Elder's Meditation of the Day - March 8
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day March 7
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - March 6
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - March 5
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - March 4
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - March 3
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - March 2
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - March 1
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 28
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 27
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 25
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 24
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 23
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 22
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 21
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 20
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 19
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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 18
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 17
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 16
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 14
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 13
"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."
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 12
".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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 11
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 10
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 9
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 8
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 7
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 6
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 5
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 4
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 3
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 2
"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.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - February 1
"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.
"The journey to the Spirit World is a long one, my friend. But when you die, that doesnât mean that this is the end." -- âBuddy 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.
"Also ask your heart to purify and cleanse this defect and harmful desire. Ask also the help of the inner father and mother. Every time we eliminate a defect, we build our soul, our inner temple. We ascend. like going up a stairway." -- Willaru Huayata, QUECHUA NATION, PERU
The building blocks to knowledge and wisdom are constructed through the lessons of our character defects if we constructively review our conduct each day, asking where we are resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid. Remember, we need to review constructively, not destructively. Destructive review is when we ask, "what's the matter with me anyway." or "how could I be so stupid?" These question lead to morbid reflection or remorse and seriously affect our self esteem. In constructive review we ask, "what will I do next time?" With constructive review we progressively eliminate the defect and replace it with wisdom.
My Creator, allow me to have my defects because through them I gain in knowledge of Your will.
"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.
Â "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.
"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.
"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.
"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."
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.
That is so perfect and so simple. God the Creator and Universal Great Spirit is only good and is Love, there can be no evil that comes from Him. If we all take time to think after something negative, difficult or bad has happened to us or someone else, we can find the origin, and it doesn't come from the Creator.
"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.
"What you see with your eyes shut is what counts." -- Lame Deer, LAKOTA
Another whole world opens up when we close our eyes and calm our mind. Be still and know; be still and hear; be still and see; be still and feel. Inside every person is a still, small voice. Sometimes it is necessary to close our eyes to shut down our perception in order to see. Try this occasionally when you are talking to your child or spouse, close your eyes and listen to them. Listen to the tone of their voice; listen to their excitement; listen to their pain-listen.
Great Spirit, today, let me hear only what really counts.
"I believe that being a medicine man, more than anything else, is a state of mind, a way of looking at and understanding this earth, a sense of what it is all about." -- Lame Deer, LAKOTA
The Medicine Wheel explains different ways of looking at the world. The four directions are the East, the South, the West, and the North. In the East is the view of the eagle. The eagle flies high and sees the earth from that point of view. The South is the direction of the mouse. Moving on the earth, the mouse will not see what the eagle sees. Both the eagle and the mouse see the truth. The West is the direction of the bear. The bear will see different from the mouse and the eagle. From the North comes the point of view of the bison. To be a Medicine Man you must journey through all points of view and develop the mind to see the interconnectedness of all four directions. This takes time, patience, and an open mind. Eventually, you understand there is only love.
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.
"Believing people can soar beyond ordinary life." -- Fools Crow, LAKOTA
We are created by God to be vision people. First we set the goal and then we see. If we create within ourselves a picture or vision and we hold that picture or vision in our mind, whatever we picture will show up in our reality. If we can see ourselves being educated, then schools and teachers will show up in our lives. If we picture in our mind a positive, spiritual person to be in our lives, we will attract this type of person in our relationships. How big can our dreams be?
Great Spirit, let my visions today be Your vision. Put within me a vision of the being you would have me be. Then help me to keep the vision in my mind.
"It's not the package and the wrapping which counts but what is inside, underneath the clothes and the skin." -- Lame Deer, LAKOTA
Our eyes and ears gather information that is fed to the mind, and we tend to form judgements, opinions, and assumptions which determine our perception. We might see someone act a certain way, then label that person forever, not at all concentrating on what is inside the person. It matters not our height, our size, our facial features, or our gender. What matters is our thoughts. Good thoughts overcome all obstacles.
Great Spirit, let my inside contain Your qualities.
"From Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, there came a great unifying life force that flowed in and through all things: the flowers of the plains, blowing winds, rocks, trees, birds, animals, and was the same force that had been breathed into the first man. Thus all things were kindred, and were brought together by the same Great Mystery."
--Chief Luther Standing Bear, SIOUX
The Great Spirit has six things that make up this life force. They are life, love, intelligence, soul, principle, and truth. These are the reasons the life cycle continues. None of this can be altered by man, but we can have access to these powers any time we wish. Just think about it - anytime I have a need I can access one or more of these powers."
Oh Great Mystery, let me know how to use these powers. Today, let me love life, let me know truth, let me live by principle, and let me follow Your intelligence.
"He [The Great Spirit] only sketches out the path of life roughly for all the creatures on earth, shows them where to go, where to arrive, but leaves them to find their own way to get there. He wants them to act independently according to their nature, to the urges of each of them.
--Lame Deer, LAKOTA
Every person is created with purpose and with direction. This purpose and direction is written in our hearts when we are conceived. In addition, we are given access to a quiet guidance system which helps us find our purpose and our direction. We need to recognize this guidance system. It's called intuition, the quiet voice, urges, the knowing, or the feeling. Once we locate our purpose and direction, we are given skills, talents and abilities that are unique to only ourselves. We must practice daily prayer and meditation with God to find this information. To be solid and confident in ourselves, we always need to be able to answer three questions: why am I?, who am I?, and where am I going? If I can answer these three questions, I always know I'm OK!
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.
"Flexible strength is better than inflexible. Let the storm flow over you, and then pop back up." -- Michael Kabotie, HOPI
Flexibility is taught by nature. You will see the trees bend in the wind. You will see that tree branches are flexible. To be rigid is to break. When we have life problems it is good for us to be flexible. Sometimes we need to flow with what is going on. If we resist, it becomes more painful. We need to be on the path of least resistance. Water flows down the mountain through the path of least resistance. Electricity flows through the path of least resistance. Power flows through the path of least resistance. As Indian people our strength has always been our flexibility.
Creator, I will be flexible today because I know You are with me.
"Parents have to demonstrate the value of trust, respect, and honor." -- Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
Children learn more by watching than by listening. If we want our children to understand and value trust, they know it by watching how adults live their lives! If we want the children to be respectful, they will observe what the adults do and say to each other. We need to walk our talk. We need to remember the children are watching.
Grandfather, help me learn these important values: Trust, Respect, and Honor.
"Hear me! A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong." -- Tecumseh, SHAWNEE
You can take one arrow and break it in half. But if you take 12 arrows in a bundle, it's almost impossible to break any of them. There is strength in Unity. When we are together we are very powerful. This is the way the ancestors told us we need to be. Strong. We need to unite ourselves. This is why the Elders say, when we make decisions, we must first consider the good of the people. If every person in the community thinks this way, then we will always make strong decisions.
Creator, let my decisions have the strength of the bundle.
"If you have one hundred people who live together, and if each one cares for the rest, there is One Mind." -- Shining Arrows, CROW
One of the principles of Community is Unity. The alignment of thoughts in groups of people will cause One Mind to form. One Mind is Unity. Each individual in the community must align their thoughts with what other members are thinking. If all the people think of helping one another, then the community will be service oriented and powerful results will be enjoyed. Having our thoughts aligned within a group will cause our children to experience a positive environment. When they have children, the grandchildren will automatically experience these results also.
My Creator, help me to contribute to positive group thought.
"People are equal partners with the plants and animals, not their masters who exploit them." -- Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
As human beings, we are not above anything nor are we below anything. Because of being equal, we need to discuss a little about the value of respect. Not just respect when it comes to human beings, but respect when it comes to everything. We are not masters over things; we are caretakers for the Great Spirit. We need to treat all things with respect.
Great Spirit, let me accept and see all things as equal.
"Male and female is fundamental to life; partners in work to be done."
--Oren R. Lyons, Spokesman, Traditional Circle of Elders
The Great Spirit created a system which would allow us to reproduce, to have companionship, to love, to laugh, to cry, and be happy. Man and Woman each have gifts the other doesn't have. But, together they have these gifts to share with each other. The Great Spirit made it this way. So let us treat each other with respect. Let us look upon each other in a sacred way.
Grandfather, Grandmother, bring the spirits to teach us.
"In our language there is no word to say inferior or superiority or equality because we are equal; it's a known fact. But life has become very complicated since the newcomers came here. And how does your spirit react to it?. It's painful. You have to be strong to walk through the storm. I know I'm a bridge between two worlds. All I ask is for people to wash their feet before they try to walk on me." -- Alanis Obomsawin, ABENAKI
For native people who speak their language, English can be very confusing. Many times you cannot express in English the true meaning of Indian words. When we hear something in English we sometimes react or our spirit reacts. Sometimes we need to use English words out of order to express our true meanings. We need to be patient and pray. Living in two worlds can be difficult. Life is painful sometimes. The pain of life is where the lessons are learned.
Creator, let me learn the lessons You have taught my people.
"In order for our children to survive in the world, they need a firm understanding and belief in the basic principles of sharing freedom and respect of individuality." -- Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
There is a saying: Tell me, I'll forget; Show me, I'll remember; Engage me; I'll understand. The adults need to determine what the younger generation is learning. The principle of sharing keeps the youth from being greedy and selfish. The principle of freedom teaches the youth about choices, decisions and consequences. The principle of respect keeps us from playing God and becoming a controller of all things. We need to learn these lessons so we may demonstrate them for our children.
Great Teacher, help me to understand Your principles.
"Peace... comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the Universe dwells Wakan-Tanka, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us." -- Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa) OGLALA SIOUX
If we are to know peace we must look within ourselves. In order to do this, we must learn to be still. We must quiet the mind. We must learn to meditate. Meditation helps us locate and find the center that is within ourselves. The center is where the Great One resides. When we start to look for peace, we need to realize where it is within ourselves. When we experience conflict we need to pause for a moment and ask the Power within ourselves, "How do you want me to handle this? What would you suggest I do in this situation?" By asking the High Power for help we find peace.
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.
"The Natural Law will prevail regardless of man-made laws, tribunals, and governments." -- Traditional Circle of Elders, NAVAJO-HOPI Joint Use Area
The 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.
"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.
Â "A man should rely on his own resources; the one who so trains himself is ready for any emergency." -- Oral Tradition, OMAHA
Â Man is designed to function independently and to rely on the Creator for his resources. If we build our relationship with the Great Spirit, we are ready when emergencies occur. We need to build a trusting relationship with the Creator. We do this by constantly talking with the Creator. It's good to talk to Him many times a day. Then we will realize, even though we can't see Him, that He is always with us and He is ready to respond to our requests.
God, let me remember to talk to You many times today.
"And that, I guess, is what it all boils down to; do the right thing, everything goes fine; do the wrong thing, everything's a mess." -- Robert Spott, YUROK
The Elders say every person is born with free will and every person has a specific purpose to accomplish during their lifetime. When our life is relatively free from obstacles we are walking the path of God's will. If our life is full of obstacles, we are not doing the will of God. Often, the Great Spirit guides us through a system of coincidences. We need to pay attention to coincidences. If we are aware of these, we often can recognize the path which God is showing us. We need to pray and ask Him to show us the path in terms we can understand.
Oh, Great Mystery, let me recognize the coincidences.
"I've had a long regard for generational things: pottery, cultural things, participation in dancing, and extended family. Only in that way does culture survive; only in that way is culture active. -- Tessie Naranjo, SANTA CLARA PUEBLO
Culture teaches us how to live and it ensures that knowledge about life is handed down from generation to generation. Culture gives us the feeling of belonging. It helps us raise our family in a good way. It teaches us how to treat one another. Culture sets boundaries for societies. We need to develop our culture. If we have left our culture, then we need to come back to it. Culture leads us back to the Great Spirit. Sometimes in our lives, we leave what we know works and experiment with something else. Then we get into trouble. So we need to come back home. Indian people are lucky to have a culture to return to.
Creator, thank you for the culture. Let me live it today.
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.
"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.
"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.
let me observe
life from the
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
Â "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.
"It seems that if Elders can feel that you are open to learning, they are more than generous with their teaching."--Chief Councilor, Lenard George
There is a saying, when the student is ready the teacher appears. If the Elders sense that you are ready, they will help you see and learn new things. Most human beings love to share what they know with people who are excited to listen. If you are talking to someone and you feel they really aren't listening, you won't want to tell them much. Before you go talk to the Elders, examine your motives - are you really excited about listening to them?
My Creator, give me an open mind.
"What does it matter how long I pray, so long as my prayers are answered?"-- Sitting Bull, HUNKPAPA LAKOTA
Too often we worry about the words we use in prayer. We focus on the words. What really counts is the spirit and intent behind our words. It is the spirit and intent that the Creator responds to. He reads and listens to our heart. Prayer isn't only when we fold our hands and pray. Prayer is when we talk to the Creator even when we are walking down a path or sitting on a hill or walking in the mountains. The Elders say, walk in prayer. We should be willing to talk with the Great One.
Great Spirit, today I will pray to You all day. Listen to my heart.
"We create that bad among ourselves. We create it; then we try to call it devil, satan, or evil. But man creates it. There is no devil. Man creates the devil."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
Inside every human being are the laws and codes by which we should live. These laws and codes are communicated to us through a little voice. When we are still, this voice guides us. If we choose to live out of harmony, our lives become filled with anger, hate, selfishness, dishonesty, etc... When these things appear in our lives, we give up accountability and blame it on something or someone else. If we want to live in harmony, we need to pray our way back to living the principles the Creator gave us.
Grandfather, today let me walk with the principles.
"We do not walk alone. Great Being walks beside us. Know this and be grateful."-- Polingaysi Qâyawayma, HOPI
Many religions have different names for these Beings. Some are called angels, some are called spirits. These Spirit Beings are helpers. They guide us, protect us and will help us during our times of need. Sometimes they give us dreams. We need not be afraid when these Spirit Helpers come. We need to understand they are the Creator's helpers.
Great Spirit, send me the helpers to guide my path as I seek to walk in Your service.
"Growth is a painful process."-- Wilma Mankiller, CHEROKEE
Whenever we grow, we usually need to let go of emotional attachments. Letting go can be painful. Sometimes growth allows us to deal with fear. All fear can fit into two categories: one, we're going to lose something we have, and two, we're not going to get something we want. Both of these categories can cause pain. The best way to grow is to pray to the Great Spirit and ask Him to guide and protect us. All growth is guided by God.
My Creator, guide my growth today and give me Your love and courage to help my pain.
"There is one God looking down on us all. We are children of the one God. God is listening to me. The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we now say."-- Geronimo, APACHE
The Old Ones before us knew things. Many of them were so spiritual that the Creator told them things through visions, ceremonies, and prayer. The Creator taught them about interconnectedness, balance and respect. The Old Ones experienced these things and told us we are all children of the same God. We all live under the same natural laws. Every human being, every animal, every plant, every insect, every bird, we are all the same in the eyes of God.
Great Mystery, teach me to respect all the things You have created.
"The teachings are for all, not just for Indians... The white people never wanted to learn before. They thought we were savages. Now they have a different understanding, and they do want to learn. We are all children of God. The tradition is open to anyone who wants to learn."--Don Jose Matusuwa, HUICHOL
In the summer of 1994, a white buffalo calf was born. This means that now is the time for all races to come together. The Elders say that at this time a voice from within will speak to everyone. It will say now is the time to forgive, now is the time to come together. Are we willing to do this? Are we willing to quit judging other people? The Elders say, He will be talking through people of all races and gender. We need to open our hearts and welcome our brothers and sisters.
Great Spirit, let my ears be open as I walk the path You have chosen for me
"But we have to stick by the wisdom of our ancestors..."-- Paula Weasel Head, BLOOD
A long time ago the Elders and our ancestors learned to walk on the Earth and to live in harmony. They were taught the Laws which govern everything, and they were taught traditional values. This wisdom should be made available to the younger generations. We need to speak to the Elders and learn from them. We need to do this so we can pass the knowledge on to our children.
My Creator, help me learn the wisdom of my ancestors.
"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 Higher Power for help we find peace.
Creator, help me to find peace.
Elder's Meditation of the Day October 14 "Each soul must meet the morning sun, the new sweet earth and the Great Silence alone!" --Ohiyesa (Dr. Charles A. Eastman), SANTEE SIOUX The most important thing we can do during the course of the day is pray in the morning. There is a special time in the morning that has great power. This is the exact time the sun is rising. During the rising of the sun, everything on the Earth is waking up. Animals, plants, birds, and humans will be blessed at the rising of the sun. This is a special time to help us prepare for the day. During this time we ask the Creator to bless our day. We ask Him to guide us, to protect us and to give us courage to overcome the day's obstacles. Doing this everyday will give us knowledge of God's will for us. Grandfather, Grandmother, guide my path. Let my thinking be guided by You
"So unbelievable things like that happen. But 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
The power of our belief system is incredible. The power of faith is a very natural power. How do we have faith? Inside of our minds we form a mental picture with our self talk. Self talk is recorded in our minds in three dimensions - words that trigger a picture, which has a feeling or an emotion attached to it. Once we get the words and the picture, it is the emotion that makes the idea turn into a belief. You get the right emotion by saying things from the heart. The heart is the source of emotions which can cause unbelievable things to happen.
Great Spirit, with You everything is possible.
"The greatest obstacle to the internal nature is the mind. If it relies on logicâ¦the domain of the inner nature is inaccessible. The simple fact is a man does not challenge the wisdom of the Holy Mystery."-- Turtleheart, TETON SIOUX
Why is it we need to analyze and understand everything? The Great Mystery has designed certain areas of creation to be a mystery because humans usually misuse it. We use the Great Mystery and see it unfold only under the direction of the Great Spirit. The Creator is in charge.
Great Spirit, let me realize You are in charge. I'm to do what You want.
"Men and women have an equal responsibility to restore the strength of the family, which is the foundation of all cultures."-- Haida Gwaii Traditional Circle of Elders
The family is the heartbeat of strength of the culture. The grandfathers and grandmothers taught their children; they in turn had children who taught their children. If the family isn't taught the culture, then the children become adults, and the adults become the grandfathers and grandmothers, and the result is the culture becomes lost. This is how language is lost; this is how dances are lost; this is how knowledge is lost. We need to listen to our Elders, today, before it's too late.
Great Spirit, teach me the culture so I can teach the children.
"I think that's what unity is - knowing one another,coming together, and working with no conflict."-- Chief Alan Wilson, HAIDA
When we are aligned with spiritual values, we cannot be in fear or conflict. When we are aligned to spiritual values, we have the Creator whispering solutions in our ears. Unity is one of the spiritual values. When we value unity we value solutions. If we think this way, then we have no conflict within ourselves.
Great Spirit, let me see through Your eyes.
"That spiritual power I wear is much more beautiful and much greater. We call it wisdom, knowledge, power and gift, or love. There are these four parts to that spiritual power. So I wear those. When you wear that power it will beautify your mind and spirit. You become beautiful. Everything that Tunkashila creates is beautiful."--Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
When I was young, I asked my grandfather, "What should I pray for?" He thought for a long time and then he said, "Pray only for wisdom and for the knowledge of love." This makes a lot of sense. No matter what happens I ask the Creator to show me the lessons I should be learning. I pray for Him to help me learn the lessons. By doing this everyday we become beautiful human beings.
Great Spirit, grant me Your wisdom
"I think there was a big mistake made (when) people separated religion and the government. That was one of the big mistakes that was made, because when they did that, then they removed the Creator from their life - or at least from half to three-quarters of their life."--Tom Porter, MOHAWK
The Elders tell us that every thing the Creator made is interconnected. Nothing can be separated. The Elders say we should pray before we do anything. We should ask the Creator, what do You want us to do? We are put on the Earth to do the will of God. If we run our governments, communities, families, or ourselves. Without the spiritual we are doomed to failure.
My Creator, guide my life to include the spiritual in everything I do
"We have a biological father and mother, but our real Father is Tunkashila [Creator] and our real Mother is the Earth."--Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
Who really gives us our life? Who really gives us our food and nurturing? Who really allows us to be born? We are born through our parents who act as the vehicle of life for the Creator and Mother Earth. Our parents take care of us for a little while and when we are ready we must leave them and be faithful to our true Father, the Creator, and our true Mother, the Earth. Then we need to be of service to the Creator and be respectful to Mother Earth.
Great Spirit, thank you for being my Father. Teach me to honor the Ear
"Lots of people hardly ever feel real soil under their feet, see plants grow except in flower pots, or get far enough beyond the street light to catch the enchantment of a night sky studded with stars. When people live far from scenes of the Great Spirit's making, it's easy for them to forget His laws."--Tatanga Mani (Walking Buffalo), STONEY
Nature is life's greatest teacher. The natural laws are hidden in nature. Hidden are solutions to everyday problems such as; conflict resolution, how to forgive, lessons about differences, how to manage organizations, how to think. Hidden are feelings. You can look at something and you will feel it. At night, have you ever looked at the sky when there are no clouds? As you look at all the stars, your heart will become very joyful. You will walk away feeling joyful and peaceful. We need to visit nature so we can see and feel these things.
My Creator, let me learn nature's lessons.
"The dances are prayers."-- Pop Chalee, TAOS PUEBLO
When we dance to the drum we pray to the Creator and attract the heartbeat of the earth. We never dance without reason; every dance has a purpose. We dance for rain; we dance for healing; we dance for seasons; we dance for joy; we dance for our children; we dance for the people; we dance for courage. The drum plays to the beat of the heart, to the beat of the Earth. The drum connects us to the Earth while we dance our prayers.
Oh, Great One, let my dance and prayer be heard by You.
"Search for the truth. Indian values teach the holistic approach to the use of technology for mankind's good."-- Al Qoyawayma, HOPI
The Great Spirit had given us certain values to live by. If we learn to think in harmony with these values such as; respect, love, patience, tolerance, commitment, trust, etc., we cannot get off track. No matter what we do, we will always be in harmony. For example, if we are respectful, then we will respect the earth, our children, our women, our men, and ourselves. Indian values help us walk under the guidance of the Great Spirit.
My Creator, today I search for the truth, Your truth. Please let me see it.
"Search for the truth. Indian values teach the holistic approach to the use of technology for mankind's good."-- Al Qoyawayma, HOPI
The Great Spirit had given us certain values to live by. If we learn to think in harmony with these values such as; respect, love, patience, tolerance, commitment, trust, etc., we cannot get off track. No matter what we do, we will always be in harmony. For example, if we are respectful, then we will respect the earth, our children, our women, our men, and ourselves. Indian values help us walk under the guidance of the Great Spirit.
My Creator, today I search for the truth, Your truth. Please let me see it.
"Laughter - that is something very sacred, especially for us Indians."-- John (Fire) Lame Deer, ROSEBUD LAKOTA
Laughter is mental, laughter is emotional, laughter is physical, and laughter is spiritual. Laughter helps us find balance. If we get too angry, laughter will turn that emotion in a balanced direction. If we have a mental picture of someone who is too strong, laughter will help ease the tension. If the body is stressed, laughter will release natural relaxants into our muscles and our nervous system. Laughter often changes our attitude. We need to lighten up and laugh more.
Great Spirit, teach me to laugh.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - October 1
"So don't be afraid. What we left behind, leave it back there. Try to do some good. Let's try to take a step, try to think something good."
-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
Every day is a new day. Sometimes we make mistakes. We do not need to carry these mistakes along with us. Take the lessons and leave the mistakes behind. Look forward to today. Today we can do something good. Today we can have good thoughts. Today we can think kind, uplifting thoughts about ourselves. Today I will think good about ...
My Creator, today I ask You to direct my thoughts.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - September 30 "Don't be afraid to cry. It will free your mind of sorrowful thoughts." -- Don Talayesva, HOPI Human beings function from choice. We can choose to stuff things, or we can choose to let go of things. If we choose to stuff things, then we will feel a heaviness, or sorrow, self pity or fear. Sometimes we feel the need to cry. Sometimes we are taught it is not okay to cry. The creator designed the human being to cry. Crying is a release. This release allows us to let go of thoughts that are not helping us so we can open to new thoughts that will help. Crying is natural for women and men. Grandfather, if I need to cry, let me realize it's a natural process and help me to
"So I prayed, but I had to pray from my heart. All of my concentration and thoughts went from my head to my heart. All of my senses - hearing, smell, taste, and feeling - were connected to my heart."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
The heart is the gateway to the Unseen World, to the Spirit World. It takes real concentration to do this. To connect to our own heart is also a mental state. It starts in the head and transitions to the heart. This mental state is our inner stillness. Be still and know. This place of the heart is very joyous and peaceful. It is this place that we become one with God, our Creator.
Great Spirit, teach me to be a heart warrior.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - September 28
Â "Love is something that you can leave behind you when you die. It's that powerful." -- John (Fire) Lame Deer, ROSEBUD LAKOTA
The Old Ones say, love is all anyone needs. Love doesn't go away nor can love be divided. Once you commit an act of love, you'll find it continues. Love is like setting up dominos one behind the other. Once you hit the first domino, it will touch the second one which will touch the third one and so on. Every love act or love thought has an affect on each person as well as touching the whole world. If you live a life filled with love, the results will affect your friends, relatives, and other people, even after you go to the other side. So... Love.
My Creator, let me love. Let me put into action the love dominos.
"I received my education from my culture. My teachers were my grandmothers, and I am really thankful for that."-- Mary One Spot, SARCEE
Our often unrecognized, but most powerful teachers are our women. In order for men to learn a balanced way, we need to learn from our men Elders and our women Elders. Learning from the women Elders will teach us a whole different set of values and insights to life. When we have life problems, we need to go to the grandmothers to get their advice.
Grandmothers, teach me the values of the Great Mystery.
"No one likes to be criticized, but criticism can be something like the desert wind that, in whipping the tender stalks, forces them to strike their roots down deeper for security."-- Polingaysi Qoyawayma, HOPI
You move toward and become that which you think about. Creating a vision is what guides our lives. If we get off track with our vision, then we experience conflict. Conflict is nature's way of telling us we are not in harmony. Criticism can be a way for one human being to help another. Often our Elders will give us criticism. This feedback is intended to be helpful. Criticism from our Elders helps us grow strong.
Great Spirit, today, if I need it, please provide me positive criticism.
"Even the trees have spirits - everything has a spirit."-- Mary Hayes, CLAYOQUOT
The trees are great teachers. The trees are great listeners. That is why we should meditate in their presence. The Great spirit is in every rock, every animal, every human being, and in every tree. The Great Spirit has been in some trees for hundreds of years. Therefore, the trees have witnessed and heard much. The trees are the Elders of the Elders. Their spirits are strong and very healing.
Great Spirit, teach me respect for all spiritual things.
"Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise men turn to fools and robs the spirit of its vision."-- Tecumseh, SHAWNEE
It's not an accident that firewater is also called spirits. Firewater affects our judgments. The Great Spirit created a set of laws and principles by which we are to live our lives. When we have problems we should pray and ask for the wisdom of these laws. If instead we turn to liquor, our judgement will be affected. It is the decision and choice made under the influence of booze that causes us to be fools. We need to learn to lean on prayer and not on the spirits of alcohol.
Great Spirit, teach me to pray. Let not one drop of liquor touch my lips today.
"When that spirit comes, we don't ever ask questions. If I don't understand, I just hold onto it. Then later down the road, maybe in a couple of years, I understand what that spirit meant."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
At certain spiritual events or happenings, it is possible for the spirits to come. Sometimes these spirits look like sparklers of light, sometimes you can feel them, sometimes they will look like live human beings. The spirits always come for a reason. When we deal with the spirit world, we need to be patient. The Great Spirit will tell us the meaning of these happenings when He is ready.
Great Spirit, let me be aware of Your presence.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - September 22
Â "I think the spiritual values come first and everything else follows." -- Leonard George, Chief Councilor
To properly develop, the human being needs to learn the guiding principles. It is from these principles that we make our decisions. Spiritual values are the guiding principles given to us by the Great Spirit. He says if we live by these spiritual values, the results we experience will be good. These spiritual values will develop and guide the human being by helping us to think right. Right thinking will improve our choices and decisions. Doing this will bring good consequences.
Great Spirit, teach me values first.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - September 20Â
Â "You will only get back what you give out." -- Joe Coyhis, STOCKBRIDGE-MUNSEE
Â The Great Spirit created a system of balance and justice. This law says, if you treat others with respect, you will be treated with respect. If you gossip about no one, no one will gossip about you. If you are fair in all of your dealings, you can expect the same. If you share with others, others will share with you. If you judge others, others will judge you. You will always get back what you give out. The original teaching talks about being a giving person. A giving person will constantly be on the receiving end.
My Creator, help me to be a giving person today.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - September 19 "I am building myself. There are many roots. I plant, I pick, I prune. I consume." -- Wendy Rose, HOPI/MIWOK The most sacred thing on this Mother Earth is life. My life on this earth is governed by God's laws, principles, and spiritual values. These things are my roots. Let me see Your gifts of growing and becoming a spiritual warrior. Make my strength based on values - spiritual values; on principles and laws, the laws of God that really run the universe. We need to realize the seeds we plant in the spring will be what shows up in our summer season of growth and will be the fruits that we will harvest in our fall season. We really have a lot to do with what shows up in our lives. Great Spirit, let my seed that I plant today be based on values that will make You pleased with my selection.
"I walk in and out of many worlds."-- Joy Harjo, CREEK/CHEROKEE
In my mind are many dwellings. Each of the dwellings we create ourselves - the house of anger, the house of despair, the house of self pity, the house of indifference, the house of negative, the house of positive, the house of hope, the house of joy, the house of peace, the house of enthusiasm, the house of cooperation, the house of giving. Each of these houses we visit each day. We can stay in any house for as long as we want. We can leave these mental houses any time we wish. We create the dwelling, we stay in the dwelling, we leave the dwelling whenever we wish. We can create new rooms, new houses. Whenever we enter these dwellings, this becomes our world until we leave for another. What world will we live in today?
Creator, no one can determine which dwelling I choose to enter. No one has the power to do so, only me. Let me choose wisely today.
"The old people must start talking and the young people must start listening."--Thomas Banyacya, HOPI
We are at a critical time in transferring cultural knowledge and spiritual ways. During the last few years the young people have not been interested in learning the old ways. The only place this knowledge is found is among the Elders. We must encourage the young to visit with the Elders. The adults need to think also about learning the culture. The Elders are getting old and soon will go to the other side. Each of us must pause and think about our individual responsibility to learn the culture and teach this to our young.
Great Spirit, help us to learn and remember the old ways.
"To me, the wisdom the Elders have to manifest is in teaching people how to live in harmony and balance with each other and the Earth."--Sun Bear, CHIPPEWA
You cannot give away what you don't have. You need to give away what you have in order to keep it. Our Elders have lived their lives with a lot of trial and error. They have experienced how to do things well and they have experienced what didn't work for them as they grew old. They know things about living that we don't know. So, through the years the Elders have gained wisdom. They usually have a whole different point of view because of all their experiences. There are two ways to learn. Someone tells us what they did and we do the same thing or someone tells us what they did and we choose not to do it. Both of these paths will help us to live.
My Creator, teach me about choices and decisions and consequences. Put an Elder in my life to guide me.
"Knowledge is a beautiful thing, but the use of knowledge in a good way is what makes for wisdom. Learning how to use knowledge in a sacred manner, that's wisdom to me. And to me, that's what a true Elder is."--Sun Bear, CHIPPEWA
We grow in wisdom by developing ourselves according to the four directions of the Medicine Wheel - emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Let's say we started drinking and drugging in our teenage years. Our emotional development will stop, but we will grow older physically. We could then develop into an immature adult. As adults we might be acting like we were teenagers. Once we stop drinking or drugging, our emotional development will begin again. We need to grow and nurture ourselves in all four directions. We need to involve the Great Spirit's guidance in our development. That's the only way we become wise individuals and live our lives in harmony and in a sacred way.
Oh Great Spirit, guide my thinking today. Let me walk in a sacred way on the Red Road. Let me be a learner of lessons and give me Your greatest gift - wisdom!
"Follow the Old One's advise."--Tom Porter, MOHAWK
The Old One is called by many different names - Grandfather, The Four directions, Father Sky, Mother Earth. We should seek the advice of the Old One to help us build our vision. He will put inside of our mind and heart the vision that we are to follow. This vision is recognizable by the feeling that it has with it. This feeling is hard to describe. It feels right, it feels calm, it feels joyful, it feels warm, it feels sacred. The Old One has a way of letting us know it really is His advice. Listen carefully!
Grandfather, I'm listening.
"The most important thing you can do during the course of the day is to pray."-- Joe Coyhis, STOCKBRIDGE-MUNSEE
There are many things we do during the day that are important. There are many places we have to go and there are many things to accomplish. The old ones say, the most important thing we can do is remember to take the time to pray. We should pray every morning and every evening. In this way we can be sure that the Great Spirit is running our lives. With the Great Spirit we are everything but without Him we are nothing. All Warriors know their greatest weapon is prayer. To spend time talking to the Creator is a great honor.
Great Spirit, thank You for listening to my prayers.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - September 12Â Â
"If you get troubled, go and sit by the river. The flowing water will take your troubles away."
-- Joe Coyhis, STOCKBRIDGE-MUNSEEÂ
Sometimes we get mixed up and we don't know what to do. Go to the river or creek. Take your sage and tobacco; sit and be still. Talk to the water, offer tobacco and the healing water will take your problems downstream. Give thanks.
Great Spirit, heal my mind today, let me see love.
"Listen to all the teachers in the woods. Watch the trees, the animals, and all living things - you'll learn more from them than from books."-- Joe Coyhis, STOCKBRIDGE-MUNSEE
Nature is a living example of how communities live in harmony. If you go into the forest or mountain and sit still and watch, ask yourself, what lessons are being taught? Then watch how the animals conduct themselves. The trees could represent diversity. The flowers could represent people. Notice how everything in nature assists one another. See how balance works. See how conflict is handled. Can you see acts of forgiveness? Can you spot respect? Nature is full of wisdom if we will only consider her to be our teacher.
My Creator, today let me learn from nature.
"One of the first things Seneca children learned was that they might create their own world, their own environment, by visualizing actions and desires in prayer. The Senecas believed that everything that made life important came from within. Prayer assisted in developing a guideline toward discipline and self control."-- Twylah Nitcsh, SENECA
All permanent and lasting change starts first on the inside and works its way out. Having constant prayer and Creator directed visions helps us to live in harmony. This is the best way to grow strong and become a Warrior. No matter what is going on outside of ourselves, it is our projection that makes it so. It is our projections that even give it any meaning. Another way is each day to turn our life and our will over to the care of the Great Spirit. Then He will show us His desire for us. When we are in alignment to His desire, we become very joyful and very happy.
Oh Great Spirit, You take care of me today and tell me what I can do for You today. Give me the discipline to talk to You whenever I am in doubt or fear. Let me come to You if I get irritated. You are my solution.
"...[W]isdom comes only when you stop looking for it and start truly living the life the Creator intended for you."-- Lelia Fisher, HOH
There are many things that block us from wisdom such as; selfishness, secrets, hate, anger, jealousy and judgments. Another thing that can block us from wisdom is trying too hard or wishing something would happen. Wishing implies doubt and trying implies control. We need to let go of these things. We need to abandon ourselves to the Creator. As soon as we surrender everything, the wisdom starts to flow. The Elders know how to help us with this. Just ask them.
My Great Spirit, today I surrender my life and my will to Your care.
"Education is the new weapon of Indian people."-- Eddie Box, SOUTHERN UTE
People have the ability to adapt. In these modern times we must get educated so the 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 the culture, learn the dances, sing the songs, learn the language and maintain the Red Road for future generations.
Great Spirit, let my education never lack the meaning and value of spirituality.
"We all form self-images and much of our behavior is pretty well determined by how we feel about ourselves."-- Eunice Baumann-Nelson, Ph.D., PENOBSCOT
There is a cycle of building beliefs called the self talk cycle. Our self talk builds our self image and our self image determines our behavior, our actions, and our self worth - how we feel about ourselves. If we want to change the way we feel about ourselves we need to change our self talk. We need to build ourselves up. We need to talk to ourselves in a kind, positive, uplifting, good way. We need to talk to ourselves about the good things that are happening and know that we are worthy and expect abundance.
Oh Great Spirit, today help me to know myself. Help me to see the joy, kindness, strength and beauty that I am.
"Decisions that have been made for the last couple of centuries have been decisions made without the presence of a real God....from the vision, not of God, but of money."-- Tom Porter, MOHAWK
As we view the world today, it's easy to see the people are off track. We are no longer living in harmony. Focusing on the material only leads us from the path of the Creator. We must now pray for ourselves and the people in a pitiful way. We must be humble and ask the Great Spirit to intervene because if we don't, our children will continue to have troubles. They are acting out our behavior as adults. Today is a good time to start. We need to get the spiritual way back into our lives. We need to focus on the spiritual.
My Creator, help me to focus on the spiritual way.
"Once you have achieved this oneness, when you talk, God talks; when you act, God acts."-- Chuck Ross, LAKOTA
In my innermost self, I know this to be true. I know of this oneness. The more I am free of doubt, jealousy, judgment, selfishness, anger, the closer I am to this oneness. When I am right with the Creator, nothing can touch me. When I am right with the Creator I always say the right things. When I am right with the Creator, my thoughts are always good. When I am right with the Creator, my actions are always good.
Great Spirit, remove from me those things that block me from You. Allow me this day to experience the oneness.
"I remember Dawson (No Horse) said, 'Once you say your prayers, don't worry about them. If you worry about them, they'll just fade away.'"-- Chuck Ross, LAKOTA
Today I need to remember You are everywhere. I need to remember how much You love me. I need to know, Grandfathers, that You are always listening. Today I need to know how much You care. Today I will remember the advice of the Elders. "Say your prayers and then don't worry - know that the Great One has heard you." It's so much easier to do this, Grandfather, when I feel connected to You.
My Creator, allow me this day to feel your presence. Let me walk the path of life today and talk to You many times. Give me faith, my Grandfather.
"Everyone has a song. God gives us each a song. That's how we know who we are. Our song tells us who we are."-- Charlie Knight, UTE
As we start to walk the Red Road and as we develop ourselves as Warriors, a song will come to us. This song is given to each of us from the Great Spirit. Whenever we sing this song, we will receive courage and strength, not only for ourselves but if we sing this song for others, it will also help them. The song will give us power and make us feel really good. The song will make us see life in a sacred way. If you don't have your song yet, ask the Creator in prayer if He will give you your song. With the song comes a responsibility - the responsibility to act and conduct oneself as a Warrior according to your song.
Oh my Creator, let me live my song. Let my song honor Your way of life. Let me sing my song each day. At the end of today, let my song tell people who I am. I am a beautiful child of the Creator.
"Our Creator makes available to us all that we need. It is an honor to go out and gather it. We must remember to say 'Thank You.' It is honorable to give away, to show our gratitude... and to let the children see this."-- Barney Bush, SHAWNEE
So many times we forget to say "thank You" to the Creator. He made for us an abundant universe. He built the Mother Earth to reproduce plenty of everything. It is an honor to be a part of the Great Spirit's world. The Creator always gives us what we need. When we are given things, we should be willing to share it with others. Whenever we give to others, this makes us feel good inside. The more we give, the better we feel. The better we feel, the more we want to give. We need to teach this to our children. The children learn by our behavior.
My Creator, thank you for today. Thank you for the sun. Thank you for the earth. Thank you for my life. Thank you for......
"I started drinking more seriously, seeking refuge, seeking death actually, from a world that was feeling more and more unnatural to me. Following a painful accident related to drinking, I finally realized that I must decide whether I want to follow my grandparents or truly take up this life. Circumstances that followed led me to choose life."-- Barney Bush, SHAWNEE
My life is run by choices and decisions. Every choice I make today will carry with it the consequences of that choice. Every decision I make today will carry with it the consequences of that decision. The question I will ask myself today is, "Do I want to be happy or do I want to be right?" Which ever one I choose will have a lot to do with the consequences I will experience today. If today was the last day of my life, what choices and what decisions would I make?
Oh Great Spirit, guide my path today and help me see the value of choosing the Red Road.
"The devastated earth, the air, water, the extinct species of mankind, animalkind, and plantkind, the drugs, suicides, family separations - these are all the result of false ceremonies."-- Barney Bush, SHAWNEE
All life is a ceremony. Every act is a ceremony creating a result in our lives. Every ceremony we do always brings results to our lives. If we do bad medicine to others, we do bad medicine to ourselves. If we keep on doing bad ceremonies, we will eventually destroy ourselves. Any time we live our lives out of harmony, we are doing bad ceremonies. Any time we treat anything with disrespect whether it is another human being or a plant or an animal, we are performing bad ceremonies. These ceremonies not only have an effect on ourselves but will simultaneously affect everything. We need to use our power well, only do good ceremonies.
My Creator, teach me only good ceremonies. Teach me ceremonies that accomplish good for all the people. Good ceremonies cause good results. Teach me ceremonies that are helpful.
"With prayer and good intentions, we make our lives sacred and come into balance."-- Don Jose Matsua, HUICHOL SIERRA MADRE MEXICO
Only through prayer can we make spiritual changes that are permanent. You have told us that all life is sacred. Today I intend to serve you, my Creator. Allow me to overcome temptation, and if one comes along, let me see the lessons that will give balance. You have told us that all life is sacred. Let me see today with a sacred eye. Let me see beauty in all things.
My Creator, let me know what You would have me be today. Let my intentions be honest, respectful, humble, and loving.
"We begin by letting the Powers know that we are willing to be their servants to others."-- Fools Crow, LAKOTA
There are certain prayers or actions we can take that will call the Powers. The Powers can only work through the people. The Powers are always waiting to express themselves through people that are ready. Every person born is born with a purpose. They have a song to sing. They have a mission to accomplish. Every true purpose will always be about serving the Creator and helping others. When we let the Powers know that we are ready to serve the people, the Powers get excited because they can now do things to help the people and make things better for them. The decision is powerful because it turns an idea into action.
Great Spirit, the greatest joy or feeling that I have ever experienced is when you are using me to help the people, the feeling of giving, the feeling of being your channel. Today, let me have that feeling of giving. Use me as You will.
"Those who live for one another learn that love is the bond of perfect unity."-- Fools Crow, LAKOTA
To serve each other, to respect each other, to trust each other, to honor each other, to love each other, to cooperate with each other, to care for each other, to forgive one another, to focus on peoples' good, to laugh with one another, to learn from one another, to pray for each other; these are all acts of love. These values and actions will connect us to one another in the Unseen World. Nature is a good example of how we should get along with one another. Watch nature. She is our teacher. Nature lives to give to one another. The insects give to the birds, who give to the four legged, who give to the two legged. The Creator made all things perfect.
Oh Great Spirit, let me serve the people today. Let me see that it is better to give than it is to receive. Be with me today.
"God is making use of you - you should be grateful He's found a use for you."-- Mathew King, LAKOTA
The Creator can only create through human beings. Each human being has a purpose given to us by the Creator. We are on this earth to fulfill this purpose. Our only work is to make ourselves ready, to become a channel, to perform for the Creator. We prepare ourselves by prayer. We prepare ourselves by becoming unselfish. We prepare ourselves by seeking and choosing to walk on a spiritual path. Each morning we look to the east and we say an honor prayer to the Creator. We offer our gifts: tobacco and corn. We ask him to help us do His will for today. In this simple way, we still fulfill our purpose. It should be an honor to serve the Creator.
Great Spirit, today I am ready to serve You.
"The mind's eye changes the way we judge things."-- Fools Crow, LAKOTA
"What you see is what you get." Our head has inside it a movie projector that projects out from our foreheads and shines on a screen a picture of our true thoughts. This is our reality. We can only see what we project (our beliefs). If we believe someone is a jerk, every time we see them we reflect our beliefs about what we think about that person and that is all we can see. Even if someone tells us this person is a kind, loving, caring, intelligent individual, we wouldn't be able to see it. If we change our belief about them, that person will change and so will our judgment about that person.
My Creator, let me realize the power of choice. Let me see the advantages of changing my beliefs. Today, if I am judging my brother, let me change my beliefs to acceptance. If my thoughts are of anger, let me change them to love. Let my eyes only see you in everything and every person.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - August 23
"They also learned, and perhaps this was the most important thing, how to look at things through the eyes of the Higher Powers."-- Fools Crow, LAKOTA
Our eyes can only see our beliefs. Our beliefs cause us to make assumptions, draw conclusions, and cause confusion. Our five senses are very limiting. The Creator has a way of allowing us to see or know in the spiritual world. This is called the Sixth Sense. The Sixth Sense is like a radar system; our personal radar system. It will help us "see" opportunities and help us avoid disaster. This Sixth Sense is controlled by God. We must learn to listen to it. We must learn to trust it. We must learn to act on it even if our head says differently. We must learn to look at things through the eyes of God.
My Creator, guide me today. If my eyes cause confusion, let me close them and see through Your eyes. If my ears hear confusion, let me listen to my heart. Let me let You guide me.
"The greater the faith, the greater the result."-- Fools Crow, LAKOTA
The Creator designed us to act on faith. We are able to do this by holding firm to our beliefs. If we believe something and if we don't want the belief to change, we need to add the power of the Great Spirit to this belief. We must always have the spiritual added to our beliefs. If we don't add the Spirit, then we may very well change our minds the first time we are tested. Each time we are tested and we don't change our minds, we get stronger. The wind may blow on the red willow trees bending them and causing the roots to grow deeper. The more the wind bends the tree, the bigger, stronger, and deeper the roots grow. We should be happy that we are tested. It's the Creator's way of making us have greater faith for greater results.
Great Mystery, Grandfather, I know if I am tested today that I can count on You to give me the courage to get to the other side. On the other side of every test is the reward of strength. Make me strong.
"...remember and think about the closeness of Wanka-Tanka. If they live in this wisdom, it will give them endless strength and hope."-- Fools Crow, LAKOTA
The value of staying close to the Creator is the immediate help we have available to us whenever we need it. I can listen to the whisper of my heart for this is the place He communicates with me. Staying close helps me remember that we are here to serve Him and to help other people. The Grandfathers are my direct access to wisdom. He who has wisdom has everything. If we have wisdom, then we will see our lives become more effective in the areas of jobs, relationships, family, friends, and finances.
My Creator, today grant me the wisdom to seek Your wisdom. Help me to Walk of the Red Road.
"If we keep everything in balance, we are in harmony with ourselves and are at peace."-- Fools Crow, LAKOTA
As within, as without, our present thought determines our future. If we want peace outside ourselves, we must first have peace inside ourselves. It's not what is going on but how we are looking at what is going on. We need to keep ourselves in balance. We must be careful to not get too hungry, angry, lonely. or tired. We must know the times - time to work, time to rest, time to play, time to sleep, time to pray, time to lighten up, time to laugh, time to eat, time to exercise. There is a saying "The honor of one is the honor of all." This means when we work with all, we need to also work on one. We need to take care of ourselves. You cannot give away what you don't have.
Great Spirit, let me walk in balance today. Remove from me resentment, self pity, and self seeking motives. Let me love myself so I can love my neighbors.