Unboxed Life

Boldly existing outside the box through conscious living and constant learning.

Why We Must Wake Up To Our Potential

The black oasis, Ancient Africa the sacred
The sleeping giant, science, art is your creation
I dreamed that we could visit old Kemet
Your history is too complex and rigid for some Western critics
They want the whole subject diminished
But Africa’s the origin of all the world’s religions
We praise bridges that carried us over
The battle fronts of Sudanic soldiers, the task put before us
(Do you hear me now?)

Africa must wake up, the sleeping sons of Jacob
For what tomorrow may bring, may a better day come,
Yesterday we were kings, can you tell me young ones —
Who are we today?
Yeah, now

Who are we today? The slums, diseases, AIDS
We need that all to fade, we cannot be afraid
So who are we today?
We are the morning after, the makeshift youth,
The slaveship captured, our diaspora is the final chapter
The ancestral lineage built pyramids
America’s first immigrants, the kings and daughters from our waters
The first architect, the first philosophers
Astronomers, the first prophets and the doctors were us, us

Besides being one of my favorite songs (and favorite albums of all time for that matter) this track by Nas and Damien Marley called “Africa Must Wake Up” speaks to many different aspects of life and thought. The two main ideas I take from this song are first regarding the origins of mankind and how life as we know it began in Africa (but that is for another post), and the concept that we must not allow our present standing in life determine the future that we can create. The latter is what I would like to explore today. What do the words in this song teach us about our creative powers as human beings? How can we harness those powers and what will become of our potential if we fixate on our circumstances?

The artists in this song are asking us to not only look at the current situation in Africa, but to see our own potential as not bound by circumstance but unbound in its possibilities. In Africa, as in our lives, things havent always been the way they are now and do not have to remain this way as our future unfolds. If we find ourselves in a situation, pattern, or circumstance that is less than positive we must remember that we came from somewhere to get here and must go on from the present moment into something potentially different. It is up to you to decide how the future will be changed.

As for Africa in particular, we can look at the state of that continent and see evidence of the power of this idea. Historically Africa is a place of great bounty, innovation, power, and culture that has thrived and produced some of the greatest concepts in human history. It is the birthplace of mankind and the most naturally rich environment on Earth. So why do we find its people and its land in such a dire situation? What has happened is that since colonialism, Africa has become locked into a present-focused mindset and those who aim to serve the people have done so as well. An inferiority-superiority relationship has been established and an entire generation of African people have grown up in a world where they are told and treated as though they can not help themselves.

By fixating on the current situation in Africa its people, and those who attempt to serve its people, have reinforced a psychological box that holds the African people down. This idea applies in the same way to our own life journey. No matter the current situation we find ourselves in we own the power to create a new future that is separate and different from the present. By breaking free from the fixation on our current plight and letting go of our self-imposed victimization we can begin to visualize the possibilities for the future. By opening our mind and not limiting our understanding or opportunity for learning we can create a life that is based on our dreams and aspirations, not on the continuation of unhealthy patterns.

Africa was once the center of the cultural and economic world, why can’t it be that again? You and I have boundless potential for doing things that matter and leaving an impact on this world, why limit yourself in your own life? We each hold in our soul and our heart the potential for greatness no matter where we find ourselves currently or where we came from historically. The key to unlocking this power is to free our minds from the shackles of closed-mindedness and limited thinking. By leaving behind these hinderances and pushing aside doubt we can accomplish transformational and amazing things. Remaining boxed in by our environment and by our own self-doubt will forever limit what we can achieve. Just as in Africa, let us not look to what is happening now, but let us see the expansive potential and unforseen possibilities without the blinders of prejudice and disbelief.

For what tomorrow may bring, may a better day come,
Yesterday we were kings, can you tell me young ones —

Who are we today?

Elephant Photo: Maggie-Me

Sunset and Zebra Photo: By S Lunetta All rights reserved

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2 comments on “Why We Must Wake Up To Our Potential

  1. Angel B
    August 19, 2012

    Great points in this article! I love Nas and The Marleys!

    • Tanner Colton
      August 20, 2012

      Me too, two of my favorites of all time. Their album “Distant Relatives” has a bunch of really powerful songs. I would suggest checking it out if you haven’t already. Thanks for the comment!

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