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Image by Bob Archbold

“Make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river — small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being…The man who, in old age, can see his life in this way, will not suffer from the fear of death, since the things he cares for will continue. And if, with the decay of vitality, weariness increases, the thought of rest will not be unwelcome. I should wish to die while still at work, knowing that others will carry on what I can no longer do and content in the thought that what was possible has been done.” — Bertrand Russell

Respect for elders is “True in all Indigenous cultures, including western Indigenous cultures that are still somewhat intact. It is time to learn from intergenerational people and trans-lineal knowledge. The severed western mind broke the systems of the world; they are not capable of leading us home, we need Indigenous leadership from every corner of the globe. People who knew how to live in place for over 10,000 years without trashing everything have vast amounts to teach the rest of us. Nothing heals without Indigenous knowledge, they are the very thin line of whole system thinkers, not all people with Indigenous blood quantum have this, but the elders, the deep wisdom carriers, the traditional knowledge keepers from everywhere and each of us deep in our cells, we have this.” — Donna Morton

“The severed western mind,” a phrase that reminds us of how we are crippled by our culture, of how limited our ability is to see the sacred in all things. Is this why we fear aging, why we resist the natural stage of life when we lose our personal concerns and start to live in the universal realms?

Our body/mind contains a sense of the natural arc of an individual life. Our attention is drawn to the concerns appropriate to our age. Here on Medium, where I am probably twice the age of most writers, I mostly keep to universal themes that are appropriate to my stage in life. I write what interests me because I’m trying to see it clearly and understand it as best I can. Not surprisingly, the audience for this kind of writing is modest, but in keeping with my “elder-mind, I can’t let that distract me from my project.

In any case, I can’t turn the years back to when I was trying to answer all the “how to” questions that pester the younger minds. I’m trying to clarify why we live so destructively and what kind of vision, what kind of beings we need to become in order to live in harmony with Creation itself.

As is pointed out by Donna Morton, there still exist humans who live in harmony with the matrix. They have something to teach us of a spiritual nature. That is what has gone missing from the Western mind. We are the primitive ones when it comes to spiritual vision. Few of us have been able learn from such insights, but that may be changing.

In our culture even the elders are shallow for the most part. They are stuck in the “how to look good and how to get ahead” ethos. True elders are few because old people are considered useless members of society. They’re no longer contributors to the market. It’s time they cycled off.

Older, wiser cultures value their elders. They see the contribution and wisdom carried by those who have lived long lives. What a culture admires and values says a lot about it. Our youth obsessed culture is adolescent, shallow. It is due some shocks to the system, such as we’re seeing now. More such comeuppances are probably in store for us. We have a lot to learn about living in harmony with nature.

Our cruel systems embody our limited vision. We are being reminded that the universal life forces are still here and will eventually kill us all if we refuse to respect them.

We’re growing up as a species. It’s going to be a bumpy ride for a while. We are being prompted toward a more universal vision of things. I’ve heard it said that those who are alive at this time were made for it. I hope that’s true.


Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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