NATIVE AMERICAN NONDUALISM
A Kristi Shelloner contribution:
This is an excerpt from a book, "Seven Arrows," I
thought some of you might
enjoy. It comes from the teachings of The Brotherhood People, the Cheyenne,
Lakota Sioux, Kiowa. This will be a lengthy e-mail; I hope you don't mind.
One of the things I like best about Native American thought is the degree to
which spiritual life and reverence are integrated into the fabric of
everyday life; literally, the hides they use, the symbols each person uses,
sometimes the way clothing is sewn represents particular teachings or
spiritual tasks for that individual to accomplish. (Capitalized
nouns signify the meaning is metaphoric and symbolic as well as literal.)
"The Sign of the Forked Medicine Pole"
These people have been taught by the Black Robes that good and evil existed
as separate things. We talked with them about this philosophy and discovered
their confusion. They had these two things set apart. But they are not
separate.These things are found in the same Forked Tree. If One Half tries
to split itself from the Other Half, the Tree will become crippled or die.
These People we discovered were trying to split this Tree with their law.
Rather than taking this barren Way, we must tie together the paradoxes of
our Twin Nature with the things of One Universe.
"Before our Sun Dances can begin, many Forked Poles smaller than the great
Center Pole must first be formed into a circle. This circle becomes the
outside of the Medicine Lodge. The Forked Poles for the circle are given by
the People, and they represent the People. But remember these are Forked
also. This is the sign of their Twinness. There are twelve of these placed
to form a circle of the Great Lodge. They represent the Twelve Great
People's of the world. Only the two at the opening that faces East represent
the People of the Shields. The others represent the other Peoples in this
world. One of these People is the whiteman.
"These smaller Forked Poles also represent all the things of this world. Let
us pretend for a moment that they alternate as we go around the Loddge.The
first one will be called good and the next bad. But the question will still
be the same a before. Which is which? They are perfect Twins and look
exactly the same. They are all Twins.
"No, my son, there is no such thing as good and bad. This is only a tool
used by the whiteman to create fear among themselves. It is only the man who
searches for good who will also discover things that he will perceive as
bad. If this man then tries to dictate his own perception of what is good to
others, he will ultimately become a bad man himself. And no here is the next
paradox, which is the Other Twin. The man who dictates his own perception
of what is bad to others is also bad. One is mirrored into the other.
Because in truth they are one of the same Forked Pole, and are always
perceiving the mirrored image of themselves.
The answer to this conflict is the Give-Away. Whenever one gives from his
heart, he also receives. Every man has his separate Way. And every man is a
separate Way. But we all Dance within the Renewal Lodge in Renewal of the
Brotherhodd and in Giving. We, all of us, are the great Center Pole. We must
bind together all the things of the Universe by the Giving of the Pipe. The
Dancers within the Lodge, the Pledgers, Dance in representation of the
People. The Dancers Give-Away. The Medicine Power is within all People, and
all of the things of the Universe. The Power has been generous in his Giving
and has taught us Understanding so that we might also Give. But the Medicine
is also Coyote, the trickster. WE must Give to the People, and Give all the
things of the People, in order that we may receive."
"Seven Arrows" by Hyemeyohsts Storm
Notes from Kristi: Re: Corporate Ethics et al: I think it is interesting to
note that among tribal cultures, generally, wealth is defined in terms of
what can be gifted and given away, not in terms of what is kept to oneself.
Have to go now; have a hurting, angry, homeless man on my doorstep. He needs
some acknowledgement, a tire and some Loving - with good boundaries, of