It’s a truism attributed to Santayana that the only thing we learn from history is that we are condemned to repeat it, i.e., nothing. How many times have I left a pot to boil over? Countless, believe me, but still I do it!
Insight doesn’t stop me. I know perfectly well I should turn the heat down just before boiling point is reached but still, half the time I forget to do so until it’s too late and the contents spill over.
So, it is clearly not about a ‘lesson learned’ that leads me to repeat my mistake. It is not about education. Or at least only in part.
What would my great, great grandmother have said about this? Or her great, great grandmother? Or grandfather? Perhaps they would have laughed. Or become impatient with me. Or would they rather have said as long as I don’t do harm and attend to what matters, (which is both different yet the same for everybody), all will be well? And what would my great, great grandchildren’s great, great grandchildren think, for example, of how little I did for the environment by cooking with gas?
Who knows? Who knows what those who are yet to come and those who have already left through the birth and death gates would say to me? Who knows what they say to us about the things we do?
Well, we do, we all do, if only we would listen to our blood and bones! But to do that we have to be able to hear. And to hear the voices of our ancestors and descendants it is necessary to be quiet. To switch on our inner ear. To open our inner eye. To taste our inner food, touch and be touched by our inner feelings and to pick up the scent of our unique personal meaning. Each one of us….
After writing that I fell back to sleep (I always write early in the morning and today was a Sunday) and into a dream.
I dreamt I was wandering around lost and confused, trying to be independent, not unhappy, but needing help. Everything was and was not familiar. I won’t go into detail, but it left me with this thought:
If in the mysterious and wonderful eternal present of our sleep, dreams are actually ancestral voices and visions, i.e., the voices and visions of the dead, merging their experiences and imaginations with our own and with those of those yet to come when we ourselves will be dead, then it is clear that they were telling me that, like me, they too got and will get lost and confused; that that is often how it is here on Planet Earth, part of the human condition, that therefore we must actively collaborate and cooperate with one another all the time, help each other, every single one of us.
Urgently, all of us, about everything!
Blog written by Caroline Cairns Clery, Family Psychotherapist at The Surrey Centre
For more information on Carrie, visit: TheSurreyCentre/Counsellors