The People of the Castles

In the very distant past people did not have the internet. They lived in their own place which was usually far away from other places and their information about other peoples and other places was fragmented and always through third parties. Few people visited other places systematically or even once in their lifetime, most did not interact with other peoples or cultures.

As local populations grew, and settlements, villages, towns and cities sprang up here and there, and as the world became more geographically dispersed, communication began to strengthen. Oral, written, systematic.

Communication made evident the diversity of peoples, cities, kingdoms, and then states. Other places, other customs; each place with its own nature, and therefore with a different life compass. From its natural resources to its people, and above all to that elusive sense that makes one place different from another. This belief-trust in something intangible and higher that silently haunts the people of a place.

The omnipotence of nature with which man had to find solutions for a life of greater comfort and security gave the fear of group survival the role of a multifaceted engineer of evolution. New ideas for better group living came forward and cities were ever changing to serve a new vision each time. Each vision had an essence, sometimes religious, sometimes economic, sometimes political, sometimes creative. Each vision with its own tendency to affect a number of generations.

And so we saw world wonders, of engineering, of architecture, of medicine, of art. Civilizations were born, nurtured and extinguished. We have marched through peace and wars, creation and destruction, light and darkness in our every moment, individually and collectively.

And although back then in the distant past when people still had a sense of a local way of life, one far from the other, each one individually pondered for her family and her village what was to come and asked the questions of life that were theirs, their thoughts met invisibly at night in the great subconscious of the entirety of Life that concerns us all.

How else since the same stories of life and death appear in different parts of the planet at the same ancient time? Each bringing the flavours and spices of a different place but serving the same basic menu of questions, answers and philosophical pleasure.

As I gazed at the fields jutting out in the center of the frame of a living painting that in my eyes was the view of the Italian countryside from the Rocca Viscontea in the village of Castell’ Arquato in the city of Piacenza, I remembered the words of Confucius.

“In ancient times, those who wished their virtue to shine throughout the world under heaven had first to govern their state well. In order to rule the state well they had first to unite their clan. To unite their clan they had first to cultivate themselves. To cultivate themselves, their heart had to be in the right place. For their heart to be in the right place, they first had to have a sincere goal. In order to have a sincere goal, they first had to acquire knowledge, and the way to acquire knowledge was to study the nature of things.

When you understand the nature of things, you gain knowledge. When you gain knowledge, you can set a sincere goal. When you set a sincere goal, the heart can find its right place. When your heart is in the right place, you can cultivate yourself. When you cultivate yourself, you can unite your clan. When the clan is united, the state can be well governed. When the state is well governed, everything under Heaven can be put in order.

For both the emperor and the common man, the root is self-cultivation.”

Between the two angel towers, the outer wall had collapsed, had given way through the years and times. And this movement allows the beautiful Italian landscape to emerge like a painting, with a perfect frame defined schematically by the two angel towers. Only now can the landscape be seen, only now the energy opens up and the angel towers underline the essence, the nature of things, that everything under Heaven can be put in order.

This society was governed from a certain point onwards well; it managed to unite its members, to blend the factions, the clans, the families, to put itself in order. Its people returned forever into their hearts, set sincere goals, lived their sincere lives, and their virtue shines throughout the world under Heaven.

Only when we have been safe enough to let the walls come down have we reached the home of our own nature. We have asked the questions, we have received the answers and we begin to rejoice in the nature of things. Only then can we set a sincere goal and finally be alive in our vitality, intelligent in our inquiry and disarmingly receptive with our presence.

Only when we break down the walls will we see what is beyond, deeper and further away and ultimately within us; only when we feel secure in our personal journey can our voice, our gaze, our craftwork emerge as a work of art in the gallery of the global collective human experience. With its own unique frame – a frame of reference. And it is this movement that all of Humanity needs from us, this simple movement of the collapse of fear; the fear of survival through the pursuit of security as the highest virtue, of the lack of dialectical communication with what is out there, of delusion about things, about what is in here, in our innermost being, of discovering the extent of our ignorance about the nature of our things.

Who are you? This wall that hides what is offered to you?

Who are you? That which lies within the frame? That which the two angel towers support? The movement that caused the outer walls to collapse? The one who asks these questions? The sunlight that makes this image visible? The doubt about whether you perceive things as they are or as you would like them to be? The belief that it all makes sense and is real?

Every time I see these beautifully preserved cities – fortresses of the Italian countryside, perfectly restored, welcoming all of us modern figures of a modern lifestyle, I recognize yet another movement of evolution of humanity. The fortresses have been transformed into places for recreation, sport and, above all, they are excellent places for a walk that offers ideal conditions for personal reflection. The forts have fallen, they have lowered their defenses and they can stand to see their truth under the sky. For the people who maintain them, live in them and enjoy them, endure to see their hearts, set honest goals and continue to study the nature of things for themselves and others. For the people of these castles work for themselves as well as for everyone else. And then, from this level of Consciousness, the walls are no longer of any use, and rather hide the larger picture of Truth that become now with this new movement accessible to a greater number of recipients.

Both for all of us as a collective being and for each of us individually, the root is self-cultivation, our constant movement towards awareness of the nature of our things, the movement that makes walls unnecessary and allows us to see clearly and in focus the bigger picture, of our nature and of the world as a whole.