"Sell a country? Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the Earth? Did not the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?"--Tecumseh, SHAWNEE
The White Man's way is to possess, control, and divide. It has always been difficult for Indian people to understand this. There are certain things we cannot own that must be shared. The Land is one of these things. We need to re-look at what we are doing to the Earth. We are digging in her veins and foolishly diminishing the natural resources. We are not living in balance. We do not own the Earth; the Earth owns us. Today, let us ponder the true relationship between the Earth and ourselves.
Great Spirit, today, let me see the Earth as you would have me see Her.
Elder's Meditation of the Day May 30
"Power comes and goes. It can vanish in the twinkling of an eye, like smoke dissolving in the air."
--Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA
The East, South, West, and North are the powers of the four directions. The Creator makes these powers available to do things. We pray to the Creator to give us the power to do these things. Often, we are given these powers for awhile, then these powers disappear. Power is given and taken from us by the Great Spirit, the source of power. During the time we have this power, we should be responsible and use the power in a good way. Many good things can be accomplished when we realize where this power really comes from.
Great Spirit, today, show me how to use Your power.
"Humility is probably the most difficult virtue to realize."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
Two definitions of humility are; one, being aware of one's own defects of character, and two, giving credit where credit is due. This means if you do something and are successful because God gave you certain talents, give credit to God when someone tells you how well you did; this is being humble. If you are successful at something, but had help from friends, spouse, neighbors, give credit to those who helped you; this is being humble. If you have done a task and you alone accomplished it, give credit to yourself; this is being humble. Say the truth and give credit where credit is due.
Grandfather, let me walk a truthful road today.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 28
"The land is a sacred trust held in common for the benefit of the future of our nations."
--Haida Gwaii - Traditional Circle of Elders
The Creator made the Earth to support life so that life would continue to reproduce, everything would support one another, and future generations would have the same benefits of supply and beauty as the generations the proceeded them. This cycle will only continue to the degree that we make choices and decisions for the future generations. Today, we are too greedy and selfish. We are cheating our children, grandchildren, and the children unborn.
Creator, let me see the consequences of my decisions, and show me how to make healthy corrections.
"One of the things the old people taught me about the spirits was to never have a doubt."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
The spirit world is sometimes hard to believe in because we can't see it. Our minds convince us to seek proof for everything. We need to believe that the Unseen World exists and the Unseen World is guided by principles, laws, and values. If we have doubts, we can pray to the Great Spirit to remove the doubt. He understands how difficult it can be sometimes, so He's always ready to help us during our doubtful times. We are lucky to have such an understanding and helpful Father.
Great Spirit, today, divorce me from doubt.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 26
"The man who sat on the ground in his tipi meditating on life and its meaning, accepting the kinship of all creatures, and acknowledging unity with the universe of things, was infusing into his being the true essence of civilization."
--Luther Standing Bear, OGLALA SIOUX
There is a concept that says you move toward and become that which you think about. If we think about everything as interconnected and interrelated, we will begin to accept the greater whole and that there is a power who is in charge. If we see the cycles of life, if we see the inner powers, if we see the interdependence of the universe, then we will participate in a harmonious way. We all need to pray and meditate on this. We need to understand the property of unity.
My Creator, let me have the insights of nature and give me the power of acceptance
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 25
"If you listen close at night, you will hear the creatures of the dark, all of them sacred - the owls, the crickets, the frogs, the night birds - and you will hear beautiful songs, songs you have never heard before. Listen with your heart. Never stop listening."
--Henery Quick Bear, LAKOTA
The night time is full of life, full of song, and full of beauty. Have you ever gone outside at night and listened? One has access to serenity and peace. At night all our senses change their roles. Because we can't see, our hearing is much stronger, our smell is even more enhanced, our sight is different. We are able to join nature through sounds and smells, through the songs of the night birds, and through the night winds. We can close our eyes and experience interconnectedness in a different way. Try it tonight and experience oneness with the Creator.
Great Spirit, allow me to listen to the teachers of the night.
"...in Tunkashila, there is no time. Everything moves in the blink of an eye. It's as fast as thought. So there is no speed there. There is no time in between."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
There is a relationship between thought and reality. Every thought is alive, and as soon as you think it, a result occurs immediately. However, to make something happen it may take a series of one thousand thoughts before you can actually see it with your eyes. This occurs because the Laws of the Great Spirit act immediately. When you tell a lie, you immediately experience fear. When you tell the truth, you immediately experience freedom. To the Creator, there is no time. For us to experience the meaning of this requires us to act on faith. Faith is belief without evidence.
Great Spirit, today, let me act on my faith.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 23
"To me, if you're Indian, you're Indian. You don't have to put on your buckskin, beads, and feathers, and stuff like that."
--Cecilia Mitchell, MOHAWK
The most important thing that determines who we are is on our insides, not our outsides. If we are Indian inside, that's all that matters. Being Indian means to think right, to be spiritual, and to pray. Feathers and beads don't make us Indian. Being Indian means to have a good heart and a good mind.
Great Spirit, today, let me think Indian.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 22
"The earth was created by the assistance of the sun, and it should be left as it was... The country was made without lines of demarcation, and it is no man's business to divide it..."
--Chief Joseph, NEZ PERCE
There is danger when we start to draw lines and boundaries. This is true whether outside ourselves or inside ourselves. The danger is losing sight of the interconnectedness. When we lose sight of interconnectedness, separation, possessiveness (this is mine, I can do what I want) and infighting results. Even at an individual level, if we don't believe we are connected to all things we get self-centered and have self-seeking motives. We must think in harmony, balance and integrity. We must see our relationship to the great whole and conduct ourselves accordingly.
Great Spirit, today, let me think beyond boundaries.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 21
"A vision could put you on a path you don't want to follow."
--Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA
There is a saying, "You move toward and become like that which you think about." If we keep thinking about a bad thing, we will move in that direction. If we think about fear in some area of our life, we will probably experience this fear. We move toward and become like that which we think about. If we think about secret things, these secret things will come to pass. Our visions are very powerful. Visions determine our direction, our lives. If you think about lustful things, it's a matter of time before you'll be wrestling with it. We should think about our visions to make sure they include the Great Spirit in every area.
Great Spirit, today, give me Your vision to follow.
"...the sacred ceremonies given to us by the Creator are the Heart of our existence. These ceremonies are our first duty."-- Traditional Circle of Elders. NORTHERN CHEYENNE
Hidden in the ceremonies are many truths, many principles, many guidelines for living â our access to the Unseen World, healing and visions. Because the Indian People didn't have schools or books, the Great Spirit gave us Ceremonies. The ceremonies are handed down from generation to generation to learn their meaning. Today, many Indian People live in cities or urban areas where it's hard to learn the ceremonies. We need to go to the Elders and learn the ceremonies so we can pass them on to our children.
Great Spirit, teach me the Secrets of the Ceremonies.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 19
"To be able to greet the sun with the sounds from all of Nature is a great blessing, and it helps us to remember Who is the real provider of all of our benefits."
--Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
The Elders say we should pray to the East every morning. Just try it! Get up early in the morning, watch the sun and listen to the morning sounds, the birds, the winds; smell the air, feel the breeze and the warmth of the sun. Your mind will expand and you will experience oneness with the Great Spirit. You'll realize who is really in charge. You'll realize interconnectedness. You'll realize how much the Creator loves you! Just try it!
Great Spirit, today, let me feel the Earth, the Father Sun and your presence.
"...Grandmother the Earth. That power is here all the time. It is continuous, and nobody controls it."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
There are certain powers that the human being has no choice but to obey. We cannot negotiate or barter with this power. Our choice is either to conform or to live out of harmony. Whatever our choice, it will be the end result in our lives that we notice. So it is with the powers of the Earth which produce life. The Earth has the life force power. If anyone plants a seed, the seed will grow. The Earth treats everyone equally. The human cannot interfere, only obey. We should all show great respect for the Earth and Her powers.
Great Spirit, today, let me honor and respect the power of the Grandmother, the Earth.
"If the Great Spirit wanted men to stay in one place He would make the world stand still; but He made it to always change..."-- Chief Flying Hawk, OGLALA SIOUX
The Elders tell us change occurs in two directions. They say, "That which is built is constantly being destroyed; that which is loose is being used to build the new." In other words, change is constantly going on. Many times we hear people say, "I hate change." Does it make sense that the Great Spirit would design people to hate it? The Great Spirit designed people with change abilities such as visioning, imagery and imagination. Maybe we need to learn to use these tools and then we'll look forward to change.
Great Spirit, today, let me see the harmony of Yours, truly changing world.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 16
"It's time. If you are to walk the path of heart, then it is time..."
If not now, when? If not me, who? To walk the path of the heart is a great honor. Every human has the choice to walk this path, but very few will decide to make it. Why? Well, because you can't act and behave like everyone else behaves. You must be the person who will learn to look within. You must be the person who will be fully accountable for yourself. You must be the person who prays and meditates. You must be the person who will sacrifice. You must decide to be a Peaceful Warrior. What will you decide today?
Oh, Great Mystery, lead me on the path of the heart.
Grandfather, show me how to see in a sacred way.
"Prayer is the best answer to all of the trials that face us, because without prayer, even if we succeed in accomplishing some great goal in the eyes of men, we have failed in our sacred responsibilities, and thus we have failed in what is truly important."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
What are our sacred responsibilities? One is to be of maximum service to the Creator, and two is to serve the people. In a way, it's like the Great Spirit is the employer and we are the employees. We live each day, do what we do, accomplish our goals, face our difficulties, overcome them all to the Glory of the Creator. We do these things to make Him proud! Even if we work for a company, agency or tribe, they are not really our employer; the Creator is our employer. Working for the Creator is better than working for a human being, because each night we can talk to the Creator and ask Him, "Well, how did I do today?". He answers back each night, "I'm proud of you, my child; sleep well, and in the morning I'll give you a new set of growing experiences.".
Great Spirit, today, let me work for you. You will be my new boss.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 13
"But the great spirit has provided you and me with an opportunity for study in nature's university, the forests, the rivers, the mountains, and the animals which include us."
---- Walking Buffalo, STONEY
What we really need to learn is how to live life. Nature is the greatest university when we want to learn about balance, harmony, the Natural Laws and how to live life. But we will never learn unless we spend time in the "living university." Nature is full of examples, lessons, and exercises about life. Nature will help humans learn. Nature will help humans heal. Nature will help with Medicine, knowledge, and healing. The reason our Elders are so wise is because they have attended the right educational system - nature's university.
Great Spirit, help me to become wise.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 12
"All the stones that are around here, each one has a language of its own. Even the earth has a song."
---- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
To believe that every tree, plant, and insect can talk takes an open mind. Go by yourself into nature and sit quietly. Then pick up a rock and listen to your thoughts. After a while, put that rock down and pick up another rock. Your thoughts will change. These are the voices and wisdom of the Stone People. Each one has different wisdom and they are willing to share their wisdom with you. Many of the Stone People are very old and very wise.
Great Spirit, let every rock and leaf be my teacher.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 11
"[The Old People] would gather words as they walked a sacred path across the Earth, leaving nothinig behind but prayers and offerings."
---- Cleone Thunder, NORTHERN ARAPAHOE
Whenever we walk on the Earth, we should pay attention to what is going on. Too often our minds are somewhere else, thinking about the past or thinking about the future. When we do this, we are missing important lessons. The Earth is a constant flow of lessons and learnings which also include a constant flow of positive feelings. If we are aware as we walk, we will gather words for our lives, the lessons to help our children; we will gather feelings of interconnectedness and calmness. When we experience this, we should say or think thoughts of gratitude. When we do this, the next person to walk on the sacred path will benefit even more.
My Creator, today, let me be aware of the sacred path.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 10
"When you go inside that power, there's no fear. It's so beautiful!! There's no fear there. There's no pain."
---- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
Imagine you are standing on the edge of a stage. In the center of the stage is a spotlight shining from above. If you stand anyplace outside the spotlight, in the darkness, you will experience fear. But as soon as you step into the light in the center of the stage, all fear and pain go away. When we stand in the power, fear cannot exist. How do we find this place of power? We pray our way into it. We ask the Creator to take our hand and help us. When we get to that place, we will feel the fear go away.
Great Spirit, hold my hand and guide me today.
"Without a sacred center, no one knows right from wrong."-- -- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
In the center of the circle is where the powers reside. These powers are called love, principle, justice, spirtual knowledge, life, forgiveness and truth. All these powers reside in the very center of the human being. We access these powers by being still, quieting the mind. If we get confused, emotionally upset, feel resentment, anger, or fear, the best thing we can do is pray to the Great Spirit and ask Him to remove the anger and resentment. By asking Him to remove these obstacles, we are automatically positioned in the sacred center. Only in this way do we know right from wrong.
Great Spirit, allow me this day to live in the sacred center.
"Anyways, with medicine there's a time and a place for everything. It only comes around once. You have to get it at the right time."-- -- Cecilia Mitchell, MOHAWK
The old ones say two things must be present for a miracle to take place. One, the right time. Two, the right place. This is why we need to honor our ceremonies. eremonies are done in an order. This order is applied to open a "door" to the right time and place of the medicine. This door opens to the Spiritual World. The Spiritual World is available to us at the right time and the right place.
My Creator, let me be patient today so the timing is right.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 7
"We must all become caretakers of the Earth."
---- Haida Gwaii Traditional Circle of Elders
Mother Earth is the source of all life. We should not only be concerned about the part of the Earth we live on, but we should be concerned about the parts of the Earth that other people live on. The Earth is one great whole. The trees in Brazil generate the air in the Untied States. If the trees are cut in Brazil, it affects the air that all people breathe. Every person needs to conscientiously think about how they respect the Earth. Do we dump our garbage out of the car? Do we poison the water? Do we poison the air? Am I taking on the responsibility of being a caretaker of the Earth?
Great Spirit, today, I will be aware of the Earth. I will be responsible.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 6
must remember that the heart of our religion is alive and that each
person has the ability within to awaken and walk in a sacred manner."
---- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
The Native Spirituality is full of life. When we seek it we become alive. Even if we have gone astray and have conducted ourselves in a bad way, we can look within and have a new awakening to life. Maybe we have drunk too much alcohol; maybe we have cheated on our spouse; maybe we have done things that make us feel guilty and ashamed. If we look outside ourselves, we will not find life; if we look inside, we will find life. Anytime we choose to change our lives, we only need to look inside. How do we do this? Take some sage and light it, close your eyes and say to the Great Sirit, I'm tired, I need your help. Please help me change.
Great Spirit, I know you exist inside of myself. Let me awaken to your teachings.
The whole religion is like a preparation. It's a preparation for going to the Good Land or to the place of your ancestors. We all have to go through it. We all know this.-- -- Horace Axtell, NEZ PERCE
There are two Worlds that exist. The Seen World and the Unseen World. Sometimes these worlds are called the Physical World and the Spiritual World. The Elders say, when it is time to go to the other side, our relatives will appear a few days before to help us enter the Spirit World. This is a happy place; the hunting is good; the place of the Grandfathers, the Creator, the Great Spirit, God, is a joyful place.
Grandfathers, today, let me look forward to the Spirit World. Bless all my Relations.
"But I have learned a lot from trees: sometimes about the weather, sometimes about animals, sometimes about the Great Spirit."-- Walking Buffalo, STONEY
Nature is the greatest teacher on the Earth. Nature produces many different plants, animals, trees, rocks, birds, insects, and weather patterns. Nature designed all these various things to grow and multiply while at the same time live in harmony with each other. We can learn a lot of we observe and study Nature's system of harmony and balance. Today, go sit on a rock and quietly observe and ask to be shown the lessons.
Great Spirit, Nature is my teacher. Today, let me be the student.
"Think only about what is holy. Empty your mind."-- Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA
If we let our minds wander, we will come up with a lot of junk; maybe bad thoughts about a brother or sister, maybe angry thoughts, maybe self-pity thoughts. Our minds are not the boss. We can instruct our mind to think about whatever we want to think about. We cannot stop thinking, but we can choose what to think about. The Elders say we move towards what we think about. That's why they say, "Think about what is holy, think about the Grandfathers, think about culture, think about values, think about ceremonies, and think about good."
Great Spirit, today, empty my mind and let me experience what it would be like to think about what is holy.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 1
"All living creatures and all plants derive their life from the sun. If it were not for the sun, there would be darkness and nothing could grow - the earth would be without life."
--Okute, TETON SIOUX
This is why we call the sun, Father Sun. Father Sun shines life on Mother Earth and from this Father and Mother all life forms exist and continue to reproduce. The Sun shines on all; it is not selective. We should not allow anything to block the Sun from shining on the Earth. We must not pollute the air because the pollutants block the light of life to the Earth. If the Earth cannot receive this light, then life will start to be affected. We must live in harmony with the Sun and Earth. Otherwise, we are harming ourselves.
My Creator, give me the wisdom to live in harmony with all things.
thank you Sister Glenda love ya
You have brought to this table of truth a reality we will hold dear to our hearts forever
In this very hour sending you much Love & Joy ~ Sister Glenda
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, April 22
"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
"Conciliation is the key to survival. Peace is the goal."-- Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
When we make decisions or experience conflict we need to look at the greater whole. The end result we want to accomplish is peace of mind. If we keep this goal in mind, we will, overall, live a happy and fulfilling life. Everything in the world is constantly changing so we should not resist this change. A good question to ask ourselves is, "would I rather be right or happy?". If we would rather be happy, then it is easier to let the little things go. If we would rather be right, we tend to look for the WIN/LOSE.
Great Spirit, today, give me the tools to seek peace of mind.
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, April 8
"The very dust under your feet responds more lovingly to our footsteps than to yours, because it is the ashes of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch, for the soil is rich with the life of our kindred."
--Chief Seattle, SUQUAMISH
If you respect something, it will respect you back. If your ancestors respected something, the future generations will be respected back. The Indian ancestors always showed great respect for the Earth. That's why the Earth is so respectful to Indians today. Every Indian naturally feels connectedness to the Earth. We know the Earth holds our ancestors. If we continue to respect Mother Earth, our children will benefit and so will our grand- children. Today, we should think about and pray for our Mother Earth.
Grandmother, let me have strong feelings for our Earth today.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, April 7
"Women. They have the power of generations. Women have the power to have children and not to have children."
--Cecilia Mitchell, MOHAWK
The Woman is not only the key to life; she is also the key to future generations. An Elder once joked that the Woman only needs the man for one night. We need to look at and respect the power of the Woman. She is special and we need to treat her that way.
Great Spirit, today, let me show the greatest respect to our Women
"Everybody should pray together, cheer along, root along. That brings the circle together. Everything is together."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
Life on the Earth can sometimes be very complicated. Sometimes we think we are alone in our problems. Sometime we even withdraw. Then the problems become even more difficult. We need to watch out for one another, to care for one another, to pray together, to encourage one another; and we need to support one another. Behaving in this manner will bring the circle together.
Great Spirit, today, let me support my brothers and sisters.
"As we plunge ahead to build empires and race for supremacy we should stop and listen to [the female] song of life. For without the female there is no life."-- Oren R. Lyons, Spokesman, Traditional Circle of Elders
Women are created with the ability to produce life. Women have a special tie to the Earth Mother. They have something in common. They are the source of life. The Earth Mother gives songs to the Woman to sing. These songs are about life, about beauty, about children, about love, about family, about strength, about caring, about nurturing, about forgiveness, about God. The World needs to pay attention and listen to Her. She knows.
Great Spirit, let me listen to Her songs.
"You can pray for whatever you want, but it is always best to pray for others, not for yourself."-- John Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA
When you are selfish and you pray, you are requesting things to flow only to you. When you are selfless, you are praying for things to flow to others. The old ones say this is the highest form of prayer. Praying this way is according to the Natural Laws.
Great Spirit, today, let my thoughts be about others.
"We know that in all creation, only the human family has strayed from the Sacred Way."-- OJIBWA Prayer
How have we gotten so far off track? What has happened to us? What is happening to our family? How did it happen so quickly? Every individual needs to answer these questions for themselves. What do we need to do to start living the Sacred Way again? Pray! Today I will start praying. I pray the Creator will lead all Native People to a great healing. I pray we'll be free from alcohol and drugs. I pray we will return to the culture, to spirituality and to unity.
My Mother, help us to heal ourselves. Make us strong again.
"With children we always have to think about seven generations to come but yet unborn."-- Janice Sundown Hattet, SENECA
What we do today will effect the children seven generations form now. How we treat the Mother Earth will affect the children yet to be born. If we poison the water today, our children's children will be affected by the decision we made. Our children are the gateway to the future. Let us conscientiously think about the children and the seven generations to come.
My Creator, I thank you for my ancestors, seven generations ago.
"People think other things are more important than prayer, but they are mistaken."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
An Elder once said the most important thing you can do in the course of a day is to pray. If we get up late or oversleep, which is more important? Rush to work without praying or pray first and then go to work? The Elders say it's more important to pray. If we get angry, should we act on our anger or should we pray first? The Elders say it's more important to pray first. If, during the day, we face indecision, what should we do? PRAY. If, during the day, we become irritated or we experience fear, what should we do first? PRAY. The Warrior who prays first will lead a different life from those who pray last.
Great Spirit, teach me to pray first!
"The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man's heart away from nature becomes hard; he knew the lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to a lack of respect for humans too. So he kept his youth close to its softening influence."-- Luther Standing Bear, OGLALA SIOUX
When we live in nature it's like constantly being in school. We are in an environment that is always teaching. We are constantly being reminded hat there are laws, Natural Laws, which are running the universe. Once we know these laws and we drift from them, we start to live our lives in a different way. Soon we become discontent, selfish, and disrespectful. Then, we get in trouble. If our lives have become this way, it can be reversed by going back to nature to be among our teachers.
Great Spirit, teach men, again, the Natural Laws.
"If anyone has children, they better teach their children to follow the traditions that we're leaving behind because it is later than we think with all that's going on."-- Juanita Centeno, CHUMASH
The habits, attitudes, and beliefs that carry the human through the trials of life are developed at a very young age. If we are taught respect at a very young age, the odds are we'll be respectful throughout our whole lives. If we are taught to dance at a young age, we'll dance our whole lives. If we are taught to sing the traditional songs while we are young, we'll sing those songs throughout our whole lives. And who do we drum and sing songs to? Our children. This is how we keep it going.
Great Spirit, today, teach me to teach the children.
"Tell the people not to cry. Tell them to be happy."-- John Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA (told to his son, Archie, as he died)
Our Elders know about the two Worlds, the Physical World and the Spiritual World. Many times, before we pass to the Spirit World, our relatives, who have gone there before us, will come for us and they will help us. The Spirit World, the Elders say, is a good, happy, and harmonious place. When we die, it means we have only entered another world. We will all see one another again.
Great Spirit, allow me to understand both the Spirit World and the Physical World. Today, let me be happy.
"Sacred sites and areas are protection for all people the four colors for man and these sites are in all areas of the earth in the four directions."-- Traditional Circle of Elders, NORTHERN CHEYENNE
The Elders say that values come from the Mother Earth. Different places and areas around the Earth have different values. The Water people live in harmony and know the values that correspond to that particular part of the Earth. The Desert people know the values of the desert and respect and live in harmony with that part of the Earth. The Woodland people know the values of their part of the Earth and live in harmony. If you live in harmony with the Earth, you will live a life that is full of values. We should have great respect for the Mother Earth.
Grandfather, today, let me learn values from Mother Earth.
"...you have to believe it first. Not wait until you see it first, then touch it, then believe it...You have to say it from the heart."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
We are designed to function from faith. First we pray. Then we use our imagination to create a vision or picture in our mind. We surround this mental picture with our emotions or feelings. These feelings are available when we ask or say it from the heart. The combination of the mental picture and asking from the heart to create the emotions will cause us to believe it. Then we just need to wait. We need to believe as though it is already done.
Great Spirit, remove from me any doubt that comes up today.
"In our modern world today, we may seem like drowning men because of the loss of much of our spiritual tradition."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
Our spiritual tradition shows us the way to live in harmony, balance and respect. The tradition taught us how to behave and how to conduct ourselves. The spiritual way taught us to pray and to purify ourselves. Handed down from generation to generation were the teachings about a way of life. Our relationship to Mother Earth and to each other was very clear. The Modern World does not relate to spirituality but to materialism. If we do not allow spirituality to guide our lives, we will be lost, unhappy and without direction. We are spiritual beings trying to be human, not human beings trying to be spiritual. It is said, Know thyself.
Grandfather, lead me to spirituality.
"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 to the younger people. The Elders have told us we are now in a great time of Healing. The Creator is guiding the younger people to help them 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 and do what is our mission to help the people and be of maximum use to the Creator. Every person is needed to accomplish this great Healing.
Creator, whisper what you want me to do.
Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors; the dreams of our old men, given them in the solemn hours of night by the Great Spirit; and the visions of our sachems, and is written in the hearts of our people.-- Chief Seattle, SUQUAMISH
Our Spiritual ways have carefully been given to chosen people. Slowly, through our past generations, through past conflicts, our Elders prayed for guidance, which the Creator provided. Then it was passed down to the next generation through culture, ceremony and oral traditions. Our Indian religion has been tested and is about how we should behave and treat other people, animals and the earth. This knowledge is written in the heart of every person. We can find this knowledge by looking inside ourselves.
My Creator, today, when conflict occurs, I will look inside myself for the answers.
"We must relearn how to cry. A strong man cries; it is the weak man who holds back his tears."-- Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA
Indian men and other men should really meditate on this Elder's saying. So many men have been taught it is unmanly to cry, to show emotions or to feel. When people cry, the Elders say there are two types of tears one type will taste salty; the other type will taste sweet. One is caused by pain, and the other is caused by the release from the pain, or joy tears. A strong man knows himself and knows his relationship with the Great Spirit. The release of tears is a spiritual act. Our bodies are designed to cry. We should honor our bodies and use them as the Creator intended.
Great Spirit, Grandfather, today, teach me to cry.
"Everything's so simple, and we make everything so complicated. That's why we're confused."-- Vickie Downey, TEWA/Tesuque Pueblo
The Creator designed a very simple set of Laws for us to follow. If we follow these simple things, we'll be happy. If we don't follow these simple things, our lives become complicated. For example:
- Respect Mother Earth
- Love one another
- Be truthful
- Give to your brother and sisters
- Be gentle with each other
- Be happy
Following these simple Laws will have great rewards.
Great Spirit, let me lead a simple life.
"The manner with which we walk through life is each man's most important responsibility, and we should remember this with every new sunrise."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
Every spiritual person should carry a vision of God's will in every area of their life. One day at a time, each morning at sunrise, we should spend time praying to the Creator. We should say something like, my Creator, this morning I ask you to show me, in terms I can understand, what you have for me to do. By doing this daily, over time, we will develop an unquestionable vision. Each person is responsible for taking the time to do this. It will bring great joy and peace of mind to those warriors who do.
My Creator, give me the vision, today, of what you want me to do.
"You have wandered away from your teachings. You must concentrate on your spiritual teachings...Don't be sidetracked."-- Henry Quick Bear, LAKOTA
Why are the Elders always telling us to know The culture and listen to the teachings? When we go off track, why do the Elders say, return to the teachings? The teachings tell us how to live in harmony with the Laws and principles of the Great Spirit. Living means life a good life, a happy life. Many of us have grown up without the teachings and the culture, that is why we don't know how to live. To improve on relationships, to treat our children with honor, and to respect our Elders, we need to live by the old teachings again.
Great Spirit, today, show me how to live.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, March 18
"The sacred fire used to heat the rocks represents the eternal fire that burns at the center of the universe."
--Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA
Our Sweat Lodge represents the womb of Mother Earth. This is the place of forgiveness. The altar is the place where the Grandfathers are heated. The Sweat Lodge and the altar represent the whole story of the universe. The Sweat Lodge and the ceremonies are sacred. The Great Spirit gave these things to us to help us. He taught us to do the ceremonies in harmony with Mother Earth. We need to know and understand these things.
Great Spirit, let me understand harmony.
"By listening to the inner self and following one's instincts and intuitions, a person may be guided to safety."-- Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA
Be still and know. The Medicine Wheel teaches the four directions of inner power - not personal power, but the power of God. These four directions are emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual. As our emotions get too far out of control, we simultaneously create an equivalent mental picture, our physical body fills with stress and tension, and we become spiritually confused. When we experience these uptight feelings, the best thing to do is mentally pause, slow down our thinking, breathe slowly, or pray and ask the spirits to help. Only when we approach the stillness of the mind do we get access to our spiritual guidance system. To be guided, let your mind be still.
Creator, today, let me reside in Your stillness.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, March 16
"Each of us must know in our minds and believe in our hearts that even though we are different, you are like me and I am like you."
--Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
One of the definitions of humility is having an awareness of one's own character defects. To recognize and acknowledge that one has imperfections is being humble. We should never pray for ourselves unless by doing so it would help another person. To have self-importance puts self first and this is not humble. We each have strengths and we each have weaknesses. Both the strengths and weaknesses are sacred. Life is sacred. We learn sacred things from weaknesses also. Therefore, all lives are developed through trial and error, strength and weakness, ups and downs, gains and losses - all of these are part of life and life is sacred.
Great Mystery, let me see and know about the sacredness of life.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, March 15
"We were taught generosity to the poor and reverence for the Great Mystery. Religion was the basis of all Indian training."
--Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa), SANTEE SIOUX
Every Indian knows and has a feeling inside that, bottom line, our real purpose on earth is to be of service to our fellow man and to be of maximum service to the Great Spirit. The Creator designed the earth to be self supporting - everything is interconnected and all things were created to be of service to each other. The Indian way is to pray about all things. Religion is not separate from any part of our lives. Everything is spiritual and we are to view all matters in this way. Family is spiritual, work is spiritual, helping others is spiritual, our bodies are spiritual, our talk is spiritual, our thoughts are spiritual. We need to practice seeing all things as spiritual.
Great Spirit, today let me help the needy and allow me the wisdom to have respect and reverence for Your teachings.
"The concept that we are all related is one of the basic philosophies of D/Lakota religion."-- Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA
The Medicine Wheel teaches the four directions of the races, Red people, Yellow people, Black people and White people. These four directions are symbolic of all races. Everything in the circle is connected and related. All races are brothers and sisters. If we are related to each other, then it is important to love one another as brother and sister, aunt and uncle, Fathers and Mothers, Grandfathers and Grandmothers. We need to care for each other and especially respect each other. We need to honor one another's differences whether that difference is the color of our skin or our opinions. We should respect differences.
My Creator, let me feel the connectedness to all things. Let me know the lessons I need to learn today. Above all, let me feel my connectedness to You.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, March 13
"I went to a holy man and asked him for help. He told me to get on the Red Road. Pray to Wakan-Tanka (Great Spirit) to help you walk the Red Road."
--Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA
All Indian traditions, customs and ceremonies help us answer three questions: who am I?, why am I?, and where am I going? Only on the Red Road can we find the answer to these three questions. When we can answer these three questions, we are on the Red Road. When we cannot, we have gone astray. That is why the Holy Men tell us to pray to the Great Spirit and to seek the Red Road. Why am I? My purpose is the serve the Great Spirit. Who am I? I am an Indian who walks the Red Road. Where am I going? My vision is to serve my people.
Great Spirit, when I know You, only then do I know me. Help me today to know You.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, March 12
"The old people say, `Learn from your mistakes'. So I try to accept everything for what it is and to make the best of each situation one day at a time."
--Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA
The Creator did not design us to beat ourselves up when we make mistakes. Mistakes are our friends. It is from mistakes that we learn. The more mistakes we learn from, the faster we gain wisdom. The faster we gain wisdom, the more we love. The more we love, the fewer our mistakes. Therefore, mistakes help us to learn love. God is love. Mistakes are sacred and help us learn about God's will for ourselves.
Great Spirit, help me, today, to learn from my mistakes.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, March 11
"The symbol of wholeness, represented by the medicine wheel, is still being used in D/Lakota ceremonies today. The center where the "X" crosses is considered the home of Tunkasila, Wakan-Tanka, God. I speculated, `If this is the symbol of wholeness, the symbol of the psyche, with Wakan-Tanka at the center, then Wakan-Tanka or God would be within you.'"
--Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA
The Medicine Wheel represents everything. All the directions originate from the center outward. The center is the home of the Creator. The Medicine Wheel represents the human being. At our center is the home of the Great Spirit. This is why we are spiritual. The easiest way for us to find God and talk to Him, is for us to become centered. This means, relax our bodies, still our minds, let go of our emotions and listen quietly. Shhh. Be still.
My Creator, let me walk in the stillness today.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, March 10
"I know Grandpa told me that to smoke is wakan (holy). The smoke you inhale represents the spirits of everything you put into the pipe. When you breathe in the smoke, you are asking to become one with everything or to become whole." --Dr. A.C. Ross (Enhanamani), LAKOTA
The smoke allows us to go from the Seen World to the Spirit World. It is in the Spirit World where we are all connected. In this way, we can become one with all things. Our pipe is sacred. We need to be respectful of our medicine. When we smoke the pipe, we need to have good thoughts because these thoughts are shared with the Spirit World. The pipe, the smoke, the spirits, our thoughts - these things are Wakan.
Great Spirit, today, let my thoughts be Wakan.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, March 9
"In the life of the Indian there was only one inevitable duty, the duty of prayer, the daily recognition of the Unseen and Eternal. His daily devotions were more necessary to him than daily food."
--Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa), SANTEE SIOUX
The most important habit one can develop is the daily act of prayer. Prayer is our eyes, our ears, our feelings, our success, our guidance, our life, our duty, our goal. There really is only prayer and meditation. We can only help others through prayer. We can only help ourselves through prayer. You can never become an Elder unless you pray. You can never stay an Elder unless you pray. You never get wisdom unless you pray. You never understand unless you pray.
Great Spirit, today, teach me to pray.
"Balance is implicit in the Red Road. When you're on the Red Road, you are in the center. Yet, you do not go to either extreme, and you allow both sides to exist. This is accomplished by continually postponing surrendering to temptation, whatever it may be. It is saying `later' instead of `no.'"-- Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA
The Sacred Path of life has a middle, a left side, and a right side. As human beings, we are designed to walk this middle path as much as we can. As we walk, we will stray to the left and to the right and come back to the middle. Straying to the left or right side is as sacred as being in the middle. Sometimes we call this straying our mistakes. We are designed by the Creator to walk the Sacred Path of life, and realize that our mistakes are the source of lessons. These lessons give us our wisdom. It is not wrong that we are tempted. What matters is what we do with the temptation.
Great Spirit, today, let me enjoy the Sacred Path of Life.
"We are responsible for the condition of the Earth. We are the ones who are responsible and we can change that. If we wake up, it is possible to change the energy. It is possible to change everything."-- Hunbatz Men, MAYAN
The environment we want outside will be created by the mental pictures we have inside our heads. We must have the right environmental picture as well as the right values. These values will give the mental picture its true meaning. If we respected Mother Earth, we would not throw garbage on Her, nor would we put poison in Her. We would not misuse Her in any way. Mother Earth is like She is today because of the mental pictures of previous generations as well as the mental pictures of our own generation. If we want the environment to change, each individual must change their mental picture. "As within, so without."
Great Spirit, today, let me be alert to Your guiding voice.
"And there are Four Corners of the Earth that we talk about, the Four Colors of people, and the Four Winds. You see the winds - they are spirits."-- Grandfather William Commanda, ALGONQUIN
The Elders teach us about the four directions. If we learn about direction, we also learn about attention, about focus, and about power. Each direction has spiritual power. In the morning, go outside, face the east and get still; then, listen to your thoughts. After you have done this for a while, turn and face the west. Get quiet once again and listen to your thoughts. Did your thinking change when you changed direction?
Great Spirit, teach me the power of the four directions.
"I have always searched for my place and my people."-- Wendy Rose, HOPI/MIWOK
For every human being to feel connected, we must have the feeling of belonging. That is one of the values and benefits of a culture: it creates the feeling of belonging. If for some reason, while you were growing up, you did not develop the feeling of belonging, a search will be triggered and a restlessness will be present in your heart. You will have a hole inside you, something missing, until you find your place and your people. Remember, we can get this feeling of belonging when we realize we belong to the Great Spirit and that He really loves us a lot.
My Creator, today, I belong to You. Let me feel Your presence. Thank You.
"My father told me that Hopi earth does contain my roots and I am, indeed, from that land. Because my roots are there, I will find them."-- Wendy Rose, HOPI/MIWOK
Everything that comes from the earth will return to the earth. We should be able to realize the connectedness to the earth. We should be able to feel toward Her just like She is our real Mother. We can easily feel this connectedness if we can answer these three questions: why am I?, who am I?, and where am I going? If we cannot answer these questions, then perhaps we need to talk to the Elders. Go to the Elders and ask, "Grandfather, why am I?; Grandmother, who am I?; Oh Great One, where am I supposed to go?" The Elders will help us with these three questions.
Grandfather, help me to stay centered today.
"For me writing has become prayers that say, `Great Spirit, return to us our freedom, our land, and our lives. We are thankful for the present from which we learn how to be thankful for the past, and how to be hopeful for the future."-- Barney Bush, SHAWNEE
We Native people have really been tested. This testing is having our land taken from us, our culture challenged, and our way of living altered. Gratefully, we have not lost our spirituality. Our spirituality has been the key for our people making it through all of these tests. Our prayers are strong. Indian people have also been able to adjust to change and still keep their culture and spirituality. Today, we should be grateful to the Creator for the present and for the lessons of the past. May our future be guided by the Great Spirit.
Great Spirit, thank You for Mother Earth and Father Sky. Thank You for my life.
"The voice and the heart are not working together."-- Barney Bush, SHAWNEE
We can say any words we want with our voice but we cannot hide the true meaning and the true spirit behind the words. The true meaning is always understood. The voice is heard in the physical world, but the meaning is transmitted in the spiritual world. If our voice says one thing but the heart is saying something else, it's the something else that is heard. It is said that the truth will set you free. Reaching the truth means your voice and your words will be in alignment with the heart.
Great Spirit, let my tongue, speak the truth today.
"The beginning is purification, that's the first step. And purification means purification of body and mind. You don't purify the body without cleansing the mind; that's the way it works."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
If we have bad thoughts or poison in our minds, they will eventually show up in our bodies in the form of headaches, pains, and stomach problems. It works this way because we are interconnected. Our minds and our bodies are one system. So when we start to grow, or commit to the Red Road, we need to start cleaning up our thoughts and start showing respect for our bodies. We start purifying our minds by prayer and meditation, and we start cleansing our bodies by getting the right amount of sleep and developing good eating habits. Today, I'm going to observe my thoughts. Will my thoughts be clean today?
Great Spirit, let me focus on Your love today so my mind will be pure.
"Ultimately, nature will do the teaching."-- Tom Porter, MOHAWK
There are things man has control over, and there are things man does not have control over. No matter how smart we get, whether it be in technology or science, there are things we will never control. The Great Spirit carefully protected and hid the control over certain things in the Unseen World. There are forces in the Unseen World that make sure humans don't mess things up. The bottom line is, no matter what we do, nature will have the last say. Nature is the teacher, we are the students. May we honor and respect our teacher.
Great Spirit, today, help me to live in harmony with people, principles, and life.
"The Old Ones have always said that no matter who despises or ignores you, no matter who keeps you from entering their circles, it is right to pray for them because the are like us, too."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
You don't know how an apple tastes until you taste it. You don't know what a fish tastes like until you eat it. You don't know how it is to be a woman unless you are one. You don't know what it means to have a baby until you have one. So it is with the natural laws. An example: the natural law of forgiveness says, if you hate someone, pray for the person to be blessed with happiness, joy and all the blessings of the Great Spirit. You will not know about this law unless you do it. The natural law says love others as you love yourself. If you hate yourself or feel guilt in some area of yourself, you will tend to judge and condemn your neighbor. You cannot give away what you don't have. You teach your children by your example, not by your words. The natural laws are written in our hearts.
Great Spirit, teach me how to look into my heart.
"The Great Spirit is the one that's looking after us."-- Jimmy Jackson, OJIBWAY
The only place our minds can find peace is when our focus is on the Creator. Daily we need to ask the Creator to direct our thinking. When we look at our brothers and sisters, we need to see the Creator in them. When we look at the trees, plants and the animals, we need to realize the Creator is within us. Our attention needs to be on the Creator. When we work, we do it for the Creator. When we are troubled, we need to pray to the Creator. When we are happy and joyful, we need to realize we are feeling the presence of the Creator. Thinking God thoughts will produce peace.
Oh Great Mystery, let me focus on You today.
"The Creator was responsible for the existence of everything, a part of the Creator's spirit exists in everything and thus all things are connected."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
The Creator designed nature, people, and all things as an interconnected system. Everything is connected to each other. This connection exists in the Unseen World. The same way our body parts are all port of the body - the parts are separate but also connected. If a part of our body is in pain, the rest of the body recognizes this pain as its own. In other words, the pain of one is the pain of all. This is also true of every interconnected system. Because we are connected, we should respect and take care of our Earth and each other.
Great Spirit, let me treat everyone, today, as if they were You.
"But each of us must find out for himself or herself what their gift is, so that they can use it in their life."-- Jimmy Jackson, OJIBWAY
The old people say, everyone has a song to sing. This song is the reason we are on this earth. When we are doing what we came on this earth to do, we know true happiness. How will we know our song? Pray. Ask the Great Mystery, "What is it you want me to do during my stay on earth?" Ask. He will tell you. He will even help you develop yourself to accomplish His mission.
Great Spirit, help me find my song and let me sing it.
"We've got to learn what's going on today in the world, and we've got to get an education so we can survive."-- Jimmy Jackson, OJIBWA
Indian people have the ability to adapt. In these modern times, we Native people must walk two roads. We must get educated so our people don't lose. We need lawyers, doctors, nurses, foresters, scientists, educators, carpenters, welders. These skills are needed to help the people. While we are learning we need to remember to keep our culture, learn our dances, sing our songs, learn to speak our own language and maintain our culture for future generations.
Great Spirit, let my education never lack the meaning and value of Indian spirituality.
"In the Indian way, we are connected to that flower if we understand its spirit, the essence of its life."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
Everything on our Earth is alive. Every rock, every plant, every animal, every tree, every bird, every thought is alive. This is true because everything is made by the Great Spirit and the Great Spirit is alive. We need to slow our lives down each day and realize, consciously, that this is true. First we need to realize it, second, we need to acknowledge it, third, we need to appreciate it and, finally, we need to go on.
Great Spirit, let me see life through Your eyes. Today let me be alive.
"Every thing or living being that exists in this world, be it trees, flowers, birds, grasses, rocks, soil of the earth, or human beings, has its unique manner of existence - its essence, its spirit that makes it what it is. That is what is meant by connectedness."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
Scientists are finally realizing what the Elders have taught for thousands of years - everything is connected. Because everything is interconnected, whatever you do to any one thing, you do to everything. If you poison any part of the earth, the poison eventually affects everything else. If you poison the plants, the birds will eat the plants, which poisons the birds. The birds are eaten by humans which poisons the humans. The humans will have babies who could be deformed because the plants were poisoned. We must learn to live in harmony with the earth. We must learn to think good things. Every good thought is felt by everything, which causes everything to be happy.
Creator, let my thoughts only be good thoughts.
"When a community does something together, that community is very happy, jovial, connected, and unified."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
The Indian People have always been able to adapt. If the hunting changed, we found new hunting grounds. If the earth changed, we moved to a better place. If the river changed course, we followed the river. But with every change, we kept our Indianness and spirituality. Our culture and spirituality have always been our strength. Our culture and spirituality taught us to live in harmony. We must change with the times, but we must maintain our culture and spirituality, always living in harmony.
Great Spirit, You have taught us to survive. Let me always maintain my Indianness.
The Old Man said,`you are both ugly and handsome and you must accept your ugliness as well as your handsomeness in order to really accept yourself."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
My Grandfather told me one time that any person who is judgmental to another is also judgmental to themselves. If we want to be free of being judgmental, we need to first work on how judgmental we are to ourselves. If we quit judging ourselves and start accepting ourselves as we are, we will start accepting others as they are. Then we will experience a level of new freedom.
Great Spirit, let me accept myself as I am - honoring both my strengths and my weaknesses.
"Laughter is a necessity in life that does not cost much, and the Old Ones say that one of the greatest healing powers in our life is the ability to laugh."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
Laughter is a good stress eliminator. Laughter causes healing powers to be distributed through our bodies. Laughter helps heal relationships that are having problems. Laughter can change other people. aughter can heal the sick. Laughter is spiritual. One of the greatest gifts among Indian people has been our ability to laugh. Humor is natural to Indian people. Sometimes the only thing left to do is laugh.
Great Spirit, allow me to laugh when times get tough.
"Silence and self-control permeate the entirety of our lives."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
The Creator gave us all the Red Road and on this Red Road we are required to think and act in a spiritual way. To make sure I conduct myself according to the Red Road, I must make sure I develop my self discipline. Self control works best when we pray for the courage and power to do the will of the Great Spirit. We are here on the earth to do the will of the Great Spirit. Sometimes, we must battle ourselves to do this.
Great Spirit, help me to have my self- control guided by spiritual ways.
"Because woman lives so close to our first mother, the Earth, she emanates the strength and harmonious nature of all things."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
At an Elders gathering, held in July 1991, we were told the Indian woman would play an instrumental part in leading the healing of Indian nations. The old people said we were to look up to her in a sacred manner. They said the Earth Mother would give the woman special gifts of love. The woman and the Earth Mother are connected in a special way. Women should pay attention to the lessons coming from the earth. Men should treat the women with respect, dignity and honor.
Grandfather, Grandmother, give the Indian woman Your strength to heal our earth.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, February 15
"One of the essential characteristics we need to learn as men was to be gentle, and to be gentle means to be serene, to enter meditation or a prayerful state in the morning and evening."
--Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
The most important talk we can do during any day, is to start the day with prayer and meditation. We need to ask the Creator to be in our lives. We ask Him to direct our thinking. We ask Him for the courage and the power to be gentle. In the morning quiet time, we make our request for guidance using our spiritual tools. We pray for the people and we pray for ourselves. In the evening we thank the Creator for the day, for the lessons and for the opportunity to be of service to others. Then we go to sleep.
Great Spirit, today, show me the power of being gentle.
"Sometimes, life is very simple, but it is we two-leggeds, we who are thought to be smart that make it complicated."-- Larry P. Aitkin, CHIPPEWA
Sometimes it may take years for us to find out what we are really after - it is to be happy. The Elders say, lead a simple life. This doesn't necessarily mean poor, it means simple. There are some things that makes life complicated such as needing control, needing power or being resentful or angry. These things make complications happen. We need to walk in balance in every area of our lives.
Great Spirit, let me lead a simple life.
"I wanted to feel, smell, hear and see, but not see with my eyes and my mind only. I wanted to see with CANTE ISTA - the eye of the heart."-- Lame Deer, LAKOTA
Why is it that some people seem to have peace of mind every day? How do some people remain so darn positive? How do you stay positive if you work or live in a negative environment? How is it that two people can observe the same difficult situation, but one person is upset about it, and other isn't? Two people experiencing the same situation react entirely different. If each morning we ask the Creator to allow us to see with His understanding and with His love, we will open a new way of "seeing". This eye of the heart is a free gift given to us if we ask for it in prayer each day.
Grandfather, allow me to see the world and all things You have made through "the eye of my heart."
".the spirit still has something for us to discover - an herb, a sprig, a flower - a very small flower, maybe you can spend a long time in its contemplation, thinking about it."-- Lame Deer, LAKOTA
The world today is about hurry up! Get there faster! Work harder, produce more, hurry up, eat quickly, be on time, don't get stressed- headaches, conflict, drink to calm down, go to training on stress management, time management - STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! Go spend 5 minutes with a flower or a plant. Look at it - think about it - look at its beauty, smell it, close your eyes and smell it again. Touch it; touch with your eyes closed. Listen to it; listen to it with your eyed closed. Slow your mind down. Think about the little things. Now close your eyes and pray.
Great Spirit, this feeling of calmness that I have, let me have it all day long.
"Oh God! Like the Thunderbird of old I shall rise again out of the sea; I shall grab the instruments of the white man's success - his education, his skills, and with these new tools I shall build my race into the proudest segment of your society."-- Chief Dan George, SALISH
One thing the Indian people do well is adapt. This is why we survive. We must learn to keep our culture, but also to learn the good things that other races have to offer. Education is the future weapon of Native people. We must learn the legal system, health, science and engineering. Indian people have great contributions to make to the world. We need to educate ourselves so we can better protect the land and our children. Otherwise, we will lose the things and the land that we have.
Great Spirit, make me teachable today.
"The ground on which we stand is sacred ground. It is the dust and blood of our ancestors."-- Plenty Coups, CROW
Mother Earth is the source of life and the place all life returns to. She gives us life. She feeds us through our journey and she waits for us to return to her. The Indian way is to recognize the earth as the place of our ancestors. That is why certain places on earth are considered sacred areas and sacred land; this is the place of our ancestors. We all need to reflect upon the earth, the place where our ancestors lived. We need to have love and respect for the earth.
My Creator, let me honor the place of our ancestors, Mother Earth.
"It can be 100 degrees in the shade one afternoon and suddenly there comes a storm with hailstones as big as golf balls, the prairie is all white and your teeth chatter. That's good - a reminder that you are just a small particle of nature, not so powerful as you think."-- Lame Deer, LAKOTA
No event, no relationship, no joy, no sadness, no situation ever stays the same. Every setback is only temporary. Even setbacks change. Why? Because the Great Spirit designed the world to be constantly changing. We are not the center of the universe, we are but a small part. The whole is constantly changing, and we as humans are constantly participating in the change. We have two choices, to resist change or participate in the change. Every change can be resisted, and every change can be made in cooperation. What will I choose today, resistance or cooperation?
Great Spirit, teach me to make cooperative changes.
"No individual or group can block another individual's path or change it against what fits his nature and his purpose. It might be done for a time, but in the end it won't work out."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
Every person is born for a purpose. We may know our purpose very early in our lives, or it may take us some time. Very often we need to experience many things before our purpose is clear to us. Sometimes we pick our goals to please others. Sometimes others pick our goals to make themselves happy. Often this makes us unhappy. We need to pray to the Creator and ask Him what our purpose is. When we live outside our purpose, our path is full of obstacles. When we live inside our purpose, our path is smooth. When we are aligned to our purpose, we are happy and content.
Great Spirit, whisper to me, in terms I can understand, what You would have me do and I will do it.
"I can tell you that understanding begins with love and respect. It begins with respect for the Great Spirit. All things - and I mean ALL things - have their own will and their own way and their own purpose; this is what is to be respected."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
Everything on earth has a purpose and is designed special. No two things are created identical. Sometimes in our minds we have a picture of how things should be, and often what we see is different from what they really are. When this happens we often want to control how things are, making them act or behave according to our picture. We need to leave things alone. God is running all things. How do we do this? In our minds we tell ourselves to love all things and respect all things just as they are. Accept what we cannot change.
Great Spirit, teach me the value of respect and help me to accept people, places and things just as they are.
"We hold on to our otuhan, our give-aways, because they help us to remain Indians."-- Lame Deer, LAKOTA
Our traditional communities and villages function on interdependence. Share the deer and give freely of what you have to another. Another way to express this principle is, it's better to give than to receive. To share what you have eliminates complexity. The Elders say, live a simple life. One of the principles in the Unseen World is, the more you give, the more you get. You can become a channel for abundance for your family, tribe, or community. A giving person sets up a flow or replacement. Whatever you share will be returned to you in an amount equal or greater. The Indian way is for everyone to give to another, thus the community wins.
Great Spirit, today, teach me the principle of giving. Let me be Your channel of abundance.
"Let the person I serve express his thanks according to his own bringing up and his sense of humor."-- Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa), SANTEE SIOUX
"It is better to give than receive." But it doesn't really matter if we are giving or receiving. There is an identical feeling associated with both. We get this feeling every time we receive. We can't control when we receive gifts but we can control when we give gifts. Therefore, the more we give, the better we feel. When we are given gifts, or someone does something for us, it is the Indian way to honor this person.
Great Spirit, let me honor and be respectful to those who are good to me today.
"We say there is a right time and place for everything. It's easy to say, but hard to understand. You have to live it to understand it."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
The Elders tell us there is a right time and a right place. Don't plant seeds in the fall - wrong time. One way we find out about the right time and right place is our experience. If we are lucky, we have a few friends who will share their experience; this will help us too. The best way is to let God guide us. Only He knows the right time and the right place. So we need to pray and ask Him for guidance.
Great Spirit, show me patience so I can live in the right time and right place.
"It's very hard to do things in the right manner, but as long as we do things right, we are in turn with the Great Spirit."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
When we are right with the Great Spirit, we are right with all things. It is impossible to be out of harmony with anything or anybody when we are in harmony with the Great One. So, if during the day a problem crops up and someone makes us mad, the best thing we can do is talk to the Creator first, ask for His help, then continue our conversation with the other person. In this way, our emotional nature will keep aligned with our thoughts, and we will always stay right with the Great Spirit.
Great Spirit, I ask You to guide me on the Red Road today.
"Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood and so it is everything where power moves."-- Black Elk (Hehaka sapa), OGLALA SIOUX
In these modern times it is difficult to understand why we should think circles and seasons. People and society are always moving, through distance, over yonder, going here and going there - hurry up, grow up, be successful, climb the ladder of success, etc. The Elders tell us to slow down, to be patient, pray and think circles. Circle thinking applies to relationships, business and every area of our lives. We need to teach our awareness to look for seasons and cycles.
My Creator, teach me the seasons of growth.
"You can't just sit down and talk about the truth. It doesn't work that way. You have to live it and be part of it and you might get to know it."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
We all read books that have much information in them. Often we pick up on little sayings that we remember. Inside of us is the little owl, the owl of knowing. It talks to us - guiding us and nurturing us. Often when we get information, it's hard to live by, but it's easy to talk about. It's living the Red Road that counts - Walk the Talk. If we really want freedom in our lives, if we really want to be happy, if we really want to have peace of mind, it's the truth we must seek.
My Creator, help me in my search for the truth today.
"In sharing, in loving all and everything, one people naturally found a due portion of the thing they sought, while in fearing, the other found need of conquest."-- Chief Luther Standing Bear, SIOUX
There are two systems of thought that are available for us to choose from. One is the love-thought system and the other is the fear- thought system. If we choose love, we will see the laws, principles and values of the Creator. If we choose fear, the results will be so paralyzing that it will cause us to take over and not rely on the Great Spirit. The fear-thought system will automatically cause attack, conflict, need to control over others. The love-thought system seeks peace of mind, unity and causes us to be love seekers.
Great Spirit, today let me see only love.
"Bright days and dark days were both expressions of the Great Mystery, and the Indian reveled in being close to the Great Holiness."-- Chief Luther Standing Bear, SIOUX
The Great Spirit created a world of harmony, a world of justice, a world that is interconnected, a balanced world that has positive and negative, this way and that way, up and down, man and woman, boy and girl, honest and dishonest, responsible and irresponsible, day and night. In other words, He created a polarity system. Both sides are to be respected. Both sides or anything are sacred. We need to do good and we need to learn from our mistakes. We need to honor what takes place in the daytime and we need to honor what takes place in the nighttime. We learn that we need to learn and we see what we are supposed to see by staying close to the Great Spirit. We need to be talking to Him all the time, saying "Grandfather, what is it you want me to learn?"
Great Spirit, let me learn today that all things are sacred. Help me stay close to You, my Creator.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - January 29
"We grieve more because we have been disconnected from our earth, our first Mother, our spiritual Mother." -- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
Where does all life come from? The Earth. Where does everything return to? The Earth. Where do values come from? The Earth. Many people are lost because they don't know the importance of connection to the Earth. They connect to money, to relationships, to success, to goals. When we are disconnected from the Earth, we have feelings of being sad or lost. When we are connected to the Earth, we feel warm and secure.
Great Spirit, help me to stay connected to the Mother Earth.
This post was modified from its original form on 29 Jan, 6:38
"We call it the `sacred' red road because it is the road that will lead us to living the good life, an honest and healthy life."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
The Red Road is the path we walk on when we want a direct relationship with the Great Spirit. This requires sacrifice. This requires us to have our beliefs tested. To walk this path is really an honor. The returns for doing so are exciting, not only for ourselves but for the effect that will be felt for three generations. This means your children will see the benefits as well as your grandchildren. Do I want to walk this sacred road?
Great Spirit, guide myself and my family on the Red Road.
"The journey to the Spirit World is a long one, my friend. But when you die, that doesnt mean that this is the end."-- Buddy Red Bow, LAKOTA
The Elders tell us of the other dimension, the Spirit World. Our spirit in our bodies does not die, it only looks that way to our eyes and our brains. Some of our ceremonies allow us to see into the Spirit World. Death is only part of a process of life. It shows the transition into the Spirit World. The Elders tell us this is a joyful life journey.
My Creator, help me to understand both the seen world and the unseen world. Let me not be afraid of the world You live in.
"All life is a circle."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
The atom is a circle, orbits are circles, the earth, moon, and sun are circles. The seasons are circles. The cycle of life is a circle: baby, youth, adult, elder. The sun gives life to the earth who feeds life to the trees whose seeds fall to the earth to grow new trees. We need to practice seeing the cycles that the Great Spirit gave us because this will help us more in our understanding of how things operate. We need to respect these cycles and live in harmony with them.
Great Spirit, let me grow in knowledge of the circle.
"Always listen to what the Elders say."-- Dona Josefa Medrano, HUICHOL, SIERRA MADRE, MEXICO
In school we have been taught to go to the encyclopedia when we need information about certain subjects. From the time we are little, we have a natural tendency to seek out role models. When we need information about living we tend to seek out books about living. These maybe self help books. The world is full of information. For the Native people, we have our Elders. All races have Elders. Our lives will run much smoother when we listen to the Elders. They don't always tell us what we want to hear, but they always tell us what we need to hear. The Elders have the ability to make the truth sweet.
Creator, thank You for the Elders. Help me this day to listen to them.
"Our true enemies, as well as our true sources of strength, lie within."-- Willaru Huayta, QUECHUA NATION, PERU
A long time ago, the Creator put inside the human being the secrets to the laws of life. We usually know this is true even though we may not know what these laws are. If something goes wrong with our lives, we usually fix the blame on something outside of ourselves. We tend to give up accountability. One way or another we say, "It's not my fault." We need to realize that all permanent and lasting change starts on the inside and works its way out. If it's meant to be, it is up to me.
Oh Great Spirit, let me realize fully that my problems are of my own making. Therefore, so are the solutions.
"The first factor in the revolution of consciousness is the mystic death of the ego - the death of negative thinking, negative personalities. We must purify the soul of the inner enemies. Every time a defect manifests - envy, gluttony, anger, lust, whatever - that impulse to the heart. Ask, `Do I really need to invoke this?' And then honor the heart."-- Willaru Huayta, QUECHAU NATION, PERU
Our egos have character defects. These character defects we sometimes act out and they invariably bring results to our lives that we might not want. If we continue to use these character defects, we will continue to have undesirable results in our lives. How do we change ourselves or get rid of a character defects. We can go to the heart and ask a question, make a decision, then honor the heart. For example, say I get angry today. I would go to the heart and ask, would I rather be right or would I rather be happy? How we answer this question can have an enormous impact on how our day goes. Once we decide the answer to this question, we need to honor the heart by saying, "Thank you for the power of changing my thoughts. I choose to be happy and to experience peace of mind."
Great Spirit, today, let me teach only love and learn only love.
"This is the time of awakening to the inner father and the inner mother. Without this we will receive no high initiation; instead we get initiated into darkness. That's because any investigation or revolution without God leads, not to freedom, but to more slavery."-- Willaru Huayta, QUECHAU NATION, PERU
Honor the Father and the Mother. Father stands for wisdom and Mother stands for feelings. Inside each of us is the Father and the Mother. If we do not honor both, we will not grow in balance. To honor both the Father and the Mother helps our masculine and feminine sides grow. The winter season is a good time to focus on this. This is our season of reflection. Honoring both sides allows us to see the Creator is both Father and Mother.
Great Spirit, Father Sky, Mother Earth, guide me today. Let me experience balance.
"The most important thing now is to reveal the inner temple of the soul with right thinking and right activity."-- Willaru Huayta, QUECHUA NATION, PERU
The key to growing a strong tree is to have a good system of roots and to feed the roots with good medicine. If we put poison in the root system, it will affect the tree, and it will become obvious to the rest of the forest what is being fed to the roots. This is also true of the human being. We need to feed our roots with right thinking. If our thinking is right, it will become obvious to the rest of the people. We don't need to tell people about ourselves with our mouth because our actions always tell them.
Great Spirit, direct my thinking today. Feed my roots.
"Heal yourself - your physical and spiritual bodies. Regenerate yourself with light, and then help those who have poverty of the soul. Return to the inner spirit, which we have abandoned while looking elsewhere for happiness."-- Willaru Huayta, QUECHUA NATION, PERU
It is difficult to look inside ourselves, especially when we see conflict or confusion. During times of conflict we need to realize that we are talking to ourselves about our thoughts. This conversation is printing in our subconscious and forming our beliefs. During times of conflict we need to ask the spirit to control our self-talk. Only thorough finding that inner place and going there during troubled times will we ever find happiness.
Great Spirit, You are my peace and you dwell within me. Let me look for You within myself.
"Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit."-- Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa), SANTEE SIOUX
Be still and know. All new learnings, all ideas about new things, creativity, daydreaming and mental effectiveness come to those who learn about silence. All warriors know about the power of silence. All Elders know about stillness. Be still and know God. Meditation is about the place of silence. This is the place to hear God's voice. We can find tremendous amounts of knowledge in the place of silence. This is the sacred place of God.
Great Spirit, teach me the power of silence.
"In our story of Creation, we talk about each one of us having our own path to travel, and our own gift to give and to share. You see, what we say is that the Creator gave us all special gifts; each one of us is special. And each one of us is a special gift to each other because we've got something to share."-- John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG
We are all equally special. We need to focus on what is right for ourselves. As we focus on what is right for ourselves, we will start to see our special gifts. Then we can see how to share our special gifts with others. If we focus on what's wrong with ourselves, we will not be able to see our gifts. Then we will think we have nothing to give others and we become selfish and withdrawn. The more we focus on our good, the more we see the good in others. The more we see the good in others, the more we see the gifts they have to share. What you sees is what you gets!
My Creator, today, let me use the gifts You have given me. Let me use them wisely.
"If people are going to get back into balance, one of the things they have to do is seek the truth. They have to start really speaking the truth themselves, and that's a difficult thing to do. The way it is now in the world, we don't mind lying."-- John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG
Well everybody's doing it. Do unto others before they do unto you. If it wasn't for bad luck I would have no luck at all. These are excuses and rationalizations for giving up accountability. Be true to yourself. Seek the truth, the Great Spirit is the truth. The truth shall set you free. This is the truth. We cannot be free if we are dishonest nor can we live a balanced life if we are dishonest. As we grow, we need to start taking stands. All warriors take stands. The warrior's belief is constantly being aligned to truth. The warrior will always know where he/she stands.
Great Spirit, help me today to seek Your truth, not my truth.
It's all spirit and it's all connected."-- Grandfather William Commanda, ALGONQUIN
If everything is connected, we cannot disconnect. To disconnect is not a real choice. This is why we are always spiritual no matter what we do. Every alcoholic is spiritual. All our brothers and sisters are spiritual. We may not be behaving correctly, but nevertheless, we are spiritual. Our choice is to live out of harmony with spiritual ways or in harmony with spiritual ways. Everything is spiritual.
Great Spirit, give me the knowledge to be in harmony with the spirit today.
"It is a native tradition to sit in a circle and talk-to share what is in your heart."-- John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG
The talking circle is also a listening circle. The talking circle allows one person to talk at a time for as long as they need to talk. So much can be gained by listening. Is it a coincidence that the Creator gave us one mouth and two ears? The power of the circle allows the heart to be shared with each other. What we share with each other also heals each other. When we talk about our pain in the circle, it is distributed to the circle, and we are free of the pain. The talking circle works because when the people form a circle, the Great Mystery is in the center.
My Creator, give me the courage to share, and the courage to listen.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - January 13
"When you remove love and try to replace it with monetary things, you've got nothing ... get him to understand that he has to love himself before he can love anything else." -- John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG
It is said, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." That's the trouble, most of us do.
Great Spirit, You are love; You are spirit. Spirit and love are interconnected. I am spiritual. Let me realize what I am really made of.
This post was modified from its original form on 13 Jan, 7:16
"The first thing that we want you to understand is that spirit has no color or race to it. It doesn't matter whether your skin is white, black, red, brown - whatever. No one out there is any better than you, and you are no better than anyone else out there."-- John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG
We are all created to be of equal worth. We may be different sizes, different heights, different ages, different colors, we may have different beliefs and be of different cultures. In the unseen world, we are all spirit formed into different shapes and colors but we are all worthy. For example, you can have water, you can have steam, or you can have ice. Which of these is not made up of H2O?
My Creator, today, let me see equal worthiness in all people.
"Race and language makes no difference; the barriers are gone when persons can come together on high spiritual levels."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
Not only are race and language barriers overcome by spirituality, but all things are overcome by spirituality. Inside every human being is the spirit. When we see people, we can choose to look at their outside or we can choose to look at their inside. Spirituality resides inside of others, we must be able to look at our own inside. If we see spirituality inside ourselves, we will see spirituality inside others. The saying is, "what you sees is what you gets."
My Creator, let me see all my brothers and sisters through the spiritual eye.
"We cannot escape remembering the important things that have happened, and we cannot escape the awareness of the important things that have not happened."-- Ralph Salisbury, CHEROKEE
There is a Master Plan. There are Natural Laws that run the universe. Everything on the earth has a purpose. Change is constant. That which is built is constantly being destroyed. That which is loose is being used to build new things. Nothing can be destroyed, only rearranged. Change will happen and every setback is only temporary. In other words, the Creator is in charge. We are not in charge. He designed the universe. He runs the universe and He will change what needs to be changed. As humans, it is easier for us to participate in all of this if we are spiritual. We need to be tuned in. Therefore, God gave us the spiritual concept of acceptance. When things change, we can change ourselves through the principle of acceptance.
Great Spirit, let me live today in acceptance of Your will. Today let us do it Your way.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, January 9
"So, with the Native way, it's not whether people find out about what you've done or not... that's not nearly as strong as having your source of morality within you, having your morality arise out of an inner perception of what is wrong, ridiculous, or shameful. You are your own judge."
--Eunice Baumann-Nelson, Ph.D., PENOBSCOT
Inside each of us is a voice. It is a quiet voice. It is a guiding voice. If we listen for it, it will guide us, and help us avoid disaster. It is especially active when we are afraid, when we are in doubt, when we are scared, when we need help, and when we get angry. If we are excited emotionally, it is hard to hear this voice. If we are angry, it's hard to hear this voice because it is usually quiet. The best thing we can do is to practice getting quiet. If we don't get quiet, there is another voice called the judge. It tells us to attack or say bad things to other people or to judge ourselves. This voice is loud and usually gets us into trouble.
Creator, Great Mystery, help me listen for the quiet voice. Let me know this voice of Yours. Your ways are gentle. Guide me with this voice. Thank you.
"Native Americans are essentially calling for righteousness. By this they mean a shared ideology developed by all people using their purest and most unselfish minds."-- Lorraine Canoe/Tom Porter, MOHAWK
The Native way is to first focus on decisions that will be good for the people and then for yourself. Righteousness means "to think right." Our way is to consider the good of all first. This helps our minds to be unselfish and pure. This it he spiritual way. This can be very hard to do because the world we live in says to take care of yourself first. A man of God cannot be taken advantage of unless it is the will of the Creator. The Creator really controls everything. To have a good future, the people must gather in a circle and pray for the highest good for the people.
Great Mystery, today let me love instead of being loved. Let me be giving instead of receiving. Show me the advantages of having a giving heart.
"When we become hollow bones there is no limit to what the Higher Powers can do in and through us in spiritual things."-- Frank Fools Crow, LAKOTA
If we want to be of maximum use to the Creator, we must ready ourselves to do so. if we are to become a channel for His purposes, we must prepare ourselves to do so. If we have resentment, fear, selfishness, or anger, we are not hollow bones. We must be rid of these things. We must change ourselves. We must ask for forgiveness for ourselves and forgive our brothers and sisters. We must keep our insides clean. We cannot use our power in a good way when we have blockages such as hate, judgement, and envy. When we are free of these things the Higher Powers can use us beyond our wildest imagination. Then we can really help ourselves and help our people. Only when we are hollow bones can we have an effect on the world.
Oh Great Spirit, remove from me the things that block my usefulness to You. Remove from my day all thinking that is out of harmony with Your ways. Grant me Your peace and allow me to function as a hollow bone.
"When we're through with this earth and all these problems, we don't have to come back. But as long as we're here we have a job to do and a purpose to fulfill, and that means dealing with the circumstances around us."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
We are put on the earth to participate in life. We have a beautiful mind, we have the ability to pray, we have the ability to change, we have the ability to accept, and we have choices. All things God created are constantly changing. This constant change causes our circumstances to change. Sometimes we say life is difficult. During these times we need to use our tools: the tools of prayer, and the tools of meditation. We are designed to change and live joyfully on this earth. The only requirement for living joyfully is to live according to the laws, principles, and values given to us by the Creator.
Great Spirit, give me Your courage today, and guide my footsteps.
"But first, let us join hands and pray."-- Starleaf, SHINNECOCK
Where two or more human beings joined together for a common cause, the helpers and the Grandfathers will show up to help. When our Indian people come together, the Elders say, "Always pray first, do a ceremony and ask the Creator to be with us and to help us. We can never pray enough." The Elders also say, "pray in a circle because the Creator made things in circles. When we stand in a circle and pray together, a sacred hoop will form above the people. This is the spiritual way."
Oh Great Spirit, through my prayers I can find Your guidance. I pray You guide my path today. Touch my life with Your holy breath.
"Our circle is timeless, flowing, it is a new life emerging from death-life winning out over death."-- Lame Deer, LAKOTA
When we look at the world in the manner which the Great Spirit designed it, we can see why it makes sense to live in harmony with it: the trees grow and bear fruit, the fruit has seeds, the seeds fall to the ground, the ground grows new trees, old trees die to make way for the young. Any time we think we can interrupt this cycle or change it we will experience turmoil and confusion. The Human Cycle exists as the baby becomes the youth, the youth becomes the adult, the adult has children, the adult becomes the Elder, and the Elder teaches the youth. Elders go on to the Spirit World. Spirit comes into babies to produce new life. Flow into the flow. Be the path of least resistance.
My Creator and my Maker, today, teach me to just flow with the river of life.
"We don't have to say or think what we don't wish to. We have a choice in those things, and we have to realize that and practice using that choice."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
Having choices makes us fully accountable. No one can make us think anything we don't want to think. No one can determine our behavior and how we act. It's not what's going on but how we look at what's going on. If someone does something and we get upset, we can change how we look at it any time we want. We can tell ourselves in the morning that the day is going to be beautiful and that we have expectations that great things will happen. Doing this daily sets our mind to look for the joy and the excitement of each day.
Great Spirit, help me to choose my thoughts with Your wisdom.
"People have to be responsible for their thoughts, so they have to learn to control them. It may not be easy, but it can be done."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
We control our thoughts by controlling our self talk. At any moment we choose we can talk to ourselves differently. The fight comes with the emotions that are attached to our thoughts. If our emotion is high and seems to be out of control, we can say to ourselves STOP IT!, take a few deep breaths, then ask the Creator for the right thought or the right decision or the right action. If we practice this for a while, our thought life will be different. It helps if in the morning we ask God to direct our thinking. God loves to help us.
Great Spirit, today, direct my thinking so my choices are chosen by You.
".because if you believe in something, and believe in it long enough, it will come into being."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
We are created by the Great One to accomplish His will through our mental pictures or visions. Our thoughts are three dimensional: words, pictures and feelings. We create the vision by thinking the words and we create feeling for the vision by feeling enthusiasm, desire, commitment and other strong beliefs. Once we create the vision, we move toward and become like that which we think about. All visions are tested by our self talk; for example, "This isn't going to happen, where is the money coming from anyway?" When this happens, we need to let go of the test and focus on belief in the vision. Why? Because God said if we believe it long enough, He will guarantee it!!!
Great One, let my beliefs be strong today. Help me to have faith in my visions.
"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.
My Creator, bless me with Your good.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, December 29
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, December 28
"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.
Great Spirit, today, allow my mind to stay open.
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - December 24
"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.
This post was modified from its original form on 24 Dec, 7:39
"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!
Great Spirit, show me my path of life.
"My pottery is the handiwork of God."-- Teresita Naranjo, SANTA CLARA PUEBLO
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.
This post was modified from its original form on 20 Dec, 7:23
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, December 13
"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.
Creator, help me to 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.
Creator, whisper what You want me to do.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, December 9
"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.
Great Spirit, teach me Your Laws.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, December 8
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, December 7
"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.
This post was modified from its original form on 06 Dec, 7:34
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, December 4
"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!
Creator, I'm so glad I have You to guide my path.
"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.
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.
This post was modified from its original form on 01 Dec, 6:36
"Someone must speak for them. I do not see a delegation for the four footed. I see no seat for eagles. We forget and we consider ourselves superior, but we are after all a mere part of the Creation."-- Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA
Whenever we make decisions, we need to look around to see who would be affected. If we change the course of a river, who, what will be affected? If we put poison on the gardens, who, what will be affected? If wee cut the trees and too many are cut, who, what will be affected? We need to become aware of the consequences of our actions. We need to pay attention to our thoughts. We are accountable to our children to leave the Earth in good shape.
My Creator, help me make right decisions
"Life, the circle, a measurement with no beginning and no end."-- Phillip Deere, MUSKOGEE-CREEK
The circle teaches us how the Creator made things and how to live. It teaches us how we should look at creation. Life travels in a circle. In the East is the baby, to the South is the youth, in the West is the adult and in the North is the Elder. Then we return to the Earth Mother to start the cycle again. We observe what is `around us' from the center of the circle. This develops our point of view. We must be careful not to become self-centered.
Great Spirit, let me observe life from the circle's point of view.
"People say that crisis changes people and turns ordinary people into wiser or more responsible ones."-- Wilma Mankiller, CHEROKEE
There is a saying, conflict precedes clarity. The Medicine Wheel teachings say, in order for something to change it must first go through a struggle. When a crisis enters our lives, other powers are there to help us. We will learn some lessons. Will I honor and respect the next crisis?
Great Spirit, if a crisis occurs today, let me learn the lessons of wisdom.
"The Natural Law is a spiritual law. Its powers are both light and dark."-- Oren R. Lyons, Spokesman Traditional Circle of Elders
There are some characteristics that are evident in the system which the Creator made. He made balance, harmony, and polarity. In other words, every (+) plus has a (-) minus. Every positive has a negative; every up has a down; every problem has a solution. The Spiritual Law is the same - it has light and dark. Both are good, so both need to be honored. Lessons can be learned on both sides.
Great Spirit, teach me the powers of the Natural Laws.
"In our traditional ways, the woman is the foundation of the family."-- Haida Gwaii Traditional Circle of Elders
We must pay attention to the role of the woman in the family. She is the heartbeat of the family. She should be respected and treated in a sacred manner. We should listen to her guidance. We should help make her role easier by helping with chores or just telling her how much we appreciate her.
Great Spirit, I ask you to bless all the moms.
"People and nations who understand the Natural Law are self-governing, following the principles of love and respect that insure freedom and peace."-- Traditional Circle of Elders, NAVAJO-HOPI Joint Use Area
The Natural Laws work hand-in-hand with the circle. Each part of a circle will look to the center and will see something different. For example, if you put an irregular shaped object in the center of a circle and you have people standing in a circle around the object, each one will describe it differently. Everyone in the circle will be right. Only by honoring and respecting everyone's input, can the truth about the object be revealed. We need to learn to honor differences.
My Creator, let me honor all differences.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - November 24
"Things would go well for us if we would think positively about everything." -- Mary Hayes, CLAOQUOT
Each of our thoughts are like individual seeds. These thoughts will plant our life garden. Whatever our thoughts, they grow in our gardens. Each day we will process about 50,000 thoughts or thought seeds. Positive thoughts will produce positive results. Have you ever been aware of what you are thinking about during the day? Of the possible 50,000 thoughts in one day - if the positive thoughts were flowers and the negative thoughts were weeds - how would your garden look at the end of the day?
Great Spirit, let me plant positive seeds.
This post was modified from its original form on 24 Nov, 6:26
"We're sitting on our blessed Mother Earth from which we get our strength and determination, love and humility, all the beautiful attributes that we've been given. So turn to one another; love one another; respect one another; respect Mother Earth; respect the waters-because that's life itself!"-- Phil Lane, Sr. YANKTON SIOUX
Our entire point of view can be altered by making one change to align with the principles of the Great Spirit. Let's say we decide to become respectful. As we become respectful, our attitude will change. We will automatically draw into our lives knowledge about the other principles of the Great Spirit such as love, appreciation, trust, beauty, and peace of mind. By focusing on these principles, we will let go of selfishness, self centeredness, self pity, dishonesty, and fear. You focus on respect, you get respect; you focus on love, you get love; you focus on the Red Road, you get peace of mind.
Great Spirit, let me learn the lessons of respect.
"It's the most precious thing...to know absolutely where you belong. There's a whole emotional wrapping-around-of-you here. You see the same rock, tree, road, clouds, sun -- you develop a nice kind of intimacy with the world around you. To be intimate is to grow, to learn...[it] is absolutely fulfilling. Intimacy, that's my magic word for why I live here."-- Tessie Maranjo, SANTA CLARA PUEBLO
Every human being, to be mentally healthy, must have the feeling of belonging. When we have a sense of belonging we can be intimate. We can feel. We can connect. If we cannot develop this feeling of belonging, then we will feel lost of disconnected. To be disconnected from life is like walking around during the day not knowing the Sun exists. To have the feelings of intimacy is warm, glowy, joyful, loving, and connected. The feeling this Elder is talking about is available to everyone.
Great Spirit, let me be intimate.
"In the absence of the sacred, nothing is sacred, everything is for sale."-- Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA
The Elders often say that when something is sacred it has spiritual value. You'll hear, on the Earth there are sacred spots. You'll hear, our ceremonies are sacred, our children are sacred, marriage is sacred. When something is sacred it means it's so holy you can't attach a value to it. Therefore, it's not for sale. It's an insult to suggest buying something sacred. On the other hand, if we look at it differently, as there is no sacred land, ceremonies are not sacred, our children are not sacred, etc., then everything is for sale. Sacredness creates spiritual space. Sacredness makes things holy. Sacredness shows respect for God.
Great Spirit, let me honor things that are sacred.
"Money cannot buy affection."-- Mangas Coloradas, APACHE
In these modern times we put too much emphasis on material things and on money. We believe that money is power. If we have money, people will respect us. If we have money, people will admire us. If we have money, we can have anything we want. Maybe we can purchase anything in the material world, but we cannot purchase anything in the Unseen World. The Unseen World is not for sale. It can only be given away. Love, affection, admiration, trust, respect, commitment -- these must be earned or given away. If we use these things from the Unseen World, we are using real power.
My Creator, let me demonstrate Your power today. Let me be loving to all I meet.
Where there is vision, the people live. They are made rich in the things of the spirit; and then, as the logical next step, they are rich in human life.-- Phil Lane, Sr., YANKTON SIOUX
Since the beginning of time, Indian people have been blessed with the ability and knowledge of the vision. The vision determines our future. The concept is, we move toward and become that which we think about. We have known that all visions are about the Great Spirit. They should include God's will in every area of our lives. We should have visions about our people, about healthy relationships, about helping others, about being happy, about being educated. Each day we should renew our vision. We should ask the Creator to give us a vision of what He wants us to be and where He wants us to go in our lives. We should be the seekers of vision.
Great Spirit, give me a vision to follow today. Let me do Your will.
"Power is not manifested in the human being. True power is in the Creator."-- Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA
The Old Ones say the only true power is spiritual power. Sometimes our egos tell us we have power but really we don't. Great Spirit power is called by other names such as love, forgiveness, intelligence, life, principles, and laws. When the Creator uses this power to make the human being powerful, we must stay humble. We should constantly acknowledge that we are who we are. We do what we do because of the power of the Great One.
Great One, guide me to use Your power well. I will use it only to serve the people.
"Humbleness means peace and honesty -- both mean Hopi. True, honest, perfect words -- that's what we call Hopi words. In all languages, not just in Hopi. We strive to be Hopi. We call ourselves Hopi because maybe one or two of us will become Hopi. Each person must look into their heart and make changes so that you may become Hopi when you reach your destination."-- Percy Lomaquahu, HOPI
The Creator has made available to us all the laws, principles and values which we need to know to live in harmony. The Creator also designed each human being to learn and grow by trial and error. We have tools to help us live the right way. We have prayers, visions, nature, teachers, Elders, and we have the Great Spirit to talk to and ask for help when we have problems. We also have choice. To walk the Red Road takes courage and a lot of prayer.
Creator, give me courage to walk the Red Road.
"We do not want riches, but we want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches, we want peace and love."-- Red Cloud, OGLALA LAKOTA
The Elders say that what is important is peace and love. To have material things is okay, but if not, that's okay too. To have peace and love is more important than anything material. Our children will see the value of peace and love only if adults show they are a priority. Too often we think we can offer material things and they will replace the time spent with our children. But the most important way to give our children peace and love is to spend time with them.
My Creator, give me Your peace and love today.
"Our Spiritual belief is that we were created as part of the land - so our identity, our names, and our songs are all tied to the land."-- Chief Roderick Robinson, NISGA'A
In the traditional way, the names of native people had great meaning. We even had naming ceremonies. The naming of someone was very important and had great significance because it was tied to the Earth. The identity of each member and the teachings of the songs were all tied to Mother Earth. We need to know these teachings from our culture. This knowledge will help us heal the people.
My Maker, today help me find my identity.
"The hearts of little children are pure, and therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss."-- Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa) OGLALA LAKOTA
Sometimes adults think they know more than the children. But the children are closer to the truth. Have you ever noticed how quickly they can let go of resentments? Have you ever noticed how free they are of prejudice? Have you ever noticed how well the children listen to their bodies? Maybe adults need to be more like children. They are so innocent. The children pray to the Creator and trust that He will take care of them.
Grandfather, today let the children be my teacher.
"My Grandfather survived on this earth without using anything that did not go back into the earth. The whole world could learn from that."-- Floyd Westerman, SIOUX
Our grandfathers knew how to live in harmony. They did not create poisons or technologies that destroyed things. They did not make their decisions based on greed or for selfish reasons. They did not take more then they used. Their thoughts and actions were about respect. The Elders conducted themselves in a respectful way. We need to consider our actions around respect for Mother Earth.
My Creator, have the grandfathers teach us today about the old ways.
"I don't think that anybody anywhere can talk about the future of their people or of an organization without talking about education. Whoever controls the education of our children controls our future, the future of the Cherokee people, and of the Cherokee Nation."-- Wilma P. Mankiller, CHEROKEE
The world has changed in the last 50 years. It will change even more in the next 50 years, and it will change even faster. We must educate ourselves to ensure our future generations will maintain the language and the culture of our people. We need to be concerned about our land because when our land goes away, so will our people. We need to be concerned about leadership, our families, and about alcoholism. We need to be concerned about what's going on around the world. We can only do this by being educated. Then we can control our future.
Great Spirit, please guide our children; let me know how I can help.
"If you don't know the language, you'll only see the surface of the culture...the language is the heart of the culture and you cannot separate it."-- Elaine Ramos, TLINGIT
The Creator gave to every person their own special way to communicate and understand. Indians understand connectedness, balance, harmony, spirituality, and the relationship to Mother Earth. The understanding of these things is expressed in the language. The true understanding of culture is expressed in the language. The language is the heart of the people. If we have not learned the language, we need to find a teacher.
Great Spirit, help me to learn the culture. Let me pray and sing to You in my language.
"The battle for Indian children will be won in the classroom, not on the streets or on horses. The students of today are our warriors of tomorrow."-- Wilma P. Mankiller, CHEROKEE
The world is constantly changing. One of the strengths of Indian people has been our adaptability. In today's world, education is what we need to survive. We need doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists. We can become these things and still live in a cultural way. We need to live in two worlds; the educated world and the Indian cultural world. Education will help protect our land, our people's health, and provide knowledge for our people. We must teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. Also, we must teach the language, the culture, the ceremony, and the tradition of our people.
Creator, let me remember You are my teacher.
"Language is a vehicle for carrying spirit, life, and family. Language, religion, and land base are three things that characterize culture."-- Edmund Ladd, ZUNI PUEBLO
The Elders say we need to know the answers to three questions in order for us to be connected; the Earth, the Sky, the East, the West, the South, and the North. The three questions are: 1. Why are we? 2. Who are we? 3. Where are we going? If we know the language, if we have our spirituality, and if we can pray on sacred spots, then we are able to seek the answer to the questions. We must protect the language, religion, and land so our future generations can stay connected.
Great Spirit, help us maintain our language, spirit, family, religion and our Mother Earth.
"See how the boy is with his sister and the other ones of his home lodge and you can know how the man will be with your daughter."-- LAKOTA Proverb
Very early in our lives we form beliefs, attitudes, expectations, and habits. We will live by these habits when we are older. The Elders say to watch the boy with his sister. If he is respectful and treats her good, then odds are that's the way he will treat all women when he is older. Also, watch the young girl and how she treats her brother, for that will indicate what kind of woman she will be to her man. We need to teach our children to respect one another while they are young. The best way to teach them is to show respect ourselves.
Great Spirit, let me be a role model for the children.
"Abuse and repression have no place in a traditional family."-- Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
Traditional families guided by their culture were taught how to live. The were taught about relationships, respect, and spirituality. Only since alcohol was introduced to Indians have we seen physical abuse, sexual abuse and verbal abuse. These behaviors have no room in traditional families. The cycle of abuse must be broken during this generation. We do this by asking for help to quit drinking and abusing and return to our traditional culture and spirituality.
Creator, plant inside of me the knowledge of the traditional family.
"It is well to be good to women in the strength of our manhood because we must sit under their hands at both ends of our lives."-- He Dog, OGLALA LAKOTA
The women bring us into this life and nurture us as we grow up. When we reach our manhood, she supports us and sings the songs to help the family grow. The Elders say we must look at the woman in a sacred way. We must realize how special her powers are in brining forth life. The woman will bring balance to a man. The woman will help him see. It is said, behind every successful man is a supporting woman. Maybe we should examine how we are thinking about women. The Great Spirit says we should honor them. Are we respecting and honoring our women today?
Grandmother, Grandfather thank you for our women. Today, let me honor them.
"You could study the ancestors, but without a deep feeling of communication with them it would be surface learning and surface talking. Once you have gone into yourself and have learned very deeply, appreciate it, and relate to it very well, everything will come very easily."-- Ellen White, NANAIMO
Inside of every human being are our ancestors, and these ancestors still live. Today, the white man calls this DNA, but there is more than DNA. We have the ability to go inside of ourselves and learn from the ancestors. The ancestor teachings reside in the place of the center. The ancestors are waiting for us to come there so they can share the ancient teachings. It is said, "Be still and know".
Great Spirit, let me walk in the stillness.
"The honor of the people lies in the moccasin tracks of the woman. Walk the good road.... Be dutiful, respectful, gentle, and modest my daughter... Be strong with the warm, strong heart of the earth. No people goes down until their women are weak and dishonored, or dead upon the ground. Be strong and sing the strength of the Great Powers within you, all around you."-- Village Wise Man, SIOUX
The Elders say the Native American women will lead the healing among the tribes. We need to especially pray for our women, and ask the Creator to bless them and give them strength. Inside them are the powers of love and strength given by the Moon and the Earth. When everyone else gives up, it is the women who sings the songs of strength. She is the backbone of the people. So, to our women we say, sing your songs of strength; pray for your special powers; keep our people strong; be respectful, gentle, and modest.
Oh, Great One, bless our women. Make them strong today.
"A sundance woman is like the morning star, filled with spiritual beauty, wisdom and knowledge. Men and women are the most powerful of the polarities. We walk beside men as equal partners. It takes men and women who have respect and love for one another to live within the embrace of Father Sky and Mother Earth."-- Dr. Henrietta Mann, SOUTHERN CHEYENNE
Our ceremonies bring out the best in us. It's in the ceremony that we find the place of honor and respect for each other. The place where the men honor the women and the women honor the men. We dance for each other. The ceremony helps us remember our responsibility toward each other. Men and women need to be strong, to love one another and be faithful. Only by doing this can we give our children knowledge of good relationships.
Great Spirit, today I will notice the power of the women; today I will notice the power of the men.
"Praying is what has brought us old people through life. We've all gone through hard times. We've all done our share of bad things. But through our prayers and faith in the Creator we get together again and we try hard to live right."-- Paula Weasel Head, BLOOD
As we go through life we find ourselves on track one day and off track the next day. We gain consistency through prayer. Prayer is our connection to the Great Spirit. Prayer is our channel for knowledge and wisdom. Prayer is how we keep our sanity. The Elders say we should walk in prayer.
Great Spirit, teach me to walk in prayer. Help keep my faith strong.
"Times change but principles do not. Times change but lands do not. Times change but our culture and our language remain the same. And that's what you have to keep intact. It's not what you wear - it's what's in your heart."-- Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA
Going back to the old ways doesn't mean giving up electricity, homes, and cars. It means living by the same principles, laws, and values that our ancestors lived by. This will allow us to live successfully in today's world. The spirituality our ancestors lived is the same spirituality we need in these modern times. There are too many influences from TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and negative role models that are guiding our lives in a bad way. Our stability is in the laws, principles, and values that our ancestors were given and that our Elders teach us.
Great Spirit, let me live my life in a spiritual way.
"One is not born a Tewa but rather one is made a Tewa... once made, one has to work hard continuously throughout one's life to remain a Tewa."-- Alfonso Ortiz, SAN JUAN PUEBLO
Being Indian is being spiritual. It is not the color of our skin. Being Indian is how we think. We need to learn our culture, our language, our dances, our traditions, and customs. It is one thing to know these things, but another to live them. We need to spend time with the Elders and get their guidance. We need to go to the mountains, woods, and desert to pray. Being spiritual is the way for us to think right. Walking the Red Road and thinking right is the greatest gift we can give to our children.
Grandfather, help me to Walk the Talk.
"My children, you have forgotten the customs and traditions of your forefathers. ...You have bought guns, knives, kettles, and blankets from the white man until you can no longer do without them; and what is worse you have drunk the poison firewater, which turns you into fools. Fling all these things away; live as your forefathers did before you."-- Pontiac, ODOWA
We need to think as our forefathers did. They knew the culture and the customs. The culture taught them how to live in harmony with each other. We need to think like this again. We must be God-reliant. We don't need the firewater. This liquid is very destructive to our native people. It kills our spirit. Our Indian people are happiest when we are spiritual. When we depend on anyone or anything else, we get off track. We need to talk to the Elders and find out what the old ways were. We need to ask them to teach us the culture, the tradition, and the customs. This will help us become whole again.
My Maker, guide my path as you did my ancestors.
"Mothers must protect the lives they have helped to bring into the world."-- Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
Every child is subject to the seeds each adult plants in his/her mind. If we plant praise and "you can do it", the child will grow up with certain predictable behavior patterns. If we plant ideas that there's something wrong with you or you're good for nothing, the child will grow up with predictable behavior patterns. We need to honor and respect the mothers who protect the children and plant positive seeds for their growth.
Great Spirit, bless each mother and give her courage and faith.
"Our religion seems foolish to you, but so does yours to me. The Baptists and Methodists and Presbyterians and the Catholics all have a different God. Why cannot we have one of our own?"-- Sitting Bull, HUNKPAPA LAKOTA
The Creator gave each culture a path to God. To the Indian people, he revealed that the Creator is in everything. Everything is alive with the Spirit of God. The water is alive. The trees are alive. The woods are alive. The mountains are alive. The wind is alive. The Great Spirit's breath is in everything and that's why it's alive. All of nature is our church, we eat with our families in church, we go to sleep in church.
My Creator, let us leave people to worship You in the way You have taught them.
"O Great Spirit Whose voice I hear in the winds, And whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me! I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset."-- from, PRAYER TO THE GREAT SPIRIT
The Great Spirit runs the world and the people by a set of natural laws and principles. He says we are to live our lives and make decisions that will be in harmony with these laws. He says we should be respectful to all things and to all people. He says we should pray for each other. He says we should forgive one another. It is easy to tell if a person is following the ways of the Great Spirit. You can tell by how a man walks in life. He doesn't need to say anything. If we are dishonest or deceitful, other people will know. This is true because we are all interconnected in the Unseen World.
My Creator, let me obey Your ways. Let me Walk the Talk.