The “search for roots”, has become a growing passion for many, especially in the western world. Some pursue family trees in often fragmented records, others search long lost relatives, and still others explore ancestral homelands. Most do not realise that these are superficial exercises, for our longings, even much of our anguish, and despair emanate from a much deeper place than such journeys will take us. The roots that are being sought are not merely personal, physical or emotional attachment, but the very roots of life itself.
In today’s world, many have grown despondent, despairing that life’s essence is negative, finding their evidence in the obvious and visual greed of our consumer society and in the considerable focus on “self” so prevalent in our world. Many even believe that human nature is fundamentally bad and that there has only been minimal progress in human evolvement since the dawn of time. Additional distress is felt by those whose faith was invested in our evident advances in technology, increased sophistication in society and expanded knowledge levels.
In this world of woe, one that has been created, the belief is pervasive that society is broken, economies fractured and humanity profoundly sick. So much effort is being used for diagnosis, developing cures and treating these perceived illnesses that there is little time nor energy for just plain life and living.
For too many, little credence is given to life as a continuum, a web of intricate fabricate that has been woven throughout generations, millennia and by all those that have passed though before. In fact, the past has become obsolescent, considered only a trend without meaning and its inherent values relegated to irrelevant myth, something to be discarded as outworn waste. So diminished are these values, evidenced throughout all of history, that present day youth experience not even a sense of hope. So demoralised are our older generations, that the best that can we can achieve is to destroy and lay waste to all that symbolises what’s past.
Minimum reflection is given to the long term implications of these current efforts. Driven in desperation we rent holes in life’s web, with little thought to the fineness of its weave nor the intricate patterns that have been woven. There is no understanding of how long it will take future generations to mend the gaps that have been created or how the weaving techniques will be learnt with so much of life’s instructions cast aside and forgotten.
One does not have to reflect far back into current history to find examples of people who have undergone similar dilemmas. Consider the plight of the indigenous people in many developed countries. Their roots were severely damaged by conquerors, who brutally trashed their traditions and culture, so convinced were they that these people were without refinement or even civility. Then reflect on the recent and long term struggles of those who have undergone colonisation as they attempt to reconnect the fractured components of their societal fabric, rent porous by their colonial masters.
The reality is, that no matter our callousness or neglect, the intricate web that is life is non-destructible – no matter our arrogance of thought or contemplation of fear. The most that can be accomplished by such ignorance, as is currently evidenced throughout the world, is to leave gaps in its form, gaps that future generations have to repair through greater analysis and soul searching. Encouragingly, such reconstruction efforts have begun. Throughout indigenous cultures and liberated colonies all across the world can be observed the most positive and innovative attempts at societal rejuvenation, with lessons for all.
Visit the most impoverished areas of the world where despite the evident decay, you will discover a vibrancy and energy that is but life itself. Take time to share with those inhabiting such environments and feel the warmth and friendliness that requires neither economy or structure. Allow yourself to stop and witness the acts of caring that are happening all around in your own environment, and you begin to experience the true context of our human essence. For, humanness needs neither development or growth, only encouragement and support to gush forth with vigour.
Rediscovery of our roots is an imperative. Nothing else that will be truly effectual – not social growth, economic expansion or the pseudo psychological campaigns that appear so common. There is the necessity to examine our culture with all its intricacies and reflect upon the values that are inherent in its very core. The elements of these values that of caring, sharing and love, are the very fibres of the fabric that is life itself. Only when this course is pursued will balance be evident in our lives, our communities and our societies. Only then, will the true essence of humanness once more become commonplace.
How much simpler it might be, if generationally, people could develop early the foresight to learn and understand the intricate weaving process required to continue the web of life – rather than rejecting the obvious patterns in their search for new designs. It is only when life begins to ebb from individual control through ageing, when mortality becomes visible that people realise they haven’t perfected the process at all, only rent damage to life’s fabric. Then they fear their lack of knowledge necessary to effect repairs. (Is this not what is behind the frenzy of people throughout much of the world today?)
Finally, people need assurance that there is still time, for time is the element that other generations created to compartmentalise life. They need to fully understand life as a continuum, a truth that becomes evident when we attain awareness and knowledge through new experiences.
Most importantly, we need to realise that experience comes from engagement, with others, the environment and, quite simply, with life. Such engagement is the foundation of sharing and subsequently, of community. Building community is much more complex than holding meetings, dividing tasks or building infrastructure. For community, truly requires the connecting of individual spirits to share.
Real sharing requires us to reach beyond the mind to the nebulous world of the spirit. A place for most more fearsome than life itself, because, unlike the comfortable physical life, the spirit realm cannot be touched or seen, only felt, and it is our feelings that we resist the most.
True feelings are immeshed in our roots, and these fundamental human roots are what must be first acknowledged. Finding one’s own roots requires an appreciation of circumstance, an understanding of limitations and the knowledge of the existence of a greater power at work than the mind can comprehend. This is, in fact, the wisdom of the spirit, inherent in each of us, old as time itself and the very threads that comprise the woven fabric of life itself. Reaching beyond the mind has, as its prerequisite, humility, for only with humility can real sharing occur.
Written by Bill Pardy