I have been spending time contemplating these teachings. Trying to determine where they exist in my life and where their foundations can be strengthened in my heart.
There is this curious thing that happens when I leave meditation space. It is almost as if I step from one flowing stream into another. One stream is serene. The other stream is energetic and chaotic. The more time I spend in meditation and prayer space, the better I become at staving off the chaos of the high energy stream. However, I have not yet reached that place where I can avoid or rise above the chaos altogether. It’s not that the higher energy, chaotic stream is bad. It just flows too fast for my liking. Swift waters lack nourishment.
What I’m finding is that there are various tools and gifts available to me that can be used to anchor my soul for a time, however short that time may be, to revisit the easy flow of the serene stream. These teachings, “The 7 Grandfathers Teachings”, http://www.7grandfatherteachings.ca/background.html do exactly that. They anchor my soul so that I am nourished and strengthened.
Writing helps. A lot. Walking in the woods yesterday was a miracle. Especially discovering a patch of devil’s club. I had just been wondering if I would see any!
I am thinking mostly about dabaadendiziwin – humility. To know myself as a sacred part of creation; especially Bekaadiziwin – calmness, gentility, patience. On my way to work, I drive by a plot of land that has been converted from urban forest to a pad for buildings. Big buildings. Almost every day, as the work was progressing, I would see rabbits. One day, it dawned on me that the day was coming when I wouldn’t see as many rabbits, since their homes were being systematically destroyed. I imagined how horrible it must be to experience the destruction brought on by heavy equipment, and I wondered how many rabbit families have died in the process.
I grew angry. Angry and sad. It would be easy to let the anger and sadness inform all my actions. But this teaching of Dabaadendiziwin teaches that I’m equal to others, not better. I realized that if I’m to do anything of any meaning in the name of my relatives, I must not fall into the trap of thinking I’m better than anyone else. This is the disease that allows my human relatives to kill with impunity my four-legged relatives.
This teaching, following it, is not easy. We have centuries of this arrogance and are living with those consequences. Additionally, we have decades of a different kind of arrogance….the arrogance of the environmental activist who has let the anger and sadness frame every action. And we are living with those consequences.
We must develop a different approach to resetting our relationship with our more than human relatives.
I don’t pretend to know the answer. I’m learning.