Aesthetic and spiritual emotion — In addition to my passion for jewelry and for parure, NOIR KĀLA has also emerged from a spiritual quest. The discovery of India and the spiritualities of the East allowed me to deepen a vision of the world imbued with non-duality. More than just healing, this experience has been an inexhaustible source of creativity.
I have drawn from the spiritualities of the East a vibrant philosophy to complement my worldview by reinforcing my own beliefs. I discovered a wisdom that was free, infinite, indivisible. Today, I recognize the importance of considering the cultural context of belief systems in order to honour their particularities.
While the most widely practiced religions in the West convey a representation of the world marked by monotheism and dualism, Eastern systems reveal a worldview marked by non-duality. Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism, the great philosophical religions of Asia, share similar fundamental principles.
Oriental spiritualities perceive reality as a whole in perpetual motion—with elements united by dynamic relationships. In contrast, the Western model offers a schema composed of individual, fixed objects. A more fragmented view of reality, which can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and isolation. Among Buddhists and Hindus, this vision of the World would correspond to the state of ignorance and confusion (avidyā). In Buddhist philosophy, avidyā would be the first cause of suffering (duhkha) and one of the three poisons of the mind.
"In the typical Indian thinking, it is considered that for the man the true deliverance (nirvāṇa) is the one that takes him out of avidyā, the ignorance. It is the destruction, not of something positive and real—which would be unattainable—but of what is negative and obstructs our vision of truth. Only when this obstruction, which is ignorance, is removed, is the eyelid lifted, which is not a loss for the eye. It is our ignorance that makes us believe that our self, as a self, is real, and that it possesses within itself its full meaning. (...) It is therefore only avidyā that makes the self a chain for us; it makes us believe that it is an end in itself, and prevents us from seeing that it contains the idea that goes beyond the very limits of that self."
- Rabindranath Tagore (Gurudev)
Oriental spiritualities speak of divinity as a principle that fundamentally exists within. God would be present in each one of us, in the nature that surrounds us and as a universal law governing the balance of the world. In contrast, in the Western imagination, God is spoken of above all as an all-powerful being external to man—above everything, even the laws of nature.
Buddhism, Hinduism or Taoism insist on the unity and interdependence of the phenomena of the Universe. Enlightenment would make one aware of the indivisibility and interconnectedness of beings and things in the world and the changing and fluid character of reality. The Western conception of a nature divided into distinct elements would then be qualified as illusion.
– Honouring without possessing –
The East fascinates the West — Is this blending of cultures without consequences? Does hybridization have notable impacts on the source culture? What meanings do our practices take? Does our interest create more unity or separation?
Separation occurs in particular when we borrow specific elements from a culture without taking into account its historical context or origins. By observing the dynamics of power and reciprocity and initiating the work of repair and healing, we move toward true unity (Suzanna Barkataki, 2019).
While appropriation seeks to take without giving back or giving credit, appreciation seeks to connect, from the inside out, to give back and elevate the source culture, respecting its codes, values and cultural norms.
Knowledge is power — When we use objects, practices, symbols or rituals from another culture, let’s make sure we consider their source, origins, symbolism and that we give credit to the right people. Take the time to discover the source culture by exploring its historical and social context.
Make sure we use sacred symbols and deities with respect and reverence. Sincerity of intent and a deepening of the spiritual process are fundamental.
There is no limit to the depth of our exploration! The more authentically a culture is explored, the more it is respected, with recognition of its true history and historical difficulties.
While appropriation implies exploitation, oppression, possession and control, appreciation involves awe, respect, reverence and humility (Suzanna Barkataki, 2019).
Let us always remember: the culture of some is not a badge to decorate the ego of others. And above all: cultural heritage is not a costume, nor is it an ephemeral trend.
– The path to mutual benefit –
On a personal note — I am aware that there is a wide range of beliefs about how to share with other cultures in an ethical manner. If you are yourself a facilitator of spiritual or artistic experiences that are not from your root culture, you may be wondering if there is a way forward. These are important questions to ask, and I believe there is a wide range of answers.
As a lover of the cultures of the world, I have found my path in the search for reciprocity. Whether by creating a channel for fair trade
or giving back to local communities through the Project KĀLA - Jewelry that gives back
. By generating mutually beneficial interests, we create more abundance!
I believe that this is a process that must be carried out and deepened on an ongoing basis, since the world in which we live is in constant evolution; since each gesture opens the possibility of a world of greater compassion and benevolence.
– Lifting the voice of local communities –
By reading, listening, sharing and supporting the work of people at the source to educate us, we contribute to their recognition and influence.
Discover BIPOC voices and projects led by leaders, teachers and activists in the spirituality, wellness and social justice industry.
| Yoga culture advocate. Author of the book Embrace Yoga Roots, Courageous Ways to Deepen your Yoga Practice
“Susanna Barkataki is a diversity, accessibility, inclusivity, and equity (DAIE) educator who inspires impactful yoga and leadership.”
| School of Sensual Arts. Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living. Explore Authentic Tantra, Yoga & Circles.
“My name is Henika and I’m the Founder of the School of Sensual Arts. I grew up in England with an Indian household abundant in tantra rituals and yoga but it wasn’t until I experienced sudden grief that I realised just how profound these tools are.”
OCY - Our Colourful Yoga
“Our Colourful Yoga is a non-profit organization/community formed by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) yoga and mindfulness practitioners in Montreal. In this brave space, we believe in the powerful benefits of holistic wellness. We hold a sacred space for fellow BIPOC to come together to breathe, move, and honour yoga.”
Women of Color Remake Wellness
| Safe space bringing health and wellness practices to BIPOC womxn through shared dialogue & daily self-care practices
“We are a platform for resources, information and action steps to support diversity of BIPOC women in the health and wellness space.”
Where We At Mtl
| Balado engagé dans le développement d’un espace ouvert et sécuritaire pour les personnes BIPOC au Québec
“Un podcast par Annabel McLaughlin, sexologue et psychothérapeute, M.A. (@sexomclove) Jessica Prudencio, créatrice de contenu (@jessicaprdnc). Where We At est un podcast engagé dans le développement d'un espace ouvert et sécuritaire pour les communautés culturelles au Québec. Frustrées et donc motivées par un manque de visibilité et un racisme systémique, l'idée d'un podcast nous est apparue comme le moyen de se mobiliser face aux injustices raciales. Un lieu d'échanges sur les réalités et les enjeux vécus en tant que personnes BIPOC au Québec.”
Native Governance Center
| Native-led nonprofit dedicated to supporting Indigenous changemakers and nations
“Native Governance Center is a Native-led nonprofit organization that serves Native nations in Mni Sota Makoce, North Dakota, and South Dakota. We support Native leaders as they work to rebuild their nations through our leadership development and Tribal governance support programs. We believe that strengthening governance is a direct pathway toward improving quality of life for Native people.”
“Exploring colonization, decolonization, healing, & culture. Everyone welcome. »
Traditional art, spirituality and culture – at the source
Sarmaya Arts Foundation
| Welcome to the museum without boundaries. Art, artefacts and living traditions from the Indian subcontinent.
“What does it mean to be a modern museum? Why should a millennial care about the Uprising of 1857? How can the genius of Indian art inspire the next generation of young creatives? Answering questions like these has helped us shape the vision for Sarmaya, the museum without boundaries. At the heart of it is a carefully curated repository of art, artefacts and living traditions from the larger Indian subcontinent. We began by erasing all boundaries.”
The Heritage Lab
| India: Culture, Art, Museums. Find cultural heritage content, resources, games. Discover amazing stories that make India (& our world).
“We are a digital media platform connecting citizens to cultural heritage through stories, public engagement programs, campaigns, and free-access content for children and adults. When we are not visiting museums or creating learning resources, we make art GIFs.”
WRITINGS – Spirituality and philosophy
Siva Samhita, Translated by Rai Bahadur Srisa Chandra Vasu, Indian Mind
The Bhagavad Gita, Sriniva Fine Arts, Vedic Cosmos
Pointers from Ramana Maharshi, by Ramesh S. Balsekar, Zen Publications
Se libérer du connu, Jiddu Krishnamurti
Embrace Yoga Roots: Courageous Ways to Deepen your Yoga Practice, Susanna Barkataki
SOUND OF INDIA – Honour the Roots
The Rajasthan Express
Pujya Bhaishree Rameshbhai Ojha
Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi
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I thank you for taking the time to read these words. I wish you a strong and revealing discovery of these leaders and artists ~
- Jacinthe X
Source : Susanna Barkataki, Embrace Yoga Roots, Courageous Ways to Deepen your Yoga Practice, 2020