Robert Wolff has spent a lifetime with indigenous people from many parts of the world. He lived with the aboriginal Sng’oi of Malaysia during the years he spent in Malaysia as a government psychologist. He fell in love with this people and their immense inner dignity, humanity, and sense of connection to all creation. His book Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing takes us back to an older and wiser human time:
“Our being together was not like other social situations I had experienced. We talked—but softly. They did not know how to compete for attention. A few words now and then were all that were spoken—a question, or a comment, a simple answer. Long silences.”
“I remember all our discussions as slowly paced, thoughtful, and strangely orderly, as though people took turns. I cannot remember ever hearing two people speak at the same time. There was always that little pause when everyone looks in the middle distance, then one person will speak as if he or she were the designated speaker, though nobody had said anything. I thought about this new way of talking for many years; I could not let it go. I could not imagine that they were telepathic, but they certainly seemed to know each other’s thoughts.”
“But like learning to ride a bicycle, once one knows how to let go and be—observing form within, as I thought of it, and listening without judging, categorizing, or analyzing—once one knows, it is not difficult to get back there.”
“I was now beginning to realize that the difference among peoples is not a difference of language, but rather how they experience what is real. That is what is important.”
Robert Wolff, Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing, pages 87, 116, 123, 145.