I’ve been learning about the Rastafari way. Both because I seem to have an innate drive to understand different spiritual practices and because I will be going to Jamaica with my family later this year and want to deepen my understanding while there. I’ll share more detail about the principles and practices later – like how I’m trying a Rasta Itality diet – but will begin with the basics now.
Rastas call their way of life LIVITY. Its essence is the realization that an energy or life-force from Jah (the divine) exists within, and flows through, all people. This energy is the presence of Jah living within us, and is often expressed as “I and I”, where the first “I” refers to the Almighty, the second “I” for oneself. A primary goal in Rastafarian meditation is maintaining awareness of I and I.
A primary goal in a Rastafarian’s life is to expand his or her Livity. Livity can be enhanced by intense prayer and meditation (often enhanced by sacramental cannabis use), adherence to a natural diet, and perhaps most importantly, loving behavior toward others. This expression of love for others is done in recognition of a central love energy within all people, a concept often referred to as One Love.
Here’s a summary of Rastafari Livity Vows. I compiled the list by reading books and articles (the best books are by Empress Yuajah) and added some elaboration upon each vow to help make them more understandable.
RASTAFARI LIVITY VOWS
- Love and accept ALL parts of myself. Rastafari is a spiritual way of being that embraces self-love.
- Not to be defined by society or any one individual. We are not clones or zombies for society. Instead, we will define ourselves. Jah made each of us unique. We will honor this with our mindset and behavior.
- Be a creative, free thinking human being. It is believed that creativity is a conduit for divine energy.
- Have spiritual awareness. From this I receive strength and wholeness of the self. We need to develop our spiritual selves to have the inner strength required to deflect the pressures of the world.
- Approach all disagreements and misunderstandings with love and understanding. Cultivate compassion and empathy. Be the first to give in or apologize.
- Have a spiritual rebirth in the truth. This is the point where someone makes a commitment to follow a spiritual path which opens up a whole new era of life
- Not define or dislike others based on ethnicity, class or skin color. We must train ourselves to think in terms of love, not the terms society has used to define people. We will take the higher path and refuse to participate in thoughtless, competitive, unloving behavior.
- Unite in love and harmony with others who share a mission of peace, love and togetherness. Sharing from the heart and expecting nothing in return. Have a mentality of cooperation instead of competition. Stay clear of negative comments that cause confusion and division.
- My life belongs to me and is defined by the daily choices I make. Jah gave us free will to enjoy our lives and own our lives. We need to use it by taking responsibility for our own happiness and be sure our behavior is congruent with our sense of higher purpose each day.
- Remain open to Jah guidance and love. Keep your heart and mind open.
This is the foundation. More soon on Rasta Livity Diet, Cannabis Reasoning Sessions and other compelling Rasta practices!