And so the journey began in a video store....
You could say my impending journey started many years ago. A pilgrimage doesn’t start when one starts walking; it begins the first moment the thought entered the pilgrims head. That moment for me was when I bought a used video as a hard-nosed business student six years ago. It had won quite a few Oscars, so I thought I’d have a look. Three hours later I was drying up tears that had been inspired out of me, tears brought on by witnessing beauty, even if it was just a movie. That film was called Gandhi.
The next day I skipped class and undertook to read as much about the great soul as I could. Gandhiji then led to Vinoba Bhavé, and both led me to where I am now and my thoughts today. Which is at a point where I have decided to walk 12,000km, without money and carrying nothing but my faith in humanity and a small backpack, from the UK to Porbandar in India starting on 30th January 2008, the sixtieth anniversary of the day three bullets entered the Mahatma’s chest. I am walking as a Community Pilgrim in a bid to restore a sense of true community and true non-violence in the world. The date and places are very symbolic for me. I will be leaving at a point in time in which I feel community is being assassinated by our governments, the corporations and by fear. But by the time I get to Porbandar, I believe it will have begun a rebirth.
So why am I walking without money? Inspired by Bapu, I want my life to be my message. We can always talk the talk, but in order to really effect change we have to be shining lights and start walking the walk, though obviously not quite so literally. I believe, influenced by Vinoba, that as long as we have money we will never have non-violence. Money is a very poor substitute for trust in our fellow beings and the universe to provide for our simple needs. It is a manifestation of the emotions of fear, insecurity and greed. As long as the desire for money exists, all the ills of the world which are related to it will continue also. Think about it. Environmental destruction beyond comprehension, sweatshops, factory farms, the war on peace, most modern crimes; they all have a common denominator, and that is money and it’s alter egos credit and the profit motive which I feel permeates everything these days. We could campaign endlessly against all the above symptoms, or we could simply decide to starve these diseases of the thing they feed on.
It may sound strangely radical to many but I feel that as long as we have money we will never have true non-violence or real community. Just consider what we are stating when we take money from someone for work we have done. We are saying ‘I don’t trust you, the rest of our community or the universe so I must have your money as a guarantee for my safety’. We are saying that some people’s time is worth more than others and hence assigning class to each persons labour. We are taking part in a cold transaction, one which is usually devoid of love or kindness. I say ‘we’, as I am as guilty as the next in this display of distrust.
Aside from the spiritual reasons for making the transition from a money-based communityless society to more of a community-based moneyless society, I also believe we are at a very crucial point in history with the looming threat of peak oil and climate change. In a thriving economy money can give a sense of security, however false. But what will security be if we witness an unprecedented global economic crash as the speculative pillars of our capitalist societies fall? Will it be worthless notes and coins? Or will it be a closely knit community that has a diverse group of people and skills? I see being part of a strong diverse community as being the security of tomorrow, and how much more enriched our lives will be for it.
My vision is a world based on love, kindness, faith and respect, not on one founded on fear, insecurity and greed. How much longer are we willing to watch the violence, the suffering and the destruction of all that is beautiful around us? Now is the time for reform. Lady Eve Balfour once said that any reform that isn’t built on spiritual foundations is destined to fail. Social reform is badly needed today, yet we still cling to money and credit, those devilish twins that got us here in the first place, as the panacea for our problems. But if what Lady Eve believes is true, then our present methodologies have no chance. As I have said money is the manifestation of fear and insecurity. But fear and spirituality do not grow well in the same field. Therefore I believe that money has no place alongside spirituality, and hence any reforms built on a monetary basis are doomed to fail.
Now is the time for Imagination. I invite you to join me on both my internal and external journeys as they progress....
Comment on this Post:
tiinku(dubai,UAE) comments ...
what a thought ! really, in these days money speaks rather than anything else.i’m a house wife,having lot of vision for peace and humanity but i have experienced that without money no one even listen to you seriously,may be i ’m not a brave to make things change but today you are the one,who gave the courage to think about something which i have been thinking for long.thanks for your support.you are a true hero.
may god bless you and may all your path be smooth and friendly.
Sreeram, Bangalore comments ...
What a noble concept - transition from a money-based communityless society to more of a community-based moneyless society!
I congratulate you on such a seminal thought. May God bestow you with all the strength needed for this extraordinary and very Gandhian effort.
Best of Luck,
marina [São Paulo, Brasil] comments ...
since most of us nowadays lack the courage to do such a beautiful and brave action, and \"walk the walk\" like you are doing, be assured that all our thoughts are with you in this jouney!
i have been thinking about a society free of money for quite a long time, but have also been regarded as \"mad\" and \"hippie\" by others around me...
maybe your journey will bring together people who believe this moneyless community is possible!
may God bless every step of your journey, and remember our best thoughts will acompany you all the way!
nina comments ...
Well Done for getting as far as France, and better luck next time! I read your story in the Guardian. Don’t give up now...instead I strongly reccomend you also read about Peace Pilgrim who spent years walking round America without money or any posesions.
If you look her up on the internet you can find out more, and they will even send you her book for FREE. Makes very interesting reading, she like Gandi also had something wonderful to give us, and it might inspire you for your next trip, which I’m sure you’ll do!
So don’t be put off by any negative comments those who say such things are the sad ones who would never dare contimplate such a thing ;)
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Anok comments ...
Highly inspiring post, great thoughts, great ideas. Thanks for writing out the start of your journey so well. I have a similar story, though more angry than poetic - we need more people in the world to think this way, to recognize and understand the problems that we face, and how to solve them.
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