I'm sure most of you have heard of the common phrase, "you need to understand where he is coming from", or something to that effect. However I say, it is not where you are coming from but where you are going. Forward ever, backwards never! Are you trodding toward Mount Zion, or staying miserable in Babylon? Lot's wife turned to a pillar of salt because she was looking back at Sodom and Gomorrah even though JAH said to keep it moving. The past can become a heavy burden, and also an excuse for certain behaviors. This is especially prevalent in the case of individuals. When ones live in the past they begin to adopt a false sense of reality, and refuse to make any advancement. The past could have been traumatic, or it could even have been glorious... either way it is looking back. Yes, there are stages of movements forward, one cannot be pushed or forced into it, the revelation of Truth is a natural mystic. So some people progress at different rates, every fruit in its due season. The true problem is when one recognizes where they should be going and what it takes to be progressive-minded but instead chooses to foolishly believe that they are unnacountable for themselves or they go and stagnate in self-pity. These attitudes never get people anywhere.
Even those who study the situation and explain and complain never really promote action and instead they become cynical and fill their heads with negative thoughts. What does this do besides possess an otherwise productive mind. One step forward, two steps backward. It is a trick of the devilman I say! Trickery comes in disguise as usual... dependant on human emotions, on angers, on pains, and devoid of any common sense or betterment. You may be able to fool some people, but you cannot fool JAH. Wicked man go tell JAH that you had to keep selling drugs to the youth, keep pimping the women on the street, and keep shooting the next man because that is what you knew from growing up. Do you think that bag of excuse can go pass? JAH seh no. It may give you street cred, but no credit with the Most High. Each man can think for himself, each man is capable of rising above, and given the chance to rise above... like it or not, there is no hiding place.
This is not to say that the past is not important, especially when it comes to collective identity, for who can ever forget the words of the Honorable Marcus Garvey, "A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots." Roots and Culture is what I&I Rastafari people deal with. Why? Because it reminds us of who we are, who we are supposed to be... and also who we are not supposed to be. Rastafari history, African history, Israelite history... histories of righteousness, histories of injustice... these are vital to the Rastaman. I am a history teacher and student, I am fully aware of its importance and the fact that without guidance, history does repeat itself. However there is an important system of checks and balances. Everyman must know their past... but nobody ever said anything about living in it. The past serves the future. Take the wicked man example. How much more rich is his future after putting aside the badman mentality? He can look back and see how far him trod, look at it as a reminder, rather than glorifying it. Also the past should be remembered and never forgotten in order to keep moving forward and avoid repeating the same cyclical sins of racism, sexism, and warfare.
His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I was progressive-minded, and is an excellent example of the balance of moving forward while honoring the past. He made efforts to modernize his country of Ethiopia, advance the African people, and also fought for the cooperation of all nations in the world. Despite any contradictive mythologies or stories, Selassie I eventually forgave the Italians for their invasion of Ethiopia, making efforts toward peace with the post-war Italian government and holding council with the Vatican... although he never forgot the horrific injustices done to his people and let it serve as a reminder to the whole world. H.I.M. did not spend his precious time in bitterness or live his life in past wrongs or injustices... even though His Majesty had every right to do so. He did not promote hate or negative attitudes. In his divine judgment he set an example for JAH people. Selassie I know! While being progressive, at the same time H.I.M. was also a traditionalist and was a strong advocate of his heritage as the descendant of Solomon and Sheba, steward of the Throne of David and Earth's rightful ruler. Biblical and Ethiopian history was the foundation to his reign and no modernization could ever change the ancient Truth of history or make H.I.M. bow before any world power, science or philosophy of man.
In the end, I&I must remember that life is not an emphasis on the future either. The future can hold its share of false hopes too. How many times have people been promised something in order to placate the masses? How many times have people been told that there is a diamond in the sky and to wait for heaven's sake? More commonly, how many times do we withhold good things and put them aside for later, things like love, forgiveness, and productiveness. There is nothing wrong with looking forward to promises of the future, it gives us a sense of direction, but standing there gazing at it on a map gets us nowhere. Forget about changing the past and stop worrying about the future... deal with the present moment, deal with now. What are you doing for yourself now? What is he or she doing for theirself now? What is being done now to rectify the wrongs of the past and prepare for a better future? Bredrens and sistrens remember these two things... the time is now, and the movement is forward. Rastafari!
Guidance and Blessed Love Everytime,