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Wisdom Stories: 'Why Gather? by Garrick Beck

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In the HolyDay Season this remembrance of why we come together written by Garrick Beck in 1988 still rings true. It is a reminder and a remembrance of all those persons serving the refugees of Hurricane Katrina who chop wood and carry water...together...making a joyful sound.
 
For those who have not experienced such a gathering, you are surely welcome.
 
For the Editor, the Gatherings have been places of amazing grace.


This was written by Garrick Beck(son of Julian Beck and Judith Malina of the Experimental Theater of the '60's) who was one of the 3 founders of The Rainbow Family of Living Light.
Why gather?, reprinted from All Ways Free, Winter '88


Why should anyone trudge thru the woods, shovel in hand digging compost pits, or stand long hours in dark miserable weather, flashlight in hand directing cars toward parking places, or lug food in boxes and heavy sacks over mountainous terrain, or scrub large pots? I mean Why would anyone want to do this? And for no monetary profit?
Why should anyone want to go thru the 1001 tasks that are the life support system of the Rainbow Gatherings? Hauling large rocks for bakery ovens, digging & filling latrines, tending medical emergencies, installing water pipe systems that need to be taken apart just three weeks later, sorting garbage, not to mention doing all this with the added difficulty of our own problems: upset or belligerent people, alcoholics in rainbow clothing, rude or unhygienic behavior;
Why should anyone want to put themselves thru all of this just to enjoy nature or to party in the wild wild woods? Surely each of us can seclude ourselves in the wondrous beauty of nature, alone or with our friends or beloveds, with a great deal less difficulty than going thru all this effort, all this oomph, all of this, just to gather.
Why do it? Why face all the problems, all the maps & mailings, all the fundraising for printing; all the long winded discussions over procedures; why consume all this time of our lives? For what? Why gather? Because we love each other. We really do.
Because we are creating something new and beautiful.
Because we hold the vision of a peaceful world in our inner eyes ­ in our hearts and we make it real in this outside world.
Because it is a thrill to experience a cooperative society.
Because it is our great pleasure to live ­ even briefly ­ together in a state of expanded freedom.
Because only when we take personal responsibility for the needs of each other’s­ water, food, security, fuel, healing, child care and recycling ­ do we take mature responsibility for our lives.
Because the children need something gentle and loving to look forward to.
Because it is important to teach and learn as much as possible about human cooperation.
Because we dream of gathering everywhere with people of all lands and traditions.
Because we are fed up with war economy & economic exploitation & political over lording, and we want to try something else.
Because under all the party­-style wrapping paper, the gathering presents a very serious example of functional culture.  
Because gathering teaches thousands of people, even tens of thousands, respect for the earth, the water, the plants & the animals.
Because even the addicts, the dissolute, the spaced­-out space cadets, the drunks who come are in need of love, and every society must care for its own.
Because laughter, music, celebration and rejoicing in life are needed in this world in great measure.
Because in our celebrations we make a hosanna of great joy.
Because when we work together voluntarily we illuminate the way out from under the burden of the governments & the banks.
Because gathering unifies ancient tribal wisdom with current ideas and technologies.
Because people + nature eco­harmony = beauty
Because when we gather we bring to life a society without human prejudice.
Because gathering inter nets people from all over the world who are actively participating in the conscious evolution of our species.
Because when we gather we touch each other in a spiritual place where we are all part of one great big human family.
Because we want to inspire hope that it is indeed possible ­ and in fact pleasurable for people of all kinds to live in peace.
Because the world needs to see a positive example and if we don't do it, who else will?
Because outside of the money system we encounter the most generous human natures.
Because light and life and love deserve to be celebrated by lots of us.
Because when we hold hands in our circles we can feel the energy that moves the atoms and the moon and stars.
Because our councils are open to everyone to speak, we hear ideas, poems, stories and wisdom from the seven corners of the earth.
Because the work and play shops are educational the massage delightful, and the music rich with interlaced harmonies.
Because our example supports the right of people everywhere to be free to assemble peaceably.
Because in the simple relationships of cooperation and volunteerism are found the keys to the future.
Because in doing the simple tasks, the underlying gears and levers that make society go are revealed.
Because when we work together in harmony our divine roots are revealed.
Because it just great to see something large scale that doesn't belong to the giant corporations.
Because gathering teaches us to have faith, to trust each other, to believe in good and goodness, and to have the strength ­ in the face of the rest of the world ­ to carry on.

Garrick Beck (1988)

 

 

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