Quoted from Joseph Epes Brown’s “The Spiritual Legacy of the American Indian,
“We do not believe our religion, we dance it.”
Indigenous peoples have valued the connection to natural rhythms rather than progress, sense and wisdom above intellect and experience over speed, in other words, the elements of human existence placed in exactly opposite order than our homogenous techno culture.
What is indigenous? The Random House dictionary says; “innate, inherent, natural, originating in a certain place”. All humans innately share this condition with the plants and animals of our common planet. However, when we refer to indigenous peoples, we generally mean those who still identify with the sheltering canapé of Mother Earth whereas non-indigenous refers to those who identify with abstract things like technology, progress and money, and yet, it may actually be about a state of balance.
However, perhaps there are not many truly indigenous people left who are living their traditional lifestyle. It may be that indigenous vs. non-indigenous is now a separation of the heart existing within communities as well as inside of individuals more than an accurate distinction between cultural groups. That does not mean it is not important to recognize the existence of indigenous cultures. However, the non-indigenous world is continually squeezing, tugging, and seducing indigenous people. On the other side, the non-indigenous world has an increased yearning for connection to the essence and rhythms of the planet they live on. Even more intimate than a somewhat abstract idea such as planet is the inescapably indigenous body we each wear on this earth walk. Of course, indigenous people do not use a stagnant word such as “planet” but an intimately personal word such as Mother Earth that describes an organic relationship with one’s environment.
As my monkey mind plots how to come up with the means for an iPhone 5, it occurs to me that technology is getting more advanced every season while its applications are becoming regressively trivial and simple minded. It is now on about the same level of trendy unconsciousness as skinny-legged jeans. Image has replaced authentic personal experience. That is a tired truism, but I remember the love and mojo I once put into the simple toys of my childhood. I had a personal relationship with them to the degree that I made them more than lifeless objects. How often do modern people experience that all things are alive and full of “Medicine?” We can even infuse Inanimate objects with life through our own emotional creativity and focus. However, I must admit that computers seem to have life although they usually express this with renegade behavior. Perhaps it’s our own cleverness thrown back at us; computer as trickster.
Unfortunately, our wonderful world of technology drives onward with an impossible supposition. We are like termites eating away the house we live in. I think this modern technological society operates with the mind of an adolescent male, very smart, fascinated with its own newly discovered powers, loads of ingenuity, myopic self- absorption and no consciousness beyond his personal drives and ambitions. I recently read an article on a breakthrough in the ability to get DNA samples from Neanderthal bones. The article stated that the probable next step would be to clone a Neanderthal. This is hopefully years away, but just the thought pulled my chain. The scary part of this thought was that it was shockingly fascinating. This is the adolescent techy in me. The wiser side sees potential horror in such a possibility. How would we treat such an individual? How would this person live with our chemicals artificial environment and modern bacteria? Even more important, how would such an individual live without community of his/her own kind, completely out of time context and environment.
With all the fuss about the Mayan calculations ending our planetary time cycle at 2012, one could surmise that there is mass yearning for a cosmically fabricated new beginning and death of the old is the first step. On some level of repressed awareness is the knowledge that the party cannot go on forever, and it is running out of fuel anyway. Maybe the earth’s climates will change drastically due to global warming and just maybe we need something to” knock us up a notch” into an entirely different reality. Do you suppose that explains some of the fascination with cosmic Disaster and alien takeover movies? Are we looking for someone or something to end our discordant world so that we can start a new song in a different key?
I have been doing some fall cleaning (it is more natural than spring-cleaning). I found a message that I printed from the internet in 10/09/2000:
A HOPI ELDER SPEAKS
You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour,
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.
There are things to be considered.
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.
Then he clasped his hands together, smiled and said,
This could be a good time!
There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift, that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, and keep our eyes open and our heads above the water. And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all ourselves, for the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt. The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
WE ARE THE ONES WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR!
Eee haa! Here we go, like it or not, Mother Earth is calling us to the hoedown, and we must dance or we will fall. When Pba-Quen-Nee-e’s people perform their seasonal dances, he explains, “our feet massage Mother Earth.” That is prayer.