"You have to have confidence in your own ability to be able to go it alone, to go against what the rest of the culture is doing."-- Eunice Baumann-Nelson, Ph.D., PENOBSCOT
God, this is hard. Today, allow me to be a Warrior. Let me be strong. Let Your voice be clear to me. Let me hear Your guidance. My goal today is to serve You, to develop myself to be the kind of Indian person that You would have me be. To Walk the Red Road must sometimes be walked alone.
Great Spirit, let me walk the Red Road today with the confidence that You are with me. If I fall, I will quickly ask You to help me know what I should do next.
"If a child hasn't been given spiritual values within the family setting, they have no familiarity with the values that are necessary for the just and peaceful functioning in society."-- Eunice Baumann-Nelson, Ph.D, PENOBSCOT
When we are born, we start with a beautiful empty mind ready to be given our beliefs, attitudes, habits and expectations. Most of our true learning comes from watching the actions of others. As we watch our family or relatives, whatever their actions and values are, so will be the children's values and acts. If we see our families living a just and peaceful way of life, so then will the children. If we see our family shouting, arguing, and hateful, so will it be for the children. The cycle of life - baby, youth, adult and Elder is all connected. If the older ones have good values, it will be connected to the children.
Oh my Creator, if there are values I have missed, it is not too late. I can get them from You. Teach me today Your spiritual values. Respect, trust, giving, honesty, wisdom - teach me these.
"There are many people who could claim and learn from their Indian ancestry, but because of the fear their parents and grandparents knew, because of past and present prejudice against Indian people, that part of their heritage is clouded or denied."-- Joseph Bruchac, ABENAKI
There were many injustices done to Native people. Sometimes I wonder; why am I connected to the past injustices done to Indian people? Why am I so angry about the past? The Elders say our ancestors are alive within each of us. Therefore, I may experience anger and resentment inside of me because of the injustice done to them. The way I get rid of these past feelings is to forgive. It may be necessary to even learn to forgive the unforgivable.
Great Spirit, teach me the path of forgiveness; teach me the courage to forgive; teach me to let go. Give to me a forgiving heart.
"A bit of sunshine, a drop of rain, a puff of life from the Great Spirit as He gently breathed upon that spot, created the Native Americans. They were well formed and agile, copper colored and proud.-- Harriet Starleaf Gumbs, SHINNECOCK
We are made in the image of the Great Spirit. A long time ago He breathed life into our ancestors. He made the Indian strong. He created a Warrior. Our ancestors created more warriors. We have been tested throughout the seasons and we are still here, stronger than ever. It is good to be Indian. We are proud of ourselves and our ancestors. Mostly we are proud the Great Spirit has never forsaken us, and continues to guide us.
My Creator, let me live my life today in a way that would make my ancestors proud. Let me remember each month that I am here to serve You. Today let me conduct my life in a way that also would make You proud.
"With one mind we address our acknowledgement, respect, and gratefulness to the sacred Cycle of Life. We, as humans, must remember to be humble and acknowledge the gifts we use so freely in our daily lives."-- Audrey Shenandoah, ONONDAGA
The sacred Cycle of life - the baby, the youth, the adult, the Elder. Let us respect all directions, the four directions of the Grandfathers; let us respect their power. Let us remember we belong to the earth, the earth does not belong to us. Help us to be respectful to all the gifts You have given us.
Oh Great Spirit, help me this day to be humble. Let me not attack anything in deed or in my thoughts. Let my thoughts focus on the beauty You have created in all things.
"May there be peace when we meet."-- Audrey Shenandoah, ONONDAGA
The Elders tell us the greatest gift we can seek is peace of mind; to walk in balance, to respect all things. For us to do this, we must have peace within ourselves and peace within ourselves cannot come unless we are walking the path the Creator would have us walk. Sometimes the tests on this path are difficult, but we know that each test makes us stronger.
Oh Great Spirit, I ask You to whisper Your wisdom in my heart. You are the only one who knows the secret to peaceful living and the mystery of harmony. Teach me of Your peace, understanding and balance, and guide me onto your good path.
"Nature is the storehouse of potential life of future generations and is sacred."-- Audrey Shenandoah, ONONDAGA
We need to honor and respect our Mother Earth. She is the source of all life. The sun shines life to the earth, then the earth produces life in all forms and in a balanced way. Everything is here to serve everything else. If we interrupt the flow in any way, we leave nothing for the future generations. Before every decision is made, we should ask, and answer, a final question; "If we do this, what will be the effects on the seventh generation? What will we cause our children to live with?" We need to have respect and love for all things and for all people. We need to do this for ourselves and for all the children still unborn.
My Creator, let me look at nature today and let me have the highest respect for all the things I see. All the two legged, the four legged, the winged ones, the plants, the water, the air, the Mother Earth. Let me have respect for myself.
"Praying to seek a vision, to seek truth is always right. Truth builds upon itself - as the true mark of a warrior who conducts himself/herself accordingly - so that its beauty may shine in the faces of our children."-- Barney Bush, SHAWNEE
We move toward and become like that which we think about. What we think about creates our vision. If our thoughts are wise and good, then our vision becomes strong and truthful. If our thoughts are junk, then our vision becomes contaminated. It's important to be aware of what we are thinking about. As I live my vision, my children watch and live their lives the same way. We need to live the walk of the Warrior. We need to walk in beauty and respect.
Oh Great Spirit, give me a vision for today. Let me see truth. Let me walk in beauty. Let my heart guide me in truth. The law says the truth shall set you free. Let me be free today.
"The Creator told everyone of us in our tribal beginnings to look after our ceremonies, and each other."-- Barney Bush, SHAWNEE
Our ceremonies are important and each has a purpose. They teach us about the Creator and about each other. The ceremonies teach us to be humble and teach us to pray. They teach us to look inside ourselves. We should remember to pray each morning. Ask the Creator to guide our thinking. Think only good thoughts. Think good thoughts about our relatives and about our brothers and sisters. Pray for our children in ceremony. Give thanks to the Great Mystery of life. All life is sacred. Pray in a sacred way.
Oh Great Spirit, I come to You this morning in ceremony. I come to this sacred place to talk to You. I thank You for Your guidance and protection. Give me Your eyes today so I may see the beauty in all things.
"Everything I know I learned by listening and watching."-- Vernon Cooper, LUMBEE
Sometimes my mind is talking so fast about so many different things that I can't slow it down. All day long I am judging and making assumptions about everything.
Great Spirit, help me this day to slow down. Help me to listen - quietly. Help me to watch carefully. Help me to listen to my inner voice. Let me listen and watch only the thing You would have me observe. Guide my eyes and my ears to be focused on You. Grandfather, love me today and teach me to be quiet.
"It is a paradox in the contemporary world that in our desire for peace we must willingly give ourselves to struggle."-- Linda Hogan, CHICKASAW
The Grandfathers have taught us about sacrifice. We have been taught to pray for the people in a pitiful way. Struggle and conflict is neither good nor bad, it just is. Everything that grows experiences conflict. When the deer is born it is through conflict. When the seed first grows, it is through conflict. Conflict precedes clarity. Everything has the seasons of growth. Recognize - acknowledge - forgive and change. All of these things are done through conflict.
Great Spirit, give me the courage today to see that struggle and conflict are here to teach me lessons that are a gift from you.
"Telling about our lives is important for those who come after as, for those who will see our experience as part of their own historical struggle."-- Linda Hogan, CHICKASAW
How important it is for us to support one another? How important it is for us to know our culture and to share our experiences with one another? How powerful it is to be authentic? How important it is to hold no secrets? I am as sick as my secrets.
Grandfather, allow me today to be willing to share with my brother and sister. Let my eyes see You in their eyes. Let me not judge them but only love them. Grandfather, help me, for I am Your humble servant.
"Always remember you are Indian - do things to make your people proud."-- Joe Coyhis, STOCKBRIDGE-MUNSEE
All our choices and decisions will reflect on our people. We need to assume the accountability of honoring people. We must remember to conduct ourselves in a sacred way. Sometimes this is hard. But we must remember we have the assistance of the Spirit World, and we have the principles and values by which we should live, written in our hearts. The Creator will help us develop into a strong people if we just learn to depend upon Him.
Great Spirit, lead me on the path of the Red Road.
"When you get older and you are ready, your ancestors will show up to guide you."--Joe Coyhis, STOCKBRIDGE-MUNSEE
Many of us, when we are young, spend a portion of our lives in learning. Unfortunately, some of us spend this time learning the hard way. When we are young we sometimes think we know everything. Sometimes we do foolish things. As we get a little older, we realize we don't know anything. This is when we become teachable. There is a saying that goes, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. We usually aren't teachable unless we are ready. The ancestors are waiting and willing to help. When we are ready, many beautiful teachers start to come into our lives. Then we really start to grow and mature. We are ready for the spiritual lesson.
Creator, help me to become ready and teachable.
"Everyone has to find the right path. You can't see it so it's hard to find. No one can show you. Each person has to find the path by himself."--Charlie Knight, UTE
There are certain times in our lives when a voice whispers to us. The voice doesn't always talk. Usually we hear it best when we are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Inside every person is the knowledge that a Supreme Being exists. Sometimes a restlessness occurs and it makes me feel I need to be doing something or I need to be going somewhere or maybe I start wondering who am I? Often when this happens, I feel lost. Inside of everyone is the natural, built-in desire to be walking the Red Road, or to be seeking a relationship with the Creator. No one can force us to make this journey. We must make this journey because we want to. This journey is not on the outside. The path is inside of ourselves. It is inside that we must begin our search.
Oh Great Spirit, help me this day to look within myself. If trouble arises, let me realize that it's not what is going on but how I am looking at what is going on. Give me Your power this day to conduct myself according to Your way of life.
Look behind you. See your sons and your daughters. They are your future. Look farther and see your sons' and your daughters' children and their children's children even unto the Seventh Generation. That's the way we were taught. Think about it: you yourself are a Seventh Generation."--Leon Shenandoah, ONONDAGA
The Creator designed us with a free will. That means we function from choices and consequences. It is important that we practice thinking about consequences before we make decisions about choices. Every choice I make is like setting up dominos one after the other that produce consequences. Not just for me but also for my children and for the children that are unborn. My choices and decision today will have consequences for seven generations. For example, if I work on my own spiritual development and I walk the Red Road, the odds are that my children will. They will marry and their children will follow the Red Road and so will my grandchildren even up to the seventh generation. This will happen because of the choices and decisions that I make today.
Great Spirit, grant that the choices and decisions that I make today will honor Your laws and values. May I live in peace today that will ripple into the seventh generation.
"When we want to talk to Him we burn tobacco and it takes our prayers all the way up to the Sky World."--Louis Farmer, ONONDAGA
Our herbs and our medicines are all here for the purpose of serving. Offering tobacco as a gift to the Creator is proper use of our medicine. In this way, we are able to communicate from the physical world to the spiritual world. Sometimes we have a hard time coming up with the right words when we pray, especially if we are really mixed up. The tobacco and the sage will take the intent to the spirit world. The meaning behind the words are more important the the words. The Creator always knows our intent. The tobacco helps us get to the Sky World.
Today, my Creator, I offer You this tobacco. I want to thank You for being in my life. I want to tell You how much I appreciate the honor of being here to serve You. Tell me this morning what I can do for You. You are the reason I live.
"A good heart and a good mind - those are what you need to be a chief."--Louis Farmer, ONONDAGA
The combination of heart and mind is very powerful. The Medicine Wheel teaches that two worlds exist - the seen and the unseen. The seen world is the physical and the unseen is the spiritual world. Both of the worlds are necessary to discover true reality. The seen world is easiest seen by the male side. The unseen is easiest seen by the female side. The heart is the unseen and the mind is the seen. Blessed is the leader or person who has developed the heart and the mind. Truly, the person is of tremendous value to the Creator and the people.
My Great Spirit, help me this day to develop both my female side and my male side. Let me know all the feelings of each, let me develop and grow my intuition and my mind. Let my development only serve You.
"Let us put our minds together as one."--Irving Powless, Sr., ONONDAGA
If we sat in a circle and put an object in the center of the circle and we all described what we saw, everyone would see different points of view from each other. Some would even see opposites because they would be sitting on opposite sides of the circle. In other words, you don't have to see what I see for you to be right. In fact, everyone in the circle is right based on their own point of view. If we are willing to listen to everyone's point of view, then we can get a more accurate description of the object in the center. This is one way to put our minds together. When we get the clarity from each other, we should give thanks and be grateful to each other.
Grandfathers from the four directions, guide me today with Your wisdom from the east, from the south, from the west and from the north.
"These are our times and our responsibilities. Every human being has a sacred duty to protect the welfare of our Mother Earth, from whom all life comes. In order to do this, we must recognize the enemy - the one within us. We must begin with ourselves..."--Leon Shenandoah, ONONDAGA
The outside is merely a reflection of our insides. My mind is designed to tell me that I'm not crazy for thinking what I am thinking. Even if I have angry thought, my mind is giving me excuses and reasons why it is OK to think what I'm thinking. I need to be knowledgeable about the laws of harmony and balance. I cannot twist the laws to serve me, but I can adjust my life to serve the laws. This is the law - I am here to serve the Earth. The Earth is not here for me to misuse and abuse.
Oh Great Spirit, allow me the insight and knowledge of how to live in harmony and balance with my surroundings. Grant me change from within.
"People need to wake up. They can't hear God's voice if they're asleep."--Vernon Cooper, LUMBEE
Black Elk, a Sioux, talks about the hoop of many hoops. He says that above the people is a hoop, a conscience, the total belief of the people. If the hoop is sick, meaning dysfunctional, co-dependent, a lot of alcoholism, family abuse, violence, racism and sexual abuse, the people can get used to this and think this is normal. In other words, the people are asleep. If we have left the spiritual way of life, the people are asleep. If we are giving our power to another entity, the people are asleep. In most tribes, there are Coyote Clans. The job of the Coyote Clan people is to wake the people up. They need to become a nuisance and irritate the people. We must return to the spiritual walk.
Oh Great Spirit, keep me awake today. Let me hear the voices of our ancestors...let me hear the voices of the Grandfathers. Because everybody is doing it doesn't make things right. Let me hear the truth today and become a coyote for the people. Give me the courage to be willing to be different. Let me walk straight on the Red Road.
"Life is like a path...and we all have to walk the path... As we walk... we'll find experiences like little scraps of paper in front of us along the way. We must pick up those pieces of scrap paper and put them in our pocket... Then, one day, we will have enough scraps of papers to put together and see what they say... Read the information and take it to heart."--Uncle Frank Davis (quoting his mother), PAWNEE
The Creator designed us to learn by trial and error. The path of life we walk is very wide. Everything on the path is sacred - what we do right is sacred - but our mistakes are also sacred. This is the Creator's way of teaching spiritual people. To criticize ourselves when we make mistakes is not part of the spiritual path. To criticize mistakes is not the Indian way. To learn from our mistakes is the Indian way. The definition of a spiritual person is someone who makes 30-50 mistakes each day and talks to the Creator after each one to see what to do next time. This is the way of the Warrior.
Today let me see my mistakes as a positive process. Let me learn the aha's of life... Awaken my awareness so I can see the great learning that You, my Creator, have designed for my life.
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"...the greatest strength is in gentleness."-- Leon Shenandoah, ONONDAGA
Our Elders have taught us many lessons about becoming a Warrior and how to think and act like one. We have been told about the power of gentleness. We have been told about the power of the stillness. Physical power is about effort. Mental power is the opposite. It's about being effortless or less any effort. Gentleness is one of the greatest attributes of the Warrior and one of the greatest mental powers. It takes a lot of love to be gentle. Gentleness is not an ego word. Gentleness is the weapon of the Great Spirit.
My Creator, today I will be gentle with myself and with others. I will listen to the whisper of my heart and learn the power of being gentle.
In this universe, all activities, events, and entities are related. Indians believe that everything in the universe has value and instructs us in some aspect of life. Everything is alive and is making choices that determine the future, so the world is constantly creating itselfï¿½ With the wisdom and time for reflection that old age provides, we may discover unsuspected relationships.---Vine Deloria, Jr, STANDING ROCK SIOUX
We are all connected. This is what the Elders have told us for a long time. If we are connected to all things, then whenever we harm anything, it causes harm to ourselves. If we destroy the air, then we will be affected by what we breathe in. If we poison the Earth, we poison ourselves. We must respect our Mother Earth and She will respect us in return. We must open our eyes and obey the spiritual laws that govern the Earth and ourselves.
Grandfather, today allow me to honor and respect the things You have made. Let me see the beauty of all things.
"You must speak straight so that your words may go as sunlight into our hearts."--Cochise "Like Ironweed" CHIRICAHUA APACHE
Come into my heart this morning. Allow me this day to live in the now. Help me to see all the beauty You have created in all things. Let me know myself. Today, as I make mistakes, let me see them as lessons. Guide me. When I see others make mistakes, let me honor them for where they are. Let me realize that they are Your children and only You, my Grandfather, knows what is really going on. When my lips move, let the words be Your words.
Allow me to have the courage to speak Your truth.
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"When you begin a great work you can't expect to finish it all at once; therefore, you and your brothers press on and let nothing discourage you until you have entirely finished what you have begun."-- Teedyuschung, DELAWARE
All things have their seasons. All thoughts are real. We must think to cause action and each action creates results. Big visions require many thoughts. It takes a series of thoughts to create a series of actions. A series of actions creates a series of results. These results are what makes vision become real. If we are here to serve the Creator then we can expect to be accomplishing big visions. How do we do this? One step at a time.
Let me focus on what needs to be done today. Give me clear thoughts to accomplish the results that you, my Creator, would have me accomplish.
"We were taught to believe that the Great Spirit sees and hears everything, and that He never forgets, that hereafter He will give every man a spirit-home according to his deserts: If he has been a good man, he will have a good home; if he has been a bad man, he will have a bad home."--Chief Joseph, NEZ PERCE
I cannot hide my true spirit and intent from the Creator. He created a system of justice. This system of justice says we will get back whatever we plant. If we plant good then good returns - if we plant bad, then we will suffer the consequences. Whatever we think about another person, the same things are thought about us. Whatever we send out is sent back. Man cannot alter this system of justice. It doesn't matter what we say or do. What really matters is what we really, really did.
Oh Great Spirit, guide me today to do good, to have good thoughts. Let me remember the things I do are to honor Your way of life.
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"Our fathers gave us many laws which they had learned from their fathers. These laws were good."-- Chief Joseph, NEZ PERCE
The Creator gives us many laws to live by. These are different than the laws of man. The laws of the Creator are designed for us to live in harmony and balance with ourselves and each other. These laws are about having freedom and happiness. Our Elders teach us these laws. Laws about how to treat each other, laws about how to treat and respect our Mother Earth, laws about the environment.
Oh Great Spirit, teach me the laws of the unseen world. Today I pray You open my eyes so I can better see the Red Road.
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"My friends, how desperately do we need to be loved and to love."-- Chief Dan George, SKOKOMISH
Oh my great Creator: Help me this day to love myself. I can't give away anything that I don't have myself. If I am to love others, then I must love myself. If I am to forgive others, then I am to forgive myself. If I am to accept others as they are, then I need to accept myself as I am. If I am to not judge others, then I need to lighten up on myself. Let me experience this power of love...
My Creator, today I will love myself so I can love my neighbor. I will look at each person today and see Your light within them. If I do this, I will hold my brothers and sisters without guilt.
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"Grandfather says...you must not hurt anybody or do harm to anyone. You must not fight. Do right always. It will give you satisfaction in life."-- Wovoka, PAIUTE
The question one should ask themselves is: Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? If you want to be right, this is a request from your ego. If you want to be happy then this is of the Great Spirit. The only meaning anything has is the meaning we give it. Maybe we should develop a philosophy of: Today is the last day of the rest of my life. If this were true, how easy it would be to let things go - how easy it would be to forgive.
Oh Great Spirit, let me live today as if it was my last. Let me express Your joy and be happy today. Let me see the joy and honor of living on the Red Road.
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"We are nothing compared to His power, and we feel and know it."-- Black Hawk, SAUK
Inside of every man and woman is a place of knowing. In this place is the knowing that there is a Great One, the Great Mystery, the Holy One, the Great Spirit. We can deny this all we want but we know what we know. This place of knowing is at the very center of our being. It is gratifying to know that God cannot leave us. It is said we are spiritual beings trying to be human. With this power in our lives, we can accomplish much. We can do many good things for our people.
Oh Great Spirit, I know of Your power. I love the days when I can feel Your presence. Let today be one of those days. Let me walk today in Your beauty.
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"It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth... The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing, and healing."-- Chief Luther Standing Bear, TETON SIOUX
Touching the earth - getting grounded, centered. There is magic in touching the earth and feeling her healing power. This is especially healthy to do during a troubling time when our minds are racing or can't stop thinking or are locked onto fear or resentment. When I need to feel free I can go to the Mother Earth. The Mother Earth is full of life and love. She always gives her powers to those who come to her. The Mother Earth is alive.
Today, my Great Spirit, let me remember to touch the earth. Let me slow down and live just for today. Let me be gentle, patient and kind.
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"Grandfather, Great Spirit, once more behold me on earth and lean to hear my feeble voice. You lived first, and You are older than all need, older than all prayer...You are the life of all things."-- Black Elk, OGLALA SIOUX
Great Spirit - Sometimes I don't feel like praying. Sometimes when I have done something wrong, I'm ashamed to come to You. Even though You have always been there for me, I sometimes choose to stay away. It's hard for me to understand what all knowing is. Sometimes it's hard for me to see how much You really care. But I know if I take a few minutes and think about what I know to be true about You, the things change and I am able to realize Your power and Your love. Today, I'll start by thinking of You. I'll think about all the times You have helped and guided me in the past. You are life, You are love, You are power, You are desire, You are truth, You are principle, You are intelligence, You are courage. With You I am everything; without You I am nothing.
Creator, thank You for allowing me to start my day with You.
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"Each man is good in the sight of the Great Spirit."-- Sitting Bull, TETON SIOUX
Our bodies are both physical and spiritual. At our very center we are spiritual. Our bodies are built around the spiritual. The center is the unseen world. Therefore, we cannot see it with our eyes and we tend to judge the body because we can see it. The body is not who we are. We can see the spiritual if we are spiritual ourselves. We won't see this always with our physical eyes. Usually we will see it with our spiritual eye. We will hear ourselves say, "I know this to be true."
At the center of all human beings is the place of good. That includes myself. At my very core is good. I can find this place by staying free of resentments, fear, dishonesty and self-seeking motives. My Creator, keep me free this day of resentment, selfishness, dishonesty and fear.
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"Do not grieve. Misfortunes will happen to the wisest and best of men. Death will come, always out of season. It is the command of the Great Spirit, and all nations and people must obey. What is past and what cannot be prevented should not be grieved for..."-- Big Elk, OMAHA Chief
Our earth continues to grow by cycles and seasons: The cycles of growth - spring, summer, fall, winter. The cycles of the human being - baby, youth, adult, elder. It is through these cycles that we will experience the changes. I will not always necessarily agree with these changes, but I need to trust the Grandfathers are in charge. Things will come and things will go. Really, I own nothing, the Creator owns all. Too often I label things as mine. I say this belongs to me, but it really belongs to the Creator. He gives me things to take care of. I need to do the best I can with what I have, with what I know at the time. And when the Creator changes things, I need to let go for His planning is the best.
Oh Great Spirit, today let me do the best I can with what I know, with what I have. Let me experience acceptance of Your will.
"Each soul must meet the morning sun, the new, sweet earth, and the great silence alone."--Charles Alexander Eastman, OHIYESA SANTEE SIOUX
Each morning a new sun for a new day arises. Each morning the sweet perfume from the Mother Earth spreads across the land. This combination of sun, earth, smell and quiet is a magic door for me to enter to kneel before the Grandfathers. The sacred time to commune with the Great Spirit.
Oh Great Spirit, I humbly stand before You along with the new sun, the Mother Earth and the smells of the morning. I ask You to direct my thinking today. Let me live in the silence. Teach me Your wisdom, Teach me to love my brothers and sisters. Let me respect the things You have made.
"We have to educate ourselves to know who we are. That's what I mean when I say, 'Teach the children.'"--Eddie Benton-Banai, OJIBWAY
It is only by knowing ourselves that we can get in touch with our power. It is said, "Tell me what you know about yourself and I'll tell you what you know about God. Tell me what you know about God and I'll tell you what you know about yourself." As we increase knowledge of ourselves, as we choose to grow spiritually, as we clean up our act, then we can teach the children.
My Creator, You have said "Know thyself." Today let me see the wisdom of this Truth. Give me Your insight of myself. I am always walking the talk and most people can see it. Today, help and guide me on the Red Road.
"You are going to learn the most important lesson - that God is the most powerful thing there is."--Mathew King, LAKOTA
The Medicine Wheel teaches that there are two worlds - the Seen World and the Unseen World, or the Physical World and the Spiritual World. We need information from both of these worlds in order to live our lives in a harmonious way. The most difficult way is to figure things out by ourselves and leave the Great Spirit out of it. When we do this, we are making decisions with information only from the Physical World. This can be called reliance on self. If we ask the Creator to help us, we then get information from the Unseen World or the Spiritual World. The Spiritual World is where we get our power. When we do this, we are God-reliant. Being God-reliant is the same as being on the Red Road.
Great Spirit, whisper the secrets of the Unseen World in my mind's ear.
"I believe much trouble and blood would be saved if we opened our hearts more."--Chief Joseph, NEZ PERCE
We are as sick as our secrets. Our ego takes over control of our lives and when that happens our minds get very sick. Then we hurt people and our minds will always justify our actions. Our minds will give us rationalization and excuses that we are justified in doing what we are doing.
My Creator, Let me live today with an open heart. Let me realize to be vulnerable is a strength, not a weakness. Let me realize the power of an open heart. Let me be available to truth. If I get into trouble, let me hear the whisper of your guidance. Let me make heart decisions and let my head catch up to that decision.
"Silence is the cornerstone of character."--Charles Alexander Eastman, OHIYESA SANTEE SIOUX
Be still and know. Anyone can verbally attack another. Anyone can be a smart aleck. Anyone can be angry and tell other people things that will hurt them. Anyone can be sarcastic, devaluating and belittling. It takes a Warrior to be silent. Silence is so powerful. Silence can be so loving.
My Creator, if I get into a situation today that needs me to respond with silence, help me to use my silence in a good and sacred way. In my silence, let me be talking to You and You talking to me. Silence is the way of the warrior.
Elder's Meditation of the Day July 5 "It does not require many words to speak the truth." --Chief Joseph, NEZ PERCE The truth shall set you free. This is the truth. When we speak the Truth, we do not need to be defensive. Truth needs no defense. When we speak the Truth, we do not need to attack because Truth cannot be attacked. It is so easy to want to manipulate or to be deceitful or dishonest. My head tells me I can get away with doing these things, after all everybody does it. My Creator, today let me know Truth. Let me live Truth. Let me risk the Truth. Let me make the Truth sweet. Help me to make my word good. Let Your spirit and intent be added to by words. Let My thoughts be Truth.
"That is not our way, to set yourself apart and talk about who you are and what you've done. You let your life speak for you. With the Mohawk people, wisdom is how you live and how you interpret what your mother and father, what your grandmothers and grandfathers have told you about this world - and then how you interpret that into the fact of living every day."--Tom Porter, MOHAWK
It is said, how you live your life makes so much noise that people can't hear what you are saying anyway. It is so easy to see people who do not walk the talk.
Creator, I ask you today to help me be humble. Let me spend the day listening. Help me to not brag or gossip. Help me today not to do those things that seek attention or approval from others. I am only accountable to You, Oh Great Spirit. You will tell me the things I need to know. Let me learn the lessons from my Elders. Let me teach the children by example. Today, let me walk the talk.
"When you are in the woods, you cannot ever be lost. You are surrounded by friends and surrounded by God."--Joe Coyhis, STOCKBRIDGE-MUNSEE
Every plant, every animal, every insect, every bird, every tree is made up of God. God is life and everything is alive. When you are hunting, remember all nature is your friend. All nature has purpose. All nature participates in the life cycle. Nature communicates; Nature talks; Nature listens; Nature forgives; Nature respects; Nature loves. Nature lives in harmony. Nature follows the law. Nature is kind. Nature is balance. The woods are alive and beautiful. She is our friend.
Great Spirit, let me honor and respect the forest and all the life it contains.
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"If I destroy you, I destroy myself. If I honor you, I honor myself."-- Hunbatz Men, MAYAN
It is said, when we need love the most is when we deserve it the least. Whenever I have secret thoughts about someone else, it will put bad feelings inside myself. I will hurt myself. If I secretly hold a grudge or resentment against my brother or sister, I will be a slave to that person until I let them go. Let me remember to look at my brother in a sacred manner. Today, let me think like a Warrior. Let my thoughts toward my brothers and sisters be good thoughts. Let me remember that You are in charge. If I get upset at another person today, let me remember that the most important thing I can do is to first talk to You because when I am right with You, it is impossible to be out of harmony with my brothers and sisters.
My Creator, take my hand and guide me through today.
"I'm an Indian, I'm one of God's children."-- Mathew King, LAKOTA
My Creator, today let me remember the reason I'm here on Mother Earth. Let me look into my own eyes and see the beauty You have created. Let me have good thoughts. Being Indian is not the color of my skin. Being Indian is to listen to my heart, to think only the things You have taught, to watch nature, and live in harmony. Being Indian is to walk in prayer, to talk to You constantly during the day. Being Indian is to act and to walk in a sacred way.
Today, let me think in beauty, let me walk in beauty, let me pray in beauty.
"Words hypnotize and deceive everyone at one time or another, but these hypnotic words cannot last long in the hearts of true warriors."--Barney Bush, SHAWNEE
We are a part of an interconnected system. Words in themselves have no meaning. It is the spirit and intent behind the words that really show the meaning. We are connected to each other at the center of the atom which makes up the air and our body. The center of the air's atom system is connected to the center of our body's system. I am connected to you and you are connected to me in the center of our being. If my words have no meaning, you can feel this through the center of your being.
Great Spirit, help me make my word good. Let me do the things I say I will, and let me say the things I will do - and do it.
"We forget so we consider ourselves superior. But we are, after all, a mere part of the creation and we must consider to understand where we are and we stand somewhere between the mountain and the Ant. Somewhere and only there is a part and parcel of the creation."-- Chief Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA
Every human being gathers information from the center of a circle. If we are not careful, we soon think we are the center of all things. Therefore, it is easy to become self centered. Once we become self centered we start to think we are above all things and therefore superior. But we are really only one part of a great whole. The universe is all connected. Each part is here to do something special and according to its design. We are here to honor and respect the job of each part. We are neither above nor below anything. We need not be ruler over anything, we need only to live in honor and harmony with the system.
My Creator, help me to view and conduct myself in a manner of respect, dignity and honor to all creation. Let me see You in all things.
Elder's Meditation of the Day June 28 "Whenever you take anything from the Earth, remember to leave an offering." --Joe Coyhis, STOCKBRIDGE-MUNSEE We need to look at nature and its inhabitants as our brothers and sisters. Whenever we pick plants or herbs, we should leave an offering of tobacco. We should talk to the plants and ask their permission to use them. The plants will feel honored to be of service for each of them knows they are here to serve. Each of them knows they carry a special medicine and this medicine is about continuing the cycle of life. We need always to be grateful to our brothers and sisters. Creator, I thank you for the opportunity of life.
"...when faithful human beings or other creatures called upon them for help, they [the Powers of the Four Directions] must send their powers..."--Fools Crow, LAKOTA
Each of the four directions has special powers. These powers or Grandfathers are there to help us. The powers are from the East, the South, the West, and the North. To call upon the power we need to stand in the center and face each of the directions and honor all forms of life in each direction. Facing the East we honor all the two legged, four legged, winged ones, plants' nation and the animals. We repeat this prayer in each of the four directions. This allows us to become centered. When we are centered, then we are ready to call the helpers. It is said, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. If we are to be ready, we need to remember to always get quiet first. We do this by honoring and praying to the four directions.
Grandfathers from the four directions, come to me today with Your powers. Give me Your gifts so I can serve the people.
"We are called hollow bones for our people and for anyone else we can help, and we are not supposed to seek power for our personal use and honor."-- Fools Crow, LAKOTA
In order for us to use our power well, we must become a hollow bone. We must prepare ourselves to become a channel. Our channel must be clean before we can use our power well. We must be free of resentments, guilt, shame, anger, self pity, and fear. If these things are in us, we cannot be hollow bones. These things block us from our power. The cleaner we are, the more power we move. We must become a hollow bone so the Creator can use us to do what he wants us to do.
My Creator, remove from me today all resentment, anger, fear, guilt and selfishness. Do not let my weaknesses stand in the way of my usefulness to You. Make me a hollow bone so Your power can flow through me.
"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.
"He [Wakan Tanka] walks with us along the pathways of Life, and He can do for us what we could never do on our own."--Fools Crow, LAKOTA
With the Creator in our lives, we are everything. Without the Creator, we are nothing. When the Creator is in our life, suddenly the impossible becomes possible. The extraordinary becomes ordinary. Things we thought could never happen start to happen. Talents we never know we had, start to blossom. Resources appear. Help arrives to give us guidance and direction. We become happy. We have peace of mind and confidence.
Oh Great Spirit, today I want You in my life. The days that I know You are with me are the days that are perfect. Let me be joyful today.
"The one who wishes to be a true medicine person must be a person of faith, and they can only work successfully with those who also have faith."--Fools Crow, LAKOTA
Medicine People are spiritual beings who have made a decision to seek the Red Road. They sacrifice and seek the way of the Creator. After many years of dedication, the Grandfathers teach them about power, and about laws, and about how to use the medicine. The Medicine People develop tremendous faith in their medicine and in the Creator. When we go to the Medicine People, we too must have faith so they can help us. We can only be helped if we want to be helped. Because the Medicine People know how to help - that is only one half of it. The other half is up to us. We must have faith that the medicine has powers to help.
My Creator, faith is belief without evidence. Today, give me the faith. Let me trust that You are running my life. Let me know You are in charge of all things. Let my mind not wonder; let me stand strong on Your path today.
"The god that people reject is not the true god, it is a god they have conjured up apart from proper education, and understanding. In such cases, the least Fools Crow will do is to call their assumptions into question, and force them to re-evaluate their position."-- Thomas Mails on Fools Crow, LAKOTA
Inside of every person - man, woman, and child - is the knowledge that there is a Supreme Being. Many of us have been taught that the Creator is a punishing God. We have been taught about feelings of guilt and shame when we do things wrong. We have been taught that God gets angry and disappointed with us. The Elders teach us that the Creator is a loving and forgiving God. He loves us during our good days and He loves us during our bad days. He doesn't know how to do anything but love. If I really want to find out about the true God, I only need to ask in prayer. There is one thing that God cannot do and that is refuse help to one of His children who asks.
My Creator, I ask You to be a part of my life today. Whisper to me Your wisdom. Let me feel Your presence. If I am doubtful and afraid, show me, in terms I can understand, You are real.
"But in the Indian Spirit the land is still vested; it will be until other men are able to divine and meet its rhythm. Men must be born and reborn to belong. Their bodies must be formed of the dust of their forefathers' bones."-- Luther Standing Bear, OGLALA SIOUX
It is said when we walk on the Earth, we are walking on our ancestors and our unborn children. This is the relationship Native People have with the Earth. It is this relationship which gives insight into the Earth's rhythm and heartbeat and creates the feeling of belonging. If you feel you belong to something, you'll treat it with respect. If you feel you are above something, you'll treat it with disrespect. Indian Spirituality is tied to the Earth. We belong to the Earth along with all other creatures on the Earth. We must align to this realization.
Great Spirit, today, teach me to respect the Earth Mother.
"Respect should be given those indigenous nations who still carry on their ceremonies; still following the ancient laws of nature with songs and ceremonies."-- Oren R. Lyons, Spokesman, Traditional Circle of Elders
Many of our Tribes still have the ceremonies, songs and traditions. Today, the ceremonies and songs are coming back even stronger. The Elders have a lot of this knowledge. The young people need to learn these songs and traditions from the Elders. This is the strength of the people. The ancient Wisdom and Knowledge of ancient Laws are hidden in the ceremonies and songs. We should seek out these songs and ceremonies.
Great Spirit, teach me the songs and ceremonies. Make my eyes open to see.
"I am particularly fond of the little groves of oak trees. I love to look at them, because they endure the wintry storm and the summer's heat, and, not unlike ourselves, seem to flourish by them."-- Sitting Bull, SIOUX
Every season, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, has gifts that it gives to all creatures. The animals will develop thicker furs just before Winter and will shed this fur in the Spring. Squirrels will store their food in the Fall; other animals build up fat so they can hibernate during the Winter. We can watch all forms of nature and see all creatures work in harmony with the seasons. The secret for us is to learn by observing nature. Watch the trees. Learn from them. We human beings need to learn the gifts and blessings of the seasons.
Grandfather, Grandmother, teach me to live in harmony with the seasons.
"Your power comes from the songs."-- Ethel Wilson, COWICHAN
If you do not know any of the songs, ask an Elder to teach you. Get yourself a drum. When you sing a song and play the drum, you'll be surprised how your mind, body, and spirit will react. Everything becomes calm and joyful. Our bodies love the songs. The songs allow us to touch the hand of the Creator. When we sing and touch the Great Spirit's hand, He gives us power. Songs are another way to pray.
My Grandfather, teach me a song today.
"For me, the essence of a medicine man's life is to be humble, to have great patience, to be close to the Earth, to live as simply as possible, and to never stop learning."-- Archie Fir Lame Deer, LAKOTA
The Medicine people focus on their Being, not their doing. After all, we are human beings not human doings. The Medicine people are very patient and consciously trying to live a life of humility. Medicine people are servant leaders. Their main purpose is to serve the needs of others. By this service attitude, they become the leaders people listen to and the leaders the people want to follow. The Medicine people say everyone is their teacher. Maybe we should try to live this way ourselves; humble, patient, honoring the Earth and listening to our teachers.
Grandfather, today, let me know all people are my teachers and I am the student.
"Today, what is important for us is to realize that the old sacred ways are correct, and that if we do not follow them we will be lost and without a guide."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
A long time ago the Creator gave to the people all the knowledge on how we should live and conduct ourselves. The Native people have been influenced by outside "tribes" who don't know about the Sacred Way. Our Elders still know about the old sacred ways. We need to consult and talk to them before it's too late. Every family needs to seriously evaluate whether they are living according to the old knowledge. If we are fault finding, putting one another down, being selfish, being violent to our spouses or children, if we are cheating and being dishonest, then we are not living the old Sacred Way. The old way is about respect, love, forgiveness and sharing.
Great Spirt, today, teach me the old Sacred Way you taught my ancestors.
"The basis of knowledge is the fire, rock, water, and green. But when that power was given to man, he used it to twist his own mind. Tunkashila gave man just one drop of that wisdom."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
All of Nature has the wisdom to follow the Natural Laws. All of Nature knows how to live in harmony and use this wisdom in a good way, with exception of the human being. Often we misuse this wisdom. Wisdom always remains with those who use it in the proper way. Nature has used this wisdom well, so now we need to go to Her so we humans can relearn and change our lives. May we start doing this today, before it is too late.
Creator, let me be open to the lessons that Nature can teach me.
"We have an old saying, Everything living must die. Only the rocks and mountains are forever."-- Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA
The Creator designed all life to happen in a circle. For example, the cycle of life for the human being is Baby, Youth, Adult, Elder, then we die. The trees and the leaves happen in a circle; the leaves bud, then the leaves mature, next the leaves change color, and at last they fall off the tree to return to the Mother Earth. The birds bear their young, raise their young, then they die. The salmon are born, swim to the ocean, live their lives, swim back to the spawning grounds, then die. All aspects of the Life Cycle should be honored.
Great Spirit, today, let me enjoy today.
"The faces of our future generations are looking up to us from the earth and we step with great care not to disturb our grandchildren."-- Traditional Circle of Elders
The leaves, when they are finished with their life on the trees, will return to the Earth. The leaves that return to the Earth are the future trees. So inside the Mother Earth are the future forests. The human, when finished with its life on the Earth, will return to the Earth. So in the Earth are our future grandchildren. Knowing this, we should be respectful of the place where our future generations live. Only take from the Earth what you need. Every time you pick a plant or Medicine, leave an offering and leave a prayer. Be respectful and walk in a sacred way.
Great Spirit, teach me to respect the place of future generations.
"Behold, my bothers, the spring has come; the earth has received the embraces of the sun and we shall soon see the results of that love!"-- Sitting Bull, SIOUX
Spring is the season of love. Spring is the season of new life, new relationships. It is the springtime that really reacts to the new position of Father Sun. New life forms all over the planet. Life is abundant. New cycles are created. Mother Earth changes colors, the flowers are abundant. It is the time for humans to observe nature and let nature create within us the feeling of Spring. We should let ourselves renew. We should let go of the feeling of Winter. We should be joyful and energetic.
My Maker, let me, today, feel the feelings of Spring.
"Each day, whatever I am doing, I am always praying and thinking of God."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
Have you ever tried going through your day and carrying on a conversation with the Creator? Many of our Elders live in prayer. They talk to the Creator like the Creator is their best friend. It is easiest to do this if we pray in the morning and ask the Great Spirit to direct our thinking. When the Creator is involved in guiding our lives, we will have less stress, anxiety, and tension. Maybe this is something we would like to try today. "Oh, Creator, look at the Sun, how beautiful you have made it. Oh, look at this child, isn't she just beautiful! Well, Creator, I'm not sure how I should do this task, what do you think? This person is starting to irritate me; I need your help to redirect my thinking. Thanks for returning me to a peaceful mind." Remember, the Creator also has a sense of humor.
Grandfather, Grandmother, let me walk in prayer.
Every part of this country is sacred to my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove has been hallowed by some fond memory or some sad experience of my tribe. Even the rocks, which seem to lie dumb as they swelter in the sun along the silent shore in solemn grandeur, thrill with memories of past events connected with the fate of my people.-- -Chief Seattle, SUQUAMISH
Native people say the Earth is sacred. Some places on Earth will feel more sacred than others. You can often feel the sacredness of these places because of what has happened on them. If you do a ceremony on a certain place and return later, whatever happened before will still be there to help you. Even if someone you didn't know did something on the Earth and you come along later, the powers will be there to help you. This is why the Earth is sacred and these special places are sacred spots.
My Creator, let the powers of the sacred places help the people today.
"So we are connected to the moon. That gives us power, a connection to the Earth and the moon, men don't know about."-- Cecilia Mitchell, MOHAWK
The Elders tell us that the Woman has access to special powers. The Earth Mother gives her love in a special way to the Woman. The Moon also gives special powers to the Woman. She uses these powers to nurture, heal, and guide the people.
Great Spirit, today, give a special Blessing to our Women.
"If there is a shadow of a doubt someplace, that will cause a weakness."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
In the Spiritual World there is a spiritual Law. The Law says; like attracts like. This means whatever mental picture we hold inside our minds we will attract from the Universe. To make this Law work we must maintain a constant picture. If we picture or vision something, and along with this picture we have doubting thoughts, our vision will not happen and we will get EXACTLY what we picture or vision. The Law always works. A doubting vision will not materialize what we want. A vision without doubt will always happen. This is a spiritual Law.
My Maker, today, let my vision become strong.
"We need to save those Elders who cannot speak for themselves -- the trees."-- Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
The trees are the Elders of the Earth. Go to the forest or to the mountains and find a young tree. Then find an old tree. Spend time with each. Sit by the young tree and listen to your thoughts. Then move to an old tree and listen to your thoughts again. Just being in the presence of an old tree, you will feel more calm. Your thoughts will contain wisdom and your answers will be deeper. Why is this so? These old trees know more, have heard more, and are the Elders of the Earth. We must ensure these trees live so we can learn from them.
My Creator, help me to protect the trees and listen to them.
"It is not through the great skill of the hunter himself that success is achieved, but through the hunter's awareness of his place in Creation and his relationship to all things."--Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
If only the human being could understand the power of proper relationships, the need for power and control could be abandoned. It's not what is going on that matters, but how we look at what is going on. It's our relationship to it that counts. Nothing in the world has any meaning except the meaning we give to it. To be more effective at this, we need to consider our relationship with the Creator. Our relationship to the Great Spirit determines how we will perceive the meanings we put to places, people, institutions, and things. We need to let the Creator tell us and guide our thoughts about these relationships. Any relationship that we have that is causing problems means we need to pray for a new point of view.
Creator, let me see the world and the people through your eyes.
"Wakan Tanka never stops creating."-- Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA
The Medicine Wheel teaches about change. It says that which is created will fall apart; that which is loose, will be used to create new. In other words, everything on Earth is participating in a constant change that is being directed by an order of laws and principles which were originated by the Great Spirit. We humans are equipped with natural change abilities. We have the ability to vision; we can use imagination and imagery; we can change belief, attitude, habits, and expectations. We need to know ourselves and we need to know how we work inside to enable us to change naturally.
Great Spirit, teach me to change in harmony.
"IN THE BEGINNING were the Instructions... The Instruction was to live in a good way and be respectful to everybody and everything."-- Vickie Downey, TEWA/Tesuque Pueblo
A long time ago, in the beginning, the Creator gave to all people and to all things the Wisdom and the knowledge of how to live in harmony. Some tribes call these teachings the original Instructions, the original teachings, or the Great Laws. All of Nature still lives and survives according to these teachings. In modern times, human beings are searching for the Instructions. Many churches claim they have these Instructions. Where are these teachings? The Instructions are written in our hearts.
Great Spirit, today, whisper to me the secrets of the original Instructions.
"The Natural Law is the final and absolute authority governing E Te No Ha, the earth we call our Mother."--Traditional Circle of Elders
There is no power greater than the Natural Laws. These powers were set up by the Great Spirit in such a way that the human being has no access to it, except by obeying. If we choose not to follow the Natural Laws, our live will be filled with confusion, tension, anxiety and stress. If we poison the Earth, we poison ourselves. If we poison the Water of the Earth, we poison ourselves. As we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves and our children, even the children unborn. May we think about this today and ask ourselves, "Are we holding and acting toward the Mother Earth in a good way?"
Great Spirit, teach me the Natural Laws that govern the Earth.
"You have to have a lot of patience to hear those old people talk, because when they talk, they talk about motivation, the feeling, the unsound that is around the universe. They explain everything to one understanding. They bring it all together, and when they finish, just one word comes out. Just one word. They might talk all day, and just one word comes out."--Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
We need to be careful about judging the old ones when we talk. At first they may not make sense to us. Maybe we'll say they're old fashioned and don't understand. But the old ones do understand! When they speak, listen very carefully. Often it will take weeks or maybe even years before we understand what they are really saying. This is the way of Wisdom. We need to listen, listen, listen.
Great Spirit, today, open my ears so I can hear the Elders.
Elder's Meditation of the Day May 31
"Sell a country? Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the Earth? Did not the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?"
The White Man's way is to possess, control, and divide. It has always been difficult for Indian people to understand this. There are certain things we cannot own that must be shared. The Land is one of these things. We need to re-look at what we are doing to the Earth. We are digging in her veins and foolishly diminishing the natural resources. We are not living in balance. We do not own the Earth; the Earth owns us. Today, let us ponder the true relationship between the Earth and ourselves.
Great Spirit, today, let me see the Earth as you would have me see Her.
Elder's Meditation of the Day May 30
"Power comes and goes. It can vanish in the twinkling of an eye, like smoke dissolving in the air."
--Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA
The East, South, West, and North are the powers of the four directions. The Creator makes these powers available to do things. We pray to the Creator to give us the power to do these things. Often, we are given these powers for awhile, then these powers disappear. Power is given and taken from us by the Great Spirit, the source of power. During the time we have this power, we should be responsible and use the power in a good way. Many good things can be accomplished when we realize where this power really comes from.
Great Spirit, today, show me how to use Your power.
"Humility is probably the most difficult virtue to realize."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
Two definitions of humility are; one, being aware of one's own defects of character, and two, giving credit where credit is due. This means if you do something and are successful because God gave you certain talents, give credit to God when someone tells you how well you did; this is being humble. If you are successful at something, but had help from friends, spouse, neighbors, give credit to those who helped you; this is being humble. If you have done a task and you alone accomplished it, give credit to yourself; this is being humble. Say the truth and give credit where credit is due.
Grandfather, let me walk a truthful road today.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 28
"The land is a sacred trust held in common for the benefit of the future of our nations."
--Haida Gwaii - Traditional Circle of Elders
The Creator made the Earth to support life so that life would continue to reproduce, everything would support one another, and future generations would have the same benefits of supply and beauty as the generations the proceeded them. This cycle will only continue to the degree that we make choices and decisions for the future generations. Today, we are too greedy and selfish. We are cheating our children, grandchildren, and the children unborn.
Creator, let me see the consequences of my decisions, and show me how to make healthy corrections.
"One of the things the old people taught me about the spirits was to never have a doubt."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
The spirit world is sometimes hard to believe in because we can't see it. Our minds convince us to seek proof for everything. We need to believe that the Unseen World exists and the Unseen World is guided by principles, laws, and values. If we have doubts, we can pray to the Great Spirit to remove the doubt. He understands how difficult it can be sometimes, so He's always ready to help us during our doubtful times. We are lucky to have such an understanding and helpful Father.
Great Spirit, today, divorce me from doubt.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 26
"The man who sat on the ground in his tipi meditating on life and its meaning, accepting the kinship of all creatures, and acknowledging unity with the universe of things, was infusing into his being the true essence of civilization."
--Luther Standing Bear, OGLALA SIOUX
There is a concept that says you move toward and become that which you think about. If we think about everything as interconnected and interrelated, we will begin to accept the greater whole and that there is a power who is in charge. If we see the cycles of life, if we see the inner powers, if we see the interdependence of the universe, then we will participate in a harmonious way. We all need to pray and meditate on this. We need to understand the property of unity.
My Creator, let me have the insights of nature and give me the power of acceptance
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 25
"If you listen close at night, you will hear the creatures of the dark, all of them sacred - the owls, the crickets, the frogs, the night birds - and you will hear beautiful songs, songs you have never heard before. Listen with your heart. Never stop listening."
--Henery Quick Bear, LAKOTA
The night time is full of life, full of song, and full of beauty. Have you ever gone outside at night and listened? One has access to serenity and peace. At night all our senses change their roles. Because we can't see, our hearing is much stronger, our smell is even more enhanced, our sight is different. We are able to join nature through sounds and smells, through the songs of the night birds, and through the night winds. We can close our eyes and experience interconnectedness in a different way. Try it tonight and experience oneness with the Creator.
Great Spirit, allow me to listen to the teachers of the night.
"...in Tunkashila, there is no time. Everything moves in the blink of an eye. It's as fast as thought. So there is no speed there. There is no time in between."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
There is a relationship between thought and reality. Every thought is alive, and as soon as you think it, a result occurs immediately. However, to make something happen it may take a series of one thousand thoughts before you can actually see it with your eyes. This occurs because the Laws of the Great Spirit act immediately. When you tell a lie, you immediately experience fear. When you tell the truth, you immediately experience freedom. To the Creator, there is no time. For us to experience the meaning of this requires us to act on faith. Faith is belief without evidence.
Great Spirit, today, let me act on my faith.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 23
"To me, if you're Indian, you're Indian. You don't have to put on your buckskin, beads, and feathers, and stuff like that."
--Cecilia Mitchell, MOHAWK
The most important thing that determines who we are is on our insides, not our outsides. If we are Indian inside, that's all that matters. Being Indian means to think right, to be spiritual, and to pray. Feathers and beads don't make us Indian. Being Indian means to have a good heart and a good mind.
Great Spirit, today, let me think Indian.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 22
"The earth was created by the assistance of the sun, and it should be left as it was... The country was made without lines of demarcation, and it is no man's business to divide it..."
--Chief Joseph, NEZ PERCE
There is danger when we start to draw lines and boundaries. This is true whether outside ourselves or inside ourselves. The danger is losing sight of the interconnectedness. When we lose sight of interconnectedness, separation, possessiveness (this is mine, I can do what I want) and infighting results. Even at an individual level, if we don't believe we are connected to all things we get self-centered and have self-seeking motives. We must think in harmony, balance and integrity. We must see our relationship to the great whole and conduct ourselves accordingly.
Great Spirit, today, let me think beyond boundaries.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 21
"A vision could put you on a path you don't want to follow."
--Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA
There is a saying, "You move toward and become like that which you think about." If we keep thinking about a bad thing, we will move in that direction. If we think about fear in some area of our life, we will probably experience this fear. We move toward and become like that which we think about. If we think about secret things, these secret things will come to pass. Our visions are very powerful. Visions determine our direction, our lives. If you think about lustful things, it's a matter of time before you'll be wrestling with it. We should think about our visions to make sure they include the Great Spirit in every area.
Great Spirit, today, give me Your vision to follow.
"...the sacred ceremonies given to us by the Creator are the Heart of our existence. These ceremonies are our first duty."-- Traditional Circle of Elders. NORTHERN CHEYENNE
Hidden in the ceremonies are many truths, many principles, many guidelines for living â our access to the Unseen World, healing and visions. Because the Indian People didn't have schools or books, the Great Spirit gave us Ceremonies. The ceremonies are handed down from generation to generation to learn their meaning. Today, many Indian People live in cities or urban areas where it's hard to learn the ceremonies. We need to go to the Elders and learn the ceremonies so we can pass them on to our children.
Great Spirit, teach me the Secrets of the Ceremonies.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 19
"To be able to greet the sun with the sounds from all of Nature is a great blessing, and it helps us to remember Who is the real provider of all of our benefits."
--Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
The Elders say we should pray to the East every morning. Just try it! Get up early in the morning, watch the sun and listen to the morning sounds, the birds, the winds; smell the air, feel the breeze and the warmth of the sun. Your mind will expand and you will experience oneness with the Great Spirit. You'll realize who is really in charge. You'll realize interconnectedness. You'll realize how much the Creator loves you! Just try it!
Great Spirit, today, let me feel the Earth, the Father Sun and your presence.
"...Grandmother the Earth. That power is here all the time. It is continuous, and nobody controls it."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
There are certain powers that the human being has no choice but to obey. We cannot negotiate or barter with this power. Our choice is either to conform or to live out of harmony. Whatever our choice, it will be the end result in our lives that we notice. So it is with the powers of the Earth which produce life. The Earth has the life force power. If anyone plants a seed, the seed will grow. The Earth treats everyone equally. The human cannot interfere, only obey. We should all show great respect for the Earth and Her powers.
Great Spirit, today, let me honor and respect the power of the Grandmother, the Earth.
"If the Great Spirit wanted men to stay in one place He would make the world stand still; but He made it to always change..."-- Chief Flying Hawk, OGLALA SIOUX
The Elders tell us change occurs in two directions. They say, "That which is built is constantly being destroyed; that which is loose is being used to build the new." In other words, change is constantly going on. Many times we hear people say, "I hate change." Does it make sense that the Great Spirit would design people to hate it? The Great Spirit designed people with change abilities such as visioning, imagery and imagination. Maybe we need to learn to use these tools and then we'll look forward to change.
Great Spirit, today, let me see the harmony of Yours, truly changing world.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 16
"It's time. If you are to walk the path of heart, then it is time..."
If not now, when? If not me, who? To walk the path of the heart is a great honor. Every human has the choice to walk this path, but very few will decide to make it. Why? Well, because you can't act and behave like everyone else behaves. You must be the person who will learn to look within. You must be the person who will be fully accountable for yourself. You must be the person who prays and meditates. You must be the person who will sacrifice. You must decide to be a Peaceful Warrior. What will you decide today?
Oh, Great Mystery, lead me on the path of the heart.
Grandfather, show me how to see in a sacred way.
"Prayer is the best answer to all of the trials that face us, because without prayer, even if we succeed in accomplishing some great goal in the eyes of men, we have failed in our sacred responsibilities, and thus we have failed in what is truly important."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
What are our sacred responsibilities? One is to be of maximum service to the Creator, and two is to serve the people. In a way, it's like the Great Spirit is the employer and we are the employees. We live each day, do what we do, accomplish our goals, face our difficulties, overcome them all to the Glory of the Creator. We do these things to make Him proud! Even if we work for a company, agency or tribe, they are not really our employer; the Creator is our employer. Working for the Creator is better than working for a human being, because each night we can talk to the Creator and ask Him, "Well, how did I do today?". He answers back each night, "I'm proud of you, my child; sleep well, and in the morning I'll give you a new set of growing experiences.".
Great Spirit, today, let me work for you. You will be my new boss.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 13
"But the great spirit has provided you and me with an opportunity for study in nature's university, the forests, the rivers, the mountains, and the animals which include us."
---- Walking Buffalo, STONEY
What we really need to learn is how to live life. Nature is the greatest university when we want to learn about balance, harmony, the Natural Laws and how to live life. But we will never learn unless we spend time in the "living university." Nature is full of examples, lessons, and exercises about life. Nature will help humans learn. Nature will help humans heal. Nature will help with Medicine, knowledge, and healing. The reason our Elders are so wise is because they have attended the right educational system - nature's university.
Great Spirit, help me to become wise.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 12
"All the stones that are around here, each one has a language of its own. Even the earth has a song."
---- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
To believe that every tree, plant, and insect can talk takes an open mind. Go by yourself into nature and sit quietly. Then pick up a rock and listen to your thoughts. After a while, put that rock down and pick up another rock. Your thoughts will change. These are the voices and wisdom of the Stone People. Each one has different wisdom and they are willing to share their wisdom with you. Many of the Stone People are very old and very wise.
Great Spirit, let every rock and leaf be my teacher.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 11
"[The Old People] would gather words as they walked a sacred path across the Earth, leaving nothinig behind but prayers and offerings."
---- Cleone Thunder, NORTHERN ARAPAHOE
Whenever we walk on the Earth, we should pay attention to what is going on. Too often our minds are somewhere else, thinking about the past or thinking about the future. When we do this, we are missing important lessons. The Earth is a constant flow of lessons and learnings which also include a constant flow of positive feelings. If we are aware as we walk, we will gather words for our lives, the lessons to help our children; we will gather feelings of interconnectedness and calmness. When we experience this, we should say or think thoughts of gratitude. When we do this, the next person to walk on the sacred path will benefit even more.
My Creator, today, let me be aware of the sacred path.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 10
"When you go inside that power, there's no fear. It's so beautiful!! There's no fear there. There's no pain."
---- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
Imagine you are standing on the edge of a stage. In the center of the stage is a spotlight shining from above. If you stand anyplace outside the spotlight, in the darkness, you will experience fear. But as soon as you step into the light in the center of the stage, all fear and pain go away. When we stand in the power, fear cannot exist. How do we find this place of power? We pray our way into it. We ask the Creator to take our hand and help us. When we get to that place, we will feel the fear go away.
Great Spirit, hold my hand and guide me today.
"Without a sacred center, no one knows right from wrong."-- -- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
In the center of the circle is where the powers reside. These powers are called love, principle, justice, spirtual knowledge, life, forgiveness and truth. All these powers reside in the very center of the human being. We access these powers by being still, quieting the mind. If we get confused, emotionally upset, feel resentment, anger, or fear, the best thing we can do is pray to the Great Spirit and ask Him to remove the anger and resentment. By asking Him to remove these obstacles, we are automatically positioned in the sacred center. Only in this way do we know right from wrong.
Great Spirit, allow me this day to live in the sacred center.
"Anyways, with medicine there's a time and a place for everything. It only comes around once. You have to get it at the right time."-- -- Cecilia Mitchell, MOHAWK
The old ones say two things must be present for a miracle to take place. One, the right time. Two, the right place. This is why we need to honor our ceremonies. eremonies are done in an order. This order is applied to open a "door" to the right time and place of the medicine. This door opens to the Spiritual World. The Spiritual World is available to us at the right time and the right place.
My Creator, let me be patient today so the timing is right.
The whole religion is like a preparation. It's a preparation for going to the Good Land or to the place of your ancestors. We all have to go through it. We all know this.-- -- Horace Axtell, NEZ PERCE
There are two Worlds that exist. The Seen World and the Unseen World. Sometimes these worlds are called the Physical World and the Spiritual World. The Elders say, when it is time to go to the other side, our relatives will appear a few days before to help us enter the Spirit World. This is a happy place; the hunting is good; the place of the Grandfathers, the Creator, the Great Spirit, God, is a joyful place.
Grandfathers, today, let me look forward to the Spirit World. Bless all my Relations.
"But I have learned a lot from trees: sometimes about the weather, sometimes about animals, sometimes about the Great Spirit."-- Walking Buffalo, STONEY
Nature is the greatest teacher on the Earth. Nature produces many different plants, animals, trees, rocks, birds, insects, and weather patterns. Nature designed all these various things to grow and multiply while at the same time live in harmony with each other. We can learn a lot of we observe and study Nature's system of harmony and balance. Today, go sit on a rock and quietly observe and ask to be shown the lessons.
Great Spirit, Nature is my teacher. Today, let me be the student.
"Think only about what is holy. Empty your mind."-- Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA
If we let our minds wander, we will come up with a lot of junk; maybe bad thoughts about a brother or sister, maybe angry thoughts, maybe self-pity thoughts. Our minds are not the boss. We can instruct our mind to think about whatever we want to think about. We cannot stop thinking, but we can choose what to think about. The Elders say we move towards what we think about. That's why they say, "Think about what is holy, think about the Grandfathers, think about culture, think about values, think about ceremonies, and think about good."
Great Spirit, today, empty my mind and let me experience what it would be like to think about what is holy.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, May 1
"All living creatures and all plants derive their life from the sun. If it were not for the sun, there would be darkness and nothing could grow - the earth would be without life."
--Okute, TETON SIOUX
This is why we call the sun, Father Sun. Father Sun shines life on Mother Earth and from this Father and Mother all life forms exist and continue to reproduce. The Sun shines on all; it is not selective. We should not allow anything to block the Sun from shining on the Earth. We must not pollute the air because the pollutants block the light of life to the Earth. If the Earth cannot receive this light, then life will start to be affected. We must live in harmony with the Sun and Earth. Otherwise, we are harming ourselves.
My Creator, give me the wisdom to live in harmony with all things.
"Modern civilization has no understanding of sacred matters. Everything is backwards."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
Modern civilization says, don't pray in school; don't pray at work; only go to church on Sunday. If you don't believe what I believe, you'll go to hell. Deviancy is normal. Our role models cheat, drink and run around; these are the people in the news. The news sells bad news; no one wants to hear good news. Kids are killing kids. Victims have little protection. Violence is normal. Leaders cheat and lie. Everything is backwards. We need to pray for spiritual intervention. We need to have guidance from the Creator to help us rebuild our families, our communities and ourselves. Today, I will pray for spiritual intervention from the Great Spirit.
Grandfather, we pray for your help in a pitiful way.
"The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power...The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing..."-- Luther Standing Bear, OGLALA SIOUX
Have you ever noticed the relationship between children and the soil? Watch how happily they are touching the dirt. The children play in it and eat it. If you are stressed, go to a spot on the Earth, sit down, put your fingers in the dirt, dig in it. Wash your hands in the soil. When you touch it, notice what it does to your hands. Our bodies love to touch the Earth. Sometimes we get too busy and forget these simple things. Maybe you'll even want to plant a garden or flowers. These things are mentally healthy.
Great Spirit, today, let me touch the Earth so the Earth can touch me.
"Indians living close to nature and nature's ruler are not living in darkness."-- Walking Buffalo, STONEY
There are many Indian people who are living according to nature and according to ceremony and culture. They may not have a lot of material things, but that doesn't mean they are not successful. What is success anyway? Can success be measured by material things? What is it we are really chasing anyway? The Elders say that what everyone really wants is to be happy and have a peaceful mind. Material things by themselves do not bring happiness and peace of mind. Only spiritual things bring happiness. When we live a spiritual life we will not have darkness. Instead, we will be happy.
Great Spirit, today, let me walk the Red Road.
"The law is that all life is equal in the Great Creation, and we, the Human Beings, are charged with the responsibility, each in our generation, to work for the continuation of life."-- Traditional Circle of Elders
Every generation is accountable to leave the environment in healthy order for the next generation. Every generation is accountable to teach the next generation how to live in harmony and to understand the Laws. We need to ask ourselves, "What are we teaching the next generation?". Each individual is directly accountable.
My Creator, teach me inter-generational responsibility.
"If those bad words come, I let them come in one ear and go out the other. I never let them come out of my mouth. If a bad word comes in your ear and then comes out of your mouth, it will go someplace and hurt somebody. If I did that, that hurt would come back twice as hard on me."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
What do we do with temptations when they come? What do we do when we hear gossip? What do we do when we hear bad things? If we hear these things and pass them on we will not only hurt the other person, but we will do harm to ourselves. We must be careful not to hurt others. Whatever we sow we will simultaneously reap for ourselves. We must be accountable for our own actions.
Great Spirit, today, let no words come from my lips that would hurt another.
"In some mysterious and wonderful way you are part of everything, Nephew. And in that same mysterious and wonderful way, everything is a part of you."-- Nippawanock, ARAPAHOE
In order to experience this, we must be aware of how limited our senses are eyes, ears touch, smell, taste. These senses help us to function in the Seen World. What we see is interpreted by our minds and put inside our belief system, and this can become our reality. But there also exists an Unseen World. In this world we experience connectedness; we experience the mystery; and we experience another whole point of view. If we pay attention to both the Unseen World and the Seen World, our belief systems will print in our mind a new and wonderful reality. We will see and know we are a part of everything.
Great Spirit, today, give me the knowledge to know this mystery.
"Each person's prayers can help everyone."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
Prayer is our entrance into the Unseen World. It is by prayer we can call upon the powers and laws of the Great Spirit. The Spirit World has powers and laws that are different from the Physical World. The spiritual laws allow healing to take place; they allow forgiveness to occur; they cause miracles to happen; they cause hate to disappear; they heal broken relationships; they guide every moment of our lives; they allow us to love even when it's hard. Prayer allows us access to the Spirit World.
Creator, teach me to pray.
"The real meaning of life is your family, the love that you have, the respect, the traditional ways, and carrying on with them."-- Ethel Wilson, COWICHAN
The family is the seed of the future. The family is the key to the transfer of cultural information. We should really take a look at how we are looking at our families. Are we treating each family member with respect? Are we passing on the traditional ways? Are we teaching the old songs? Are we participating in the ceremonies? Are we showing the family members how to pray? Are we encouraging each family member to be spiritual? Think about these things today.
My Creator, today, let me show respect to each family member.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, April 22
"Each creature has a medicine, so there are many medicines. Because they are so close to the Creator, they are to communicate that medicine. Then they bring help and health."
--Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
The Elders say everything has a purpose and everything has a will. We should never interfere with purpose or the will of everything. Every plant, creature, animal, insect, and human being has a purpose to be here on the Earth. Each has a special medicine to contribute for the good of all things. Each person also has good medicine, a special talent, a special gift. These medicines are to help others or to help make us healthy. What is your special medicine?
Creator, today, help me discover and use my medicine to serve a greater good
"Conciliation is the key to survival. Peace is the goal."-- Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
When we make decisions or experience conflict we need to look at the greater whole. The end result we want to accomplish is peace of mind. If we keep this goal in mind, we will, overall, live a happy and fulfilling life. Everything in the world is constantly changing so we should not resist this change. A good question to ask ourselves is, "would I rather be right or happy?". If we would rather be happy, then it is easier to let the little things go. If we would rather be right, we tend to look for the WIN/LOSE.
Great Spirit, today, give me the tools to seek peace of mind.
"You must be prepared and know the reason why you dance."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
Inside every human being is a need to dance. We dance to music. Have you even wondered why people are moved when they hear an Indian Drum? The drum is the heartbeat of the Mother Earth. Every Indian dance is for a purpose and a reason. Every Song is for a reason. The beat of the drum makes our bodies, minds, and spirits join together in harmony. It allows us to connect to Mother Earth and to each other. The dance aligns our minds to think spiritual thoughts. Dancing to the drum is healthy.
Great Spirit, today, I dance to honor you.
"We all come from the same root, but the leaves are all different."-- John Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA
We all come from one Great Spirit but we are all different and unique. Nothing in the Great Creation has a twin that is identical. Even children that are twins are different. Every single person is extremely special and unique. Each person has a purpose and reason why they are on the Earth. Just like every leaf on a tree is different, each one is needed to make the tree look like it does. No leaf is better or worse than the other all leaves are of equal worth and belong on the tree. It is the same with human beings. We each belong here and do things that will affect the great whole.
Great Spirit, today, let me see myself as a valuable contributor to the whole.
"Our people don't come in parts. Either you are Indian, or you are not."-- Nippawanock, ARAPAHOE
We really need to take a look at how Indian People are talking about Indian People. We say there are Rez Indians, Traditional Indians, Urban Indians and Breeds. This type of thinking will keep us separated. An Indian is an Indian, a brother is a brother, a sister is a sister. We are all related. Today, let us respect ourselves and our people. Today, let me realize Indians are Indians.
Great Spirit, let me see the Unity of the People. Indians are Indians.
"Women know more about love than men do...Love is taking. Love is sharing. Love is learning things about each other."-- Mary Leitka, HOH
The Elders say Mother Earth shares Her special gifts of love with the Women. The Women know about bringing forth life and nurturing their offspring. Through this gift of love the Earth really makes the Woman special. Men should look upon the Woman with a Sacred Eye. She should be respected. The Woman is a role model for love. When the Woman talks, we should listen; when she shares, we should be grateful. We should all learn about each other.
Grandmother, teach me to love with the power of the Woman.
"But one should pray in one's heart during a sacred ceremony; this is the purpose of the ceremony, to purify the participants both inside and outside."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
How do you know if you are praying from your heart or from your head? Pray from your head and you will feel nothing; pray from your heart and you will feel feelings. You may feel sorrow, you may feel joy, you may want to cry, depending on what you are praying for. During the ceremony, the cleansing will take place. The Medicine Wheel teaches the four directions of inner power: emotional, mental, physical and spiritual. The prayer controls the emotional, mental and physical. When we ask for purification of our feelings, our mental mind and our physical body, the spiritual direction causes the cleansing to happen.
Great Spirit, create in me a clean heart.
"When people live far from the scenes of the Great Spirit's making, it's easy for them to forget his laws."-- Walking Buffalo, STONEY
Society today is way off track. Unfortunately, many Indian people are caught up in these modern times. The Elders are telling us we must wake up! We must come back to the culture because this is where His laws are. If we don't follow these laws, we will be unhappy. We cannot do things just because everybody is doing them. This does not make it right. We must follow what the Great Spirit says we must do. We need to pray hard for the courage to come back and live according to the culture. It will be difficult at first but worth it in the end. We must teach our children the culture.
Great Spirit, today, let me listen to the warnings of the Elders.
"The base of all things is love and respect."-- Vickie Downey, TEWA/Tesuque Pueblo
The greatest weapon of any Spiritual Warrior is love. Love will change minds; love will forgive; love will let go; love will cause good luck; love will heal; love will cry; love will get rid of resentments; love will overcome fear. Love loves love. Any human who is loving will be guaranteed respect. Respect loves love. We need to love and respect ourselves.
Grandmother, Grandfather, today, lead me on the path of love.
"Once you make a friend, a friend never leaves you, even to death. So a friend is really hard to find."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
Once, an Elder told me he made a decision to be my friend. He said this friendship wasn't based on my behavior or how I acted; he said the friendship was based on his decision. He decided to be my friend. This friendship has happened like he said. Even if I don't see him for a long time, or if I get mad at him, he has never changed his decision. This is true friendship.
Great Spirit, I'm glad you are this kind of Friend.
"Dissimilar things were fitted together to make something beautiful and whole."-- Nippawanock, ARAPAHOE
Sometimes we look at something close up and it appears to be ugly; but then we drop back and look at it as a whole and it is beautiful. If we look at an insect close up, it may be ugly, but if we drop back and look at the whole insect it becomes beautiful. We can drop back even more and observe what its role and purpose is, and the insect becomes even more beautiful and whole. How are we looking at ourselves? Are we focused on something ugly about ourselves, or are we dropping back and looking at ourselves as a whole? We all have purpose, and we are all beautiful.
Grandfather, today, let me see the beauty of the whole.
"Spiritual matters are difficult to explain because you must live with them in order to fully understand them."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
To know something we must become one with it. We cannot know what a flower smells like until we actually smell it. Close your eyes and experience the fragrance. The Elders say there are two worlds, the Seen World and the Unseen World. To experience the Seen World we need to physically pick the flower and smell it. To experience the Unseen World we need to know about principles, laws and values; and no matter what our mind or our physical senses tell us, we must decide and act on these principles. If someone does wrong to us, we must pray for that person or persons to have peace, happiness and joy in their life. We must not get even or retaliate in any way. Only by doing this can we understand spiritual matters.
Great Spirit, give me your power whenever my weakness shows so I can live by spiritual decisions.
"Together we can end the Holocaust against the environment."-- Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
We are all familiar with the Holocaust against the people. When this happens we feel bad and we vow never to let it happen again. We need to seriously examine what human beings are doing to the Earth and the environment. Many species are extinct and many more will become extinct during the next 10 years. We are methodically eliminating life that will never return again. Today, we should take time to pray real hard so we wake up before it is too late.
Great Spirit, today, I pray for us to awaken to what we are doing.
"Everything really is equal. The Creator doesn't look at me any better than He looks at the trees. We're all the same."-- Janice Sundown Hattet, SENECA
Sometimes humans think we are the center of the Universe. Sometimes we think we are above or better than other people or things. The Great Spirit made a set of Laws and Principles by which all things should live. Everybody and everything lives by the same Laws. We are all made of atoms just like the trees. The life force in the middle of the atom is the life force of the Great Mystery. It is the same for everything. We are all equal in the eyes of the Creator.
Great Spirit, today, I will respect your handiwork.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, April 8
"The very dust under your feet responds more lovingly to our footsteps than to yours, because it is the ashes of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch, for the soil is rich with the life of our kindred."
--Chief Seattle, SUQUAMISH
If you respect something, it will respect you back. If your ancestors respected something, the future generations will be respected back. The Indian ancestors always showed great respect for the Earth. That's why the Earth is so respectful to Indians today. Every Indian naturally feels connectedness to the Earth. We know the Earth holds our ancestors. If we continue to respect Mother Earth, our children will benefit and so will our grand- children. Today, we should think about and pray for our Mother Earth.
Grandmother, let me have strong feelings for our Earth today.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, April 7
"Women. They have the power of generations. Women have the power to have children and not to have children."
--Cecilia Mitchell, MOHAWK
The Woman is not only the key to life; she is also the key to future generations. An Elder once joked that the Woman only needs the man for one night. We need to look at and respect the power of the Woman. She is special and we need to treat her that way.
Great Spirit, today, let me show the greatest respect to our Women
"Everybody should pray together, cheer along, root along. That brings the circle together. Everything is together."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
Life on the Earth can sometimes be very complicated. Sometimes we think we are alone in our problems. Sometime we even withdraw. Then the problems become even more difficult. We need to watch out for one another, to care for one another, to pray together, to encourage one another; and we need to support one another. Behaving in this manner will bring the circle together.
Great Spirit, today, let me support my brothers and sisters.
"As we plunge ahead to build empires and race for supremacy we should stop and listen to [the female] song of life. For without the female there is no life."-- Oren R. Lyons, Spokesman, Traditional Circle of Elders
Women are created with the ability to produce life. Women have a special tie to the Earth Mother. They have something in common. They are the source of life. The Earth Mother gives songs to the Woman to sing. These songs are about life, about beauty, about children, about love, about family, about strength, about caring, about nurturing, about forgiveness, about God. The World needs to pay attention and listen to Her. She knows.
Great Spirit, let me listen to Her songs.
"You can pray for whatever you want, but it is always best to pray for others, not for yourself."-- John Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA
When you are selfish and you pray, you are requesting things to flow only to you. When you are selfless, you are praying for things to flow to others. The old ones say this is the highest form of prayer. Praying this way is according to the Natural Laws.
Great Spirit, today, let my thoughts be about others.
"We know that in all creation, only the human family has strayed from the Sacred Way."-- OJIBWA Prayer
How have we gotten so far off track? What has happened to us? What is happening to our family? How did it happen so quickly? Every individual needs to answer these questions for themselves. What do we need to do to start living the Sacred Way again? Pray! Today I will start praying. I pray the Creator will lead all Native People to a great healing. I pray we'll be free from alcohol and drugs. I pray we will return to the culture, to spirituality and to unity.
My Mother, help us to heal ourselves. Make us strong again.
"With children we always have to think about seven generations to come but yet unborn."-- Janice Sundown Hattet, SENECA
What we do today will effect the children seven generations form now. How we treat the Mother Earth will affect the children yet to be born. If we poison the water today, our children's children will be affected by the decision we made. Our children are the gateway to the future. Let us conscientiously think about the children and the seven generations to come.
My Creator, I thank you for my ancestors, seven generations ago.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - April 1
"People think other things are more important than prayer, but they are mistaken."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
An Elder once said the most important thing you can do in the course of a day is to pray. If we get up late or oversleep, which is more important? Rush to work without praying or pray first and then go to work? The Elders say it's more important to pray. If we get angry, should we act on our anger or should we pray first? The Elders say it's more important to pray first. If, during the day, we face indecision, what should we do? PRAY. If, during the day, we become irritated or we experience fear, what should we do first? PRAY. The Warrior who prays first will lead a different life from those who pray last.
Great Spirit, teach me to pray first!
"The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man's heart away from nature becomes hard; he knew the lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to a lack of respect for humans too. So he kept his youth close to its softening influence."-- Luther Standing Bear, OGLALA SIOUX
When we live in nature it's like constantly being in school. We are in an environment that is always teaching. We are constantly being reminded hat there are laws, Natural Laws, which are running the universe. Once we know these laws and we drift from them, we start to live our lives in a different way. Soon we become discontent, selfish, and disrespectful. Then, we get in trouble. If our lives have become this way, it can be reversed by going back to nature to be among our teachers.
Great Spirit, teach men, again, the Natural Laws.
"If anyone has children, they better teach their children to follow the traditions that we're leaving behind because it is later than we think with all that's going on."-- Juanita Centeno, CHUMASH
The habits, attitudes, and beliefs that carry the human through the trials of life are developed at a very young age. If we are taught respect at a very young age, the odds are we'll be respectful throughout our whole lives. If we are taught to dance at a young age, we'll dance our whole lives. If we are taught to sing the traditional songs while we are young, we'll sing those songs throughout our whole lives. And who do we drum and sing songs to? Our children. This is how we keep it going.
Great Spirit, today, teach me to teach the children.
"Tell the people not to cry. Tell them to be happy."-- John Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA (told to his son, Archie, as he died)
Our Elders know about the two Worlds, the Physical World and the Spiritual World. Many times, before we pass to the Spirit World, our relatives, who have gone there before us, will come for us and they will help us. The Spirit World, the Elders say, is a good, happy, and harmonious place. When we die, it means we have only entered another world. We will all see one another again.
Great Spirit, allow me to understand both the Spirit World and the Physical World. Today, let me be happy.
"Sacred sites and areas are protection for all people the four colors for man and these sites are in all areas of the earth in the four directions."-- Traditional Circle of Elders, NORTHERN CHEYENNE
The Elders say that values come from the Mother Earth. Different places and areas around the Earth have different values. The Water people live in harmony and know the values that correspond to that particular part of the Earth. The Desert people know the values of the desert and respect and live in harmony with that part of the Earth. The Woodland people know the values of their part of the Earth and live in harmony. If you live in harmony with the Earth, you will live a life that is full of values. We should have great respect for the Mother Earth.
Grandfather, today, let me learn values from Mother Earth.
"...you have to believe it first. Not wait until you see it first, then touch it, then believe it...You have to say it from the heart."-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
We are designed to function from faith. First we pray. Then we use our imagination to create a vision or picture in our mind. We surround this mental picture with our emotions or feelings. These feelings are available when we ask or say it from the heart. The combination of the mental picture and asking from the heart to create the emotions will cause us to believe it. Then we just need to wait. We need to believe as though it is already done.
Great Spirit, remove from me any doubt that comes up today.
"In our modern world today, we may seem like drowning men because of the loss of much of our spiritual tradition."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
Our spiritual tradition shows us the way to live in harmony, balance and respect. The tradition taught us how to behave and how to conduct ourselves. The spiritual way taught us to pray and to purify ourselves. Handed down from generation to generation were the teachings about a way of life. Our relationship to Mother Earth and to each other was very clear. The Modern World does not relate to spirituality but to materialism. If we do not allow spirituality to guide our lives, we will be lost, unhappy and without direction. We are spiritual beings trying to be human, not human beings trying to be spiritual. It is said, Know thyself.
Grandfather, lead me to spirituality.
"Come forward and join hands with us in this great work for the Creator."-- Traditional Circle of Elders, NORTHERN CHEYENNE
The Elders have spent years learning to pray and communicate with the Great Spirit. Their job is to pass this knowledge to the younger people. The Elders have told us we are now in a great time of Healing. The Creator is guiding the younger people to help them figure this out. We must get involved and participate. We should pray and see what it is the Great Spirit wants us to do. We need to sacrifice our time and do what is our mission to help the people and be of maximum use to the Creator. Every person is needed to accomplish this great Healing.
Creator, whisper what you want me to do.
Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors; the dreams of our old men, given them in the solemn hours of night by the Great Spirit; and the visions of our sachems, and is written in the hearts of our people.-- Chief Seattle, SUQUAMISH
Our Spiritual ways have carefully been given to chosen people. Slowly, through our past generations, through past conflicts, our Elders prayed for guidance, which the Creator provided. Then it was passed down to the next generation through culture, ceremony and oral traditions. Our Indian religion has been tested and is about how we should behave and treat other people, animals and the earth. This knowledge is written in the heart of every person. We can find this knowledge by looking inside ourselves.
My Creator, today, when conflict occurs, I will look inside myself for the answers.
"We must relearn how to cry. A strong man cries; it is the weak man who holds back his tears."-- Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA
Indian men and other men should really meditate on this Elder's saying. So many men have been taught it is unmanly to cry, to show emotions or to feel. When people cry, the Elders say there are two types of tears one type will taste salty; the other type will taste sweet. One is caused by pain, and the other is caused by the release from the pain, or joy tears. A strong man knows himself and knows his relationship with the Great Spirit. The release of tears is a spiritual act. Our bodies are designed to cry. We should honor our bodies and use them as the Creator intended.
Great Spirit, Grandfather, today, teach me to cry.
"Everything's so simple, and we make everything so complicated. That's why we're confused."-- Vickie Downey, TEWA/Tesuque Pueblo
The Creator designed a very simple set of Laws for us to follow. If we follow these simple things, we'll be happy. If we don't follow these simple things, our lives become complicated. For example:
- Respect Mother Earth
- Love one another
- Be truthful
- Give to your brother and sisters
- Be gentle with each other
- Be happy
Following these simple Laws will have great rewards.
Great Spirit, let me lead a simple life.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - March 21
"The manner with which we walk through life is each man's most important responsibility, and we should remember this with every new sunrise."-- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
Every spiritual person should carry a vision of God's will in every area of their life. One day at a time, each morning at sunrise, we should spend time praying to the Creator. We should say something like, my Creator, this morning I ask you to show me, in terms I can understand, what you have for me to do. By doing this daily, over time, we will develop an unquestionable vision. Each person is responsible for taking the time to do this. It will bring great joy and peace of mind to those warriors who do.
My Creator, give me the vision, today, of what you want me to do.
"You have wandered away from your teachings. You must concentrate on your spiritual teachings...Don't be sidetracked."-- Henry Quick Bear, LAKOTA
Why are the Elders always telling us to know The culture and listen to the teachings? When we go off track, why do the Elders say, return to the teachings? The teachings tell us how to live in harmony with the Laws and principles of the Great Spirit. Living means life a good life, a happy life. Many of us have grown up without the teachings and the culture, that is why we don't know how to live. To improve on relationships, to treat our children with honor, and to respect our Elders, we need to live by the old teachings again.
Great Spirit, today, show me how to live.
"There's a deep wound in people - that they have been so cut off from the source of their being, their mother, their Earth Mother."-- Francis Story Talbott II (Medicine Story), WAMPANOAG
When we are connected to the Earth Mother, or when we are clear on our purpose, we will feel connected and safe. We will feel love. When we are disconnected from the Earth Mother, or we don't know who we are or why we are, we will feel pain. It will be similar to a little child who has lost its Mother. We will hurt insid - we will be wounded within. If this happens to the whole community, the people will be very sad and lost. It will seem like there is death in the air. When this happens, it is time for ceremony and reconnection to God and Mother Earth. This is the time of prayer.
Great Mystery, today, help me to stay connected to the Earth and to You, my Creator.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, March 18
"The sacred fire used to heat the rocks represents the eternal fire that burns at the center of the universe."
--Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA
Our Sweat Lodge represents the womb of Mother Earth. This is the place of forgiveness. The altar is the place where the Grandfathers are heated. The Sweat Lodge and the altar represent the whole story of the universe. The Sweat Lodge and the ceremonies are sacred. The Great Spirit gave these things to us to help us. He taught us to do the ceremonies in harmony with Mother Earth. We need to know and understand these things.
Great Spirit, let me understand harmony.
"By listening to the inner self and following one's instincts and intuitions, a person may be guided to safety."-- Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA
Be still and know. The Medicine Wheel teaches the four directions of inner power - not personal power, but the power of God. These four directions are emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual. As our emotions get too far out of control, we simultaneously create an equivalent mental picture, our physical body fills with stress and tension, and we become spiritually confused. When we experience these uptight feelings, the best thing to do is mentally pause, slow down our thinking, breathe slowly, or pray and ask the spirits to help. Only when we approach the stillness of the mind do we get access to our spiritual guidance system. To be guided, let your mind be still.
Creator, today, let me reside in Your stillness.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, March 16
"Each of us must know in our minds and believe in our hearts that even though we are different, you are like me and I am like you."
--Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
One of the definitions of humility is having an awareness of one's own character defects. To recognize and acknowledge that one has imperfections is being humble. We should never pray for ourselves unless by doing so it would help another person. To have self-importance puts self first and this is not humble. We each have strengths and we each have weaknesses. Both the strengths and weaknesses are sacred. Life is sacred. We learn sacred things from weaknesses also. Therefore, all lives are developed through trial and error, strength and weakness, ups and downs, gains and losses - all of these are part of life and life is sacred.
Great Mystery, let me see and know about the sacredness of life.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, March 15
"We were taught generosity to the poor and reverence for the Great Mystery. Religion was the basis of all Indian training."
--Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa), SANTEE SIOUX
Every Indian knows and has a feeling inside that, bottom line, our real purpose on earth is to be of service to our fellow man and to be of maximum service to the Great Spirit. The Creator designed the earth to be self supporting - everything is interconnected and all things were created to be of service to each other. The Indian way is to pray about all things. Religion is not separate from any part of our lives. Everything is spiritual and we are to view all matters in this way. Family is spiritual, work is spiritual, helping others is spiritual, our bodies are spiritual, our talk is spiritual, our thoughts are spiritual. We need to practice seeing all things as spiritual.
Great Spirit, today let me help the needy and allow me the wisdom to have respect and reverence for Your teachings.
"The concept that we are all related is one of the basic philosophies of D/Lakota religion."-- Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA
The Medicine Wheel teaches the four directions of the races, Red people, Yellow people, Black people and White people. These four directions are symbolic of all races. Everything in the circle is connected and related. All races are brothers and sisters. If we are related to each other, then it is important to love one another as brother and sister, aunt and uncle, Fathers and Mothers, Grandfathers and Grandmothers. We need to care for each other and especially respect each other. We need to honor one another's differences whether that difference is the color of our skin or our opinions. We should respect differences.
My Creator, let me feel the connectedness to all things. Let me know the lessons I need to learn today. Above all, let me feel my connectedness to You.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, March 13
"I went to a holy man and asked him for help. He told me to get on the Red Road. Pray to Wakan-Tanka (Great Spirit) to help you walk the Red Road."
--Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA
All Indian traditions, customs and ceremonies help us answer three questions: who am I?, why am I?, and where am I going? Only on the Red Road can we find the answer to these three questions. When we can answer these three questions, we are on the Red Road. When we cannot, we have gone astray. That is why the Holy Men tell us to pray to the Great Spirit and to seek the Red Road. Why am I? My purpose is the serve the Great Spirit. Who am I? I am an Indian who walks the Red Road. Where am I going? My vision is to serve my people.
Great Spirit, when I know You, only then do I know me. Help me today to know You.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, March 12
"The old people say, `Learn from your mistakes'. So I try to accept everything for what it is and to make the best of each situation one day at a time."
--Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA
The Creator did not design us to beat ourselves up when we make mistakes. Mistakes are our friends. It is from mistakes that we learn. The more mistakes we learn from, the faster we gain wisdom. The faster we gain wisdom, the more we love. The more we love, the fewer our mistakes. Therefore, mistakes help us to learn love. God is love. Mistakes are sacred and help us learn about God's will for ourselves.
Great Spirit, help me, today, to learn from my mistakes.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, March 11
"The symbol of wholeness, represented by the medicine wheel, is still being used in D/Lakota ceremonies today. The center where the "X" crosses is considered the home of Tunkasila, Wakan-Tanka, God. I speculated, `If this is the symbol of wholeness, the symbol of the psyche, with Wakan-Tanka at the center, then Wakan-Tanka or God would be within you.'"
--Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA
The Medicine Wheel represents everything. All the directions originate from the center outward. The center is the home of the Creator. The Medicine Wheel represents the human being. At our center is the home of the Great Spirit. This is why we are spiritual. The easiest way for us to find God and talk to Him, is for us to become centered. This means, relax our bodies, still our minds, let go of our emotions and listen quietly. Shhh. Be still.
My Creator, let me walk in the stillness today.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, March 10
"I know Grandpa told me that to smoke is wakan (holy). The smoke you inhale represents the spirits of everything you put into the pipe. When you breathe in the smoke, you are asking to become one with everything or to become whole." --Dr. A.C. Ross (Enhanamani), LAKOTA
The smoke allows us to go from the Seen World to the Spirit World. It is in the Spirit World where we are all connected. In this way, we can become one with all things. Our pipe is sacred. We need to be respectful of our medicine. When we smoke the pipe, we need to have good thoughts because these thoughts are shared with the Spirit World. The pipe, the smoke, the spirits, our thoughts - these things are Wakan.
Great Spirit, today, let my thoughts be Wakan.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, March 9
"In the life of the Indian there was only one inevitable duty, the duty of prayer, the daily recognition of the Unseen and Eternal. His daily devotions were more necessary to him than daily food."
--Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa), SANTEE SIOUX
The most important habit one can develop is the daily act of prayer. Prayer is our eyes, our ears, our feelings, our success, our guidance, our life, our duty, our goal. There really is only prayer and meditation. We can only help others through prayer. We can only help ourselves through prayer. You can never become an Elder unless you pray. You can never stay an Elder unless you pray. You never get wisdom unless you pray. You never understand unless you pray.
Great Spirit, today, teach me to pray.
"Balance is implicit in the Red Road. When you're on the Red Road, you are in the center. Yet, you do not go to either extreme, and you allow both sides to exist. This is accomplished by continually postponing surrendering to temptation, whatever it may be. It is saying `later' instead of `no.'"-- Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA
The Sacred Path of life has a middle, a left side, and a right side. As human beings, we are designed to walk this middle path as much as we can. As we walk, we will stray to the left and to the right and come back to the middle. Straying to the left or right side is as sacred as being in the middle. Sometimes we call this straying our mistakes. We are designed by the Creator to walk the Sacred Path of life, and realize that our mistakes are the source of lessons. These lessons give us our wisdom. It is not wrong that we are tempted. What matters is what we do with the temptation.
Great Spirit, today, let me enjoy the Sacred Path of Life.
"We are responsible for the condition of the Earth. We are the ones who are responsible and we can change that. If we wake up, it is possible to change the energy. It is possible to change everything."-- Hunbatz Men, MAYAN
The environment we want outside will be created by the mental pictures we have inside our heads. We must have the right environmental picture as well as the right values. These values will give the mental picture its true meaning. If we respected Mother Earth, we would not throw garbage on Her, nor would we put poison in Her. We would not misuse Her in any way. Mother Earth is like She is today because of the mental pictures of previous generations as well as the mental pictures of our own generation. If we want the environment to change, each individual must change their mental picture. "As within, so without."
Great Spirit, today, let me be alert to Your guiding voice.
"And there are Four Corners of the Earth that we talk about, the Four Colors of people, and the Four Winds. You see the winds - they are spirits."-- Grandfather William Commanda, ALGONQUIN
The Elders teach us about the four directions. If we learn about direction, we also learn about attention, about focus, and about power. Each direction has spiritual power. In the morning, go outside, face the east and get still; then, listen to your thoughts. After you have done this for a while, turn and face the west. Get quiet once again and listen to your thoughts. Did your thinking change when you changed direction?
Great Spirit, teach me the power of the four directions.
"I have always searched for my place and my people."-- Wendy Rose, HOPI/MIWOK
For every human being to feel connected, we must have the feeling of belonging. That is one of the values and benefits of a culture: it creates the feeling of belonging. If for some reason, while you were growing up, you did not develop the feeling of belonging, a search will be triggered and a restlessness will be present in your heart. You will have a hole inside you, something missing, until you find your place and your people. Remember, we can get this feeling of belonging when we realize we belong to the Great Spirit and that He really loves us a lot.
My Creator, today, I belong to You. Let me feel Your presence. Thank You.
"My father told me that Hopi earth does contain my roots and I am, indeed, from that land. Because my roots are there, I will find them."-- Wendy Rose, HOPI/MIWOK
Everything that comes from the earth will return to the earth. We should be able to realize the connectedness to the earth. We should be able to feel toward Her just like She is our real Mother. We can easily feel this connectedness if we can answer these three questions: why am I?, who am I?, and where am I going? If we cannot answer these questions, then perhaps we need to talk to the Elders. Go to the Elders and ask, "Grandfather, why am I?; Grandmother, who am I?; Oh Great One, where am I supposed to go?" The Elders will help us with these three questions.
Grandfather, help me to stay centered today.
"For me writing has become prayers that say, `Great Spirit, return to us our freedom, our land, and our lives. We are thankful for the present from which we learn how to be thankful for the past, and how to be hopeful for the future."-- Barney Bush, SHAWNEE
We Native people have really been tested. This testing is having our land taken from us, our culture challenged, and our way of living altered. Gratefully, we have not lost our spirituality. Our spirituality has been the key for our people making it through all of these tests. Our prayers are strong. Indian people have also been able to adjust to change and still keep their culture and spirituality. Today, we should be grateful to the Creator for the present and for the lessons of the past. May our future be guided by the Great Spirit.
Great Spirit, thank You for Mother Earth and Father Sky. Thank You for my life.
"The voice and the heart are not working together."-- Barney Bush, SHAWNEE
We can say any words we want with our voice but we cannot hide the true meaning and the true spirit behind the words. The true meaning is always understood. The voice is heard in the physical world, but the meaning is transmitted in the spiritual world. If our voice says one thing but the heart is saying something else, it's the something else that is heard. It is said that the truth will set you free. Reaching the truth means your voice and your words will be in alignment with the heart.
Great Spirit, let my tongue, speak the truth today.
"The beginning is purification, that's the first step. And purification means purification of body and mind. You don't purify the body without cleansing the mind; that's the way it works."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
If we have bad thoughts or poison in our minds, they will eventually show up in our bodies in the form of headaches, pains, and stomach problems. It works this way because we are interconnected. Our minds and our bodies are one system. So when we start to grow, or commit to the Red Road, we need to start cleaning up our thoughts and start showing respect for our bodies. We start purifying our minds by prayer and meditation, and we start cleansing our bodies by getting the right amount of sleep and developing good eating habits. Today, I'm going to observe my thoughts. Will my thoughts be clean today?
Great Spirit, let me focus on Your love today so my mind will be pure.
"Ultimately, nature will do the teaching."-- Tom Porter, MOHAWK
There are things man has control over, and there are things man does not have control over. No matter how smart we get, whether it be in technology or science, there are things we will never control. The Great Spirit carefully protected and hid the control over certain things in the Unseen World. There are forces in the Unseen World that make sure humans don't mess things up. The bottom line is, no matter what we do, nature will have the last say. Nature is the teacher, we are the students. May we honor and respect our teacher.
Great Spirit, today, help me to live in harmony with people, principles, and life.
"The Old Ones have always said that no matter who despises or ignores you, no matter who keeps you from entering their circles, it is right to pray for them because the are like us, too."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
You don't know how an apple tastes until you taste it. You don't know what a fish tastes like until you eat it. You don't know how it is to be a woman unless you are one. You don't know what it means to have a baby until you have one. So it is with the natural laws. An example: the natural law of forgiveness says, if you hate someone, pray for the person to be blessed with happiness, joy and all the blessings of the Great Spirit. You will not know about this law unless you do it. The natural law says love others as you love yourself. If you hate yourself or feel guilt in some area of yourself, you will tend to judge and condemn your neighbor. You cannot give away what you don't have. You teach your children by your example, not by your words. The natural laws are written in our hearts.
Great Spirit, teach me how to look into my heart.
"The Great Spirit is the one that's looking after us."-- Jimmy Jackson, OJIBWAY
The only place our minds can find peace is when our focus is on the Creator. Daily we need to ask the Creator to direct our thinking. When we look at our brothers and sisters, we need to see the Creator in them. When we look at the trees, plants and the animals, we need to realize the Creator is within us. Our attention needs to be on the Creator. When we work, we do it for the Creator. When we are troubled, we need to pray to the Creator. When we are happy and joyful, we need to realize we are feeling the presence of the Creator. Thinking God thoughts will produce peace.
Oh Great Mystery, let me focus on You today.
"The Creator was responsible for the existence of everything, a part of the Creator's spirit exists in everything and thus all things are connected."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
The Creator designed nature, people, and all things as an interconnected system. Everything is connected to each other. This connection exists in the Unseen World. The same way our body parts are all port of the body - the parts are separate but also connected. If a part of our body is in pain, the rest of the body recognizes this pain as its own. In other words, the pain of one is the pain of all. This is also true of every interconnected system. Because we are connected, we should respect and take care of our Earth and each other.
Great Spirit, let me treat everyone, today, as if they were You.
"But each of us must find out for himself or herself what their gift is, so that they can use it in their life."-- Jimmy Jackson, OJIBWAY
The old people say, everyone has a song to sing. This song is the reason we are on this earth. When we are doing what we came on this earth to do, we know true happiness. How will we know our song? Pray. Ask the Great Mystery, "What is it you want me to do during my stay on earth?" Ask. He will tell you. He will even help you develop yourself to accomplish His mission.
Great Spirit, help me find my song and let me sing it.
"We've got to learn what's going on today in the world, and we've got to get an education so we can survive."-- Jimmy Jackson, OJIBWA
Indian people have the ability to adapt. In these modern times, we Native people must walk two roads. We must get educated so our people don't lose. We need lawyers, doctors, nurses, foresters, scientists, educators, carpenters, welders. These skills are needed to help the people. While we are learning we need to remember to keep our culture, learn our dances, sing our songs, learn to speak our own language and maintain our culture for future generations.
Great Spirit, let my education never lack the meaning and value of Indian spirituality.
"In the Indian way, we are connected to that flower if we understand its spirit, the essence of its life."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
Everything on our Earth is alive. Every rock, every plant, every animal, every tree, every bird, every thought is alive. This is true because everything is made by the Great Spirit and the Great Spirit is alive. We need to slow our lives down each day and realize, consciously, that this is true. First we need to realize it, second, we need to acknowledge it, third, we need to appreciate it and, finally, we need to go on.
Great Spirit, let me see life through Your eyes. Today let me be alive.
"Every thing or living being that exists in this world, be it trees, flowers, birds, grasses, rocks, soil of the earth, or human beings, has its unique manner of existence - its essence, its spirit that makes it what it is. That is what is meant by connectedness."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
Scientists are finally realizing what the Elders have taught for thousands of years - everything is connected. Because everything is interconnected, whatever you do to any one thing, you do to everything. If you poison any part of the earth, the poison eventually affects everything else. If you poison the plants, the birds will eat the plants, which poisons the birds. The birds are eaten by humans which poisons the humans. The humans will have babies who could be deformed because the plants were poisoned. We must learn to live in harmony with the earth. We must learn to think good things. Every good thought is felt by everything, which causes everything to be happy.
Creator, let my thoughts only be good thoughts.
"When a community does something together, that community is very happy, jovial, connected, and unified."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
The Indian People have always been able to adapt. If the hunting changed, we found new hunting grounds. If the earth changed, we moved to a better place. If the river changed course, we followed the river. But with every change, we kept our Indianness and spirituality. Our culture and spirituality have always been our strength. Our culture and spirituality taught us to live in harmony. We must change with the times, but we must maintain our culture and spirituality, always living in harmony.
Great Spirit, You have taught us to survive. Let me always maintain my Indianness.
The Old Man said,`you are both ugly and handsome and you must accept your ugliness as well as your handsomeness in order to really accept yourself."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
My Grandfather told me one time that any person who is judgmental to another is also judgmental to themselves. If we want to be free of being judgmental, we need to first work on how judgmental we are to ourselves. If we quit judging ourselves and start accepting ourselves as we are, we will start accepting others as they are. Then we will experience a level of new freedom.
Great Spirit, let me accept myself as I am - honoring both my strengths and my weaknesses.
"Laughter is a necessity in life that does not cost much, and the Old Ones say that one of the greatest healing powers in our life is the ability to laugh."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
Laughter is a good stress eliminator. Laughter causes healing powers to be distributed through our bodies. Laughter helps heal relationships that are having problems. Laughter can change other people. aughter can heal the sick. Laughter is spiritual. One of the greatest gifts among Indian people has been our ability to laugh. Humor is natural to Indian people. Sometimes the only thing left to do is laugh.
Great Spirit, allow me to laugh when times get tough.
"Silence and self-control permeate the entirety of our lives."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
The Creator gave us all the Red Road and on this Red Road we are required to think and act in a spiritual way. To make sure I conduct myself according to the Red Road, I must make sure I develop my self discipline. Self control works best when we pray for the courage and power to do the will of the Great Spirit. We are here on the earth to do the will of the Great Spirit. Sometimes, we must battle ourselves to do this.
Great Spirit, help me to have my self- control guided by spiritual ways.
"Because woman lives so close to our first mother, the Earth, she emanates the strength and harmonious nature of all things."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
At an Elders gathering, held in July 1991, we were told the Indian woman would play an instrumental part in leading the healing of Indian nations. The old people said we were to look up to her in a sacred manner. They said the Earth Mother would give the woman special gifts of love. The woman and the Earth Mother are connected in a special way. Women should pay attention to the lessons coming from the earth. Men should treat the women with respect, dignity and honor.
Grandfather, Grandmother, give the Indian woman Your strength to heal our earth.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, February 15
"One of the essential characteristics we need to learn as men was to be gentle, and to be gentle means to be serene, to enter meditation or a prayerful state in the morning and evening."
--Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
The most important talk we can do during any day, is to start the day with prayer and meditation. We need to ask the Creator to be in our lives. We ask Him to direct our thinking. We ask Him for the courage and the power to be gentle. In the morning quiet time, we make our request for guidance using our spiritual tools. We pray for the people and we pray for ourselves. In the evening we thank the Creator for the day, for the lessons and for the opportunity to be of service to others. Then we go to sleep.
Great Spirit, today, show me the power of being gentle.
"Sometimes, life is very simple, but it is we two-leggeds, we who are thought to be smart that make it complicated."-- Larry P. Aitkin, CHIPPEWA
Sometimes it may take years for us to find out what we are really after - it is to be happy. The Elders say, lead a simple life. This doesn't necessarily mean poor, it means simple. There are some things that makes life complicated such as needing control, needing power or being resentful or angry. These things make complications happen. We need to walk in balance in every area of our lives.
Great Spirit, let me lead a simple life.
"I wanted to feel, smell, hear and see, but not see with my eyes and my mind only. I wanted to see with CANTE ISTA - the eye of the heart."-- Lame Deer, LAKOTA
Why is it that some people seem to have peace of mind every day? How do some people remain so darn positive? How do you stay positive if you work or live in a negative environment? How is it that two people can observe the same difficult situation, but one person is upset about it, and other isn't? Two people experiencing the same situation react entirely different. If each morning we ask the Creator to allow us to see with His understanding and with His love, we will open a new way of "seeing". This eye of the heart is a free gift given to us if we ask for it in prayer each day.
Grandfather, allow me to see the world and all things You have made through "the eye of my heart."
".the spirit still has something for us to discover - an herb, a sprig, a flower - a very small flower, maybe you can spend a long time in its contemplation, thinking about it."-- Lame Deer, LAKOTA
The world today is about hurry up! Get there faster! Work harder, produce more, hurry up, eat quickly, be on time, don't get stressed- headaches, conflict, drink to calm down, go to training on stress management, time management - STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! Go spend 5 minutes with a flower or a plant. Look at it - think about it - look at its beauty, smell it, close your eyes and smell it again. Touch it; touch with your eyes closed. Listen to it; listen to it with your eyed closed. Slow your mind down. Think about the little things. Now close your eyes and pray.
Great Spirit, this feeling of calmness that I have, let me have it all day long.
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.
"The ground on which we stand is sacred ground. It is the dust and blood of our ancestors."-- Plenty Coups, CROW
Mother Earth is the source of life and the place all life returns to. She gives us life. She feeds us through our journey and she waits for us to return to her. The Indian way is to recognize the earth as the place of our ancestors. That is why certain places on earth are considered sacred areas and sacred land; this is the place of our ancestors. We all need to reflect upon the earth, the place where our ancestors lived. We need to have love and respect for the earth.
My Creator, let me honor the place of our ancestors, Mother Earth.
"It can be 100 degrees in the shade one afternoon and suddenly there comes a storm with hailstones as big as golf balls, the prairie is all white and your teeth chatter. That's good - a reminder that you are just a small particle of nature, not so powerful as you think."-- Lame Deer, LAKOTA
No event, no relationship, no joy, no sadness, no situation ever stays the same. Every setback is only temporary. Even setbacks change. Why? Because the Great Spirit designed the world to be constantly changing. We are not the center of the universe, we are but a small part. The whole is constantly changing, and we as humans are constantly participating in the change. We have two choices, to resist change or participate in the change. Every change can be resisted, and every change can be made in cooperation. What will I choose today, resistance or cooperation?
Great Spirit, teach me to make cooperative changes.
"No individual or group can block another individual's path or change it against what fits his nature and his purpose. It might be done for a time, but in the end it won't work out."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
Every person is born for a purpose. We may know our purpose very early in our lives, or it may take us some time. Very often we need to experience many things before our purpose is clear to us. Sometimes we pick our goals to please others. Sometimes others pick our goals to make themselves happy. Often this makes us unhappy. We need to pray to the Creator and ask Him what our purpose is. When we live outside our purpose, our path is full of obstacles. When we live inside our purpose, our path is smooth. When we are aligned to our purpose, we are happy and content.
Great Spirit, whisper to me, in terms I can understand, what You would have me do and I will do it.
"I can tell you that understanding begins with love and respect. It begins with respect for the Great Spirit. All things - and I mean ALL things - have their own will and their own way and their own purpose; this is what is to be respected."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
Everything on earth has a purpose and is designed special. No two things are created identical. Sometimes in our minds we have a picture of how things should be, and often what we see is different from what they really are. When this happens we often want to control how things are, making them act or behave according to our picture. We need to leave things alone. God is running all things. How do we do this? In our minds we tell ourselves to love all things and respect all things just as they are. Accept what we cannot change.
Great Spirit, teach me the value of respect and help me to accept people, places and things just as they are.
"We hold on to our otuhan, our give-aways, because they help us to remain Indians."-- Lame Deer, LAKOTA
Our traditional communities and villages function on interdependence. Share the deer and give freely of what you have to another. Another way to express this principle is, it's better to give than to receive. To share what you have eliminates complexity. The Elders say, live a simple life. One of the principles in the Unseen World is, the more you give, the more you get. You can become a channel for abundance for your family, tribe, or community. A giving person sets up a flow or replacement. Whatever you share will be returned to you in an amount equal or greater. The Indian way is for everyone to give to another, thus the community wins.
Great Spirit, today, teach me the principle of giving. Let me be Your channel of abundance.
"Let the person I serve express his thanks according to his own bringing up and his sense of humor."-- Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa), SANTEE SIOUX
"It is better to give than receive." But it doesn't really matter if we are giving or receiving. There is an identical feeling associated with both. We get this feeling every time we receive. We can't control when we receive gifts but we can control when we give gifts. Therefore, the more we give, the better we feel. When we are given gifts, or someone does something for us, it is the Indian way to honor this person.
Great Spirit, let me honor and be respectful to those who are good to me today.
"We say there is a right time and place for everything. It's easy to say, but hard to understand. You have to live it to understand it."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
The Elders tell us there is a right time and a right place. Don't plant seeds in the fall - wrong time. One way we find out about the right time and right place is our experience. If we are lucky, we have a few friends who will share their experience; this will help us too. The best way is to let God guide us. Only He knows the right time and the right place. So we need to pray and ask Him for guidance.
Great Spirit, show me patience so I can live in the right time and right place.
"It's very hard to do things in the right manner, but as long as we do things right, we are in turn with the Great Spirit."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
When we are right with the Great Spirit, we are right with all things. It is impossible to be out of harmony with anything or anybody when we are in harmony with the Great One. So, if during the day a problem crops up and someone makes us mad, the best thing we can do is talk to the Creator first, ask for His help, then continue our conversation with the other person. In this way, our emotional nature will keep aligned with our thoughts, and we will always stay right with the Great Spirit.
Great Spirit, I ask You to guide me on the Red Road today.
"Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood and so it is everything where power moves."-- Black Elk (Hehaka sapa), OGLALA SIOUX
In these modern times it is difficult to understand why we should think circles and seasons. People and society are always moving, through distance, over yonder, going here and going there - hurry up, grow up, be successful, climb the ladder of success, etc. The Elders tell us to slow down, to be patient, pray and think circles. Circle thinking applies to relationships, business and every area of our lives. We need to teach our awareness to look for seasons and cycles.
My Creator, teach me the seasons of growth.
"You can't just sit down and talk about the truth. It doesn't work that way. You have to live it and be part of it and you might get to know it."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
We all read books that have much information in them. Often we pick up on little sayings that we remember. Inside of us is the little owl, the owl of knowing. It talks to us - guiding us and nurturing us. Often when we get information, it's hard to live by, but it's easy to talk about. It's living the Red Road that counts - Walk the Talk. If we really want freedom in our lives, if we really want to be happy, if we really want to have peace of mind, it's the truth we must seek.
My Creator, help me in my search for the truth today.
"In sharing, in loving all and everything, one people naturally found a due portion of the thing they sought, while in fearing, the other found need of conquest."-- Chief Luther Standing Bear, SIOUX
There are two systems of thought that are available for us to choose from. One is the love-thought system and the other is the fear- thought system. If we choose love, we will see the laws, principles and values of the Creator. If we choose fear, the results will be so paralyzing that it will cause us to take over and not rely on the Great Spirit. The fear-thought system will automatically cause attack, conflict, need to control over others. The love-thought system seeks peace of mind, unity and causes us to be love seekers.
Great Spirit, today let me see only love.
"Bright days and dark days were both expressions of the Great Mystery, and the Indian reveled in being close to the Great Holiness."-- Chief Luther Standing Bear, SIOUX
The Great Spirit created a world of harmony, a world of justice, a world that is interconnected, a balanced world that has positive and negative, this way and that way, up and down, man and woman, boy and girl, honest and dishonest, responsible and irresponsible, day and night. In other words, He created a polarity system. Both sides are to be respected. Both sides or anything are sacred. We need to do good and we need to learn from our mistakes. We need to honor what takes place in the daytime and we need to honor what takes place in the nighttime. We learn that we need to learn and we see what we are supposed to see by staying close to the Great Spirit. We need to be talking to Him all the time, saying "Grandfather, what is it you want me to learn?"
Great Spirit, let me learn today that all things are sacred. Help me stay close to You, my Creator.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - January 29
"We grieve more because we have been disconnected from our earth, our first Mother, our spiritual Mother." -- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
Where does all life come from? The Earth. Where does everything return to? The Earth. Where do values come from? The Earth. Many people are lost because they don't know the importance of connection to the Earth. They connect to money, to relationships, to success, to goals. When we are disconnected from the Earth, we have feelings of being sad or lost. When we are connected to the Earth, we feel warm and secure.
Great Spirit, help me to stay connected to the Mother Earth.
"We call it the `sacred' red road because it is the road that will lead us to living the good life, an honest and healthy life."-- Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
The Red Road is the path we walk on when we want a direct relationship with the Great Spirit. This requires sacrifice. This requires us to have our beliefs tested. To walk this path is really an honor. The returns for doing so are exciting, not only for ourselves but for the effect that will be felt for three generations. This means your children will see the benefits as well as your grandchildren. Do I want to walk this sacred road?
Great Spirit, guide myself and my family on the Red Road.
"The journey to the Spirit World is a long one, my friend. But when you die, that doesnt mean that this is the end."-- Buddy Red Bow, LAKOTA
The Elders tell us of the other dimension, the Spirit World. Our spirit in our bodies does not die, it only looks that way to our eyes and our brains. Some of our ceremonies allow us to see into the Spirit World. Death is only part of a process of life. It shows the transition into the Spirit World. The Elders tell us this is a joyful life journey.
My Creator, help me to understand both the seen world and the unseen world. Let me not be afraid of the world You live in.
"All life is a circle."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
The atom is a circle, orbits are circles, the earth, moon, and sun are circles. The seasons are circles. The cycle of life is a circle: baby, youth, adult, elder. The sun gives life to the earth who feeds life to the trees whose seeds fall to the earth to grow new trees. We need to practice seeing the cycles that the Great Spirit gave us because this will help us more in our understanding of how things operate. We need to respect these cycles and live in harmony with them.
Great Spirit, let me grow in knowledge of the circle.
"Always listen to what the Elders say."-- Dona Josefa Medrano, HUICHOL, SIERRA MADRE, MEXICO
In school we have been taught to go to the encyclopedia when we need information about certain subjects. From the time we are little, we have a natural tendency to seek out role models. When we need information about living we tend to seek out books about living. These maybe self help books. The world is full of information. For the Native people, we have our Elders. All races have Elders. Our lives will run much smoother when we listen to the Elders. They don't always tell us what we want to hear, but they always tell us what we need to hear. The Elders have the ability to make the truth sweet.
Creator, thank You for the Elders. Help me this day to listen to them.
"Our true enemies, as well as our true sources of strength, lie within."-- Willaru Huayta, QUECHUA NATION, PERU
A long time ago, the Creator put inside the human being the secrets to the laws of life. We usually know this is true even though we may not know what these laws are. If something goes wrong with our lives, we usually fix the blame on something outside of ourselves. We tend to give up accountability. One way or another we say, "It's not my fault." We need to realize that all permanent and lasting change starts on the inside and works its way out. If it's meant to be, it is up to me.
Oh Great Spirit, let me realize fully that my problems are of my own making. Therefore, so are the solutions.
"The first factor in the revolution of consciousness is the mystic death of the ego - the death of negative thinking, negative personalities. We must purify the soul of the inner enemies. Every time a defect manifests - envy, gluttony, anger, lust, whatever - that impulse to the heart. Ask, `Do I really need to invoke this?' And then honor the heart."-- Willaru Huayta, QUECHAU NATION, PERU
Our egos have character defects. These character defects we sometimes act out and they invariably bring results to our lives that we might not want. If we continue to use these character defects, we will continue to have undesirable results in our lives. How do we change ourselves or get rid of a character defects. We can go to the heart and ask a question, make a decision, then honor the heart. For example, say I get angry today. I would go to the heart and ask, would I rather be right or would I rather be happy? How we answer this question can have an enormous impact on how our day goes. Once we decide the answer to this question, we need to honor the heart by saying, "Thank you for the power of changing my thoughts. I choose to be happy and to experience peace of mind."
Great Spirit, today, let me teach only love and learn only love.
"This is the time of awakening to the inner father and the inner mother. Without this we will receive no high initiation; instead we get initiated into darkness. That's because any investigation or revolution without God leads, not to freedom, but to more slavery."-- Willaru Huayta, QUECHAU NATION, PERU
Honor the Father and the Mother. Father stands for wisdom and Mother stands for feelings. Inside each of us is the Father and the Mother. If we do not honor both, we will not grow in balance. To honor both the Father and the Mother helps our masculine and feminine sides grow. The winter season is a good time to focus on this. This is our season of reflection. Honoring both sides allows us to see the Creator is both Father and Mother.
Great Spirit, Father Sky, Mother Earth, guide me today. Let me experience balance.
"The most important thing now is to reveal the inner temple of the soul with right thinking and right activity."-- Willaru Huayta, QUECHUA NATION, PERU
The key to growing a strong tree is to have a good system of roots and to feed the roots with good medicine. If we put poison in the root system, it will affect the tree, and it will become obvious to the rest of the forest what is being fed to the roots. This is also true of the human being. We need to feed our roots with right thinking. If our thinking is right, it will become obvious to the rest of the people. We don't need to tell people about ourselves with our mouth because our actions always tell them.
Great Spirit, direct my thinking today. Feed my roots.
"Heal yourself - your physical and spiritual bodies. Regenerate yourself with light, and then help those who have poverty of the soul. Return to the inner spirit, which we have abandoned while looking elsewhere for happiness."-- Willaru Huayta, QUECHUA NATION, PERU
It is difficult to look inside ourselves, especially when we see conflict or confusion. During times of conflict we need to realize that we are talking to ourselves about our thoughts. This conversation is printing in our subconscious and forming our beliefs. During times of conflict we need to ask the spirit to control our self-talk. Only thorough finding that inner place and going there during troubled times will we ever find happiness.
Great Spirit, You are my peace and you dwell within me. Let me look for You within myself.
"Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit."-- Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa), SANTEE SIOUX
Be still and know. All new learnings, all ideas about new things, creativity, daydreaming and mental effectiveness come to those who learn about silence. All warriors know about the power of silence. All Elders know about stillness. Be still and know God. Meditation is about the place of silence. This is the place to hear God's voice. We can find tremendous amounts of knowledge in the place of silence. This is the sacred place of God.
Great Spirit, teach me the power of silence.
"In our story of Creation, we talk about each one of us having our own path to travel, and our own gift to give and to share. You see, what we say is that the Creator gave us all special gifts; each one of us is special. And each one of us is a special gift to each other because we've got something to share."-- John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG
We are all equally special. We need to focus on what is right for ourselves. As we focus on what is right for ourselves, we will start to see our special gifts. Then we can see how to share our special gifts with others. If we focus on what's wrong with ourselves, we will not be able to see our gifts. Then we will think we have nothing to give others and we become selfish and withdrawn. The more we focus on our good, the more we see the good in others. The more we see the good in others, the more we see the gifts they have to share. What you sees is what you gets!
My Creator, today, let me use the gifts You have given me. Let me use them wisely.
"If people are going to get back into balance, one of the things they have to do is seek the truth. They have to start really speaking the truth themselves, and that's a difficult thing to do. The way it is now in the world, we don't mind lying."-- John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG
Well everybody's doing it. Do unto others before they do unto you. If it wasn't for bad luck I would have no luck at all. These are excuses and rationalizations for giving up accountability. Be true to yourself. Seek the truth, the Great Spirit is the truth. The truth shall set you free. This is the truth. We cannot be free if we are dishonest nor can we live a balanced life if we are dishonest. As we grow, we need to start taking stands. All warriors take stands. The warrior's belief is constantly being aligned to truth. The warrior will always know where he/she stands.
Great Spirit, help me today to seek Your truth, not my truth.
It's all spirit and it's all connected."-- Grandfather William Commanda, ALGONQUIN
If everything is connected, we cannot disconnect. To disconnect is not a real choice. This is why we are always spiritual no matter what we do. Every alcoholic is spiritual. All our brothers and sisters are spiritual. We may not be behaving correctly, but nevertheless, we are spiritual. Our choice is to live out of harmony with spiritual ways or in harmony with spiritual ways. Everything is spiritual.
Great Spirit, give me the knowledge to be in harmony with the spirit today.
"It is a native tradition to sit in a circle and talk-to share what is in your heart."-- John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG
The talking circle is also a listening circle. The talking circle allows one person to talk at a time for as long as they need to talk. So much can be gained by listening. Is it a coincidence that the Creator gave us one mouth and two ears? The power of the circle allows the heart to be shared with each other. What we share with each other also heals each other. When we talk about our pain in the circle, it is distributed to the circle, and we are free of the pain. The talking circle works because when the people form a circle, the Great Mystery is in the center.
My Creator, give me the courage to share, and the courage to listen.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - January 13
"When you remove love and try to replace it with monetary things, you've got nothing ... get him to understand that he has to love himself before he can love anything else." -- John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG
It is said, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." That's the trouble, most of us do.
Great Spirit, You are love; You are spirit. Spirit and love are interconnected. I am spiritual. Let me realize what I am really made of.
"The first thing that we want you to understand is that spirit has no color or race to it. It doesn't matter whether your skin is white, black, red, brown - whatever. No one out there is any better than you, and you are no better than anyone else out there."-- John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG
We are all created to be of equal worth. We may be different sizes, different heights, different ages, different colors, we may have different beliefs and be of different cultures. In the unseen world, we are all spirit formed into different shapes and colors but we are all worthy. For example, you can have water, you can have steam, or you can have ice. Which of these is not made up of H2O?
My Creator, today, let me see equal worthiness in all people.
"Race and language makes no difference; the barriers are gone when persons can come together on high spiritual levels."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
Not only are race and language barriers overcome by spirituality, but all things are overcome by spirituality. Inside every human being is the spirit. When we see people, we can choose to look at their outside or we can choose to look at their inside. Spirituality resides inside of others, we must be able to look at our own inside. If we see spirituality inside ourselves, we will see spirituality inside others. The saying is, "what you sees is what you gets."
My Creator, let me see all my brothers and sisters through the spiritual eye.
"We cannot escape remembering the important things that have happened, and we cannot escape the awareness of the important things that have not happened."-- Ralph Salisbury, CHEROKEE
There is a Master Plan. There are Natural Laws that run the universe. Everything on the earth has a purpose. Change is constant. That which is built is constantly being destroyed. That which is loose is being used to build new things. Nothing can be destroyed, only rearranged. Change will happen and every setback is only temporary. In other words, the Creator is in charge. We are not in charge. He designed the universe. He runs the universe and He will change what needs to be changed. As humans, it is easier for us to participate in all of this if we are spiritual. We need to be tuned in. Therefore, God gave us the spiritual concept of acceptance. When things change, we can change ourselves through the principle of acceptance.
Great Spirit, let me live today in acceptance of Your will. Today let us do it Your way.
Elder's Meditation of the Day, January 9
"So, with the Native way, it's not whether people find out about what you've done or not... that's not nearly as strong as having your source of morality within you, having your morality arise out of an inner perception of what is wrong, ridiculous, or shameful. You are your own judge."
--Eunice Baumann-Nelson, Ph.D., PENOBSCOT
Inside each of us is a voice. It is a quiet voice. It is a guiding voice. If we listen for it, it will guide us, and help us avoid disaster. It is especially active when we are afraid, when we are in doubt, when we are scared, when we need help, and when we get angry. If we are excited emotionally, it is hard to hear this voice. If we are angry, it's hard to hear this voice because it is usually quiet. The best thing we can do is to practice getting quiet. If we don't get quiet, there is another voice called the judge. It tells us to attack or say bad things to other people or to judge ourselves. This voice is loud and usually gets us into trouble.
Creator, Great Mystery, help me listen for the quiet voice. Let me know this voice of Yours. Your ways are gentle. Guide me with this voice. Thank you.
"Native Americans are essentially calling for righteousness. By this they mean a shared ideology developed by all people using their purest and most unselfish minds."-- Lorraine Canoe/Tom Porter, MOHAWK
The Native way is to first focus on decisions that will be good for the people and then for yourself. Righteousness means "to think right." Our way is to consider the good of all first. This helps our minds to be unselfish and pure. This it he spiritual way. This can be very hard to do because the world we live in says to take care of yourself first. A man of God cannot be taken advantage of unless it is the will of the Creator. The Creator really controls everything. To have a good future, the people must gather in a circle and pray for the highest good for the people.
Great Mystery, today let me love instead of being loved. Let me be giving instead of receiving. Show me the advantages of having a giving heart.
"When we become hollow bones there is no limit to what the Higher Powers can do in and through us in spiritual things."-- Frank Fools Crow, LAKOTA
If we want to be of maximum use to the Creator, we must ready ourselves to do so. if we are to become a channel for His purposes, we must prepare ourselves to do so. If we have resentment, fear, selfishness, or anger, we are not hollow bones. We must be rid of these things. We must change ourselves. We must ask for forgiveness for ourselves and forgive our brothers and sisters. We must keep our insides clean. We cannot use our power in a good way when we have blockages such as hate, judgement, and envy. When we are free of these things the Higher Powers can use us beyond our wildest imagination. Then we can really help ourselves and help our people. Only when we are hollow bones can we have an effect on the world.
Oh Great Spirit, remove from me the things that block my usefulness to You. Remove from my day all thinking that is out of harmony with Your ways. Grant me Your peace and allow me to function as a hollow bone.
"When we're through with this earth and all these problems, we don't have to come back. But as long as we're here we have a job to do and a purpose to fulfill, and that means dealing with the circumstances around us."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
We are put on the earth to participate in life. We have a beautiful mind, we have the ability to pray, we have the ability to change, we have the ability to accept, and we have choices. All things God created are constantly changing. This constant change causes our circumstances to change. Sometimes we say life is difficult. During these times we need to use our tools: the tools of prayer, and the tools of meditation. We are designed to change and live joyfully on this earth. The only requirement for living joyfully is to live according to the laws, principles, and values given to us by the Creator.
Great Spirit, give me Your courage today, and guide my footsteps.
"But first, let us join hands and pray."-- Starleaf, SHINNECOCK
Where two or more human beings joined together for a common cause, the helpers and the Grandfathers will show up to help. When our Indian people come together, the Elders say, "Always pray first, do a ceremony and ask the Creator to be with us and to help us. We can never pray enough." The Elders also say, "pray in a circle because the Creator made things in circles. When we stand in a circle and pray together, a sacred hoop will form above the people. This is the spiritual way."
Oh Great Spirit, through my prayers I can find Your guidance. I pray You guide my path today. Touch my life with Your holy breath.
"Our circle is timeless, flowing, it is a new life emerging from death-life winning out over death."-- Lame Deer, LAKOTA
When we look at the world in the manner which the Great Spirit designed it, we can see why it makes sense to live in harmony with it: the trees grow and bear fruit, the fruit has seeds, the seeds fall to the ground, the ground grows new trees, old trees die to make way for the young. Any time we think we can interrupt this cycle or change it we will experience turmoil and confusion. The Human Cycle exists as the baby becomes the youth, the youth becomes the adult, the adult has children, the adult becomes the Elder, and the Elder teaches the youth. Elders go on to the Spirit World. Spirit comes into babies to produce new life. Flow into the flow. Be the path of least resistance.
My Creator and my Maker, today, teach me to just flow with the river of life.
"We don't have to say or think what we don't wish to. We have a choice in those things, and we have to realize that and practice using that choice."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
Having choices makes us fully accountable. No one can make us think anything we don't want to think. No one can determine our behavior and how we act. It's not what's going on but how we look at what's going on. If someone does something and we get upset, we can change how we look at it any time we want. We can tell ourselves in the morning that the day is going to be beautiful and that we have expectations that great things will happen. Doing this daily sets our mind to look for the joy and the excitement of each day.
Great Spirit, help me to choose my thoughts with Your wisdom.
"People have to be responsible for their thoughts, so they have to learn to control them. It may not be easy, but it can be done."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
We control our thoughts by controlling our self talk. At any moment we choose we can talk to ourselves differently. The fight comes with the emotions that are attached to our thoughts. If our emotion is high and seems to be out of control, we can say to ourselves STOP IT!, take a few deep breaths, then ask the Creator for the right thought or the right decision or the right action. If we practice this for a while, our thought life will be different. It helps if in the morning we ask God to direct our thinking. God loves to help us.
Great Spirit, today, direct my thinking so my choices are chosen by You.
".because if you believe in something, and believe in it long enough, it will come into being."-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
We are created by the Great One to accomplish His will through our mental pictures or visions. Our thoughts are three dimensional: words, pictures and feelings. We create the vision by thinking the words and we create feeling for the vision by feeling enthusiasm, desire, commitment and other strong beliefs. Once we create the vision, we move toward and become like that which we think about. All visions are tested by our self talk; for example, "This isn't going to happen, where is the money coming from anyway?" When this happens, we need to let go of the test and focus on belief in the vision. Why? Because God said if we believe it long enough, He will guarantee it!!!
Great One, let my beliefs be strong today. Help me to have faith in my visions.
"They must give themselves to Wakan' Tanka and live a spiritual life. They will have the peace that frees them from fear."-- Frank Fools Crow, LAKOTA
There are two wills available for us: self will and God's will. Our choice is: figure it out ourselves, or have the Creator involved in our lives. If we are honest with ourselves and look at past experiences, what are our lives like when we try to figure it out ourselves? Is there fear, confusion, frustration, anger, attacking others, conflict, fault finding, manipulation, teasing others, belittling others or devaluation? If these things are present, they indicate that we are choosing self will. What is it like if we turn our will over to the Creator? What are the results if we ask the Great Spirit to guide our life? Examples are: freedom, choices, consequences, love, forgiveness, helping others, happiness, joy, solutions, and peace. Which will I choose today, self will or God's will?
Creator, I know what my choice is. I want You to direct my life. I want You to direct my thinking. You are the Grandfather. You know what I need even before I do. Today I ask You to tell me what I can do for You today. Tell me in a way I can understand and I will be happy to do it.