An anthropologist studying the habits and customs of an African tribe found himself surrounded by children most days. So he decided to play a little game with them. He managed to get candy from the nearest town and put it all in a decorated basket at the foot of a tree.
Then he called the children and suggested they play the game. When the anthropologist said “now”, the children had to run to the tree and the first one to get there could have all the candy to him/herself.
So the children all lined up waiting for the signal. When the anthropologist said “now”, all of the children took each other by the hand ran together towards the tree. They all arrived at the same time divided up the candy, sat down and began to happily munch away.
The anthropologist went over to them and asked why they had all run together when any one of them could have had the candy all to themselves.
The children responded: “Ubuntu. How could any one of us be happy if all the others were sad?”
Ubuntu is a philosophy of African tribes that can be summed up as “I am what I am because of who we all are.”
Bishop Desmond Tutu gave this explanation in 2008:
“One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”
This is the true spirit of human development and cause of human evolution. Ubuntu. Once again, we are proud to say Ubuntu, I am what I am because of who we all are. This is not a story as such, but a feeling to be expressed.
Aparigraha is a sanskrit word which has been translated as “non-hoarding” or “non-possessiveness”. It is a principle widely promoted in Ayurveda and Yoga for right living.
Ayurveda promotes inter -connectedness, sharing and the health of everyone and the planet as a whole.
Eating and sharing your food is one way to take part in this inter-connectedness. Be kind and offer your food to guests or your family first. If you are eating alone, offer your food first to God, Mother Divine or your Spirit within.
Appreciate the food that you have and give thanks to those who harvested, prepared and served your food – even if that person is you. Also, give thanks to our planet for providing food for us.
Don’t take more than you need and always keep in the back of your mind that your goods, especially your food is meant to be shared and enjoyed by all.