In a society where we are spending more and more time trying to look and appear young, and where we receive much positive reinforcement from doing this, the idea of having Elders in our family and society that we listen to or take advice or insights from is not part of our current reality.
In many ancient cultures, the Elders were the guardians of sacred knowledge and highly revered for their wisdom, experience and their ability to look at problems with less attachment than our younger selves.
Elders were seen as a rich resource for families and communities whereby they were also the keepers of memory.
In Indigenous cultures the Wise Elders have always been the keepers of memory, wisdom experience and insight, predominantly passing on this knowledge through their oral tradition.
They may have lived through great famines and natural disasters in their earlier years, which may not have been experienced for perhaps many decades so their wise counsel has and is very much needed to manage these out of the ordinary situations.
In Indian culture it is normal to expect the Grandparents in a family will spend much of their time in spiritual learning and become, for their families, Gurus of knowledge and wisdom. They are revered and their counsel is sought after. They also provide assistance to their families and any insights that will help each member to navigate their challenges.
In the second part of our lives we have the opportunity, after spending many years learning through suffering and letting go of who we thought we were, to begin to hear the real wisdom that is earned and lives within us. It is a rich time to really begin doing the “work”, for our own self- actualisation. And through the process of this we are able to be of great support help and wisdom for our families.
Interestingly, here in Australia, we have experienced a debilitating drought, an unprecedented fire season, and now COVD 19, a hugely challenging time for everybody. And yet my Mother who was a small child during the Great Depression and World War 2 is sailing through it recounting many stories to us of her life during those times of great challenge, and how they all managed to get through it.
We, in turn, are living through a similar time of great change and suffering on the planet. What will we remember and pass onto our children, or grandchildren in the decades to come? How are we learning and adapting to our new circumstances? And how are we using what we have to build and grow and learn?
Now it’s our turn now to become the Elders of today or tomorrow by paying attention, living with intention, love and gratitude for each and every day,
There is much to learn from our Elders and much to gain from seeing those that are our Elders as keepers of wisdom experience and knowledge.
We and the planet will be the better for it.