The Ancient Way and the Modern World
One of the things that I have noticed time and time again in various cultures is that sometimes a person does not understand their worth. When we sit with a healer, inevitably others within the village or tribe will gather. They appear to be perplexed as we show such respect and honor for a member of their group. They are bewildered that the knowledge that is being shared has such value that white man has come such a distance just to talk with this person. And, in the same respect, the healer with whom we are with, often feels extremely humbled.
As we sat with Johamad, in Madagascar, a young fellow came right over and sat beside him. Near the end of the conversation I asked what the young lad’s name was and Johamad explained that it was one of his grandchildren. The boy’s eyes gleamed as we spoke of him. I asked, through the translator, if the young boy knew how important his grandfather was to the rest of the world. A sheepish grin emerged on his face, and he shook his head no. I told him that his grandfather knows many things, and many ways to help people. I told him that we have come to learn and to work with his grandfather, and that we hoped that one day maybe we might even be talking with him. Johamad told us that no one was learning his recipes. He would teach a person how to make a remedy for what they needed, but he had no student. Once again, my heart skipped a beat as I heard the same story many times before. Johamad, like others, believed that the knowledge would be safe for years to come, that the Divine had given it to them and that the Divine would hold it for their people. I love that. I also worry that as Johamad gathers in age (he was in his 80’s when we were last with him), that the knowledge will be lost when he passes on. The younger generations continue to be swept away by the modern amenities and lures, and no longer have interest in carrying on their tribe’s traditions, and often, even their languages.
It perhaps is no different than Western culture. Younger generations are becoming more and more disconnected from life, from nature, from traditions, and family. People, especially those close to us, are taken for granted and we often miss vital opportunities to see the world differently because we are focused elsewhere.