Again I’m feeling close to some breakthrough in my thinking. I don’t know what yet, but I’m working on it. It has something to do with simplicity, I feel fairly certain. Not only simplicity, but simplicity as a path to being fully human.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and a lot of reading lately on a bunch of interrelated issues: materialism, consumerism, this modern industrial era’s quest for “progress” (whatever that is) and profit, at the expense of the earth and its inhabitants, the voluntary simplicity and back-to-the-land movements, and the Native American outlook. I’ve also been studying the issues of poverty and globalization, which seemed to be wickedly interrelated. And of course, the role of the corporation in the desecration of the earth. I could go on for pages if I wanted to write about my thoughts on each of these issues. The breakthrough I’m sensing will it in all likelihood be a synthesis of all of these thoughts.
The Native American stuff has probably been at the forefront of my thoughts. My new realization is that the native peoples embody what it is to be human. Anybody on this earth who sets out on a path to being fully human will eventually arrive at a philosophy of life that is very similar to indigenous peoples’ beliefs. They haven’t lost their way, as we have. They still know and have always known, what is to be human. We white folk have forgotten.
My own personal experiences and gropings have led me to this conclusion. Without a teacher, just feeling my way along, I’ve discovered some Truths. It’s so wonderfully affirming to find in Native American writings references to the same Truths as I’ve stumbled across.
Most notably are my experiences of the layers of energy in the land, plants, animals and people, and also with my understanding of Power. The native conception that everything is alive may seem quaint and primitive to us modern folks, but it is absolutely real. There is no way for it to be otherwise. I am an emanation of energy, as is everything else. I may have a unique vibration, but it is closely related to the vibrational fields around me and in fact is part of the fields around me. My skin is not a boundary; it does not mark where I end. In as much as I am in alignment with the energy of the land, I am one with it.
It’s been wonderful to find similar statements in Native American writings. When Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce said “The earth and myself are of one mind. The measure of the land and the measure of our bodies are the same,”--he meant that literally. In the past such statements wouldn’t really even register in my mind. I would take it as metaphor. But it is absolutely not metaphor. It is a clear, literal description of reality.
And I think it was in Vine DeLoria’s writings that I came across his explanation that each geographic locale emanates its own unique energy, and that people are shaped by the land. He said westerners recognize that there are regional identities (like New Englanders, or Southerners) but don’t acknowledge that it is the land that produces the humans. This is knowledge that I felt my way into when I moved to Colorado. I remember walking on the trail around our development in Erie and beginning to feel the unique (and sad) energy of the land for the first time. Well, not for the first time. I’ve always felt the energy; it’s just that it was such a constant presence that it was hard to separate it and identify it. Moving away from Pennsylvania, out of the energy I had always been immersed in, I believe, helped me to identify it for the first time.
I think I’ve said it before, but as we destroy the land we are literally destroying ourselves, or a way of knowing ourselves. There is so much knowledge and so much sacredness out there, it is so vast, but bit by bit we desecrate it. How can we live in such total ignorance?
In order to reconnect, there has to be a return to the land. In cities and suburbs, how will people ever feel their way into this knowledge?