Welcome! The origin of this web page goes back to 20 years ago in 1995 while I was living in Virginia. Perhaps to be more accurate, the idea for this web page goes back to the mid-1950s when the author was growing up as a child in a typical village in Lundazi in Eastern Zambia in Africa. These details are important because the idea of this web page did not come up overnight. It was after 20 years of serious searching because spectacular negative things were happening in the author’s life that threatened to destroy him. He had everything that modern or the American dream life would say one needs to be happy or successful; a car, house, job as a professor, wife and family. What happened could not be explained by boredom or lack of education for he has a Ph. D for what it is worth in the fuller context of life. No one thing could be identified to explain why those negative things, dramatic emotions, life events, and feelings were happening.
This is perhaps why this should be said on the got set so that the reader does not waste time reading more of what is on this web page. There are millions if not billions of web pages to day and other rational sources of information. Those web pages, books and other sources of information attempt to offer you the one solution to life; yoga, religion, money, food, travel, love, sex, marriage, legal and illegal drugs, material possessions, more degrees, and the list is endless. Some of them offer you a 5 or 10 step program on how to achieve success or to be happy or deal with the commonly so-called midlife crisis. This web page will have none of that. Some descriptions, Zambian/African narratives, some articles that appeal to some research, the scientific method and one’s rationality can be found on another companion web page by this same author: Hunger for Culture www.hungerforculture.com. This Suffering Soul web page is dedicated to the suffering modern soul everywhere. Feeding and satisfying the soul never has one magic bullet, a linear program or formula. It is a way of life.
This is how the author feels somewhat blessed, fortunate or lucky to have lived long enough to first experience growing up totally embedded in a soulful life, later to realize the serious deficiencies of the lack of the soul in life, and now being in a position to battle everyday to live the life of the soul. This is against all the formidable forces of life today that are overwhelmingly anti-soul or driving everyone toward a soulless life. The author is able to identify the possible consequences of the substantial lack of the soul in our lives today. I sincerely hope that the reader will be able to recognize some of themselves as they continue to read. The reader may not be able to understand what comes next and on the rest of this web page until they first understand what the soul is or its definition.
The soul is the seat of our lives that gives us, shows us, or reflects life in us. In my mother language or tongue of Tumbuka, the soul is what is the sign of umoyo. It is not just being able to breath in and out but rather that glint in our eyes, the smile, the loud belly laughter, the twinkle in our eyes, the contorted face of anger and deep disappointment, the grimace of emotional and physical pain, and the gaze of deep reflection that the Tumbuka call chirwaha. There is also the loud wailing of crying in profound grief and sorrow. The desire to travel to visit different places and the excitement and anticipation of experiencing different life events particularly the rites of passage and other rituals. This is why babies and children experience the purest form of soul because they can literally cry (grief) and laugh (joy) within seconds. It is often impossible for grown humans to experience the different aspects of soul in this purest manner in seconds. Most important is that our soul as humans is best realized when we live in and with nature, the soil, dirt, or the Tumbuka dongo. What are the profound experiences that compelled the author to be aware of the importance of the soul in his life and therefore human beings?
When the author was born and grew up 60 years ago in the Zambian or African village, his life was totally embedded with the soul. It is difficult to describe this in English descriptive rationality because how do you describe something that you are totally surrounded, embedded and engulfed in? The author woke up, lived with, and was surrounded with dozens of grandparents, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers, relatives, and clan members in large villages; those of his mother and father that were literally one mile apart. As a 5 year old I could walk from one village to the other through the bush Savannah path. The houses he lived in were built from trees, grass, and mud, dirt, or soil. Fire was in the house every night in his grandparents’ house. The moonlight and stars were spectacular at night. The trees, goats, chickens, goats, rivers, wild animals, and natural vegetation were all around. The food was natural including corn or maize, peanuts, beans, peas, sweet potatoes, domestic and wild meats. The sweet wild fruits included nthumuzgha, masuku, kasokolowe, nchenja, futu, matongo gha kalulu, and many others.
This author lived a soulful life all the way to University of Zambia when he lived in Lusaka the capital city of Zambia. He lived a very soulful life but was not even aware of it. The path that eventually led to his ultimate near soulless life started at the age of 23 when he arrived in America to do his Master’s Degree at Michigan State University. Fast forward to 1995. This author had lived on and off from the United States for nearly 12 years. He did not know it at the time, but the soulless or diminished role of the soul in his life was about to take its toll.
Although he had human connections with his wife and children, but the larger warm human social network was diminishing by the day. He never used his mother Tumbuka language tongue. He did not attend church much although he had attended church regularly in his childhood up to the age of 13. His health was deteriorating as he was inflicted with mysterious chronic illnesses such that he had to go home to his village in Lundazi in Zambia in 1996 to seek some traditional healing. Maybe as a consequence of all the soulless negativity, he was faced with serious marital problems.
His teaching work in sociology in college enhanced a rational approach to life which increased his sense of emotional isolation and alienation. He could not eat the natural Zambian foods from his home but instead drifted into and settled for fast food. He “managed” the limited social life he had. Dancing at parties was completely missing in his life such that his own children would not learn how to dance and would never see him dance. He did not have time to see stars and the moonlight at night. Genuine belly laughter was far in between or nonexistent as work and being busy climbing the career ladder and raising his family left him with no time to rest. Physical love and sexuality were diminished. Alcohol was increasingly the preferred form of “unwinding”. He never mourned and went to funerals and burials of his closest relatives because it was expensive ten thousand miles away in his home country of Zambia. Limited communication by letter took nearly 4 to 6 weeks to his home. He never learned of his grandfather’s death until he received a letter after 12 months.
As a result of living the life of the diminished soul, the author experienced some of the most excruciating personal crises, emotional suffering or what the Tumbuka call kuzingiziwa (extreme suffering) and experiences from 1995 to 2005. After going to church and consulting priests, seeing marriage and family counselors, doing some extensive reading, and relentless searching; he came to some conclusions after so many years of searching. He concluded that he had found the answer to his troubling puzzle; he had to go back to living a life in which he was going to be embedded in the soul again as much as he could. It was not easy. This is why the purpose of this web page is to satisfy the soul. There will be as little rationality as possible on this web page. In part because people who live soulful lives are incapable of describing it since you are in it. If you try to become rational with the demands of the soul, you may be doomed to a life of increasing misery and just wondering: “Why me?” “Why am I not happy with all these dozens of activities I am doing, career success or material possessions?”
The purpose of this web page is to share some experiences, perspectives, and mysteries of the soul. Living a soulful life today is a lifelong challenge and struggle which it should not be. But since most of modern life today is anti-soul and drives us toward a soulless life, this has created an inevitable struggle. You might want to start understanding the essence of this Suffering Soul web page by first reading this article: “Life is like a Candle Light”.