"Full-bodied experience is most valued by Bushmen. This experience is born and expressed by the movement of their muscles and skin, not from the ruminations of reflective thought. From the Bushman perspective, their sacred knowledge is encoded in the orally preserved songs and muscle memories of kinesthetic movements. Its expression is sparked by a mysterious presence that moves their bodies to perform ecstatic choreographies of healing movement inseparable from heartfelt touch.
"To appreciate the groundbreaking contributions of the Bushmen, we must learn to interact in their preferred way and place ourselves on their dance ground rather than encapsulate them inside our categories of classification. Specifically, Bushmen want to see, hear, and feel our bodies move in the way they occupy and move their bodies. To more fully respect the Bushman way requires that we move forward and dare to be danced by n|om [mysterious, vibratory life force].
"The n|om-kxao [Bushman healer and shaman] cannot do ecstatic work alone. He or she must meet the ancestral spirits and gods. Here they merge with divine love, as hands tremble and deliver spiritual birth, death, and resurrection. When shared with others who are open to full participation, all are taken into ecstatic communion and union.
"In the Kalahari, n|om dances with all of creation. The dancer's body holds all imaginable names along with their inherent contrasts and differences, embracing any and all sides and forms. In this movement, a whirling wind moves the dancer from side to side. Waves of energy express the 'back and forth,' 'here and there,' 'this and that,' and 'is and isn't' of human existence. Love and hate are held next to each other, neither side allowed to run away" Altruism and selfishness face off but neither crosses the line. Good and evil stand their ground, greeting one another. In the body of the Bushman dancer the wheel of life and death is turned as spiritual electricity is churned. "Bushman elders vary in their depth of discernment, understanding, and articulation of the ambiguities, paradoxes, and complexities of life. Some see a simple battle between God and trickster while others have a more complex view of the interpenetration of contrasting sides of any distinction, especially that of the Sky God and the Sky God's complementary side, trickster. An individual Bushman n|om-kxao may also alternate between these simple and complex outlooks over the course of a lifetime or within a single conversation. In the Kalahari, a Bushman's body moves and the fluid stories are encouraged to change with each telling. What is stable in the Bushmen's experience is the process of movement itself — nighttime dancing feet, swaying bodies, trembling hands, pumping bellies, bobbing heads, as well as the ever-changing stories, teasing, and jokes that are shared underneath the daytime shade of a camel thorn tree. Their truths are found moving in the constant circulating and changing rhythms, music, movements, and touch of n|om-inspired living. The Bushmen teach us that understanding the mystery of life is less important than participating in it. They invite us to dance more and talk less. They want us to feel our hearts rather than fill our minds. The Bushman way is more polyphonic, improvisational, playful, and biological than any flat-planed, textually structured world. Their truths mirror the truths of the sky, earth, plants, and animals that surround them. The way of the Bushman can only be understood in the smell of sweat, the experienced warmth of blood flowing out of a hunted animal, the bare handling of roots and earth, and the tender embrace of one another through hearts and hands that flutter. Round and round the dance circle a furrow of sand is dug, reminding us of the cyclical nature of life. Turn and return to the indigenous fires and circles of unspoken mystery. There the ancestors continue teaching."