“We have a spiritual longing for community and relatedness and for a cosmic vision, but we go after them with literal hardware instead of with sensitivity of the heart.” ~Thomas Moore in Care of the Soul
They drank from pure streams with thankfulness. They lived among the land and moved with the seasons in a harmonic rhythm. They complemented creation by never taking more than what was needed. For thousands of years they did not overpopulate the land, or exploit it. They lived with a common bond in their belief of the Natural Way. They had a common faith of a creator known as The Great Mystery. Here in the sphere of coexistence, we explore the natural ways of the ancient indigenous tribes.
There is much to learn from the native people of North America, and from indigenous tribes from across the world. What they accomplished through living naturally for thousands of years was literally undone in just a century, and completely removed within two more centuries of European occupation.
Ed McGaa “Eagle Man” is a native Oglala Sioux and a pioneer in bringing the natural beliefs and customs back to his people and introducing them to the world. His native belief is in the Great Spirit–Wakan Tanka. He is stated as saying: “European immigrants came to these shores and in only a few short centuries we have what we see today. Because of materialism. power acquisition, ego, patriarchy, and an actual cutting off of the old tribal influences, dominant society shut down the cosmic worldview of universal harmony.”
In this statement he illustrates the complete disregard and supposed superiority that the westerners brought with them under a flag of God and promised deliverance from barbaric ways. In doing so, the pioneers and missionaries systematically destroyed a way of life that existed in spiritual and natural harmony for thousands of years.
This is the arrogance of the superior religions. The religion itself is not at fault, it is the “literal hardware” that is taken all too literally by specific sects or followers. It is the individual interpretation of such that can make the simple message and teaching of any religion null and mute.
Europeans came to the shores of the New World and in just 500 years, changed the language of two entire continents, changed the lineage and geneology of many thousands of people, and changed the spiritual customs of nearly all indigenous tribes. Their spirituality and religious practices were looked upon as work of the devil, though they may have just been dancing around a fire, praying for a good harvest or hunt.
We have much to learn here in the sphere of coexistence, particularly with the treatment and attention of all belief systems. Any natural expression of spirituality which creates harmony with others, with the land and within the community should not be taken apart and reduced to ash; it should be learned of, cultivated, nurtured and respected.
All are welcome and contained here in the sphere of coexistence, and all should have respect for his neighbors. I hope we all one day learn of the Natural Way; because at the very base of the entire argument remains one simple truth: All attempted explanation of the great mystery is but mere speculation and supposition; No one knows.
24 thoughts on “Wakan Tanka”
Yea I agree, the biggest problems are the judgments and the fundamentalism….Everybody’s right; but nobody really is…Great Post:)
Indeed sir, more the problem is that everybody “wants” to be right.
Yep, and any dissenting opinion is totally discouraged. But without the dissenting opinion how would anyone really know what is what? “if you believe in freedom of speech you believe in freedom of speech for the points of view you despise too”-Noam Chomsky
“in a properly functioning system of propaganda the range of argument should be so wide and diverse that to go beyond it would put you on mars. but we have nothing like that”-Noam Chomsky
I am a christian and while I live what I believe right out loud, I’m sure many people who share that label would disagree with my definition. I stop and consider that the man who I proclaim to believe in never showed anyone else disrespect nor contempt for who they were and what they believed and when pressed, he actually stated that the two greatest commandments are, “Love God” and “Love your neighbor”. I believe that if we can all at least get the “love your neighbor” part, whether or not we agree on the name of our creator (or even choose to recognize that there is one—yes, I’m biased 🙂 ), we will be doing a whole lot better than we are now.
Beautiful, and beautifully put. This is the Sphere that I Love and work towards, every day. I hope that there will come a day, when it will not be embarrassing to
be a member of the white peoples…
I keep trying to get a tan that will last, but perhaps the interior work will do the trick!
Very well said. As a Christian, I’d like to think our truly radical Gospel would build natural bridges to any native people; and I hope it has done that in many ways and times. Unfortunately that radical Gospel is sometimes watered down, and even used to tear down the very bridges that God would have used to unite all his children and all his creation. I pray that many Christians today would love to reach out to, and experience, the natural beauty of our surviving native cultures. We do have a Gospel and tradition that preaches and teaches that, even if you don’t hear much about it these days. Again, thank you for sharing.
Thank you. You bring to the surface the true teachings of the bible, and how they can be trumped by literalism and individual interpretation. I wish more people paid attention to the teachings of unity through love and respect than anything else. Any religion has the ability to tear down bridges if the true essence of the teaching is overlooked or abandoned.
When I read your post what came to mind for me was: I am a Catholic, but I also prize my Celtic spirituality. I am a mom but I am also a Feminist. I am a closeted charismatic only because I am too embarrassed to let myself completely let go. I am all these things because they express a part of who God created me to be.
well put. One part or trait does not define who we are.. It is the whole, the entire multi-dimensional spirit that we are that defines us. We are expressions of divine creation, all unique and beautiful.
I believe in a lot of ways that this disregard for other culture’s sacred tradition continues on today. I have found all cultures and religions have pieces of truth and that we are indeed all one, just pieces of the same puzzle. We can all learn to grow closer to God (or the Great Mystery) and nature and each other by understanding each other better and treating each other as we are… one.
I totally agree, which is why I strive to learn from all cultures and religious doctrines. There is indeed a sacred hoop that binds all that is deemed divine or holy.
It saddens me that the Native American, the Australian Aborigine, and the South American Indians have become so sunk into mental illness , alcoholism and other social issues; apparently so many have become separated from their roots.
Very sad.. A true marker of the footprint that the fruits of the “free” world have made on indigenous cultures. They all now join humanity in self-induced despondence, taken far from the universal harmony they once cherished.
According to the Toltec Indians the white man systematically destroyed the indigenous persons self image and left them nothing but alcohol for the most part.
Thank you so much for writing this Jeremiah. The history of the Native people of North America hits home for me, not only in this lifetime but in lifetimes before this one. The way your post made me feel reminds me of the way I felt after watching Dave Matthew and his band preform ‘Don’t drink the water’ on a VH1 Storytellers clip. The song is about this very matter and he touches upon what you speak of after he preforms, which heightens the experience of the music and poignant lyrics. I am going to post the video here, he speak after he preforms the song. I think you’ll appreciate what he has to say. It is a video of the whole show, but the only one video left online, so the narration and song ‘Don’t drink the water’ start at 27:11. Enjoy 🙂
Thank you! one of my favorite bands as well!!
You’re welcome 🙂
I like this, what you write about Native American.
Allow me invite you some more materials on the same topic:
http://www.native-american-spirituality.info/ – Native American Spirituality. Path of Heart.
Lovely, thank you!
Sure it is written that , “God (or whatever one wishes to call him) brought together many different peoples so that we may learn from each other”. We don’t though do we , or not often enough! We put up barriers constantly and then miss the bigger picture. Love your posts, look forward to being able to get a copy of your book.
Beautiful post!! Very well put, I agree with you its really our karma that matters not just blindly following any speculated mystery..thanks for stopping by my blog and sorry it took a little while to come by yours! 😉
nice one. ever try gary sneyder? he says much re: the wisdom of native americans…