This month I’d like to explore the idea of evolution and its importance both philosophically and spiritually. While the ancients may have had incredible insights into the nature of the Universe their understanding of those insights could only be based on the information they had. I’m proposing that we have the opportunity to engage with ancient wisdom in a way that would have been impossible eight thousand years ago when Ifa was first practiced.
One of the great things about an oral tradition is that it can’t be fixed in time. We only have to look at the bible to understand how taking rules out of their cultural context can become destructive. Buddhism believes that the Universe is a series of unending cycles. But, that doesn’t jive with what we know now. Like organisms, cultures evolve. Everything is growing, changing, striving forwards towards complexity, into the unknown.
Ifa, as I have come to understand it, includes the idea of a universe that’s always exploring, trying to become more. I think that the Yoruba probably understood that. What they didn’t have was the understanding of cosmic, and biological, evolution that modern science has brought us. Some would claim that it’s impossible to include scientific discoveries in our understanding of Ifa. But, we have never grown as a species by moving backwards. The original Ifa system, whatever it may have been, cannot get us out of our current crisis. What it can do is help us understand how to face these challenges. If we couple an Ifa perspective with everything we’ve learned we can make discoveries about how to support the whole.
This kind of approach has been called integral because it doesn’t simply try to overthrow ideas from previous stages of growth. It includes them while transcending them so that we can preserve the best of every stage we’ve been through and allow it to give us a deeper understanding of the discoveries we’re making now.
Humans are developing, and growing, and have been since the dawn of our species. At some point that growth will become so significant that a new species will appear. Our culture is also evolving. To imagine that a modern human is the same as ancient tribal person is outrageous. We are different. While ancient wisdom can certainly help us understand how we got to the point we’re at, solutions to the problems we face have to come out of a higher consciousness that understands the modern world.
I have no doubt that shamanic practices can help support the biosphere that’s under threat. But, those practices alone will not be able to withstand the onslaught of destruction that humans are engaging in. Destruction of the Amazon, and of the ocean habitat that allow plankton to thrive, will collapse food chains and starve our world of the oxygen we need to survive. The solution to these issues will likely be technological. But, that technology can only be developed with an understanding of the unity of all life that these ancient systems can provide.
I’ve been a full-time life coach, and mentor, since 2007. I’ve helped clients: find new careers or enrich the ones they’re in; discover new love or renew a fading relationship; deal with the stresses of day to day living, and of course deepen into the spiritual dimension of life..