"They must give themselves to Wakan' Tanka and live a spiritual life. They will have the peace that frees them from fear."
-- Frank Fools Crow, LAKOTA
There are two wills available for us: self will and God's will. Our choice is: figure it out ourselves, or have the Creator involved in our lives. If we are honest with ourselves and look at past experiences, what are our lives like when we try to figure it out ourselves? Is there fear, confusion, frustration, anger, attacking others, conflict, fault finding, manipulation, teasing others, belittling others or devaluation? If these things are present, they indicate that we are choosing self will. What is it like if we turn our will over to the Creator? What are the results if we ask the Great Spirit to guide our life? Examples are: freedom, choices, consequences, love, forgiveness, helping others, happiness, joy, solutions, and peace. Which will I choose today, self will or God's will?
Creator, I know what my choice is. I want You to direct my life. I want You to direct my thinking. You are the Grandfather. You know what I need even before I do. Today I ask You to tell me what I can do for You today. Tell me in a way I can understand and I will be happy to do it.
"Always remember that the Great Mystery is good; evil can come only from ourselves!"
-- Grandmother of Charles Eastman. SANTEE SIOUX
The Great Mystery is love, good, and principle. He is a guiding Father. He doesn't play games. He knows only how to love. Sometimes, when things go wrong, we blame Him or others. Usually, if we are honest, we can see how decisions or things done in the past put us in a position to be hurt. It comes back to us. When this happens, it is not something the Creator caused, but something we, ourselves caused. Most of our problems are of our own making. When this happens, we should correct what we've done, ask the Great Spirit for forgiveness, and pray for guidance in the future.
"What you see with your eyes shut is what counts." --Lame Deer, LAKOTA
Another whole world opens up when we close our eyes and calm our mind. Be still and know; be still and hear; be still and see; be still and feel. Inside every person is a still, small voice. Sometimes it is necessary to close our eyes to shut down our perception in order to see. Try this occasionally when you are talking to your child or spouse, close your eyes and listen to them. Listen to the tone of their voice; listen to their excitement; listen to their pain-listen.
Great Spirit, today, let me hear only what really counts.
"I believe that being a medicine man, more than anything else, is a state of mind, a way of looking at and understanding this earth, a sense of what it is all about." --Lame Deer, LAKOTA
The Medicine Wheel explains different ways of looking at the world. The four directions are the East, the South, the West, and the North. In the East is the view of the eagle. The eagle flies high and sees the earth from that point of view. The South is the direction of the mouse. Moving on the earth, the mouse will not see what the eagle sees. Both the eagle and the mouse see the truth. The West is the direction of the bear. The bear will see different from the mouse and the eagle. From the North comes the point of view of the bison. To be a Medicine Man you must journey through all points of view and develop the mind to see the interconnectedness of all four directions. This takes time, patience, and an open mind. Eventually, you understand there is only love.
"When temptation comes, I don't say, `Yes," and I don't say, `No.' I say, `Later,' I just keep walking the Red Road - down the middle. When you're in the middle, you don't go to either extreme. You allow both sides to exist."
-- Dr. A. C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA
We need to practice controlling our focus. Whatever we focus on we become. We also become whatever we practice. We need to focus on balance. Whenever something comes along to tilt us off balance, we need to be grateful, because it allows the opportunity to practice our focus. Sometimes this is called temptation. Temptation in itself is not bad. What really counts is what we do with it when it happens. We need to practice controlling our focus and keeping our thinking focused on the Red Road.
Great Spirit, today, guide me through my temptations and allow me to focus on the Red Road.
"The way of knowledge is like our old way of hunting. You begin with a mere trail - a footprint. If you follow that faithfully, it may lead you to a clearer train - a track - a road. Later on there will be many tracks, crossing and diverging one from the other. Then you must be careful, for success lies in the choice of the right road."
-- Many Lightenings Eastman, SANTEE SIOUX
An entire apple tree is initially contained in the seed. Visions are initially contained in the idea. If you trace the path of a blooming flower backwards, it goes from the blooming flower back to a bud, back to a stem, back to a seed. So it is in the way of knowledge. Often we will experience a hunch or a feeling that we are supposed to do something. At first it may not make any sense. This is the seed stage. Once we start to investigate, more gets revealed. As more is revealed, the more knowledge we get. This is the way the Great Spirit guides us.
Great Spirit, help me to choose the right choices.
"When you see a new trail, or a footprint that you do not know, follow it to the point of knowing."
-- Grandmother of Charles Eastman, SANTEE SIOUX
We never gain new knowledge or new experience unless we are willing to take risks. It's good to be curious. Also, it pays to be cautious. Walk in balance. The path of the Warrior is filled with opportunities to seek new knowledge. As we travel down the Red Road, we will run into trails of opportunity. Down each of these trails are experiences from which we will learn. Experience plus action is the beginning of knowledge."
Great Spirit, help me to make good choices in choosing only the trails You would have me take.
"Believing people can soar beyond ordinary life." -- Fools Crow, LAKOTA
We are created by God to be vision people. First we set the goal and then we see. If we create within ourselves a picture or vision and we hold that picture or vision in our mind, whatever we picture will show up in our reality. If we can see ourselves being educated, then schools and teachers will show up in our lives. If we picture in our mind a positive, spiritual person to be in our lives, we will attract this type of person in our relationships. How big can our dreams be?
Great Spirit, let my visions today be Your vision. Put within me a vision of the being you would have me be. Then help me to keep the vision in my mind.
"It's not the package and the wrapping which counts but what is inside, underneath the clothes and the skin."
-- Lame Deer, LAKOTA
Our eyes and ears gather information that is fed to the mind, and we tend to form judgements, opinions, and assumptions which determine our perception. We might see someone act a certain way, then label that person forever, not at all concentrating on what is inside the person. It matters not our height, our size, our facial features, or our gender. What matters is our thoughts. Good thoughts overcome all obstacles.
Great Spirit, let my inside contain Your qualities.
"From Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, there came a great unifying life force that flowed in and through all things: the flowers of the plains, blowing winds, rocks, trees, birds, animals, and was the same force that had been breathed into the first man. Thus all things were kindred, and were brought together by the same Great Mystery."
-- Chief Luther Standing Bear, SIOUX
The Great Spirit has six things that make up this life force. They are life, love, intelligence, soul, principle, and truth. These are the reasons the life cycle continues. None of this can be altered by man, but we can have access to these powers any time we wish. Just think about it - anytime I have a need I can access one or more of these powers."
Oh Great Mystery, let me know how to use these powers. Today, let me love life, let me know truth, let me live by principle, and let me follow Your intelligence.
"He [The Great Spirit] only sketches out the path of life roughly for all the creatures on earth, shows them where to go, where to arrive, but leaves them to find their own way to get there. He wants them to act independently according to their nature, to the urges of each of them.
-- Lame Deer, LAKOTA
Every person is created with purpose and with direction. This purpose and direction is written in our hearts when we are conceived. In addition, we are given access to a quiet guidance system which helps us find our purpose and our direction. We need to recognize this guidance system. It's called intuition, the quiet voice, urges, the knowing, or the feeling. Once we locate our purpose and direction, we are given skills, talents and abilities that are unique to only ourselves. We must practice daily prayer and meditation with God to find this information. To be solid and confident in ourselves, we always need to be able to answer three questions: why am I?, who am I?, and where am I going? If I can answer these three questions, I always know I'm OK!
The Great One has given every human being at least one special talent and one special gift. We need to develop and practice these gifts because they are the handiwork of God. Maybe we are artists-when people look at our work it puts joy in their hearts; maybe we are singers- when people listen to our songs, their hearts are happy; maybe we are writers of song or poetry-when people hear or read our work, it may change their lives. We need to honor ourselves and our gifts. We need to thank the Creator for our talents and our gifts."
My Creator, let me use my gifts to further Your work on the Earth.
"Flexible strength is better than inflexible. Let the storm flow over you, and then pop back up."
-- Michael Kabotie, HOPI
Flexibility is taught by nature. You will see the trees bend in the wind. You will see that tree branches are flexible. To be rigid is to break. When we have life problems it is good for us to be flexible. Sometimes we need to flow with what is going on. If we resist, it becomes more painful. We need to be on the path of least resistance. Water flows down the mountain through the path of least resistance. Electricity flows through the path of least resistance. Power flows through the path of least resistance. As Indian people our strength has always been our flexibility.
Creator, I will be flexible today because I know You are with me.
"Parents have to demonstrate the value of trust, respect, and honor."
-- Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
Children learn more by watching than by listening. If we want our children to understand and value trust, they know it by watching how adults live their lives! If we want the children to be respectful, they will observe what the adults do and say to each other. We need to walk our talk. We need to remember the children are watching.
Grandfather, help me learn these important values: Trust, Respect, and Honor.
"Hear me! A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong."
-- Tecumseh, SHAWNEE
You can take one arrow and break it in half. But if you take 12 arrows in a bundle, it's almost impossible to break any of them. There is strength in Unity. When we are together we are very powerful. This is the way the ancestors told us we need to be. Strong. We need to unite ourselves. This is why the Elders say, when we make decisions, we must first consider the good of the people. If every person in the community thinks this way, then we will always make strong decisions.
Creator, let my decisions have the strength of the bundle.
"If you have one hundred people who live together, and if each one cares for the rest, there is One Mind."
-- Shining Arrows, CROW
One of the principles of Community is Unity. The alignment of thoughts in groups of people will cause One Mind to form. One Mind is Unity. Each individual in the community must align their thoughts with what other members are thinking. If all the people think of helping one another, then the community will be service oriented and powerful results will be enjoyed. Having our thoughts aligned within a group will cause our children to experience a positive environment. When they have children, the grandchildren will automatically experience these results also.
My Creator, help me to contribute to positive group thought.
"People are equal partners with the plants and animals, not their masters who exploit them."
-- Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
As human beings, we are not above anything nor are we below anything. Because of being equal, we need to discuss a little about the value of respect. Not just respect when it comes to human beings, but respect when it comes to everything. We are not masters over things; we are caretakers for the Great Spirit. We need to treat all things with respect.
Great Spirit, let me accept and see all things as equal.
"Male and female is fundamental to life; partners in work to be done."
-- Oren R. Lyons, Spokesman, Traditional Circle of Elders
The Great Spirit created a system which would allow us to reproduce, to have companionship, to love, to laugh, to cry, and be happy. Man and Woman each have gifts the other doesn't have. But, together they have these gifts to share with each other. The Great Spirit made it this way. So let us treat each other with respect. Let us look upon each other in a sacred way.
Grandfather, Grandmother, bring the spirits to teach us.
"In our language there is no word to say inferior or superiority or equality because we are equal; it's a known fact. But life has become very complicated since the newcomers came here. And how does your spirit react to it?. It's painful. You have to be strong to walk through the storm. I know I'm a bridge between two worlds. All I ask is for people to wash their feet before they try to walk on me." --Alanis Obomsawin, ABENAKI
For native people who speak their language, English can be very confusing. Many times you cannot express in English the true meaning of Indian words. When we hear something in English we sometimes react or our spirit reacts. Sometimes we need to use English words out of order to express our true meanings. We need to be patient and pray. Living in two worlds can be difficult. Life is painful sometimes. The pain of life is where the lessons are learned.
Creator, let me learn the lessons You have taught my people.
"In order for our children to survive in the world, they need a firm understanding and belief in the basic principles of sharing freedom and respect of individuality."
-- Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
There is a saying: Tell me, I'll forget; Show me, I'll remember; Engage me; I'll understand. The adults need to determine what the younger generation is learning. The principle of sharing keeps the youth from being greedy and selfish. The principle of freedom teaches the youth about choices, decisions and consequences. The principle of respect keeps us from playing God and becoming a controller of all things. We need to learn these lessons so we may demonstrate them for our children.
Great Teacher, help me to understand Your principles.
"Peace... comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the Universe dwells Wakan-Tanka, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us."
-- Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa) OGLALA SIOUX
If we are to know peace we must look within ourselves. In order to do this, we must learn to be still. We must quiet the mind. We must learn to meditate. Meditation helps us locate and find the center that is within ourselves. The center is where the Great One resides. When we start to look for peace, we need to realize where it is within ourselves. When we experience conflict we need to pause for a moment and ask the Power within ourselves, "How do you want me to handle this? What would you suggest I do in this situation?" By asking the High Power for help we find peace.
"Come forward and join hands with us in this great work for the Creator."
-- Traditional Circle of Elders, NORTHERN CHEYENNE
The Elders have spent years learning to pray and communicate with the Great Spirit. Their job is to pass this knowledge onto the young people. The Elders have told us we are now in a great time of healing. The Creator is guiding them to help the young people figure this out. We must get involved and participate. We should pray and see what it is the Great Spirit wants us to do. We need to sacrifice our time to help the people and to be of maximum use to the Creator. Every person is needed to accomplish this great healing.
"The Natural Law will prevail regardless of man-made laws, tribunals, and governments." --Traditional Circle of Elders, NAVAJO-HOPI
Joint Use AreaThe Great Spirit made Laws by which Man needs to live. These Laws are just and are about living in harmony. Man has passed many laws that say it is okay to do things. Many of these man-made laws are out of harmony with the Laws of the Great Spirit. These man-made laws will cause trouble for the human being if they are out of harmony with the Laws of the Creator.
"We as men should not fear our mates; we should listen to their counsel." --Oren R. Lyons, Spokesman, Traditional Circle of Elders
The Elders say the men should look at women in a sacred way. The men should never put women down or shame them in any way. When we have problems, we should seek their counsel. We should share with them openly. A woman has intuitive thought. She has access to another system of knowledge that few men develop. She can help us understand. We must treat her in a good way.
Great Spirit, let me look upon the woman in a good way.
"A man should rely on his own resources; the one who so trains himself is ready for any emergency." --Oral Tradition, OMAHA
Man is designed to function independently and to rely on the Creator for his resources. If we build our relationship with the Great Spirit, we are ready when emergencies occur. We need to build a trusting relationship with the Creator. We do this by constantly talking with the Creator. It's good to talk to Him many times a day. Then we will realize, even though we can't see Him, that He is always with us and He is ready to respond to our requests.
God, let me remember to talk to You many times today.
"And that, I guess, is what it all boils down to; do the right thing, everything goes fine; do the wrong thing, everything's a mess."
-- Robert Spott, YUROK
The Elders say every person is born with free will and every person has a specific purpose to accomplish during their lifetime. When our life is relatively free from obstacles we are walking the path of God's will. If our life is full of obstacles, we are not doing the will of God. Often, the Great Spirit guides us through a system of coincidences. We need to pay attention to coincidences. If we are aware of these, we often can recognize the path which God is showing us. We need to pray and ask Him to show us the path in terms we can understand.
Oh, Great Mystery, let me recognize the coincidences.
"I've had a long regard for generational things: pottery, cultural things, participation in dancing, and extended family. Only in that way does culture survive; only in that way is culture active.
-- Tessie Naranjo, SANTA CLARA PUEBLO
Culture teaches us how to live and it ensures that knowledge about life is handed down from generation to generation. Culture gives us the feeling of belonging. It helps us raise our family in a good way. It teaches us how to treat one another. Culture sets boundaries for societies. We need to develop our culture. If we have left our culture, then we need to come back to it. Culture leads us back to the Great Spirit. Sometimes in our lives, we leave what we know works and experiment with something else. Then we get into trouble. So we need to come back home. Indian people are lucky to have a culture to return to.
Creator, thank you for the culture. Let me live it today.
"In the end I tell my children, there's no way I can tell you how to be an Acoma, how to be an Indian. You have to experience it." --Stanley Paytiamo, ACOMA PUEBLO
Each person must make their own journey. It is like every human is given a life canoe. The canoe has one seat and one paddle. In order to get anything out of life we must be in the canoe and we must paddle down the river of life. Now, I can share with you how my journey has been, but I cannot paddle your canoe. You must paddle your own. Good luck!
"Listen to the howl of our spiritual brother, the wolf, for how it goes with him, so it goes for the natural world."
-- Oren R. Lyons, Spokesman, Traditional Circle of Elders
If we watch nature, we can tell a lot about what is going on in the world. The animals and the plants are great teachers. Some time ago, crops were sprayed with a poison to kill the insects. Other animals ate the insects. The small animals were eaten by the Eagles and the Wolves. We live in an interconnected system. What we do to one, we do to all. If our spiritual brothers are living in balance, chances are we humans are also living in balance.
Great Spirit, let me listen to my Earth teachers, the plants and the animals.
"The smarter a man is the more he needs God to protect him from thinking he knows everything."
-- George Webb, PIMA
A spiritual person needs to be careful. The more confident we are, the more likely our egos will get us into trouble. It's relatively easy to become self-righteous. We start to think we are teachers and others are students. We start to judge others. We start, very subtlely at first, to play God. After a while we really get good at it. This is very dangerous. We need to remind ourselves, we are here to do God's will. We need to pray every morning. Each day we need to check in with God to see what He would have us do. At night we need to spend time with God and review our day. By doing these things, we will stay on track.
My Creator, guide my path and show me how to correct my life.
Daily Meditation: December 2012 December 01, 2012 6:42 AM
Elder's Meditation of the Day - December 1
"Sometimes dreams are wiser then waking." -- Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa), OGLALA
The Great Spirit has many ways of communicating with the human being. He talks to us through the five senses; sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. For example, we can observe nature and see a lesson or get an answer. These five senses function primarily in the physical world. But we also have the ability to receive communication from the Unseen World. To do this we have a sixth sense. It comes in the form of dreams, imagination, intuition, inspiration, or a hunch. Along with the dream or intuitive thought there is a feeling, a knowing. We just know it's true without the need for proof. We need to pay attention to our dreams and intuition. Don't cast them off as being silly or useless. Be respectful to our dreams and feelings.
Creator, if you speak to me through dreams, let me know it in terms I can understand.