HOW WE CAN RECONNECT WITH OURSELVES IN THE BUSY AGE?
“The tragedy of life is not death but what we let die inside of us while we live.”
-Native American quote
I remember like it was yesterday, the moment when I met Eagle Wing. He was participating in the same seminar I did and we found easy the common bond between us. It was the meeting of people who live in the same world but in the own dimensions. The seminar was about owls and their importance for our ecosystem but my Native American friend from North Dakota was, in spite of many other interesting students, my real teacher and guru. It was kind of spiritual awakening sharing the life conclusions with him and I promised myself to get deeper into Native American pure wisdom. Alan, his official American name, promised to help me because he believed I belong to Dakota people too, even I was born thousand miles far away. The spiritual American Indians don’t accept death but rather the change of the worlds and the great spirit is always within its people.
It is very investing to know that abut 30,000 Native Americans live in North Dakota and make up about 5% of the whole North Dakota Population. Those tribes could be with different origins, from Mandan and Hidatsa, via Sisseton and Hunkpapa to the Dakota and Cree but they all share the common belief and great respect for this Earth and harmony with wildlife. The name Dakota itself means friend or ally in local Lakota language and that tells us all we need to know about rich Native American spiritual heritage and warm hospitality.
What is so mystical about being Native American ? I would say everything. Those people are pearls of this world, its forgotten beauty. Back in my time of studying, I read a lot of books about their spirituality since I wanted to learn how they find always a way to get out of stress, struggles and the age of sadness. Their spirit is so strong and powerful and if I can chose where I belong, I would always and forever pick up Native Americans since their hearts match with mine. This is not only because of my special links with the nature but because of my sensible feeling for others too. I don’t need religion to tell me that I have to be good person because otherwise God will punish me. The spirituality is my choice on the dusty road of human failure. I don’t believe in heaven or hell but in great spirits that makes us escape the traps of primitive minds and dark hearts.
The scientists who research about this culture always inform that there was no written proof of American Indian philosophy till 1821 and all what we have is an accumulated cultural tradition through the force of mouths, from one generation to another. Luckily, the last decades brought as the possibility to document this amazing wisdom and to follow its roots. The first and most thrilling part of their multidimensional spirituality is understanding the harmony with our surrounding and that is all expressed in the Lakota Prayer:”Wakan Tanka, Great Mystery, Teach me how to trust My heart, My mind, My intuition, My inner knowing, The senses of my body, The blessings of my spirit. Teach me to trust these things So that I may enter my Sacred Space And love beyond my fear, And thus Walk in Balance With the passing of each glorious Sun.” Isn’t that what we need ? A little bit more of trust in our own beings and in our own decisions about life. We are so busy to comfort and please others that we usually forget to comfort and please ourselves. We lost intuition and 6th sense because of the loud life. The stress rules over us and we are even proud of it. It doesn’t surprise that so many people suffer from anxiety and panic due to the fact that they lost the special relation with themselves, they betrayed their own inside world of miracles. The old, good Native American teachers teach us to breath slowly and as we should in order to find a harmony. It is not only about breathing in and breathing out, it is about breathing hope in and breathing concern out. The whole meditation process is learning how to control anger or pain and how to transform them into the creative forces of spirit and its own strength.
The American Indians are very well known for their honour of the earth, something what modern people are failed to understand and accept as their living pattern. For them, celebrating this planet is actually the art of being thankful for all given blessings. It is not about human beings distanced from the Nature but about humans merged with nature in one productive harmony. The all problems have been born at the moment when people became arrogant and egoistic and started believing they are the masters of the universe. Chief Tecumseh (Crouching Tiger) Shawnee Nation said once again inspirational words about being alive:” So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; Respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, Even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools And robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled With the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep And pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.” Just this philosophy sublimes all diamonds of the Native American wisdom and deep cultural sensibility. Nowadays, people start wars for their gods and instead of building their spirits, they build religious object. It is just an aggressive trend of superficial habits that are being sold as new age must. There is no way that we will live forever even if we celebrate all our gods but if we have a life worth of living, then one is enough and we will certainly, come again on the earth, through the great spirit.
Some spiritual leaders of Indian tribes have talked about gross national happiness and noted that the progress of the mankind is not how tall the building are but how much people are compassionate with the nature and each others. Unfortunately, we see that fellow men replaced their empathy with materialistic pleasure and short-term interest. Isn’t that a significant indicator of global unhappiness ? We run away to earn money so we can buy things we don’t need and pretend we use the time we have already lost.
I also rad that their wisdom empowers the mental courage and inside voice. Ponca Chief White Eagle gave a lovely advice to his folks:“When you are in doubt, be still, and wait; When doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage. So long as mists envelop you, be still; Be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists, as it surely will. Then act with courage.” It is not difficult to follow this, especially through the time of temptations. It is sure that at the moment of doubt you can’t see clearly the decision as you can’t take the right road when the mist is all over. At those moment, the patience should be your best friend as well as the silence and peace within. After all is clear, you can lead your own battle with 100% of courage.
The most crucial lessons is behaving in life like earth is behaving in its own macro existence. You can learn so much just by observing the perfect life dynamic of nature. If you are under pressure and you go in the forest, it is a kind of isolation that brings us break and solutions. It means that only in silence we can recognise the gateway for our worries. The nature teaches us about acceptance of the things we can’t change at the moment but we can’t strive to do it later, when the time is right. The Mother Nature has all answers, even for all diseases of the humanity but we don’t know the language, it is forgotten through the instant values of the modern and busy, cold dollar world.
Instead of giving the oneness a global meaning and importance, we grab the separation and egoism as the attributes of accepted life. The glorious beauty of American Indians is about hearts and soul that live in harmony and not about the rate race that never ends.
Make sure you find time for your inside world because only then, you will learn how to recognise happiness there where you are.
Cantognake Wowicake -Waunsilapi -Woksape !
4 thoughts on “GREAT SPIRIT AND SOUL PEACE: NATIVE AMERICAN WISDOM”
What an excellent article, Sarah !
I have learned a lot from your article and see that, in so many ways, my dogma is very close to that of Native Americans ! That’s so interesting !
Never have I believed that money would buy happiness, and never did I believe in this materialistic world ! To me, these are such superficial matters that are so irrelevant to the real values !
I, personally, believe in authenticity, love, compassion, empathy, mercy, sympathy, helping animals and humans alike, and contributing something positive to our progeny and posterity !
Thank you so much, Sarah, for this beautiful article that has replenished my soul !
Sarah’s delightful and inspiring article reminded me of a certain phrase from the song ‘Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)’ (1980), by John Lennon: ‘life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans…’
In the context of the Lakota peoples of North America, this phrase is apt: for millennia, the various Lakota tribes have endeavoured to live simple existences with the rhythms of Nature, but this has not been possible, always… Even among the indigenous peoples of North America, wars over natural resources and territory occurred, much in the same manner as the Europeans who would come and covet the native regions.
Originally (c. 7th century CE), the aborigines who became the Lakota peoples of North Dakota came from southern Mississippi, and they were agrarians. As they migrated northwards, due to other tribal incursions, climate change and so on, they had to become more so pragmatic in their abilities to defend themselves against those peoples who lands they were entering and living from. All of this is depicted in the Lakota peoples’ pictorial calendars painted on animal hides (from c. 9th century CE).
The great change in cultural development for the Lakota peoples was around 1730, when the Cheyenne tribes introduced them to horses (e.g. Mustangs), and the adoption of a horse culture became intrinsic to Lakota spiritual beliefs. Their population increased during the 19th century to 17,000 by 1881, and this allowed children to embrace the cultural identity without Occidental interference, etc.
However, the Lakota peoples had many wars with fellow indigenous tribes for territory and natural resources, during the 19th century. For example, the Massacre Canyon incident (Nebraska, August 5th, 1873) was one of the last hostilities between the Pawnee and the Sioux (Lakota). The massacre occurred when a large Oglala/Brulé Sioux war party of over 1,500 warriors attacked a group of Pawnee during their summer buffalo hunt. More than 150 Pawnees were killed; the victims (men, women and children) suffering mutilation and some set on fire.
It was a Lakota chief who would come to understand that all peoples must cherish and revere Nature, if they are to survive: ‘some day, the Earth shall weep; begging for her life with tears of blood. Either you live with Mother Nature, or you shall die along with her…’ – Matȟó Héȟloǧeča (Hollow Horn Bear, 1850-1913); a Brulé Lakota chief
Good post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be useful to read articles from other authors and practice a little something from their web sites.
I’m not sure why but this blog is loading very slow for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my end? I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.