Karmic Muscle Group: Gratitude
Today’s Exercise: Honor Your Dead Ancestors
- Find a quiet place to sit. Turn off your cell phone out of respect and so you will not be interrupted.
- Think about your parents and then your parents parents and then your grandparents. Notice how the number grows quickly as you go back through each generation.
- Try to imagine all of your ancestors, there are millions and millions of them over the past five million years.
- Contemplate the fact that it took millions of people millions of years to make sure that you came into this world. Contemplate the sacrifices they had to make to keep each new generation alive and the fact that millions of genetic lines have perished because their ancestors were unable to provide for the survival of the line.
- Spend two full minutes in gratitude for the sacrifices of your ancestors for making it possible for you to have life.
We have no real appreciation for what it has taken for us to be here today. Most of us only have a working knowledge of our ancestors that goes back only two or three generations. Consider this: by the time any living person tracks there ancestors back just five hundred years, or twenty-five (25) generations, each of us is the direct descendant of 33,554,432 ancestors. At forty (40) generations you have over a billion direct ancestors (40th great grandparents). By the time you go back 44 generations (20 years per generation), you have more ancestors than currently live on the planet earth. Human beings (homo sapiens) are estimated to have diverged from other species about 350,000 years ago. That’s 17500 generations. What this means is that it took a whole lot of people to make a single you.
Think on how improbable it is that you are here. If anyone of those billions of ancestors had have did before giving birth to the next generation, you would not be here. Think of the things those billions of people had to endure, the starvation, the disease, the wars. How many of the people, and they were very real people, hid a child in the grass while their village was being slaughtered by invaders so that you could be here. There is a lot to be thankful for and the implications of this are immense. You are an improbable miracle, but at the same time you are part of an enormous network of people that at some point descend back to a common ancestor about 4.5 million years ago. that is a lot to think about.
- Gratitude For The Gift Of Life: you did not get hear on you own, billions and billions of people struggled, suffered and even died to make your life possible. Seeing yourself as a recipient of a massive historic contribution should make you feel privileged to be here. This kind of gratitude makes a person comprehend the very real miracle of life and relate to the world more graciously.
- The Awareness That We Are All Related – Literally: When you realize our very real interconnection, you start to comprehend that harming others is actually a form of self-harm. We only treat people as strangers because they are estranged to us in our minds, not be cause of our biology. We are actually all cousins or various degrees. What would happen if we started to act like a family instead of a world full of selfish individuals who think they have nothing to do with one another?
- Understanding Our Sameness While Celebrating Our Diversity: We go to great lengths to believe that we are unique. We think this uniqueness validates us, but it really just separates us from everyone else. Understanding that we are all literally of one blood, allows us to see that our difference are really arbitrary and foolish. This gives us a place to start as we make our way in peace.
It May Be Fiction, But It Is One Heck Of A Karmic Workout.
Read The Lotus Blossom, D. M. Kenyon’s fictional account of a teenage girl who turns off her cellphone and enters the very real, but mystical world of Budo warriors. Humorous, irreverent and heart-wrenching, The Lotus Blossom is an unforgettable tale of a Midwestern teenage girl’s transformation into a budo warrior in the midst of the turmoil of the Information Age. Available in all digital formats, paperback and soon to be released in hardcover.
Share Your Experience:
Leave a comment when you have completed the exercise.