We seek a future in outer space, while relinquishing the lifeline to our past. And yet it is this past – our ancestors – that contains the knowledge we must have to reach the stars.
The keepers of knowledge and wisdom
In many indigenous cultures, as in ancient times, the oldest people are considered the wise ones. As it was everywhere in times gone by, the old ones in these remote tribes are still respected and revered. They are the ones who advise the tribe in their political decisions. And they are the spiritual leaders who guide their people into the higher worlds. They are the grandfathers and grandmothers, and their advice is heeded, for it is they who possess the wisdom that comes only with long experience of Life.
In all cultures of ancient times, the younger tribal members took care of the older ones when they could no longer do this for themselves. Wood, water, and food were left by their doors, with love and respect for their many years on Mother Earth.
Simply to be old was once an honor. For it was understood that within the old ones were the secrets of Life and the memories that are the roots of our existence.
Like most of today’s indigenous tribes, all ancient peoples knew that we create our future by our dreams and our decisions, and that without the knowledge and wisdom of the old ones, these dreams and decisions could lead us to extinction. And so the grandmothers and grandfathers, holding their living remembrance of the past, used to help guide our steps to the future.
But now, today, our old ones – unless they have made a bundle of money to protect themselves from their children and society – find themselves useless and forgotten, waiting out their final years alone in a nursing home.
Nobody comes with reverence to ask for their wisdom. Nobody cares, not even their own children.
For in today’s world, youth is all that matters. Only youth is honored and respected. Those who are no longer young do everything they can to disguise the fact, from plastic surgery to little red sports cars. Movies and the media bombard us, over and over, with this idea that youth is the reason for living and the purpose of Life.
The moment of the rose
In some ways, like a newly-unfolded rose, youth can legitimately be seen as the purpose of Life. Like the rose, we come in as a seed, the ovum, so tiny that it can scarcely be seen with the naked eye. And we grow to be born, coming as little babies from our mother’s wombs – just as the seed of the rose grows to become a little sprig, pushing out of the earth.
Humans and roses both grow until they become mature persons or plants. Then reproduction begins. The prospective mother becomes beautiful and sexually attractive, and every man’s head turns. And at the same stage, the rose explodes into her majestic beauty, and the insects are magnetically pulled to her royal red center.
In much of the world today, actions and values are based upon this moment of youth and sexual passion, with its rapid movement – even violence, aggressiveness – and, often, its complete lack of compassion. This is the behavior that characterizes the moment of sexual conquest. It is the posture that is fitting when males challenge each other for the female.
And yet this bursting into bloom, this fertile, pregnant moment of greatest passion, is the one aspect of Life – at the expense of all else – that the Western world has chosen to make into its god.
Aging and the Circle of Life
But does it work for an entire culture to enshrine this kind of youthful energy, holding on to it as the only true value and refusing to let go, seeing it as the Grand Prize of Life?
What if the totality of Life has a purpose far beyond the outer images of the world? What if our Life really is but one cycle in a spiral, just as the grandfathers say, a turning and turning and turning again that leads us back to Source?
And what if, in order for us to remain true to our highest purpose, we must allow the old ones to make the turns when the turns should be made?
So let’s celebrate these old ones, who walk down the streets of every city in the world with their wrinkled old bodies and their untapped wisdom.
The old ones are the past, but more importantly, they are the future. Our future. Except for the babies, who cannot yet speak to us, only they know how the Circle of Life completes itself.
Only the old ones, participating actively in our lives, will be able to tell us when the time is right to make the turns.
In love and service,