Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. -Edmund Burke
I have dedicated my life to trying to stay in the present. Yoga and meditation have taught me that here and now is where I want to live. But lately things have made me take a look back, not only at my personal past, but also at my past generations.
During my life-after-death and near-death-experience obsession phase, I read a book by a woman who said that during her flat line, she saw that she had actually chosen her parents here on earth so that she could learn the lessons her soul needed for growth. It also said that souls come here to help others learn their lessons, too. Reading that gave me much more comfort about who I am, where I come from and the experiences I have had.
So as much as I know that I should live in the moment, there’s a part of me that is certain that I should learn from my ancestors’ mistakes that directly and indirectly impacted my life. Understanding who you are and appreciating and changing yourself for your progress and betterment will only come from seeing honestly where you come from. The sins of our forefathers are ingrained in us somewhere like a barcode. But they are not there to give us shame. They are there so that we may accept what is given to us and become more evolved and thoughtful.
Without even knowing it, I interact and respond with everyone based on my heritage. We’re talking my children, friends, lovers, neighbors, doctors, teachers, students, waiters and baristas. I have a mind of my own and I listen to my heart and my gut, but I cannot deny that my perspective, opinions and inner voice have been sculpted somehow by my predecessors.
Believe me, there are moments that this knowledge can send me into one of those silent-scream type cries. But mostly, this awareness gives me the wisdom to know what legacy I would like to leave to everyone I touch during my time here. By staying aware of my past but focused on my present, I can hope to leave a future generation of people who can spend less time commiserating and more time finding ways to create a world of peace, help, love, respect and understanding. It’s like I get to take a bullet for the my children’s team, and I’m totally okay with that.