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NAFIS AND THE COLOURFUL HALLWAYS by ALESSANDRO NICCOLI



15 DREAMING OF THE ANIMAL BEING

Nafis found himself spending many days in which he had no school work or any particular commitments with his friends and, suddenly, during his long journey in search of certainties and tools to fortify himself with so that hecould face adversities and inhumane humans, in search of increasing contact with the woods and its animals, he began to think about how he could make use of his time and avoid the unpleasant sensation of wasting it. Indeed, after many afternoons spent thinking about things to do and doing them to feel at peace with him- self, he sometimes felt a dramatic emptiness. Then, at a certain point, he stopped fretting and embraced his friend Silence, letting all the thoughts that occupied his mind seep out. He began to pay even more attention to the behaviour of animals, a sort of hyp- notic contemplation, and slowly, as his mind gradually became freer, he came to understand a great truth. In the days that followed, after his usual high number of tasks, with the arrival of night one evening, in the company of Silence, his mind started to become tired, too tired, heavy... but still awake, unfortunately too awake and there was no getting to sleep. His eyes were half-closed, but mentally focused on the starry sky and on the horizon for an indefinite amount of time. He was no longer thinking about anything. He felt the flow of time, felt the universe moving slowly, working incessantly for him too, felt its energy and, in order to feel good, he merely had to stay still, connected to it and the surrounding nature. The next day, his eyes observed everything and its beauty on their own, without needing to be told to do so, they observed and sent messages to a free mind. Nafis had stopped for a long time with his eyes seemingly having turned to ice on the celestial sky and min- gling with it, then they moved of their own accord and suddenly focused on the flight of some birds, taking his mind away from that particular state of ecstasy, and in the same instant he perceived a movement. It was a roe deer running and suddenly stopping, motionless, its gaze fixed on a mountain, as if it felt something. “Maybe it’s just relaxing”, Nafis thought, “because it’s been running and it’s tired, too. But then why would it stop suddenly, close to me? Maybe it perceived a certain positive atmosphere, a certain silence coloured by interludes of soft sounds from the trees, there in that particular place it might have sensed something, I think it decided that very spot was the best place to listen to the symphony of nature! But why next to me?” Nafis repeated. Then, the deer turned and looked at him for a long time. It was as if its immense eyes, filled with nature, were able to share something unique, something the animal wished to share with someone. “Of course!”, Nafis said to himself, “that’s the key point: sharing! Beauty needs to be experienced to- gether with someone else, it has to be shared to acquire the dignity of being beautiful”. What about his cats with a thousand personalities? When Nafis, his mind exhausted, stood still and thought, he sometimes began to observe the behaviour of his cat friends: Casper, Sissy, Topolina and Panic. He realised that it was actually they who were watching him, and they only changed their naturally suspicious behaviour with the passing of time, as they got to know him bet- ter. They weren’t all the same, each had its own char- acter, perhaps ancestral, a thousand animal souls. One was always amazed at apparently insignificant things and let out a purr or, perhaps, it was just a signal to draw attention to its stealthy, forgotten pres- ence. Another never got angry, was imperturbable or even inscrutable.

One had to be left alone because it didn’t like being disturbed, but then you suddenly found it perched three metres away from you, wherever you might be in the house. The last one would say “I’m here” with its eyes, only to act all precious and run away as soon as you said its name. However, they were all incredibly serious about living their lives, or attentive, proud of their home and family, jealous of their affections. If you stroked them, they would respond with a nod, a stretch, a widening of the eyes towards you, a yawn, a greeting meow, a purr of surprise, but they rarely tolerated a gesture that was not serious, a joke. It was as if they ad-monished you immediately with a look or through their behaviour: “What are you doing, you’re crazy... I’m a serious cat!”. They all did so, they were pacifist warriors! They spent their time wandering around with silent steps, paused every so often to look curiously at the environment, as if they could see invisible energies. Then they were off again. They searched, amazed by everything, until they found a specific spot in which to stay, sometimes the most unusual ones, perhaps at the top of a tree or on a mailbox.

They sought and found their perfect centre of peace. They assumed a resting position with their paws crossed and hidden in their furry cloud, in the utmost calm, eyes half closed, whiskers turned towards the surrounding environment like defensive radars, their ears pricked. They enjoyed it all very much, from the beginning of the search to their goal, until they were attracted by something that was worth it, a perfect place to stay in peace, and there they remained as time seemed to stop, they wouldn’t move again for hours and hours, without a care in the world, whether they slept or were awake, whether they thought or sensed something. If something or someone passed in front of them, they wouldn’t move a muscle unless the safety distance was violated and, in that case, they would become alarmed and get ready to react. They simply contemplated the flow of healthy air, perhaps the sounds of birds, the peace that nature offered them, the noisy silence, the invisible energies, perhaps present, which at times they seemed to be ob- serving attentively, attracted by them... that’s what cats are like. They were never agitated. They were an integral part of the environment, they experienced it in all its harmony.

Then you would come home after a day out and they would start wandering around you, yawning and stretching, watching everything, your movements, and happy for you to come close. It was a request for phys- ical contact, a shared friendship with a human being to crown their day. Maybe it was more, a feeling they showed willingly, not out of need, nor out of instinct. Finally, Nafis said: “I think cats are one of the first beings to descend directly from the stars and they love willingly, perhaps for some cat-like benefit, albeit very dignified: they love so that they may be free. They didn’t do so for food, which was still there in their bowls”. “Why”, Nafis wondered, “do we human animals always need to do something, why are we always nervous and anxious, in a mental state that’s often stressed and unhappy, constantly looking for a result, for affirma-tion that’s objective, tangible and recognisable to oth- ers, too? That’s the only thing we always want to share, our success, our results. When we achieve a result it often isn’t enough to give us peace of mind; we need to look for another one immediately, but what for, just so that we can immedi- ately feel anxiety related to the result, active thinking and stress?

All that with the illusion of achieving happiness one day or another, with the effect of postponing it and not enjoying it, of always being tired, strapped for time, anxious and often with am existence deprived of essence, to the point of consuming our entire lives without having lived, without having simply savoured every moment, the beauties of the world, of friendship, of feelings every day, suddenly arriving at the end of life without having lived it”. Then, after observing animals for years, thinking about their behaviour, Nafis spoke with his friends about the way they act: “They enjoy the environment in which they live, they perceive it in all its musicality, they’re satisfied by it; and they don’t even have the ability to reason, or so we believe. We, on the other hand, are perpetually in a hurry, im- prisoned by innumerable obligations and almost always confined to closed spaces. Unlike man, who lives in a perennial state of ap- prehension and then incurable prostration, stress and alarm, animals spend their lives enjoying the peace and beauty of the environment and are only rarely alarmed, which happens when there’s a real danger and they need to flee immediately, or if they’re hungry.

Once the problem has been solved, they go back to contemplating the sky and their heartbeat calms down. They listen to nature, observe it as they look at a flower or one of their similars running about, then they turn around and, as if nature were an endlessly ex- citing film, change channel to observe a bee at work, for example, and perhaps wonder what it’s doing that requires so much effort. They seem to know, everything’s written in their DNA, every memory, they know that bees are very important to maintain biodiversity and the conservation of nature. They’re pollinators, they admire them as they goabout their business, hovering in the air, resting on a flower, and they appreciate them. We know that from a scientific perspective, but not consciously, we don’t value them, we don’t contemplate them and if we’re able to, we exterminate them. Indeed, without bees nature would be poor, there wouldn’t be any fruit, a source of sustenance for ani- mals and humans. Life on the planet would end if bees disappeared! In order to reproduce, herbs and tree essences need to receive pollen from similar plants, a function that is performed above all by bees. The silent relationship between bees and plants is as old as their existence.

If we remain calm, bees circle around us, pause in the air for a few seconds in front of us, observe us and perhaps communicate something ancestral to us. They wait a while, but since they don’t receive anything of interest back from us, they leave quietly to go and rest, after all their hard work. Even knowing their importance, man is not interested in protecting these small, marvellous insects, which die due to the use of pesticides in agriculture, which are also harmful to us humans due to their toxicity, which pervades our food and which cause bees to lose their sense of direction, their motor and nervous skills, to the point of killing them. The human nature to kill and destroy the planet is apparent when, seeing a beehive near our house, we im- mediately run off to get some petrol, a newspaper and then set fire to exterminate, as usual, creatures that are harmless, or at least not dangerous to the point of deserving to die. Nature’s beings, burned and poisoned. We’re simply unable to conceive peaceful and useful coexistence in a sacred principle of natural reciproci- ty. Man has lost his love for everything that, according to him, is not worthy of him and, ultimately, for the Earth itself. We need to love these insects, not fear them, not use killer sprays; their stings aren’t dangerous, unless a person happens to be allergic. They produce honey to support the colony in the win- ter months, royal jelly for the queen bee, propolis to keep fungi, bacteria and viruses away from the hive and wax to build and shape their cells. What do we humans produce that’s useful? We only steal, we steal everything from nature, starting with honey from bees. We produce money and, as we do so, we also produce the poison that has intoxicated the en- tire world! That’s our injurious way of passing the time, only to end up with a feeling of emptiness and useless- ness that we don’t understand, which we repress with alcohol or pills and, at best, sessions of psychoanalysis. However, it’s now clear what it is, it’s clear why. If we don’t produce goods, we feel useless, if we produce goods we’re destructive; how can we be serene and at peace with this sort of logic? The solution is straightforward, we just need to pause for a while to contemplate nature, respect it, like animals do. The seasons flow slowly each day, which is always different from every other, different and unique, the sky changes colour and form every hour, offering continuously new and unique settings. However, the problem is very complex and regards our immeasurable selfcenteredness, caused by modern society. Our attention is all on our ego projected towards the outside, on the possession of things and people, ephemeral dreams, but we could look inside ourselves and wake up with the help of silence and nature. Today, we feel anxious and take pills, tomorrow we’re tired and drink vats of coffee, the next day we’re eu- phoric and consume alcohol, in the meantime we feel inadequate and accumulate goods at the expense of nature so that we can fool ourselves into thinking we’re happy. Then we dispose of them in the form of waste and poison. Animals have always cured themselves using natural medicines. Like dogs and horses, wolves eat healing herbs when they have stomach ache. The knowledge of nature, which is understood by animals and taken from ancient civilisations, consists of accompanying the problem and the disease, accompanying the “enemy” by the hand; it’s accompanied so that its own strength can be used to make healing possible. The ancient martial arts and homeopathy understand this concept, they don’t oppose, clash or try and use forced solutions. Instead, they align themselves with the fear, with the problem, with our shadow, with our inner monster, they take it by the hand, accompanying it, getting to know it well and becoming its friend, after which they embrace it in a long, harmonious dance and, together with patience and love, they achieve the goal of healing”. Nafis gave his friends an example: “During lockdown, due to the pandemic, people who were able to deal well with confinement overcame it and also experienced inner growth. We need to make peace and friends with our fears, develop them within ourselves, before they develop by themselves and cause harm. Homeopathy instils minute doses of that which harms us every day. We need to learn this emotionally and energetically from animals, from observing them. New worlds will open up, no longer a single reality, but a thousand solutions, intuitions, opportunities and ad- ventures. This medicine doesn’t come from a university, but from our inner Maestro, which teaches us how to elimi- nate our limits on a conscious journey that leads us to true knowledge. Any animal, whether a cat, squirrel, dog, deer or bird, spends time observing its surroundings: a valley, a flower, a butterfly, a swallow and its aerial patterns;

it’s captivated by their mystery, their acrobatics and turns, the beauty and geometry. Then the swallow joins others and they sing and screech as they swoop downwards, suddenly whirling away and disappearing, only returning to claim their applause. What if animals had already fully understood this mystery of nature? Animals know how to pause and contemplate all those special dynamics, they savour the slow passage of time without boredom, where every moment has its own function, they assimilate its music and its fullness, they’re refreshed by it. What does man do? He’s unlearned it all, he’s forgotten to love beauty, he’s destroyed and poisoned it, as well as himself, and then tries to recreate it through toxic works such as futuristic skyscrapers, bridges,megacities and factories. If it weren’t for artists who recreate it with their hearts and passion, nothing good would remain of us”. Immersed in a thousand thoughts and questions about natural dynamics, Nafis told all of this to his friends, who looked at him as if he were also a bee, working to preserve the world; and he finally said: “All of us together have to change our behaviour towards the planet and animals, simply by changing back, as if by magic, to what we are... animals.

The deception began with the excitement of Humanism, where man was represented at the centre of a spi- ral and the values of strength, dominance and superiority were admired. The main example of this euphoria can be found in Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Vitruvian Man, created in the search for perfect human proportions, a symbol of human perfection accosted to the divine”. “Well”, snorted Nafis, puzzled, turning his gaze en- tirely towards himself, then continuing: “This is con- fusing, considering that the great Greek philosophers saw nature as something that was superior to us. Aristotle said: nature is that which has in itself the principle of movement: inanimate things, plants, ani- mals; all beings that change, move and reproduce without the intervention of man. Anthropocentrics will be disappointed, but the truth is that we’re animals, mechanisms designed and desired by nature, which determines when we’re born and, inevitably, when we die. We’re animals, a fundamental link in the natural chain, a link that is currently broken, thanks to our desire to possess, that needs to be sal- vaged in order to return to existing. The ancient intelligence of animals that have pre- served their instinct, pure wisdom, is still intact. Man has lost his, betting everything on his powers of reasoning, so now we need to salvage it with all our might, but also with simple exercises of healthy living mixed in: contemplating and loving the beings on this planet,its trees, its water and its living soil, the Mother Earth that we need to thank, our friend Silence, that we’ve learnt to appreciate and which sometimes speaks to us and supports us. Joining with nature and helping it at every turn, freeing a butterfly or a spider or a bat trapped in our attic, quenching the thirst of birds in summer or feeding them in winter. For example, we can start by creating beesaving areas, where bees and other pollinating insects can find refuge and nourishment, sowing flowers in the vegetable garden, on the balcony, in a park or in the garden. Our small deeds will bring great, rediscovered richness to the world, as well as enriching the soul, and will give us new energy and a renewed desire to enjoy it, the world, every day, providing a little help to very important animals that live around us and also work for us. Our mood will improve and our breathing will become stronger and more energetic, without the need for ob- jects or medicines.

We’ll savour the joy of living in symbiosis with them in nature, we’ll be taken with the essence of the world’s beauty and we’ll be able to live our lives freer, thanks to understanding the fact that we’re not alone, that weall depend upon one another and the planet. The bee itself, the guardian owls of the night, together with the wolves who are the holders of freedom, the dolphins which are the princes of the seas, the swallows that will come and circle around us every evening, because we will admire them and they will understand that. We’ll have our natural function, we’ll find our space, our rightful place that is currently nowhere to be found, simply because our reasoning makes us believe that we’re superior. However, whoever feels superior will eventually become lost in the void of their ego. We need to preserve the world, abandoning our lust for power and compulsive possession by selling short our time to exploit and destroy, becoming increasingly unfulfilled and depressed. Paradoxically, we don’teven understand the reason for our sadness and gen- eral malaise, combined with great stupidity; we never dream of being free like the great birds that slowly fly over us, observing us, small and stupid, stuck in ourtraffic. Raptors... the great sacred eagles, the great spirits of ancient peoples. Even the importance of emptiness, which isn’t a dis- ease of inner silence, which isn’t loneliness, needs to be learned from animals; they’re the ones who can save us and teach us to save ourselves, to save the planet. In our society, stopping for a moment to coast, or simply to contemplate, equates to surrendering and it has a negative meaning, because strong people fight, they never stop, thinking that doing so heightens the probability of achieving some form of happiness. What if it’s appropriate to stop? To stop thinking, doing, producing, to let things go their own way? Con- template, live! Isn’t that what life is all about?”. Nafis reflected on that with his friends, while a hare next to them seemed to participate in the reflection, as if it approved what they were saying and their meditation. “As they remain quiet in nature, contemplating it, animals have already achieved their goals. Learning from them, spending time admiring them, we should be able perceive their paths consisting of vis- ualisations. We should learn to sense, the goal will be to have new visualisations, suggestions for our minds. If the results we hope to achieve aren’t aligned to our true essence, they may never come true, despite our tenacity.

Our disappointments will be infinite, despite the world having spent a long time waiting for us, an important missing link in a chain whose function we paradoxically still don’t understand, but nature knows it and organ- ised it, not us. We used our powers of reasoning to break that chain. So, we need to stop, trust in inner silence, emptiness and take the right path once more. Emptiness, the positive kind, made up of our entire essence, is our being, it’s part of us, it’s wealth and, if we so wish, can make itself felt in all its strength. It comes with meditation, when we let go of our thoughts and above all our desires, expectations and hopes, our true chains. Huang-Po said that men are afraid to abandon their minds because they fear emptiness, but they don’t com- prehend that this is the realm of the true Way. In oriental culture, emptiness is the “milk of the soul”, we feel well when we’re empty, meant in a pos- itive sense, not when we’re saturated with thoughts; thoughts make us sick. Empty of thoughts, but rich in spirit. In Western culture, on the other hand, when we say we feel empty, we mean it in a negative sense, whereas rather than an enemy, emptiness is actually an ally.

We believe we need to fill this void, whereas we only need to go along with it to find the path we’re looking for. Instead, we achieve a negative void, the one we get when we’re fed up with everything and disappointed to the point of feeling down and falling into unexpected and epidemic depressions. We need to connect to true emptiness long before it comes along on its own, finding us weak and unpre- pared, afraid, because that silence is where the solution to our discomforts actually lies. Surrendering to emptiness is the opposite of what we do out of habit, like looking for rational solutions and, without pausing to meditate, diving into the details of accumulating. Whereas entering the void is entering into ourselves, a space where solutions emerge and problems vanish. In The Red Book, Carl Jung expresses the belief that thoughts are limiting, and says they shouldn’t be car- ried around, including knowledge. Don’t carry anything with you that fills the bucket, it’s useless ballast that’s just water; otherwise we’ll always and only look at its reflection, with enormous effort, and nothing else in the direction of new knowledge, new paths. In wealth, material goods, prestige, we’ll see nothing but the reflection of the moon in the water in the bucket, while the real moon is up there. We need to drop the bucket, so that the water pours out. This alone will allow us to look up and see the real moon in the sky. However, first we need to know the taste of emp- tiness, we have to drop the bucket of our mind and our thoughts: no more water, no moon, but emptiness in our hands”. That was how Nafis concluded his train of thought with his friends, while they all looked at the immense valley from the edge of their wood. They were silent for a long time until evening came. Then, they saw a buzzard up high gliding serenely and everyone forgot the hour, the time, their thoughts, embracing the void, ideally embracing each other and the animals that were there, before being captivated by new thoughts. Until a certain point when, breaking the moment of positive silence, Enea asked himself and the others: “Is it me and my will looking at the sky, or are my body and my eyes part of the sky? Maybe that buzzard was there to tell us something, it was watching and perceiving us”. Then, they got up and walked silently towards the house without thinking of anything.

It was a wonderful evening. On the way home, Enea continued his train of thought out loud: “Animals have a vision of life and the world that we humans have long since forgotten, they visualise images, follow them and they inevitably come true, at least until we destroy them. They don’t perceive racism or speciesism, they enjoy the profoundness and spirituality of a healthy, natural life. We humans have lost those qualities, or perhaps we never even had them, and we even think animals areunintelligent. The science that studies the behaviour of animals limits itself to decoding what it sees and hears: sounds, attitudes, movements, relational behaviour, feeding, courtship, flight or attack, often writing them off as instinct bereft of any will. Science argues that, having a less complex brain, animals are undoubtedly less in- telligent than us humans, given that studies are basedon a comparison with our brain, regarded as the most evolved, and therefore they can also be considered non-sentient beings, which don’t suffer”. Nafis exclaimed: “Beings who don’t feel, who can be harmed, tortured in lager-like warehouses, transport- ed alive to slaughterhouses to be killed, not before having tormented them, cramming them into trucks for days without water, and starring at them without even asking ourselves any questions when we see their tearfilled eyes as we pass them in our cars! No questions, creatures on their last journey made of suffering, end- ing up in our canteens, in laboratories for experiments, locked up in circuses or zoos, all for our pleasure! So, as far as science and common culture is concerned, we’re authorised to torture and kill every other species with impunity, without any qualms?! A culture which, from the cradle of the pre-Christian Greek world, has gone backwards, but which now needs to be salvaged. Alongside science, there are also religions that view man as being superior to any other living species, be- cause he was created in the image and likeness of God. Animals, caught between the arrogance and, one might say, inconsistency and immorality of science and religion, have never been afforded recognition by man, imprisoned in his boorish presumption, in his fears and inability to live life properly, no longer an integral part of the Earth. However, despite all of that, animals are tolerant of man and his arrogance and go their own way, contin- uing to contemplate the Earth, its greenery and its rays of light. They’re pacifists. They’d sooner become extinct rather than compete with the human species.

The heritage of animal knowledge includes values that are far removed from war and destruction. They don’t fight and don’t destroy the ecosystem, deeds they find unacceptable because it would mean their death. They know that, but it seems that we don’t, they enjoy the world, they contemplate it continuously, with inimitable conviction, without pause. However, to our eyes that’s confirmation of their lack of intelligence and not the sign of species that are pacifistic, attentive to the environment, more evolved. Failure to fully recognise the essence of other species, their “culture”, their abilities to perceive, pre- vents us from any form of communication with them. After all, to do so is difficult since our busy, seden- tary, enclosed within four walls, nutritional lifestyle has led to the complete loss of our sensory perception. Consequently, mistakenly and unjustly, we think ani- mals are unable to communicate and are only capable of making sounds, which we contemptuously call noises. Human egocentrism established that the spoken lan- guage is the only method of communication worthy of being defined as culture; man is unable to understand that the creatures in the animal kingdom communicate with each other and with us! They communicate in forms and ways that are their own, very ancient and highly evolved forms, which go beyond our lying words. They include sensory percep- tion, telepathy, image visualisation and the telepathic transmission or reception of those same images, as well as a complex and articulated language of sounds and of the body. Animals stand there in front of us, patient, impassive, they watch us, they see obtuse beings, but they pity us, they prick their ears to send us a signal. We stand still arrogantly and are unable to understand, while theytalk to us. Telepathy is the oldest form of communication for all living beings; men have lost the ability to use it, or never explored it, opting instead for the spoken word. Animals still use this universal language and, unlike us, they don’t repress their feelings. They use them to communicate, get to know and explore everything they find along their path. They use telepathy for images, as well as sensations, they understand us more than we can imagine, which is why they almost never trust man. Each group develops an intangible bond among its members and their telepathic communication takes place within that bond. Those who live with animals know that all they need to do is think about something, for example: “I’m going out now”, to see their dog get ready to go out; because the dog receives an image of its human friend out for a walk”. “Or” Nafis said: “for example, one evening in the peace and quiet of my grandmother’s house in the woods, I saw my cats Sissi and Panic, who never play together, sitting at a distance from each other so, in- stead of talking, I thought: “why don’t you play a lit- tle like the others do” and, spontaneously, as rarely happens to me, I visualised an image of them play- ing together. A moment later, something troubled me profoundly: Panic and Sissi were chasing each other, performing all sorts of pirouettes and skids; they had adopted my visualisation”. Animals always receive and talk to us through the telepathy of images and sensations, but we’re unable to understand, immersed as we are in a multitude of chaotic thoughts, unable to decipher little, if anything, of what they try to communicate to us, of what nature transmits to us. In order to listen to nature and talk to animals, we need to experience and enjoy it in contemplation, abandon our prejudices towards them and learn a different form of communication, telepathy, a process that comes naturally to them, which doesn’t require us to be face to face or gesticulate. All we need to do is think about what we want to convey, keeping our mind free of thoughts, using images. Animals will understand. If we transmit love and peace, nature will respond by enriching us, animals will respond using their rules and criteria. A horse that’s afraid will approach, whereas if we transmit agitation or fear, it will flee or even attack us”. “One day”, said Nafis “I went for a walk to get to the top of a mountain that was just 1000 metres high, but was in a beautiful location, from where it’s possible to look towards the north to the plain of an amazing, large ancient medieval city set between the mountains, with the mountain that everyone sees in our great val- ley to the east, the plain of a lively, sunny seaside town to the west and the Monte Sacro to the south, with the boundless sea on the horizon that, as usual, took the lions share, hoarding the south, the west and the north, to reaffirm that it was unique, the greatest, the strongest, most inimitable and beautiful. During the climb, in the woods, a Rottweiler and a Maremma sheepdog, without collars, ran aggressive- ly towards me. I stood still, aware that they knew about body language and, telepathically, the messages of the mind. I eliminated fear. My thoughts focused on stroking them, but I didn’t gesture to do so. It was only then that they started wagging their tails, padded around me, sniffed my hands and looked at me for a moment, although I don’t know what they said to me. Perhaps they asked me if there was any danger in the valley, but given my silence, and being disappointed by the human species they had encountered that wasn’t very communicative or useful at that precise moment, they immediately went on their way towards the valley. After walking for 40 minutes I was at the summit and I found another sheepdog. It was thirsty, so I gave it some water and then, cheered by the wonder- ful view, I meditated for a while, ate my sandwich and thought: how beautiful, I think I’ll stick around, and then evening came”. Nafis moved towards the conclusion of his train of thought, which none of his attentive friends considered to be without foundation: “Through contemplation, with practice, experimentation, silence and breathing, the images and sensations resulting from the experiences and expressions of those transmitting them will take shape in our minds and we’ll feel part of a group, in ancestral communication, an integral part of the great population of nature. Overcoming the anthropocentrism that characterises us, taking our chances in the natural world, giving our- selves the time to learn, we’ll be able to get to know the hidden beauties and fascinating mysteries that it holds for us. A world that we’ve merely learnt to look at without actually seeing it, without hearing its great symphony. One of our primary goals in life should be to learn from nature, from animals, so that we may return to being a part of its Kingdom, its dynamics, rediscovering our function and contributing from within nature to the completion of its cycles and its perfection, beyond the fulfilment that we look for in vain in our cities, in our superegos, in material goods”. His friends were astonished, the reflection on talking had changed their eyes, they became clear, profound. They no longer looked at Nafis and other things, they saw something else, perhaps the whole universe, per-haps the eyes of the buzzard in flight, circling above them, perhaps their inner beings, now stronger and more self-confident. Removing the flower he often had between his lips, his friend Enea took the floor and said to the others: “Regarding the buzzard that appeared suddenly the other evening, as we were speaking about these things, about eagles and herons, I received a signal: could the buzzard have perceived our attentive presence, our powerful energy? Was it a coincidence that it came to tell us something, in that precise instant? Animals shouldn’t merely be observed to admire their beauty, the things they do and their sublime movement. We need to look at their world, look at the world through their eyes, trying to imagine what animals feel when they observe things, why they observe them. When herons or buzzards glide above us, their bodies relax as they observe the asphalt down below, whereas we concentrate on the road and look at the cars, they move their heads curiously and their deep, lively eyes with indecipherable colours, enriched by the fullness of nature, towards everything that isn’t the road, towards the sunset, towards a wood, then suddenly towards a hill, while in flight their bodies slightly change direc-tion and their feathers are smoothed out by the wind, their wings spread wide to perform incredibly perfect geometries. Geometries envied by all of us, who have created cumbersome, awkward birds of steel. Why are buzzards, swallows and starlings at peace when they fly, stretch themselves gently and observe nature? The answer’s simple: because they’re part of it all, they’re nature’s perfect fruit, and they’re grateful to it when they perform their incredible swoops and acrobatics! They simply enjoy nature, they dominate it and are dominated by it. Their deep, lively eyes not only see, contemplate and discard whatever is super- fluous and ugly, they’re also enriched by the beauty that attracts them, rich in ancestral culture, they’re the eyes of nature! We should try to look at the world like they do, not limit ourselves to admiring the aesthetic and dynam- ic forms of animals, but going further: admiring the world through the same eyes, their eyes, the eyes of nature”. Nafis, like everyone else, was astounded by Enea’s simple, yet brilliant idea, one that no one had thought of before: “Not just looking at the animal, but also at the world through the animal’s eyes”. He thought about it for days, until he understood its deep meaning, a meaning that he had always carried inside without ever being able to grasp it and express it in words. He understood it afterwards, thanks to the long time he spent observing nature and animals, thanks to the spark provided by Enea, finally managing to complete the circle of that intuition by reading a story that happened before him by chance. Perhaps it wasn’t chance. So, one of those evenings as the sun was setting, Nafis told the story to all the others. He felt the need to complete the circle regarding the con- cepts that had been expressed and then magnificently redefined by his friend Enea. He did so when he and his friends went to the perfect beach. It was their ideal beach, a special beach with a warmth and peace that spoke for itself, inhabited only by animals, seagulls in the sky and foxes that often joined them from the immense pine forest overlooking the sea. There were odd insects with strange armour walking along the sand, huge, colourful butterflies circling above, fragrant bushes, hot, wonderful sands and dunes, a sea that stretched 180 degrees as far as the eye could see, to the north, south and west, with its westerly wind bringing them great energy. It was also a perfect beach on which to live, discovered during their patrols to clean up the beaches and the pine forests invaded by plastic and cigarette butts. In the moment of greatest peace, with the warm sun greeting those present on the flat sea with a serene spirit, the same as the thoughts that Nafis had always pursued, resting on water as calm as lotus flowers on lakes that were smooth as silk, he told his friends about the meaning of the existence of life on Earth. The meaning had finally come to light after their many excursions into nature, during the latest discus- sions with Enea, all summarised by the interpretation given by Nafis, who provided those present with un- disputed confirmation of their intuitions, which they’dsought for a long time, perfect in that very moment, coming to them right then as they understood, perhaps driven by converging cosmic energy. The story was the adventure of a great lover of the sea who had trans- mitted a priceless message to humanity. His name was Enzo Maiorca. So, Nafis said: “He was diving in the warm South Sea, talking to his daughter who was on a boat a short dis- tance away, ready to dive with him into the deep sea. He suddenly felt his hand being gently brushed, so he turned and saw a dolphin. He immediately understood that it didn’t want to play, but instead wanted to express something else. The dolphin left quickly and Maiorca swam after it. The dolphin dived, so Maiorca followed him into the deep water and saw that another dolphin was entan- gled in the net of an abandoned boat. Maiorca quickly rose to the surface and called out for his daughter to join him with two scuba-diving knives. In a matter of minutes, Enzo and his daughter freed the dolphin entangled in the net. Exhausted, it reached the surface and uttered a sound that Maiorca described as “almost a human cry”, finally managing to breathe. The freed dolphin remained motionless for a while, as Enzo, his daughter and the other dolphin waited in great apprehension. Then, it suddenly recovered, a powerful energy began to flow among all three of them as empathy created a special bond. It turned out that she was a female because she soon gave birth to a baby dolphin. The mother and baby dol- phin swam away into their sea, while the dolphin that had warned the man of the sea, known to other men as “the legend of the sea”, circled the two humans and stopped for a moment facing Enzo Maiorca and gave him a tap on the cheek, which looked like a kiss. It was an expression of its gratitude, then it swam away forever to join its fellow dolphins, they had to live their and our world to the full, their nature was strong, it was inside them. Everyone on the boat rose to their feet, eyes filled with tears as they gave a warm, long round of ap- plause. Enzo Maiorca later told them: “Until man has learned to respect and dialogue with the animal world, he will never know his true role on this Earth”.



INDEX NAFIS AND THE COLOURFUL HALLWAYS

Preface by Anna Vannucchi 7

Testimonials 11 1. My name is Nafis 15

2. Nafis and the colourful hallways 35

3. Imagination and dreams 50

4. The difficult choice between yellow, green and blue 62

5. The journey with friends 71

6. Nafis and the lost forests 77

7. The foundations of the future 93

8. Nafis meets the cows 117

9. Men who pretend not to understand 128

10. The mirror of a sick society 139

11. Nafis and the men beyond help 166

12. The battle that can be waged 188

13. Nafis tells stories the wrong way round 219

14. Life, day after day 244

15. Dreaming of the animal being 253 16. Nafis wonders what comes after life 287

17. Nafis discovers feelings 298

18. Nafis looks at the stars and discovers love 306

19. Nafis and the opposites, cultures and roots 320

20. Nafis and beauty 335

21. A sense in the 21st century 345 Bibliography 365

The working group 367

Acknowledgements 368

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