Cherokee Wisdom: The Way of Harmony

In our search for meaning and guidance for living our lives in more balanced ways, many of us turn to the wisdom of Native Americans. This beautiful Cherokee philosophy tells us about the purpose of life, our place in the sacred circle, and more.

Read this beautiful life philosophy here:

Native Americans believe that every life is a gift to be treated with gratitude and respect. What has been referred to as the Harmony Ethic guides much of Native American living. For the Cherokee this encompasses the conscious avoidance of interpersonal conflict in an attempt to maintain reciprocally harmonious relations with all members of the tribe.

The Harmony Ethic is a system based upon caring for fellow human beings through the expression of deep respect. This is the way to achieve harmonious survival. It also involves the presence of individual choice. To the Cherokee, a person has just as much choice in creating harmony as in creating disharmony.

Within Native American traditions, it is widely believed that every person has a purpose to fulfill during his or her lifetime. Every person, like every animal, tree, plant, and mineral, possesses some unique quality or talent to be discovered through a variety of experiences in this world. Harmony is the key to meaningful life experiences in which all learning contributes to overall life purpose. This purpose is manifested by a striving for the wisdom and generosity exemplified by the Native American elder who has accumulated a lifetime’s worth of experience in the world. Native American elders have learned the inner secrets to a harmonious existence and are the keepers of this wisdom.

Traditional wisdom tells us that it is our purpose to face the world with courage in our hearts. This courage signifies a deep respect for the gift that we have been given through the ability to live, as well as a respect for all life. Courage transcends any circumstance, and ultimately comes from a harmony within oneself and between oneself and one’s universe–an inner strength derived from the unity of body, mind, nature, and spirit. There is an old saying: All that moves is sacred–only by understanding this can you realize the rhythm of Mother Earth, and thereby know how to place your feet.

Adapted from The Cherokee Full Circle, by J.T. Garrett and Michael Tlanusta Garrett (Inner Traditions, 2002). Copyright (c) 2002 by J.T. Garrett and Michael Tlanusta Garrett. Reprinted by permission of Inner Traditions.
Adapted from The Cherokee Full Circle, by J.T. Garrett and Michael Tlanusta Garrett (Inner Traditions, 2002).

10 comments

Fi T.
Fi T.3 years ago

Everything turns wonderful in harmony

Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

New G.
W. C.4 years ago

Thank you.

John S.
Past Member 5 years ago

Thanks, interesting read

Sarah Bennett
Sarah Bennett5 years ago

Thanks for posting this. I love reading articles on Native Americans on this site.

Jeff J.
Richard N.6 years ago

nice post

Barbara Sullivan
Past Member 6 years ago

Thank you, Annie! I have read some of the Cherokee beliefs, but hadn't seen this one yet.

thomas b.
Tom P.7 years ago

cherokee wisdom beautifully written.thanks.

Shirley H.
Shirley H.7 years ago

I thought Cherokee Wisdom for your path was an excellent article. Thank you for all the good things you post every day.