October 2, 2008

Maat: order, balance, justice

Goddess Maat

Egyptian Goddess
representing cosmic order, balance and justice

In ancient Egypt, goddess Maat symbolized cosmic order, equilibrium, justice.

The Egyptians knew by experience that our lives are always in a precarious equilibrium. Egypt’s blood has always been the Nile. And the Nile in the past was unpredictable. A subtle change in the regularity of the river could mean famine or inundation.

So, in the religion of ancient Egypt we find always an eternal fight between Order (Maat) and Chaos or disorder (Seth). All the efforts were made to keep chaos at bay.

In our lives we can see this eternal fight as well.

Please, when you are living a life in good health and you love your family, consider yourself very fortunate. Enjoy: you are lucky, my friend. Enjoy the little, wonderful things you have. Please, appreciate the seemingly unimportant joys of life: a simple smile from your loved ones, a sunset, reading a good book, watching a good movie, seeing your pet happy...

The equilibrium in our lives is very, very delicate, very fragile.

The smallest change in the existing status quo can cause havoc. Sure, that change can also bring prosperity, good things and opportunities, but can bring havoc as well. We must stay alert in a balanced way.

I think we must, as the Ancient Egyptians did, be watching carefully our lives to keep balance and order. Life is change, and change is inevitable, always has been that way and always will be. Nevertheless, I think we must try to keep chaos at bay, if possible. Yes, we must stay alert in a balanced, not obsessed way.

One day, our economy seems to do pretty well... But, if some apparently unimportant things are out of order and balance, if we are not in constant vigilance, some other day we can find ourselves indebted and without a solution. Recession...

In our lives apparently all is well, maybe we live a bit out of control... But, in an unexpected moment, there is a little, very little, and subtle, change (in our health, in our relations, in the economy...) and then, suddenly, all is out of balance. What happened? Our life will never will be the same. We must strive to find another point of equilibrum.

We don’t pay too much attention to global warming and to our environment. But chaos is operating without a pause. Still we don’t pay too much attention to that. The sun arises every morning and the weather is wonderful, all seems to be okay. But some day we are aware that something important is changing, something remarkable in a negative way. We try to live as if nothing has happened, but something has happened. Our lives will never be the same. Still we try to live normally. Things will change, little by little. The future generations will have to pay the price.

Our civilisation is out of balance.

Ancient Egyptians were very concerned trying to keep chaos at bay and keep the Universe in balance. And they built the most enduring civilisation in antiquity...

Goddess Maat, represented with a feather on her head

I think it would be a good thing for all of us trying to be much more vigilant than we are, as Buddha or Jesus taught. The slightiest carelness can cause disaster. We can slightly neglect some important things, without paying too much attention, and there we go, in some unexpected moment our lives will never be the same if some negative (very little, apparently insignificant) change happens. We’ve lost in a moment balance, peace and happiness. Then, we will try to restore the previous status quo, we even can improve the past conditions, if we have another chance... But, never will be easy, to say the least. It will take a lot of effort and vigilance to try to find equal or better circumstances. Even some negative changes will be definitive; they will stay with us forever.

Yes, it is wonderful going for a walk in a sunny day, is wonderful a word of love, an old book, our favourite movie on TV, wonderful a good, healthy meal, wonderful to enjoy little things, appreciate what we have now, before is too late, before things will be utterly different.

Juan Bielsa


Maat, symbol of balance
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