Monday, July 4, 2011

Shaun Tomson: The Light Shines Ahead

Here is a link to a video of a very moving talk by Shaun Tomson, a superlative surfer and a very encouraging and giving human being, in which he shares a deeply personal part of his family's story with the world.

If you haven't listened to it yet, you should stop reading now and do so.

Yesterday's post discussed Mr. Tomson's film Bustin' Down the Door, and a few of the many layers of issues regarding the shared human experience which that film engages and enables its viewers to consider. The talk above, which Mr. Tomson gave on December 22, 2010, provides a much more intimate perspective on the words shown on the screen at the end of the movie, which were written by Mr. Tomson's son, Mathew.

It is an unforgettable talk.

At the end, he encourages each of his listeners to imagine what would happen if they would take just thirty minutes each week to sit inside a "sacred story circle" to share their story and their light with someone else. The reference is to a poignant memory he shares with us about a time he shared with his son inside just such a circle.

It is worth noting that there is very ancient precedent for the circle that his son created and shared with his dad, and which his dad then shared with the world.

We noted in this previous post the resemblance that many historians have pointed out between the activities of the ancient Celts and Druids (prolific builders of stone circles) and those of the ancient Hebrews.

The poet, historian and playwright Thomas Moore (1779 - 1852), considered the National Bard of Ireland, wrote a four-volume History of Ireland (published between 1835 and 1846), in which he discussed the ancient precedent of the sacred stone circle, as well as the connection between those of the ancient Hebrews and those of the ancient Druids, saying:
No less ancient and general, among the Celtic nations, was the circle of upright stones, with either an altar or tall pillar in the centre, and, like its prototype at Gilgal, serving sometimes as a temple of worship, sometimes as a place of national council or inauguration. That the custom of holding judicial meetings in this manner was very ancient appears from a group which we find represented upon the shield of Achilles, of a Council of Elders, seated round on a circle of polished stones. The rough, unhewn stone, however, used in their circular temples by the Druids, was the true, orthodox observance of the divine command delivered to Noah, "If thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not make it of hewn stone" [. . .]. Volume 1, pages 37-38.
Thus the sacredness of such stone circles is very ancient indeed.

The "prototype at Gilgal" to which Thomas Moore refers above can be found in Joshua 4:20-22 (and note that the verses contain a strict command for the sharing of sacred stories between fathers and children).

Mr. Tomson is one of my personal heroes, not only for his surfing but also for his stature as a human being, in much the same way that he describes the great Duke Kahanamoku as his personal hero growing up. Mr. Tomson's surfing can be used to understand an important principle about the earth's orbit around the sun, through the video attached to this previous blog post. We should all be grateful for his willingness to share his story.