Our story begins in 4600 BC, when the Phoenicians began building cedar boats to fish and earn a living at Byblos—which is north of Beirut. Soon they were trading half a day’s journey from home. By 3600 BC they discovered and began trading with, the Egyptians. By 2000 BC, they were expert sailors and navigators and had expanded their trading venture to the Eastern Mediterranean. They formed a partnership with Crete to create the Minoan civilization. They discovered Santorini and it became a Phoenician city. They would eventually expand to the Western Mediterranean and establish trading posts and more Phoenician cities and colonies including Corsica, Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, and Carthage in North Africa and on the Atlantic coast of Morocco and Spain. Some historians even believe they traded with England and travelled to North America. As their trading empire expanded, so did their wealth. So you have to ask yourself, why were the Phoenicians so successful in trading and living peacefully in the ancient Eastern and Western Mediterranean for over 3000 years? Let’s go back to the brain and understand how the mind works.
Whatever we learn from our culture is wired into our brains—wired into neuro pathways. Based upon our neuro pathways—which are patterns of thinking and behavior—we act a certain way. Whatever we learn becomes ‘second nature’ and usually we don’t even think about our behavior, it just seems natural. Our own culture seems natural. When the Phoenicians explored new cultures, they soon learned, like all of us would, that other cultures and customs were not the same as theirs. This became a pivotal moment or what I call a “transformative moment” that would decide their future.
The Phoenicians had two choices. They could focus on what was different between the two cultures and judge others. Or, they could attempt to understand others, educate themselves about the new culture, accept and respect the differences, and wire their brains to change and blend in quickly and assimilate smoothly. The Phoenicians made a conscious choice to become accepting and they adapted. They became highly skilled readers of people and honed what is today called EQ, emotional intelligence skills. Among those skills are the ability to listen to and understand others and develop lasting relationships.
Their HQ—heart intelligence—allowed them to accept, align and connect with others. The Institute of HeartMath has been researching the connection between heart and mind and our hearts intuitive intelligence for two decades. This heart research views the heart as an electro- magnetic field that broadcast energy frequency that connects people together and this heart energy moves back and forth between people. Positive emotions like acceptance are a key element of this intelligence. Remember, the Blueprint created a common purpose and identity where everyone in their society was on the same wavelength and the coherent heart energy field connected them to each other and to their trading partners. At this point in their development, “getting along” with other cultures was “second nature”.
And, I imagine as they took risks and expanded their trading venture, they would return home more inspired, with increased wisdom and enthusiasm and with even more curiosity to discover new lands and pursue new opportunities.
Can you imagine the world today if our brains were hardwired to accept others and their cultures, to change quickly, and to develop mutually beneficial relationships?
This is the fifth article in a series on the Ancient Wisdom of the Phoenicians. Article 6 is: