"Modern civilization has no understanding of sacred matters. Everything is backwards."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
Modern civilization says, don't pray in school; don't pray at work; only go to church on Sunday. If you don't believe what I believe, you'll go to hell. Deviancy is normal. Our role models cheat, drink and run around; these are the people in the news. The news sells bad news; no one wants to hear good news. Kids are killing kids. Victims have little protection. Violence is normal. Leaders cheat and lie. Everything is backwards. We need to pray for spiritual intervention. We need to have guidance from the Creator to help us rebuild our families, our communities and ourselves. Today, I will pray for spiritual intervention from the Great Spirit.
Grandfather, we pray for your help in a pitiful way.
"The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power...The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing..."-- Luther Standing Bear, OGLALA SIOUX
Have you ever noticed the relationship between children and the soil? Watch how happily they are touching the dirt. The children play in it and eat it. If you are stressed, go to a spot on the Earth, sit down, put your fingers in the dirt, dig in it. Wash your hands in the soil. When you touch it, notice what it does to your hands. Our bodies love to touch the Earth. Sometimes we get too busy and forget these simple things. Maybe you'll even want to plant a garden or flowers. These things are mentally healthy.
Great Spirit, today, let me touch the Earth so the Earth can touch me.
"Indians living close to nature and nature's ruler are not living in darkness."-- Walking Buffalo, STONEY
There are many Indian people who are living according to nature and according to ceremony and culture. They may not have a lot of material things, but that doesn't mean they are not successful. What is success anyway? Can success be measured by material things? What is it we are really chasing anyway? The Elders say that what everyone really wants is to be happy and have a peaceful mind. Material things by themselves do not bring happiness and peace of mind. Only spiritual things bring happiness. When we live a spiritual life we will not have darkness. Instead, we will be happy.
Great Spirit, today, let me walk the Red Road.
"The law is that all life is equal in the Great Creation, and we, the Human Beings, are charged with the responsibility, each in our generation, to work for the continuation of life."-- Traditional Circle of Elders
Every generation is accountable to leave the environment in healthy order for the next generation. Every generation is accountable to teach the next generation how to live in harmony and to understand the Laws. We need to ask ourselves, "What are we teaching the next generation?". Each individual is directly accountable.
My Creator, teach me inter-generational responsibility.
"If those bad words come, I let them come in one ear and go out the other. I never let them come out of my mouth. If a bad word comes in your ear and then comes out of your mouth, it will go someplace and hurt somebody. If I did that, that hurt would come back twice as hard on me."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
What do we do with temptations when they come? What do we do when we hear gossip? What do we do when we hear bad things? If we hear these things and pass them on we will not only hurt the other person, but we will do harm to ourselves. We must be careful not to hurt others. Whatever we sow we will simultaneously reap for ourselves. We must be accountable for our own actions.
Great Spirit, today, let no words come from my lips that would hurt another.
"In some mysterious and wonderful way you are part of everything, Nephew. And in that same mysterious and wonderful way, everything is a part of you."-- Nippawanock, ARAPAHOE
In order to experience this, we must be aware of how limited our senses are eyes, ears touch, smell, taste. These senses help us to function in the Seen World. What we see is interpreted by our minds and put inside our belief system, and this can become our reality. But there also exists an Unseen World. In this world we experience connectedness; we experience the mystery; and we experience another whole point of view. If we pay attention to both the Unseen World and the Seen World, our belief systems will print in our mind a new and wonderful reality. We will see and know we are a part of everything.
Great Spirit, today, give me the knowledge to know this mystery.
"Each person's prayers can help everyone."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
Prayer is our entrance into the Unseen World. It is by prayer we can call upon the powers and laws of the Great Spirit. The Spirit World has powers and laws that are different from the Physical World. The spiritual laws allow healing to take place; they allow forgiveness to occur; they cause miracles to happen; they cause hate to disappear; they heal broken relationships; they guide every moment of our lives; they allow us to love even when it's hard. Prayer allows us access to the Spirit World.
Creator, teach me to pray.
"The real meaning of life is your family, the love that you have, the respect, the traditional ways, and carrying on with them."-- Ethel Wilson, COWICHAN
The family is the seed of the future. The family is the key to the transfer of cultural information. We should really take a look at how we are looking at our families. Are we treating each family member with respect? Are we passing on the traditional ways? Are we teaching the old songs? Are we participating in the ceremonies? Are we showing the family members how to pray? Are we encouraging each family member to be spiritual? Think about these things today.
My Creator, today, let me show respect to each family member.
"Each creature has a medicine, so there are many medicines. Because they are so close to the Creator, they are to communicate that medicine. Then they bring help and health."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
The Elders say everything has a purpose and everything has a will. We should never interfere with purpose or the will of everything. Every plant, creature, animal, insect, and human being has a purpose to be here on the Earth. Each has a special medicine to contribute for the good of all things. Each person also has good medicine, a special talent, a special gift. These medicines are to help others or to help make us healthy. What is your special medicine?
Creator, today, help me discover and use my medicine to serve a greater good.
"You must be prepared and know the reason why you dance."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
Inside every human being is a need to dance. We dance to music. Have you even wondered why people are moved when they hear an Indian Drum? The drum is the heartbeat of the Mother Earth. Every Indian dance is for a purpose and a reason. Every Song is for a reason. The beat of the drum makes our bodies, minds, and spirits join together in harmony. It allows us to connect to Mother Earth and to each other. The dance aligns our minds to think spiritual thoughts. Dancing to the drum is healthy.
Great Spirit, today, I dance to honor you.
"We all come from the same root, but the leaves are all different."-- John Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA
We all come from one Great Spirit but we are all different and unique. Nothing in the Great Creation has a twin that is identical. Even children that are twins are different. Every single person is extremely special and unique. Each person has a purpose and reason why they are on the Earth. Just like every leaf on a tree is different, each one is needed to make the tree look like it does. No leaf is better or worse than the other all leaves are of equal worth and belong on the tree. It is the same with human beings. We each belong here and do things that will affect the great whole.
Great Spirit, today, let me see myself as a valuable contributor to the whole.
"Our people don't come in parts. Either you are Indian, or you are not."-- Nippawanock, ARAPAHOE
We really need to take a look at how Indian People are talking about Indian People. We say there are Rez Indians, Traditional Indians, Urban Indians and Breeds. This type of thinking will keep us separated. An Indian is an Indian, a brother is a brother, a sister is a sister. We are all related. Today, let us respect ourselves and our people. Today, let me realize Indians are Indians.
Great Spirit, let me see the Unity of the People. Indians are Indians.
"Women know more about love than men do...Love is taking. Love is sharing. Love is learning things about each other."-- Mary Leitka, HOH
The Elders say Mother Earth shares Her special gifts of love with the Women. The Women know about bringing forth life and nurturing their offspring. Through this gift of love the Earth really makes the Woman special. Men should look upon the Woman with a Sacred Eye. She should be respected. The Woman is a role model for love. When the Woman talks, we should listen; when she shares, we should be grateful. We should all learn about each other.
Grandmother, teach me to love with the power of the Woman.
"But one should pray in one's heart during a sacred ceremony; this is the purpose of the ceremony, to purify the participants both inside and outside."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
How do you know if you are praying from your heart or from your head? Pray from your head and you will feel nothing; pray from your heart and you will feel feelings. You may feel sorrow, you may feel joy, you may want to cry, depending on what you are praying for. During the ceremony, the cleansing will take place. The Medicine Wheel teaches the four directions of inner power: emotional, mental, physical and spiritual. The prayer controls the emotional, mental and physical. When we ask for purification of our feelings, our mental mind and our physical body, the spiritual direction causes the cleansing to happen.
Great Spirit, create in me a clean heart.
"When people live far from the scenes of the Great Spirit's making, it's easy for them to forget his laws."-- Walking Buffalo, STONEY
Society today is way off track. Unfortunately, many Indian people are caught up in these modern times. The Elders are telling us we must wake up! We must come back to the culture because this is where His laws are. If we don't follow these laws, we will be unhappy. We cannot do things just because everybody is doing them. This does not make it right. We must follow what the Great Spirit says we must do. We need to pray hard for the courage to come back and live according to the culture. It will be difficult at first but worth it in the end. We must teach our children the culture.
Great Spirit, today, let me listen to the warnings of the Elders.
"The base of all things is love and respect."-- Vickie Downey, TEWA/Tesuque Pueblo
The greatest weapon of any Spiritual Warrior is love. Love will change minds; love will forgive; love will let go; love will cause good luck; love will heal; love will cry; love will get rid of resentments; love will overcome fear. Love loves love. Any human who is loving will be guaranteed respect. Respect loves love. We need to love and respect ourselves.
Grandmother, Grandfather, today, lead me on the path of love.
"Once you make a friend, a friend never leaves you, even to death. So a friend is really hard to find."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
Once, an Elder told me he made a decision to be my friend. He said this friendship wasn't based on my behavior or how I acted; he said the friendship was based on his decision. He decided to be my friend. This friendship has happened like he said. Even if I don't see him for a long time, or if I get mad at him, he has never changed his decision. This is true friendship.
Great Spirit, I'm glad you are this kind of Friend.
"Dissimilar things were fitted together to make something beautiful and whole."-- Nippawanock, ARAPAHOE
Sometimes we look at something close up and it appears to be ugly; but then we drop back and look at it as a whole and it is beautiful. If we look at an insect close up, it may be ugly, but if we drop back and look at the whole insect it becomes beautiful. We can drop back even more and observe what its role and purpose is, and the insect becomes even more beautiful and whole. How are we looking at ourselves? Are we focused on something ugly about ourselves, or are we dropping back and looking at ourselves as a whole? We all have purpose, and we are all beautiful.
Grandfather, today, let me see the beauty of the whole.
"Spiritual matters are difficult to explain because you must live with them in order to fully understand them."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
To know something we must become one with it. We cannot know what a flower smells like until we actually smell it. Close your eyes and experience the fragrance. The Elders say there are two worlds, the Seen World and the Unseen World. To experience the Seen World we need to physically pick the flower and smell it. To experience the Unseen World we need to know about principles, laws and values; and no matter what our mind or our physical senses tell us, we must decide and act on these principles. If someone does wrong to us, we must pray for that person or persons to have peace, happiness and joy in their life. We must not get even or retaliate in any way. Only by doing this can we understand spiritual matters.
Great Spirit, give me your power whenever my weakness shows so I can live by spiritual decisions.
"Together we can end the Holocaust against the environment."-- Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
We are all familiar with the Holocaust against the people. When this happens we feel bad and we vow never to let it happen again. We need to seriously examine what human beings are doing to the Earth and the environment. Many species are extinct and many more will become extinct during the next 10 years. We are methodically eliminating life that will never return again. Today, we should take time to pray real hard so we wake up before it is too late.
Great Spirit, today, I pray for us to awaken to what we are doing.
"Everything really is equal. The Creator doesn't look at me any better than He looks at the trees. We're all the same."-- Janice Sundown Hattet, SENECA
Sometimes humans think we are the center of the Universe. Sometimes we think we are above or better than other people or things. The Great Spirit made a set of Laws and Principles by which all things should live. Everybody and everything lives by the same Laws. We are all made of atoms just like the trees. The life force in the middle of the atom is the life force of the Great Mystery. It is the same for everything. We are all equal in the eyes of the Creator.
Great Spirit, today, I will respect your handiwork.