Ah dualities! They look so solid and
real but what an illusion they are. In the native worldview, all of life is
encompassed in a circle. Seen 3 dimensionally it looks like a never ending
spiral. This Circle of Life holds all feelings, thoughts, events, dualities,
past, present, future, everything that we can conceive of and everything that
we can not. Here's an exercise so you can experience what this teaching is all
about. Hold your arms out like an airplane, with your arms horizontal to the
ground. Assign one duality to the end of one arm with the other duality to the
other. Let's pick good and bad to start with. Now keep holding your arms as you
feel the linear continuum from one end of Good all the way to the other end of
Bad. Of course, we are in between the ends, somewhere on that continuum of good
and bad, sliding along this scale we have set up.
How long can you hold your arms out, balancing between these absolutes? Not long in the whole scheme of things - there is too much tension. So we tip towards "good" or the other way to "bad" and accept that label as real, whether it is assigned to a given moment or event in our lives or to our whole identity. Now I want you to bring your arms into a circle with your hands touching in front of you. What happens to the dualities now? They are side by side, touching in fact, not opposites at all. They are more similar than we at first thought. Now lower your hands into your lap still keeping your arms encircling the space there. How long can you hold this posture? For a long time - it's natural, relaxed and inviting. In this way we see how we can move from the Western linear worldview which is very limiting and tiring to the Indigenous circular worldview that holds All That Is.
From this vantage I can sit in circle with my past and future, easily accessible and equal. I sit in circle with all of me - all the dualities, conflicts, opposites and unknowns. There I am able to council with Death as it sits to my left - advising me during my life, council with all my Relations here in the physical world - the plant beings, stone beings, tree people, creature beings, Clan Chiefs of Air, Fire, Earth and Water who sit to my right, council with the Elders and Spirit Helpers who sit across from me, council with my past to gain wisdom from my experiences, council with my future to call into manifestation my dreams, goals and intentions. Creator/God/Original Source/Spirit sits in the center, totally available to me each time my heart beats, each time I draw breath, totally available to us all.
From this ongoing circle of my life, I can see a big picture and not only just of this life but of all the experiences I have had as a spiritual being throughout eons of time. Does this expanded understanding impact my choices, decisions and desires? Of course. This freedom to include all of me and all of life, to see others as "another myself" keeps me learning and growing, spiraling into an ever more expressive and compassionate sacred human being. Whenever I feel stuck in my life, feeling like a victim, wondering "why," I realize I have fallen asleep and stepped back onto that linear concept of time, dualities, separateness and labels where keeping my balance consumes most of my energy. All I have to do is curl my arms around into a circle again to step back into my natural state - inclusive, connected, intimate, authentic and centered. Here I am replenished. Here I am a co-creator with Spirit. I am able to take actions or non-actions instead of reacting to events and people around me. I am able to take responsibility for my life (responsibility is simply the "ability to respond") without passing judgment, blaming, feeling the need to defend my choices, feeling shame or guilt from the learning lessons (some people call these mistakes) that I have created, or meting out punishment to fit the supposed crime. I move beyond the linear concept of good/bad, right/wrong, sacred/profane being fixed in time and true for everyone, every time in the same way.
You won't hear a native grandmother telling her grandson that he is mean, selfish, bad or whatever the label. She might turn to a relative and remark (but so grandson can hear), "Little Hawk is acting mean today, taking out his anger by poking his puppy, perhaps one day he'll remember that he is so powerful he can look at his anger without hurting another." Notice that she is saying that he is acting mean instead of being mean. She knows that his true nature is not just that but encompasses many aspects. She is teaching her grandson that we can do "bad" things but we are not bad, showing him a more balanced way without judging him or locking him into a label. We can change how we are acting by taking different actions/non-actions. How many times did we hear growing up that we were lazy, boring, mean, bad, stupid, ugly, crazy, good, helpful, smart, beautiful? These labels are hurtful because they are lies, they aren't the whole true. Everyone is all of these at one time or another. To become that label separates that part of me from the rest of me so my identity becomes narrow, limited and stuck way out on the end of some linear thought concept. Then all my thoughts, words and actions support that limited view of myself. Am I free to be myself at this point? Not even close. This teaching is especially important when we talk with the young ones. Make sure those labels don't fly off your tongue, even the "positive" ones. It is so limiting to think we are mostly one way of being rather than a unique compilation of all things.
2009 is the Year of Living in Peace and as such our work is to make peace with all the fear, guilt, shame and pain that we have pushed away, not wanting to own or claim. It's not always all ours either. We have all inherited certain patterns, feelings and blockages through our lineage. We don't have to hold them any longer. We can set them down. To live our lives as a peace village, we allow all feelings to enter with equal respect so they may be understood, loved and transformed. Compassion is an action, not just a feeling. It is the action of being at peace with ourselves. Let's all take a huge breath and let it out. We have been holding our breath, waiting to exhale, until we have received some sort of permission or certificate from Spirit that we have been deemed good enough, that we are okay just the way we are. This tension has created the anger, aggression and hostility in ourselves and the world around us. We can give ourselves permission now to live our lives as sacred human beings free of the illusions that have kept us earthbound. "Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and failures have been brought on by non other than ourselves." This quote is from "The Art of Racing in the Rain," a beautiful story of rising above victimhood, being neither the victim, the perpetrator nor the rescuer. It shows that when we take only those actions that are congruent with our inner being, remaining true to ourselves, not giving away our power to those who appear to be controlling us, then we are able to co-create our lives with joy, fulfillment and peace. It's time. The Truth of me salutes the Truth of you.
These are my words.