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Oprah’s Angel Network re: Wisdom Man

This article written by Bob Keeton.
From the book, “Wisdom Man” about an Aboriginal elder came my desire to want to share his story, as told to Camilla Chance.

Camilla first met Aboriginal people in 1975, after coming to Warrnambool (the Aboriginal population there was high, but they were good at disappearing).  Though she was from the other end of the social spectrum and could more easily been among their adversaries, she became a friend, got jobs for them, bailed them out of jail, had them to stay and did everything she could to become an ally.  

An Aboriginal family adopted her, and she was accepted as Aboriginal in spirit.  This began a 27 year period of writing down their philosophy, as expressed by the head of that family, Banjo Clarke.  

Camilla received no money for the published work (Wisdom Man by Banjo Clarke as told to Camilla Chance, published by Penguin Australia and available from or Penguin U.S.), but rather busied herself by traveling the world and disseminating Banjo’s ideas, because she saw first hand that indigenous people who are true to their old laws are, in many ways, living the closest to how we all need to live now, for our planet to survive.  

What she found was that deeds done from the whole heart, from pure motives, are shortly going to be the only truly effective things on earth.  And she agreed with Banjo that no bad people exist – only unhappy ones.

Eckhardt Tolle, in “A New Earth” briefly mentions that people without ego, the meek, will inherit the earth.  Well, Camilla saw that Aboriginal people, who are uncorrupted by the excesses of over-civilization are without ego.  They do nothing until they are sure the Spiritual World wants them to do it.  Everything is done for the tribe, for humankind and for nature.  She said they have a deep core of love she could feel in their presence. They knew things before the people of European descent around them, and would leave an area before problems like a devastating earthquake.  

Banjo Clarke taught sharing as a most basic Aboriginal law.  No matter how hungry he or she is, an Aboriginal will never eat in front of another person or even an animal without attempting to share everything with him.  There is a deep sense of unity that causes extra-sensory perception: they always know, even over a long distance, whether misfortune has befallen a friend.  Traditionally, they do not bear grudges.  Their sense that the Spiritual World and their ancestors are all around them gives them basic confidence and happiness, and they strongly pity anyone who has cut himself or herself off from such awareness.  They see this cutting off as the basic cause of all human troubles.  They see human beings as of first importance and material gain as of no importance.  Hunting or foraging for food, they never take more than they need, and do everything they can in a lot of different ways to help species to grow strong.  When working, they are never clock watchers, but believe that always doing your best, working chiefly when you have inspiration, finishing the job as soon as possible after you have started it, working with your mood and not against it, and relaxing totally and taking a complete break when that feels right … would help put fresh impetus into a tired world.

In 2005, 500 Aboriginals gathered from all over Australia to present Camilla Chance with their “Unsung Hero” Award – a honor that was to be presented, except on very rare occasions, to an Aboriginal person who had worked behind the scenes, without pushing him or herself forward, for the betterment of Aboriginals.  

There is something in the story of Banjo Clarke that can benefit us all.  And the fact that he chose Camilla Chance as the one to whom he entrusted it speaks volumes as well.

Banjo died in March 2000, but he left a legacy and a road map for us in the work Camilla wrote and continues to discuss.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 at 1:30 am and is filed under Clients, Friends and Colleagues, Industry News, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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