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Monday, November 3, 2008

The Meditation of the Native Americans.

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Every tribe has its own unique spiritual history, but certain parallels can be drawn that connect all these people to the earth and each other.

The origins of Native American spirituality can be traced back a very long time, possibly as far as 60,000 years. There are many tribes, all with a rich store of myths, though many early bloodlines have now died out. Popular versions of Native American spirituality are often inaccurate as they homogenize the beliefs of these cultures within the Native American peoples. Each tribe has it's own creation myth and collection of legends that connect humans with the animal kingdom.

One With Animals.

The basis of all Native American spirituality is the connection with the natural world. The landscape is accorded great respect, and sacred presences are felt within natural objects. Animals play a large role in the Native American tradition as teachers and guides. Ceremony and ritual is vital as this creates and sustains a feeling of connection with all living things.

A Natural Philosophy

The Native American peoples believe that the earth is their mother and that she must be revered and respected. The tribes have always hunters and gatherers rather than cultivators and farmers. The relationship between the land and the people is mystical and totally inter-dependant.

Deep Appreciation

The creation myths often describe how the earth and its creatures came into being through an altruistic creator, and there is a deep belief that everything has a place in the scheme of things. Everything is considered to be infused with spirit and there is a deep respect for all creatures and for natural forces such as the rain, wind and lightening.

Shamans

The spiritual welfare and physical health of the tribe is the responsibility of the tribal shaman, who is either chosen by the current shaman as his successor, or is singled out through a defining experience that proves his worthiness. The shaman holds extensive knowledge of plants and their abilities to heal or to bring altered states of awareness. He presides over the ceremonies and rituals designed to increase the strength of the tribe, to heal the sick, to banish malicious entities or to call the spirits of the animals before a hunt. Paramount to the shaman is his sacred drum which, among its many uses, can bring about a trance state.

Purification.

Before performing a ceremony or ritual, the Native Americans ensure that the body and mind are cleansed and purified. The leaves of the sage plant are bound together and lit until they smoulder in order to "smudge" and cleanse the space. Sweetgrass is also braided and lit for the same purpose. Sweat lodges are used, where members of the tribe gather in an enclosed space, usually a teepee, to sit around stones that are placed in a central fire until very hot, then are doused in water to bring forth hot steam. This promotes sweating and releases bodily impurities.


Meditation

There are so many Native American tribes in North America, that often the cultures and traditions become mixed in interpretation as is the case in the exercise below You can use this meditation before a ceremony, or to attune to the natural world.

Create an altar with natural objects. Light a smudge stick of sage or sweetgrass and fan the smoke over yourself. Walk around and allow the sage smoke to purify the energy of your space. Then place the sage in a bowl and stand in the centre of the room.

Face east, where the sun rises. This is the place of new beginnings. Give thanks to the spirits of the east, and ask them to guide you. Turn to face the south, the place where the sun is at its highest, representing the power of life. Give thanks to the spirits of the south, and ask tem to guide you. Turn to the west, the place of sunset, of dreams and introspection. Give thanks to the spirits of the west, and ask them to guide you.

Turn to the north, the place of wisdom and reflection. Give thanks to the spirits of the north, and ask them to guide you.

Now you are ready to sit in meditation.
http://susansblog.yuku.com/topic/397/t/Meditation-Of-The-Native-Americans.html

1 comment:

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