I remember when I was pastoring how once a month we would pour libations. When I water the plants, which I should do more often, I think about my parents and many of their relatives who went before them. I also think about my foster parents and my birth parents, who I have no memories of and honor them.
Initially, I thought this was an African spiritual tradition. Then I became aware of how it was also a Native American tradition. Recently, I became aware this is also a part of Shin Buddhism and is known as the Pure Land Tradition. According to Taitetsu Unno this tradition emphasizes awakening to "the Name-that-calls" and recognizing the boundless compassion that sustains and connects all of life. Some of this message is conveyed in the following poem by Mitsu Aida.
"My father and mother, altogether two.
Parents of my father and mother, altogether four.
Parents of parents, altogether eight.
If I count in this way,
Back to ten generations, altogether 1,024.
What about back to twenty generations?
To my surprise, over one million people.
From infinite past, a life rally baton has passed on.
Here, now I live with my baton.
This is your life!
This is my life!"
If I include in this my faster parent and my birth parents and their ancestors, and go back over twenty generations, then I am connected to more than 3 million people. In my own way, I am connected to each one of them. Their legacies and lives are somehow imprinted in a part of who I am and will become part of the legacy I pass on to others in the future.
What I do, how I move through this world is part of the legacy I have inherited and is part of the legacy I will leave behind. It is not something that can be erased, even when others attempt to pretend as if I was never a part of something. My being present, impacted the people and the organization in a way that is unerasable.
Being able to see the connections to those who are a part of my ancestry is a gift, which I am being called to practice at this time in my life. I know that as I continue to practice this skill in terms of my connections to people, I will also be working on enhancing my ability to see my connections to the Ultimate Consciousness and to the presence of the Divine in my life.
Thank you for all the opportunities you bless me with to strengthen my connection to you and to strengthen my ability to see and maintain my connection to others.