Learning to Be Human Again

From Original Wisdom: Stories of An Ancient Way of Knowing, by Robert Wolff

“Do not talk,” Ahmeed said — I knew he meant “Do not think.” “Water inside heart,” he said next, with a gesture of his hand on his heart. I knew he meant I should sense inside — not with my mind but from the inside.
It is sad to have to use so many words to say something so simple.
As soon as I stopped thinking, planning, deciding, analyzing — using my mind, in short — I felt as if I was pushed in a certain direction. I walked a few steps and immediately saw a big leaf with perhaps half a cup of water in it.
I must have stood there for a full minute, in awe. Not in awe of anything in particular, simply in awe.
When I leaned over to drink from the leaf, I saw water with feathery ripples, I saw the veins of the leaf through the water, some bubbles, a little piece of dirt. Reaching out, I put a finger in the water, then saw that one of the wriggling mosquito larvae had been trapped in a tiny bubble on my finger. How beautiful, how perfect. I did not put the finger with the water droplet in my mouth, but looked back at the leaf.
My perception opened further. I no longer saw water — what I felt with my whole being was a leaf-with-water-in-it, attached to a plant that grew in soil surrounded by uncounted other plants, all parts of the same blanket of living things covering the soil, which was also part of a larger living skin around the earth. And nothing was separate; all was one, the same thing: water – leaf – plant – trees – soil – animals – earth – air – sunlight and little wisps of wind. The all-ness was everywhere, and I was part of it.
I cannot explain what went on inside me, but I knew that I had learned something unbelievably wonderful. I felt more alive than I had ever felt before.
All of me was filled with being.

What this other sense is, I do not know. For me it is very real. I think of it as a sense of knowing. It probably is a quality we all have to a greater or lesser degree. For me it works when I can get out of my mind, when I can experience without having to understand, or name, or position, or judge, or categorize.
It is a quality that has to be used or it fades away; just as one has to exercise muscles, so too knowing must be exercised.
I am saying this after the fact, trying to describe something that does not fit into our Western concepts, and therefore there are no words. At the time I did not think anything. I was learning how to put my mind aside and use some other sense to know.
Standing over a leaf with a little water in it, somewhere in the jungles of Malaysia, I did not think in words. I did not think. I bathed in that overwhelming sense of oneness. I felt as if a light was lit deep inside me. I knew I was radiating something — love, perhaps — for this incredible world, this rich, varied, and totally interconnected world of creations that, at the same time, gave love to me. And with the love, I also felt a very deep sense of belonging.

After a while, I slowly woke up. I came to, so to speak, and was in my body again. I looked around. Ahmeed was not where I thought he was. In fact, he was not anywhere in sight. He must have walked on, I thought.
As soon as I thought, I panicked. I realized that I was alone, that Ahmeed had left me in a strange place. I had no idea where I was, or how to get back to Three or to find Ahmeed. My first reaction was to shout, to yell, to call him. But the sense of being part of this wonderful whole was so strong that I could not raise my voice. I opened my mouth and tried to make a sound, but no sound would pass my throat. I could not possibly disturb this oneness by yelling, by feeling panicked. I could not be afraid — after all, I was part of this all-ness.

My life changed in that moment.

 

(Original Wisdom: Stories of An Ancient Way of Knowing, by Robert Wolff)

All Things Are Connected, We Must Teach Our Children

All Things Are Connected, We Must Teach Our Children

From Medicine of the Cherokee: The Way of Right Relationship, by J.T. Garrett and Michael Garrett

(p.167-168):

In 1855, upon surrendering tribal lands to the government of the Washington Territory, Chief Seattle of the Suquamish and Duwamish people delivered his famous speech with great eloquence and sadness. Following are adapted excerpts from words spoken by Chief Seattle:

“Every part of this Earth is sacred to our people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing, and every humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of our people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the people.
The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the Deer, the Horse, the great Eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices of the meadows, the body heat of the pony and people – all belong to the same family.
The ashes of our father and mothers are sacred. Their graves are holy ground, and so these hills, these trees, this portion of Earth is consecrated by us. The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. You must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of our people. The water’s murmur is the voice of our father’s father.
The rivers are our brothers, they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes and feed our children. You must teach your children that the rivers are our brothers, and you must give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.
The air is precious to us, and it shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather and grandmother their first breath also receives their last sigh. And the wind must also give our children the spirit of life. When we taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow’s flowers, we must remember that it is sacred.
The animals are our brothers and sisters. What are we without the animals? If all the animals were gone, we would die from a great loneliness of spirit. Whatever happens to the animals, soon happens to the people. All things are connected.
You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers and grandmothers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the Earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children what we have taught our children, that Earth is our Mother. Whatever befalls Earth, befalls the sons and daughters of Earth.
This we know. Earth does not belong to people; people belong to Earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.
Love the land as we have loved it. Care for it as we have cared for it. And with all your strength, with all your mind, and with all your heart, preserve it for your children and love it… as the Great One loves us all.”

———

(p.169):

Everything around us is alive with spiritual energy and importance. This includes all animals, plants, people, rocks and minerals; Earth, sky, Sun, Moon, and stars; and the elements, such as wind, water, fire, thunder, clouds, lightning, and rain all combined in an intricate system of interdependence and interrelationship.

A fundamental belief in the Medicine Way is this: All things are connected. This universe is made up of a balance among all of these things and a continuous flow or cycling of this energy. We have a sacred relationship with the universe that is to be honored every moment of every day, through our thoughts, intentions, and actions. All things are connected, all things have life, and all things are worthy of respect and reverence.