection with the bird people. And all it is is a love of the wild ones, love of the birds. She doesn't have some strange mystical training. She's just a simple Irish woman who loves nature, who loves the birds. Yeah, that's it. It's simple. It's not complicated.
[00:43:16.950] - Kara
That's so beautiful and inspiring, too, because that is accessible. My kids and I were doing a little bike ride a few days ago, and my son came upon a bird, and I don't even know what kind it was. It was really beautiful, though. And I thought it might have been injured and it may have been, but it did start running. So I was like, well, maybe its wings don't work but it was just calling out, calling out, calling out and we got off the bikes and we stood a ways away and it quieted down and it was interesting to see it responds like if they took a step forward it would start calling again but it was such a beautiful connection with how we could feel it's comfort if we take that step it's not comfortable anymore so come back but being able to use that, it was such a gift to be able to use that as this mysterious connection with what's available to us in the suburbs we don't have Leopards here do you want to talk about at the end of your retreat? I was really intrigued with the Lions that you saw at the very end do you want to share that?
[00:44:45.130] - John
Yeah, we were tracking clients for six weeks and then we finally managed to see them just five days before all the retreats ended and it was amazing was a real mystical experience because you won't see even the Lions and you won't see the leopard unless they want you to see them so what happened was there were young Lions and Bushman trackers with us reckoned that they'd never seen man before so they didn't know what we were and Lions are not what people think they are, they're not these man eating kind of creatures that just see a human being want to run off to you and take you out that's actually not the truth, they were actually afraid of us, the Lions, so they were running away from us so we started tracking them with their SPURA in the sand and we were following them and they were trying to keep away from us and then it was decided that we were going to the Jeeps and we went a little bit quicker but we were still keeping a distance from them because we didn't want to frighten them and that's how we saw them, all seven of them which was also very lucky.
[00:46:05.020] - John
So before the retreat started there was this dream of bad Matse. As the retreats ended we encountered seven lines as we left the retreats the world was on fire with this virus what is the teaching? Teaching for me is that the natural world is alive and it's teaching all the time all we have to do is listen and not think that we are number one because that's the derivatives, right? And it's not what all these brutal teachings in the world were talking about it's not that right.
[00:46:47.930] - Kara
Well it's such a blessing, such a beautiful life that you're able to live and that you're giving to other people. What an amazing opportunity for the people who were able to join you and for me to just even listen to it, it changes the way that I feel to just being able to envision the magic of your experience so thank you for all the good work that you're doing and I know you have the Ubuntu Fund, too, that I wanted to mention to help to raise money for people in the Township that you live in part of the time. Do you want to talk a little bit about that and we can put a link in the show notes?
[00:47:49.970] - John
Yes. Well, I just have what I call my Ubuntu fund, which is often used to help my traditional friends and family. So sometimes it can be used towards medicine and sometimes it can be used for food or can go towards helping with ceremonies or it can go towards transport. It's basically a fund to help my community that is often struggling with material resource. However, I just want to make a very strong point. They are very strong spiritually. So as we make as people overseas, give me donations and I help them, and then they, in turn, will help people overseas through me and also through keeping that connection with the other world and the spirit world alive through the ceremonies and through the very intricate ceremony they do to honor their ancestors and the silent hidden ones in this world. So they keep these ancient ceremonies alive. And for me, it's important for the whole world that's not just for Africa. So, yeah, they might be poor people materially, but don't think of them as poor people because they are very rich, very rich spiritually. And I just want to really make that point. It's quite interesting for me dealing with a lot of middle class people in America or Europe, and some of them have a lot of poverty issues in terms of spiritually.
[00:49:20.160] - John
They're not connected to their ancestors and they have incredible fear of death, but yet they have nice cars and nice homes, but they're riddled with anxiety and depression. So then you've got people say in South Africa who don't have all these material luxuries, but they will not be riddled with anxiety and depression, and they will know their ancestors through their dreams. So who's better? Who's worse? None of us are. We are all here to help one another with the particular skills and gifts we have.
[00:49:57.470] - Kara
That's it, right. That's so beautiful. And I think you see that the world over, that contradiction between it's like almost a give and take in a lot of situations. How can people connect with you or I know you have your webinars, you have monthly webinars, but I know you're so inspiring and you're doing online consultations as well.
[00:50:34.440] - John
[00:50:35.970] - Kara
So what would be a good way for people to be able to learn more, apart from your book?
[00:50:43.530] - John
Well, they can sign up for my monthly webinars, which have been going very well, and I'm really enjoying them. I really love that because it's a platform where you can get a whole lot of people on one call, and then there's opportunity for people to ask questions and to engage and the community to engage. So I'd normally like to give a bit of a talk. You could say Darma talk for about 20 minutes or so and then ask if anyone has any questions and then I might talk a little bit more about the particular topic we have which last month was the gift of calling and befriending illness. So every month is a different topic so that's a good way for people to engage with the monthly webinars but just to let the listener know that we are planning to do another dreams and tracking retreats in the Calahari next year, in February and March hopefully everything will be okay. We're planning for that and we plan to go back into the desert again. So if people are interested they can always look on our website and then they can book through that okay.
[00:51:52.010] - Kara
Perfect. And you have some other things available on your website too that can help people to deepen their connection with spirits.
[00:52:07.090] - John
Well, my audio teachings are very helpful for the Way of the leopard and it's like an online course and it's about six CDs which you can download and it sounds true through my publisher so if people are interested in connecting more with the wilderness and they want to know how to do it from an African perspective then you can just go into my website or even go into Amazon and download the Way of the leopard audio teachings.
[00:52:37.030] - Kara
Perfect. Good. Well, thank you so much. I just love listening to you. You're just so full of wisdom and you're overflowing and my heart is full so thank you so much.
[00:52:53.750] - John
[00:52:55.090] - Kara
Thank you joining us today and we look forward to the next meditation conversation.