Lately, I’m on a genealogy kick trying to suss out who I’m related to and how. It’s endlessly fascinating because it’s a puzzle but also a web. As you know, there are many offshoots of a family tree — aunts, uncles, cousins — who all have their own direct family lines. But what’s even more interesting is that we’re all related, literally.
If you go back far enough, you reach a date when family trees share not just one ancestor in common but every ancestor in common, which is called the genetic isopoint. In other words, the family trees of any two people on the earth now, no matter how distantly related they seem, trace back to the same set of individuals. Geneticist Adam Rutherford told Scientific American, “If you were alive at the genetic isopoint, then you are the ancestor of either everyone alive today or no one alive today.” The genetic isopoint occurred somewhere between 5300 and 2200 B.C., according to statistical calculations.
“In relation to race, it absolutely, categorically demolishes the idea of lineage purity,” Rutherford added. That’s because no person has forebears from just one ethnic background or region of the world. Instead, we are all related. The poet Satyendra Dutta expresses this beautifully when he says, “There is only one race in the entire world, and the name of that race is the human race. We are bound together with the same breast milk of Mother Earth, and the same sun and moon are our common companions.”
Exactly! The same sun, moon, and stars are our common companions and we are all living on the same planet Earth. Yet somehow we forget that. We get caught up in dividing ourselves into this group or that. We say, “I’m not like you,” but is that really true? Don’t we all have the same feelings and needs? Aren’t we more alike than we are different? What do we get by focusing on differences, anyway?
My spiritual teacher said, “The opportunists tried in the past, are trying at present, and will try even in the future to fulfill their narrow desires by keeping the human race disunited. By severely reproaching this opportunistic craftiness through your noble deeds, you draw nigh the unknown strangers living far away and build a healthy world-based human family. Ignoring the brute forces, the sky-kissing arrogance, hypocrisy, immorality, and glib outbursts of the conceited people, go ahead towards your cherished goal.”
The cherished goal isn’t to become a billionaire, by the way. As you likely guessed, it’s to feel the sweet union between yourself and something greater than yourself. This is a quote from my spiritual teacher, after all.
Learning about genealogy reminds me we’re a universal family, quite literally. We are like a garden filled with numerous flowers, but ultimately all a part of the same garden. Like flowers, on the surface, we have different petals, different leaves. Some of us require more water and some of us require less, but we are all flowers. In other words, we’re all humans a part of the same race.
I dream of a world where we treat each other like family. A world where we extend care and appreciation to strangers because we recognize, they, too, are our siblings. A world where we understand there’s only one race, the human race. A world where we embrace the idea of a literal universal family.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.