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Ancient African Respect In Action

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Joseph A. Bailey, II, M.D.Typical displays of Respect among Ancient Africans included symbolic forms of Ma’at (Love and Selfless Service in action) by meansof spiritually related rituals, ceremonies, and festivals done often and withsincerity as well as by the giving and/or the receiving of Love, harmony,peace, interdependence, trust, honesty and other Ma’at traits which permeatethe families, homes, and the environment of those involved. This was based uponthe belief that all systems of energy and life are ultimately interconnected witheach other, both locally and beyond the local. African Sages received thehighest form of respect from the people because they had achieved a divinestate—that which is closest to God—as a result of inner purification; of possessing Ma’at principles; promoting thoughts which were divinely inspired; and of being skilled in exhibiting Ma’atian morals/ethics. Besides beingblessed with spiritual knowledge and being fixed in contemplation on that knowledge,their minds were stable, as in not being disturbed by adversity nor byprosperity—accepting both and not tied to either; were no longer bound byattachments or things; and were satisfied to stay within their respective RealSelf (Bailey, Selfhood Mastery). These qualities became foundational elements ofthose African Traditions that applied in every aspect of daily living—and byevery individual— “forever”. By deciding workable things that were permanentand stationary meant there was no need to change.

This helps explain why Africans are a Traditional people. African children started learning Respect byrecognizing the kindness of others in the various ways others showed it. Ifthose ways were unfamiliar then it was the child’s job to discover its realityand, while in the process of discovery, to give others the benefit of thedoubt. Regardless of whether kindness was given or not and regardless if something bad was directed to the child or indirectly affected the child, theidea was to extract the lessons indispensable for the child’s own spiritual progress.

Examples: “it could have been worse”or “everything happens for the best.” To accord a higher status within onesmind to those who do things “just for you” justified holding someone as “Dear”and as worthy of ones intensified respect and affection. Apart from respectingthe dignity of others, it was the duty of all African people to respect every person’suniqueness and importance for the purpose of the well-being of the wholecommunity. However, each person had a duty to maintain a character and dignitydeserving of respect. An example of showing respect in African Tradition is that if one has grievously wronged his/her parents, it would by utterlydisrespectful and unacceptable to go directly and ask for forgiveness. One wouldhave to go through some respectable elderly person to whom one would give sometoken of repentance to take to the parent.

These principles contained in Respect remain fundamental.To show respect for authority, position, the elderly, the spiritual, themysterious, and the sacred is strict African Tradition which is taught fromcradle to grave (Opokuwaa, Akan Protocol, p. 271; The Quest, p. 80). Its basic themeis to demonstrate humaneness and humanity. A fundamental aspect of these threeis to realize that something or somebody(s) has something to teach (especiallyenemies). Also, a person of quality possesses certain features that can serveas a standard or a model or as a guide when one is not yet mature enough tofigure out the best choice, decision, or solution for oneself. This impliesdoing respectful things; knowing how to receive respectful things; andrecognizing and extracting lessons from respectful things. Ancient Africans emphasizedplacing ones trust only in a person of quality and “respect him/her for whathas happened to him/her.” Their reason was that “success does not come atrandom but depends on divine laws that favor those the gods love. “What a manof quality has acquired he has acquired through his own merit” and by diligently “watching his/her mind” so as to stay with Ma’at type thoughts.

website: www.jablifeskills.com

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