Our earth – our world and home – needs elders. It needs to know who elders are and what they do. It needs the wisdom they afford us, the teaching they can give us. Elders are not only those who are old in years. Rather, an elder is a role that lives in all of us at any age. Still, this role appears mostly in people who have matured through the many years and much effort.
Elders turn to values that have endured the test of time. These timeless human qualities are expressed through words such as equanimity, acceptance, patience, compassion, kindness, thoughtfulness, gentleness, calm, empathy, and mindfulness. These words describe an attitude, a disposition towards the world, towards people and events, often hard-won through experiences spanning ecstatic moments of joy to deep, often extended periods of suffering.
Timeless qualities speak to those who humans are essentially. They speak to what we often call the soul of the human being, to what is immutable, transcends time, trends and culture. In today’s global world with its multiplicity of attitudes and approaches to life, its unprecedented access to information and knowledge, timeless human qualities can help us navigate through the thicket of offerings and help us remain close to what matters most. For more than ever, we humans need a compass to guide us so we can stay true to our essential selves and feel that we are living a life of meaning and depth. Such a life many a great thinker has referred to as a life worth living.