A return to indigenous beliefs
By William Bernard Brooks
There is no appropriate return to the romantic version of traditional indigenous beliefs. The performance of the prairie chicken dance, without proper education of its meaning and reliable information obtained from its execution is simply an empty performance of a dead belief.
There might be particular techniques/ceremonies, rituals but the information/application obtained must be useable and beneficial to the group NOW.
Indigenous beliefs, to me are like nature from which they spring, like the seasons, alive with the power of the sun, the wisdom of the directions of the universe, they provide support, guidance and value.
The endurance and survival of ancient techniques to access different states of consciousness for the benefit of the individual and thus insuring the continued survival of the tribe is proof of their value and vitality.
They provide space and opportunity for various forms of consciousness to be expressed.
Ancient awareness of universal connectedness is reflected in the scientific understanding of nonlocality and various interpretations of quantum physics.
Slipping back into the sole awareness of interconnectedness would be a dangerous regression into mass consciousness, subject to the manipulation of brutal tyrants or clever CEOs.
The development of our individual consciousness and the acceptance of the corresponding responsibility can lead to a more loving and compassionate existence.
Modern technology, just as ancient beliefs are attempts to deal with observable reality.
Controlling the weather, the environment, the hunt, assuring harmonious communal life, knowing what your enemy is doing etc. was and is achieved by technology.
The shaman and the scientist use tools to get beneficial information.
The shaman sees him/herself as part of nature (living in harmony).
The scientist sees her/himself as part of a mind structure, separate from or controlling nature (even so the best of them have always acknowledged a higher mystery and inspiration).
The people who were or are trained in influencing our lives have special costumes, (bear hides, lab coats) language, (highly specialized technical or mysterious) and behavior patterns (Trance, ecstatic movements, specific lifestyles)
These people were/are trained in highly efficient thought control.
(Primary their own thoughts).
Their different appearance and behavior gives them authority in the tribe, group;
they are believed.
Reality forms itself around the main believes (zeitgeist).
Ancient beliefs just as modern beliefs do not protect us from annihilation/evolution
Beliefs or convictions that events will be disastrous, attaching our own personal stories to thoughts of anger, greed, and fear are the basis for the creation of our self suffering experience.
If we surrender to the inherent qualities of a naturally congruent life we can find joy and its expression will create a change in our experience of apparent reality.
There is little benefit in juxtaposing ancient or modern believes they are both belief systems subject to limitations and errors in the human condition.
We can honor and support various elders from global communities to provide experiential exposure to the realities of the spiritual worlds. A willingness of the elders to teach fearlessly in the face of power structures which are still holding on to outdated cultural dogma and fearful control of horded knowledge is necessary.
The need in the modern world to find our own voice is enormous; everything is done to influence us in our consumption oriented society.
Purpose and self are disconnected.
Religion has always inserted a cast (priest, monks, rabbis, shamans etc.) that handles our relationship with a god.
We are reaching a point where we reject the claim of the clergy to be closer to God then others.
Indigenous practices (sweats, vision quests, sun dance, walk abouts, etc.) empower us to explore a direct connection with our creator (creative energy) without interference by the opinion of others.
Indigenous knowledge provides a toolbox which we can open to construct a new paradigm for expression of intelligence, wisdom and gratitude, a new consciousness based on the principal of creativity, compassion and action which acknowledges the right of all sentient beings to make choices.
We will reach that consciousness one day,
when we choose and act otherwise we choose war, conflict and suffering.
Suffering has/d a definite role in evolution. When we suffer we reach, we strain we try to eliminate the pain, by doing so we pay attention to the now, we stimulate biological changes in our system resulting in small changes or extreme mutations, a new creature appears with the potential to express more consciousness.
We will need to learn to see JOY as a basis for transformation.
Suffering brings change automatically; joy requires awareness and action for transformation.
It is the time of the translator the interlocutor to go back and forth, what the shaman has done since the beginning of history. S/he dares to change shape, to explore new worlds, to project him/herself into the skin of others, s/he creates a map of a new world, s/he returns with guidance to add to our ability to express knowledge and compassion.
The members of the tribe trust his/her ability, courage to risk his/her life and sanity for their survival.
We must empower a shaman, maybe today we have to find a new name to appease momentary indigenous sensitivities, but knowledge and intuition belong to all of us.
As an old Huichol elder once told me after I questioned him about the fear in many indigenous cultures that their cultural or spiritual heritage was misappropriated by westerners.
He thought for a while, and then he smiled and said: “Whatever is between the Creator and me, nobody can take that away from me.
If a white man wants to put on a feather and sing haijahoh to a drum, he will either make a fool of himself or he will heal somebody, if he heals somebody we should show our gratitude, if he does not, he will have taken care of his own follies. It is not a problem for me.”
We can use the ancient ritual of the sweat lodge as a means to rejuvenate our attitudes, bodies, our senses.
In the last round which we usually dedicate for gratitude/thanksgiving we thank the creator for the precious gifts we receive.
With the five senses often being ridiculed as not enough to guide us on our way; we can begin anew and acknowledge the body as our compass in relating to the world.
If we would only SEE one little girl without limps, her skin melted from her face we would never go to war again, if we should want to call ourselves Human;
if we would SMELL our lovers instead of being fooled by man made substances, we would know who belongs to whom;
if we would TASTE our foods we would not ingest disease inducing replacements for natural nutrients;
if we would LISTEN to our spouse, lover, children, parents (they tell us what they want) we would gain from a combined wisdom which certainly could assure a more joyful life;
if we would TOUCH each other, permitting an exchange of energy we would know that we need each other, indigenous or not.
The Creator gave us the tools. When we are numb on a gross physical level how can we expect to receive information on a much more subtle spiritual level. Let us use and respect the gifts we have received.
When we start with nature we start with ourselves, we must apply that knowledge to the technology which we have invented, or evolution will lead to a new beginning which will not involve Homo sapiens.
Prophesies by the Old Ones tell us that the eagle and the condor (head and heart) will fly together; we will have to look up, away from ourselves, to see them.
As long as we hold on to the fear of death, their will be no vision of the endless potentiality which is open to the human consciousness.
A new consciousness does not discriminate but applies itself to the evolution of the soul in a never ending journey.