One of the most interesting things about my bone readings is that the Ancestors consistently tell us to take responsibility for our actions, and for our destiny. What’s also interesting is their emphasis on our responsibility to one another, our connection, and how loving one another makes life easier.
It’s often said that most of us are born into his world naked, crying, and alone. However, we quickly learn, through the smiles, coos and soft touches of those around us, that we are part of a whole. Our family teaches us so much. Long before we understand language, we understand energy. We can feel the difference between gentle and rough handling. We feel the emotions of those around us, and internalize them.
Since all we understand for the first few years of our life is how our environment acts on us, or how it reacts to us, our earliest ideas about the world are formed based on those interactions. We understand our interactions with others only in the context of our own interpretations. We often carry those interpretations for the rest of our lives, or until we receive much stronger stimulus to the contrary. For example, according to psychosociologist Erik Erikson, if, as babies, we are attended to when we cry, we learn to trust. If we are left to fend for ourselves, we learn that the world can’t be trusted to satisfy our needs. Later, we learn a sense of autonomy, initiative or industry; or shame and doubt, guilt, and inferiority, depending on how our family, and later our schoolteachers or schoolmates, react to our fledgling attempts to manipulate and affect the world around us.
Similar theories of how our personalities develop were put forth by Abraham Maslow, Jean Piaget, Jane Loevering, and many others, all trying to decode how we become who we are as adults. These theories tend to give structure to the familiar “nature vs. nurture” debate around why we are who we are. Most studies have concluded that what becomes an individual depends on a combination of both our genetic makeup (“nature”) and how we were raised, and by whom (“nurture”). “Nurture works on what Nature endows.”
If we were raised in a warm, loving environment, we tend to see the world as a place to trust. If not, we are often wary and suspicious of those around us. We either tend to see one another as part of one big family, or have an “us vs. them” outlook, drawing distinctions between ourselves and those different from us, seeing them as outsiders and, often, untrustworthy. Consequently, because we’re not a homogeneous society, when you’re looking for an enemy – someone of whom to be fearful – you are bound to find it. And one thing you can usually be sure of – they’re not like you. They might look different, come from a different place (here in Maine we say they’re “from away”), worship differently, love differently, speak a different language, have different values… the key factor usually is “otherness.” They’re unfamiliar, and the primitive parts of our brains have developed only so far as to remind us to fear what we don’t understand – to see it as a threat until we learn for sure one way or the other.
We’ve seen the memes, posters, online videos – little children of different skin tones embracing with a caption noting a sentiment with the basic meaning: “Hate is Learned.” Interestingly, since we are innately programmed to be wary of what we don’t understand, or things for which we don’t have a frame of reference, it makes sense that our first response to new stimulus would be to recoil, or at the least react cautiously. But, equally interesting, unless they’re taught otherwise, babies don’t see differently-colored faces as “different.” All people faces fit into the category of “human being.” Some studies have postulated that it’s homogenization – i.e. only associating with people of one’s own ethnic group at very early ages – that may orient children to recognizing differences between “us” and “them.”
Back to our Ancestors. Of course, our main teachers, especially in our very early years, are our parents, siblings and close family members who make up our households. They teach us according to their own fears and preferences. It’s all they know. But once they’ve passed, they can see with “wider” eyes. Their Higher Selves see the things that they weren’t able to perceive while they were here, learning. They can see the mistakes they made during their time here, and set plans to “fix” them next time around. While here, we can only work with what we have. Until we’re self-actualized (the highest level on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs), we are limited by our biases. But our Guides know better.
Remember the biblical story of Cain and Abel, the first children born of Adam and Eve? I understand the stories in the bible as allegorical rather than literal. In this particular story, Cain was jealous of Abel, so he killed him. When his parents asked Cain where Abel was, he responded: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The response was not only a coverup of the first crime ever perpetrated (not to mention the first use of sarcasm), but a suspension of connection: “I really don’t care what happens to anyone else besides myself.” In order to perpetrate a crime on another person – even a brother – you need to see them as unworthy of compassion or empathy. You need to see them as “other” – someone else’s problem, not mine.
What we’re witnessing (and participating in, one way or another) is an America full of Cains.
“Those ‘others’ are worthy of my contempt, my insults, my disparate treatment of them. I don’t want to inconvenience myself to help them – why should I? They’re not my people. They deserve what’s coming to them.”
Unfortunately, the result is a rending of the fabric that holds us together as a society.
Here’s what our Ancestors want us to know right now: We are one family. Every person on the Earth right now can trace their Ancestry back to the same few people (call two of them Adam and Eve if it helps). Each of us has been here many times, learning, growing, making good on the promises we made to ourselves and our Ancestors before we arrived. If things are a mess right now (and I believe they are – BIG mess), it’s to continue our journey, and our learning. We are here on purpose, WITH a purpose. The common denominator is to do it together – as a family. One big global family. And know that we’ve got a job to do – to care. To be our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. We owe it to one aother to take care of one another, because what we do to others, we do to ourselves. What we do for one another, we do for ourselves.
With all the injustice happening in our country (and the world at large) because we are seeing too many “others,” we must remember that justice will be the eventual result, as we learn and grow, and come back with that knowledge as our Highest Selves put plans for our next time around in place.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” For all.