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Honoring Our Ancestors

This is World Interfaith Harmony Week. It is a time to practice gratitude, acceptance and love for the diversity of humanity, and to work towards living in peace.  The following is an adaptation of a meditation sent to me as someone involved in this movement:

Every step we take on our precious Mother Earth is simply profound. It may appear that we journey alone, but this is in fact not true.

If each of us only peers back through time a mere 10 generations ago, every human being owes his/her life to an astonishing 2,046 people who came before us and made our lives possible. These 2,046 people are our ancestors, those who passed on the legacy of life that lives within us.

Somehow, it gets even more incredible. If we each look back just 1,000 years, or through 30 generations of our ancestors, the number increases dramatically… from 2,046 to one billion ancestors!

In other words, we are the newest growth on a very ancient, very large tree!

Tree of Life

If you continue going back through time, you realize that our eyes have played a trick on us: although we appear separate – located in different regions of the world with different skin tones, cultures, spiritual paths and religions – we are actually all related. In fact, we are inter-related. We are each invaluable members of the Human Family, and since we share one Earth and one common ancestry, we too share one common destiny.

Indigenous peoples maintain ancient traditions that recognize the essential importance of honoring one’s ancestors, and sending them thankfulness for our very lives. By honoring our ancestors, we connect more fully to ourselves, to the legacy of life within us, and to those members of the Human Family all around us sharing the gifts of Mother Earth.

Mother Earth

Here is a simple meditation to honor these ancestors:

Begin by placing your feet upon the Earth… Feel the Earth hold, support, and ground you. Imagine roots extending from your feet deep and wide into Mother Earth like a tree.

Now, begin to feel the pulse of your countless ancestors who each walked upon the very same good Earth surging through your body. Imagine these ancestors holding you, always there, singing your name.

Next, look up to Father Sky, open your palms, eyes and heart to connect and let it soak in. Like leaves absorbing the rejuvenating trickle of sunlight from our Sun, feel the expansiveness of the cosmos pouring into your entire body, illuminating every part of your spirit.

Once in this connected state of being, feel gratitude for all those who came before you. Then, wish peace for all your fellow human relatives alive today who share a great journey with you.

By honoring our ancestors, we celebrate the unseen links that bond us to all people on our beautiful Mother Earth, offering a prayer of gratitude to those spirits who have come before us so that we can live today, in harmony.

family tree