“Stop trying to be Indian. Find out who you are and be that.”
A provocative statement to make to a room of white people. This was among several nuggets of wisdom offered by the Aleut elder at the recent Sacred Wisdom Rising gathering in Atlanta – in response to someone asking advice on how to be more spiritual.
The elder also suggested learning to be quiet was important and told the story of how, as a boy of four years, he was tapped by the elders in his tribe to become a keeper of the people’s stories and traditions. He lived with his grandfather for two years and told us that during that time his grandfather spoke no more than 200 words to him. The point being that learning happens through the body and spirit, as well as the mind. This echoes poet David Whyte’s words from The Winter of Listening, “What is precious inside us does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence.”
Silence proved difficult for this group.
As for his comment about not trying to be Indian, I imagine that was a challenge for folks as well. In our culture seeking a spiritual tradition often leads to indigenous American traditions. Those of European descent are so disconnected from our own indigenous spiritual traditions. Finding out who we are so we can be that, this is the work and the focus of this blog. To explore the power and potential of our own spiritual traditions. To find our own soul fire.
And, as they say in Ireland, you are very welcome, so very welcome to this exploration.