Tag Archive life

You Do not Know Joy Unless You Know Suffering

How many times have we assumed that we were unlucky or even cursed because we were going through unbearably painful tribulations? How often do we wonder why bad things happen to us and not to other people? Is there a better way of handling this? Is it possible for us to learn to accept what comes into our existence?

The Bantu life philosophy teaches us that it is normal, human and OK to experience feelings such as sadness, unhappiness or discouragement when we are confronted with dreadful, horrible circumstances. However, it also encourages us to understand that we must accept and then let go of these negative feelings so that we are in a better position to serve humanity to the best of our ability. In order to be able to do this, we have to be eager to embrace the ebbs and flows of life.

Rather than seeing painful experiences as fearful circumstances that must be avoided at all costs, we should view them as opportunities to better appreciate past or future joyful occasions.  When we are undergoing sorrowful experiences, we must confront them without relinquishing or giving up seeking happiness. Equally, when we are in a state of bliss, we must enjoy it without forgetting or fearing the eventuality of suffering and pain.


By Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell

Founder and CEO, Medzan Training                            Contact Sylvie

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Being Alive Is Being Wealthy

“Being alive is being wealthy”. Uummmm… Really?

It is tempting to think that this thought is not true. But as with many things deriving from the Akomdo (the life philosophy of the Beti, a Bantu subgroup), we must not take it literally. Obviously, poverty exists and there will always be some people who are rich while others endure misery, deprivation and hardship. But the Akomdo encourages all human beings, regardless of their material situation, to appreciate the free, yet enriching, fulfilling and rewarding things that life has to offer. For instance, true love, genuine friendship, and parental affection are all free. No amount of money can buy them, and no material possession, however valuable, can fill the void and the sensation of emptiness we feel when we lack these things.

This does not mean that if we are penniless, we must not strive to become rich and acquire material possessions. Nevertheless, in our quest for material comfort, we must be careful not to lose our humanity. We must always bear in mind that wealth is not an end in itself, but a tool to help us serve humanity better.

Being alive is being wealthy because regardless of our circumstances, we are all inheritors of something that is far more precious than material wealth: the love, work and commitment of the people who came before us. Whatever we do, whatever our aspirations are, we must always remember that the ultimate purpose of our existence is to cherish, improve and pass on this legacy.

By Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell

Founder and CEO, Medzan Training                            Contact Sylvie

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