Manataka American Indian Council
A REFLECTION ON THE RELEVANCE OF THE INDIGENOUS WORLD IN THESE CRITICAL TIMES
Otto Caballo Blanco Riollano
Manataka Ambassador to the Spiritual Elders of Latin America
(This is a translation from the original in Spanish, La relevancia del mundo indígena en este tiempo crítico - una reflexión, March 30, 2006)
A symbolic biographical note, in thoughtful appreciation
Since he was a child, the author thought, innocently, that the world in which he lived had to function the way he was explained it did by those close to him. The presumed wisdom of these teachers was reinforced with theories, reasoning of sorts, and overwhelming images which, in many instances, required submission and reverence in exchange. The truth is he did not quite understand what he was being taught: "I have to try to learn what others seem to know so well. Perhaps I am a bit retarded, and that is why I can not learn."
Doubts and unanswered questions -- or answered aggressively, and without recourse -- continued to haunt him on the path of his life. "You are an idealist ... and also stubborn. You are being too philosophical all the time", he was told over and over again, and over and over again doubts continued creeping into his youthful mind. "I still can not understand. It seems I am bound to be permanently in error."
After having walked along his path in his youthful years, bearing the heavy burden of the confounded vision of life he was told he had, he then began to be influenced by "undesirable people". This resulted in the discovery of fascinating "banned books" (banned by the learned and well intentioned people who had been telling him all the time that he was wrong). He also started meeting with small and isolated groups who were interested in what they termed as: studies of an esoteric nature.
"You are going to become hopelessly confused ... those studies are subjects of the devil", he was told by those who were about to give up teaching him. However, he began to realize then that the world which had been concealed from him up to then, clearly made sense. Also, that he could somehow understand deep inside his self, and, consequently, could not explain to others (particularly to his teachers), the many lessons and messages in the "banned books". "Now I am convinced that those who apparently had learning and perhaps were honestly trying to teach me, really did not know what they were talking about."
Then he began to be drawn to odd people, some with a saintly nature, but who looked more like beggars, and others called medicine men and shamans. "He has become a hopeless case", it was finally said by family and friends, for he had withdrawn from conventional society and socializing with proper people. One right after an other, he started undergoing life experiences and listening to words -- and silences -- which confirmed that his thinking and his inner feelings had been basically right ever since doubts started creeping in from the very beginning. He realized that what his first teachers had finally termed as "a wrong turn in life and sure damnation", had been a most joyful re-encounter with a perennial reality which brought him, once again, close to his timeless brothers. It was at this stage in the path of his life that he came to meeting the Manataka American Indian Council which, kindly and generously, invited him to its Circle of Life. "What a blessing!"
From the unfathomable abundance of truths and teachings preserved in the traditions, code of conduct, and culture of the ancestral people of Turtle Island (North America) and of Abya Yala (the American Continent), the author has been able to clearly perceive what he had always thought existed in principle: the possibility of living in a world in balance. It has now become evident to him that it is in a world in balance where it can become manifest a profound state of consciousness of life's sacred purpose, based on sharing, respect for all beings, and living in peace and harmony. "Thanks!"
Honored Brothers and Sisters, ¡Saludos!
After having trodden the larger part of his path in life, and having gone through the experience described symbolically, the author has felt an impulse to share some thoughts derived on the way, with the hope that these may be found useful. These have been summed up under the title: A Reflection on the Relevance of the Indigenous World in these Critical Times.
The Manataka American Indian Council (MAIC) recently started publishing on its web site newsletter, Smoke Signal, a section in Spanish. The objective of this project is to reach out and share information with our Brothers and Sisters to the South on traditional and current subjects which can bring us closer together, and to participate, whenever possible, in activities of mutual interest. This initiative is mainly directed to the indigenous people of the Abya Yala (the American continent) due to the spiritual principles, social values, attitudes, and a similar historical experience shared in common during the last five hundred years.
The word "indigenous" is used in an inclusive way. In this writing it refers to the original people of Turtle Island (North America) -- known as the red people --, as well as to the indigenous world to the south of the Abya Yala (the American continent), the mixed ones, or "Mestizos", and the black, white and yellow races. On this matter, a few years ago Honorable Brother Standing Bear, secretary of MAIC, spoke the following enlightening words:
"Who is an American Indian? Blood passed from generation to generation makes one an American Indian, is the response of many. Nasgi (Not) we say. An American Indian is much more! An Indian is a way of thinking, a way of belief and living. An American Indian realizes that the inner self and the interrelationship between oneself and creation -- the Great Spirit-Creator, Mother Earth and all the forms and elements that are part of her magnificent dream. It is about balance within oneself and balance within the Circle of Life. An Indian feels great kinship and deep respect for all things of creation. We see ourselves as one with all matter, including animals, birds, fish, plants, stones, the elements of wind, fire, water, and even the stars -- one no better than the other, but all necessary as part of the Circle."
For those who are fully and indiscriminately immersed in modernity, the indigenous world tends to be seen as an exotic, obsolete, backward and superstitious one. However, those who have lived in it and taken it to their hearts, know that it embraces codes for the redemption of Man (feminine and masculine gender) in these times; codes for the raising of the level of consciousness, for promoting brotherhood-sisterhood, for living in peace and harmony with Mother Earth and all that she shelters and nurtures. Of course, statements like these are confronted with rejection, and even mockery, by those who are committed to a materialistic and corrupt way of life, obfuscated by an arrogant scientific establishment, and who have their sensibility hardened by the fascination which creates capricious technological developments and the unbridled so-called progress. This world excludes any consideration of Indian spirituality.
This article is a contribution to the efforts being made to strengthen and promote Indian spirituality, and to reinstate the rights and domains of the indigenous people of the American continent, which for the last five hundred years have been robbed of almost everything that could be taken, mostly through violent means. No one knows the time this restitution will take, however, there are signs that this process has already begun. No one knows, also, to what extent this will take place in the world as we know it now, or if it will become a reality in another space and dimension, as some have envisioned. Due to the degree of unbalance which man has caused to Mother Earth, it seems it is becoming very difficult for Her to continue sustaining life much longer now. Unequivocal signs of this predicament are: the global warming that is taking place (mainly caused by Man) and the dramatic resultant climate change we are experiencing, which is accelerating with ominous speed and destructive force.
The great majority of people on planet Earth are ignoring this threat, in part due to the fact that this impending phenomena and the already envisioned catastrophic events it will cause, has been criminally concealed by special interest groups for the sake of power and money. This has come out in the open just recently, but denial and indifference still predominate.
It is pertinent to mention here the 1998 Albuquerque Declaration, where more than one hundred eighty (180) indigenous spiritual elders from North America met and warned about global warming and the urgent need to develop sustainable economies. They were ignored. Contrary to this warning and their advice, the dominant economies of the world have continued on the path of unsustainable and reckless development.
There are other external causes which are contributing to climate change, like he Sun's coronal mass ejections and radiation, and other forces of a cosmic nature, as those arising from what has been termed as the cyclical precession of the equinoxes. By the way, all these forces of change corroborate the observations, calculations and visions of indigenous spiritual elders from various nations (Maya, Hopi, Kogi, Cherokee, Qeros and many others), made many years ago and even before these historical times. Perhaps one very significant and heartening event which is signaling the beginning of the extraordinary and ultimately positive changes envisioned, is the strong resurgence of many indigenous nations of the Abya Yala, like those of the great Tawaintisuyu. This corresponds to the hour in the cosmic clock which they know so well since ancient times.
It is proper to mention that this article is an expression of the author's personal feelings, perceptions, experiences and information gathered along the way in his life path. He is fully accountable for its contents and hopes that mistakes made and other shortcomings will be kindly forgiven, taking into account that the underlying intention which has prompted it is rendering a service in favor of justice and peace.
Obstacles of the modern world in the narrow path of spirituality and consciousness awakening
The modern world is currently being blanketed aggressively, perhaps more than in any other period of known history, with the fantasies of a materialistic and seductive life system. Because of their dazzling attractions, these fantasies easily become addictive. One of their effects is that they alienate from nature's concert and the awareness of the interconnection between everything that is manifest. It also develops an unawareness of the need to maintain a state of balance as a fundamental requirement for sustaining life.
It is evident that the modern world addiction to the fantasies it has fabricated, apparently diminishes the capacity of human beings to analyze dispassionately and to reason, as well as to listen with the heart. Without this capacity it is highly improbable to become aware and learn about the right value of things, and thus, be able to act ethically, and even sensibly. To aggravate this disability, there is also a lack of a universally accepted code of conduct, such as the one which is traditional among indigenous nations and which is based, fundamentally, on a profound attitude of respect and tolerance for others beliefs and cultural diversity. As a result, the modern world is drifting into a situation of growing disharmony and conflicts. A foreboding situation this is!
The ethical values, behavior and cosmic vision on which Indian spirituality rests, are the opposite of the life system mentioned. This is one of the reasons why it is ignored by the modern world, if not despised and openly attacked. In political and economic circles, and even in academic and religious groups, these subjects are taboo. Of course, this is understandable, because it exposes the errors of the system prevailing in the world, topping these, among others, the exaltation of personality (over six billion in this planet!) and individualism.
Humanity In general is being stimulated and programmed to aspire to a living style surrounded by luxuries, conveniences and pleasure-giving objects, with the promise that this leads to a life of abundance and happiness. Some of these aspirations can not be objected to indiscriminately, like many modern conveniences, as long as these are developed within the bounds dictated by reasonableness and balance. However, these are not the criteria being employed in developing the aforementioned living style. Consequently, we have a growing trend towards unrestricted production and consumption of goods, which results in an alarming depletion of natural resources (many of which are not renewable), and the accumulation of waste material and toxic substances at a rate which is already seriously threatening life in many areas of the world, including the oceans.
The author is aware that many of the aforementioned statements are platitudes. However, these are used to stress the fact that, ironically, the great majority of human beings around the world who are living under the current dominant system are excluded from the life plan which it upholds and promotes. Within this majority are the countless number who are completely destitute, many struggling just to get enough food to barely survive (as is happening in the growing number of refugee camps around the world today), and those in serfdom -- including the abomination of children being exploited in sweat shops and prostitution rings.
In addition to lying and stealing, among the many other tragedies which were introduced into the American continent by the western civilizers, was their particular view of success in life. This was focused on obtaining material gains, which many times too many require being the most cunning and the one who cheats the most. This goal and behavior was foreign to the indigenous people of Turtle Island, because it was exclusive and aggressive in nature. This view of life and living is, precisely, the one that has gained tremendous force now.
One common exclusion practice, which is applauded unquestionably and even revered as if it were a universal principle is: competition --- in a way, a struggle for the the survival of the fittest. The word has become like a sacred mantra of the system. To many, this statement may sound foolish , and even absurd. However, in reality this practice, and the assumptions on which it is based, is a negative energy which ultimately make people insensitive to others, degrades humanity and fosters animosity. It is the opposite of cooperation, serving to the best of one's abilities for the sake of being of service, selflessly, and giving support to the weaker or less fortunate.
The negative energies of competition are the ones which nurture globalization and its "free trade" agenda. As many know, the latter two constitute a socio-economic ideology which has world economic control and political domination as its end objective. Because in practical terms this ideology ends up doing away with diversity, sustainability, respect, and even puts survival in jeopardy, is the reason why it is encountering a growing and resolute rejection around the world, notably by indigenous nations and communities.
The so-called "high standard of living", which supposedly is attainable through money and determined by the level of wealth enjoyed, is regarded as what constitutes success and happiness in the dominant system (but how many people in the world can enjoy this measure of success is not mentioned). The epitome of this concept is found in what is referred to as "the American Dream". This dream has been growing and expanding around the world, developing into a world-class fantasy which, perhaps, can now be termed as a "World Dream". In this expansive trend it has reached even densely populated and traditionally frugal societies -- like the one of the People's Republic of China, which is now in a massive economic development swing and ... consumerism.
This socio-economic trend forebodes a world-class nightmare, because of its delusions and contradictions, such as this scheme's dependency on the exploitation of nations with high levels of poverty (usually carried out through a very rich and powerful local elite), the pillaging of their natural resources and placing profit before human considerations -- even when survival is at stake. Those who are in the deep-sleep of the high standard of living delusion mentioned (vis a vis sustainable development and the pursuit of a life in balance) are bound to eventually suffer a shocking awakening. As a matter of fact, this awakening is already taking place, as is evidenced by the misery still surrounding the countless victims of hurricane Katrina in the supposedly most powerful nation in the world today.
A deadly project?
The system which by and large dominates current life in humanity's homeland, it seems will not be able to go on functioning much longer, because it violates universal laws, like those which govern harmony and equilibrium. These laws have been encroached by the unconscious forces which have been controlling this planet for thousands of years, and in an unusually aggressive, devastating and unique manner since recent times. These forces are the ones which engender greed, separateness and lack of respect for human life and the rest of creation.
Due to the control this system is currently exerting almost everywhere around the planet and the corrosive energy which stems from it, it is extremely difficult to promote and develop socio-economic systems which embody practices essential for living in balance, such as: cooperation, sharing, respect for all beings, the preservation of natural resources, sustainable development and self-sufficiency. One of the obstacles is that these practices are fanatically demeaned and rejected. In some instances where these are beginning to bud, they are attacked by the dominant system as if sustainable development, and community enhancement and empowerment initiatives were criminal activities.
The negative forces mentioned feed on indiscriminate economic growth, carried out in an unlimited way. The final objective is what has been openly acknowledged, and formally termed, as: a New World Order. This high-sounding concept is being utilized to advance globalization and free trade agreements, which, in turn, includes the frenzied and indiscriminate production of all sorts of goods -- including weapons of mass destruction --, in complete disregard for limited and diminishing resources in nature, and the increasing accumulation of the waste material and toxic substances these activities generate. By laws of physics known, the state of serious unbalance being created forebodes the awesome forces which apparently will be required to restore equilibrium, on a planetary scale.
Constant economic growth is one of the most fundamental tenets of the New World Order. What energizes this tenet is the constant fabrication of desires and needs which, in turn, promotes the consumption of goods -- consumerism --. As is well known, this is attained by programming through advertising, and other mind conditioning means, which then create more and seemingly endless desires and needs. When this activity reaches the saturation point in an individual, it tends to overflow into others of an escapist nature, such as: gambling, sports of an increasingly extreme nature, compulsive eating, indiscriminate sex, drugs, "uppers" and "downers", pain killers and anti-depressants. In this slide, many end in the pit of chronic depression, suicide or a living-death.
Before going any further in this writing, a clarification is in order. The reason for presenting and delving into this negative and sad situation is because the author is convinced that it contains subjects which have to be made candidly clear in these critical times, even at the risk of being repetitive and tiring. It has to do with survival and, perhaps, the capacity to evolve. There is a possibility that, by bringing fore front some of these issues and seen them as a whole, may help us become fully aware of the morbid reality which they conceal. With this awareness we may then have a better option to exert good discernment and effectively turn our whole life into an act of prayer. But, why prayer and how can this be done? How is prayer defined, after all? (Information and a brief reflection on these questions are included in the last chapter.)
The following three subjects could appear to deviate from the substance of this reflection. However, they are of special interest because of the particularly negative bearing they could have on making effective the relevance of the indigenous world in these critical times. This information could serve as a warning and as a signal to be vigilant.
It is becoming quite evident that globalization is a scheme aimed at world control by an overpowering neo-liberal capitalist system which is based on monopolistic multinational companies, special interest groups and centralized financial, political and military institutions. This scheme is governed by a powerful elite that transcends race, nationality, citizenship and geopolitical boundaries. That is why it is called a global elite. The make-up of the latter and its "modus operandi" are mostly unknown. However, the ill-effects of its workings are being felt, and suffered, by innumerable people around the world.
For the globalization scheme to function efficiently and effectively in a particular territory, it is necessary to have in it a population which is productive to its system. This need responds to a very simple formula, outlined here briefly as a reference:
The population of able consumers (those who earn or have spending money) make up a productive factor directly related to the capitalist system, inasmuch as it determines the return on investment which nurtures it. In the economic equation of globalization, profits have to increase constantly to be able to respond to the demands of capital investments, which then become a fast growing and expanding economic factor. One of the ways to achieve this goal is by increasing consumer spending by converting discretionary expenditures into "necessary" ones. This evolves into a spending pattern which is what has been termed as consumerism. The increase in demand for products create, in turn, the need to increase production of all sorts of products which would be short lived (with built-in obsolescence or outright disposable), to maintain in high gear the ever increasing spiral of supply and demand which develops, or rather, is fabricated.
The resulting unbridled and spiraling economic activity which is generated is very lucrative. It is also very taxing, with devastating effects on many natural resources, on the life-sustaining capabilities of Earth, on the quality of life in general, and on the political and cultural integrity of many nations, territories and communities. It works against diversity, economic sustainability and maintaining balance in the Planet's systems. It is a fact that when lack of balance becomes extreme and reaches the breaking point in any system -- what is termed as "critical mass"--, then the laws of physics set in to restore equilibrium. This restoration process can be very dramatic, and in our case, most probably it will be cataclysmic in nature.
Human beings who do not contribute to the ongoing globalization process because they constitute a burden (the so called unproductive "useless eaters") in the revolving chain of those who can pay to consume, are considered a waste factor in the globalization scheme. What does one do with a waste product which, as in this case, can not be recycled?
In general terms, genocide is defined as the systematic decimation of large number of people of a particular nationality or race, carried out in a specific geographical location, within a particular time-frame. The traditional methods employed -- killing outright -- have given way to more sinister ones which are little known and are entirely unsuspected by the victims. This is because they employ highly sophisticated technologies and procedures.
Among these have been reported the aerial spraying of substances and/or pathogenic organism which lower the immune system, sensitizing a targeted population to one or more diseases. Vaccines tainted for this purpose have also been used. In this scenario knowing the genome factor which is particular to a race could play an important role, inasmuch as pathogenic organism can now be custom engineered, or bioengineered, to sensitize a genome factor particular to a race. Could this be related to an ongoing project aimed at making a genome world map?
It has been reported that the development of this project has concentrated its research activities in many poor areas of the world, like in many nations in Africa where, coincidentally, epidemics sometimes break out without a known cause or reasonable scientific explanation. Reliable references on this subject are available in books, academic papers, and news and reports, many of which can be obtained through the Internet.
In spite of efforts to cover up modern genocidal activities, there is enough evidence that suggests this activity is currently being perpetrated. Those who have been dispossessed of their lands, traditions, cultures, and even liberty -- like so many indigenous people of the Americas -- constitute the groups which could be most vulnerable to this crime. It should be added that the response to those who have exposed this publicly, has been the deadly noise of cover-up propaganda and the silence of those in high places who know, and should be denouncing, these crimes. Nevertheless, many of the victims of these genocidal activities still have left what is really vital and can not be taken away: an awakened conscience. In addition, they/we are not alone, nor forsaken, in the broadest sense of these words.
The mind control mentioned in this title does not refer only to mind conditioning through advertising and propaganda. It also includes extremely surreptitious methods, developed relatively recently, which can affect directly the way of thinking, feeling and behavior.
One of the methods developed, and which have been discussed publicly and in professional and scientific circles, has been referred to as Invasive Mind Control Technologies, which employ nanotechnology in the control of human behavior. This is done by implanting microprocessors, and the use of extreme low frequency electromagnetic waves to activate these and manipulate the mind. The implanting can be carried out by aerial sprayings or by mass immunizations, using vaccines tainted with molecular and even atomic size microprocessors. This can be effected on a population in an extended area.
The reason for mentioning in this article this alien situation is because the apparent intent to secretly robotize unsuspecting human beings is a threat against the spark of life in Man and the sacred gifts of intelligence, ability to reason, exert free will, be compassionate and evolve spiritually. Mind control, as briefly mentioned here, is not a figment of the imagination. It is based on quite voluminous and reliable documentation, which exposes tests conducted and the secret application of these procedures to human beings and entire populations. This, it has been said, could be one of the secret weapons of the New World Order. Of course, this situation is so complex, so well covered up and so despicably perverse, that the almost invariable response is one of total disbelief, denial or simply to discard this entire situation as a fictitious and ridiculous one -- even in the face of hard evidence. (The author has done extensive research on the subject.)
The intent to diminish human beings with methods such as the one aforementioned and the unawareness or indifference (perhaps induced) to mind programming and mind control activities, is what many have perceived is signaling the impending intervention of superior forces to restore balance to this planet, Mother Earth, in response to the universal Law of Equilibrium. The immortal spark of life which has animated Man since he was created, can not be arrested, and as part of the essence which unites everything and all, much less destroyed.
For the time being, the growing rapacious force of the dominant system apparently will continue causing great destruction and suffering with its unimaginable arsenal of all kinds of weapons and perverse instruments of control. However, the madness which gives it impulse can not go on indefinitely, nor can it prevail over the all-pervasive, all-powerful, inextinguishable cosmic Energy which the American Indian call, with devotion and respectfully: The Great Spirit, The Creator and The Great Mystery.
The author believes that it is critically important that the indigenous world of the American continent become aware of the web of circumstances which have been roughly woven in this Part II of this article. As a result, a contrasting pattern has emerged: the very bright harmonious images -- like rainbows -- of the life in balance which have been envisioned, will define the New World .... but with some ominous dark streaks which call for vigilance.
The working concept of a life in balance
As mentioned before, the end purpose of this writing is to contribute, even if in a small and limited measure, to the promotion of what can be defined as a working concept of a life in balance -- a life which the indigenous people of the Abya Yala are adept to and have upheld since ancient times. As part of this effort, the author thought that exposing some of the challenges confronting this objective could serve as a warning, particularly to those who are striving to follow the path of spiritual evolution through the raising of the level of consciousness. The latter path can be summed up as one of: selfless service to others, detachment, full commitment to Superior Laws as known by tradition or as perceived by the inner self, and devotion, or the will to continue evolving, even against all adversity and after the falls on the way. In this path one walks alone, in silence, guided by one's inner voice and supported by faith. This path is known only to those who are treading it, but in principle, it is open to all.
It is common knowledge that the ancestral people of this continent were diminished in various ways, and in some instances exterminated, by the events of the colonization by western civilization. Great confusion and despair was generated within the indigenous nations as a result of the devastating attacks to their cultures and traditions, and the forceful removal from their lands. However, the Circle of Life kept turning, and now there are many signs that the time for healing, restitution and harmony has arrived.
Indigenous tribes and nations are already joining in this recuperation process through prayer, through reaffirmations and renovation, through the power of ancestral ceremonies, and through many other age old practices. The growing upsurge within this process and the solidarity which is taking place is heart-lifting. But it is also outlining two fundamentally different and opposing cultural worlds. In one there is an deep awakening
of an ancestral state of consciousness and the exaltation of a cosmic vision in which one can already perceive the dawn of a new age of harmony, living with justice and in peace, and keeping balance under the Laws of the Great Spirit-Creator. In the other, the world of the plunderer from the west which has not stopped hoarding, being aggressive and divisive. As if it were the embodiment of a bad energy which has driven its members to the limits of unconsciousness, it is now beginning to manifest disarray and giving signs of disintegration.
Because of their awareness of the superior laws of the Great Spirit -- the mysterious energy which cyclically creates, maintains, dissolves and regenerates all life an matter, as it manifests itself in the seasons of Mother Earth -- the indigenous world has been conscious of a Path in Balance as the route to take in life: a life in harmony with other humans and nature, sharing, showing respect for everything in this creation, including respect for cultural diversity, traditions and neighboring nations and communities, engaging in sustainable and self-sufficiency practices, and maintaining an active awareness of the interconnection between everything that exists. This magnificent vision of a way of life could serve as a constructive and compassionate model to meet effectively the challenges of these critical times.
To stand up and fulfill one's mission in life
Humanity finds itself at a transcendental threshold, due in part to the extreme degree of polarization it has reached. This situation is exemplified in the great epic battle which took place in the fields of Kurukshetra in ancient India; a battle which symbolizes the challenges of life and how to face these. In it two armies confronted each other. One of the principal warriors, prince Arjuna, refused to engage in battle because of the suffering it would bring about, including to the dynastic kinsmen which were found on both sides of the battleground. The conductor of his carriage, the lord Krichna, -- in Hinduism a manifestation of divinity, known as "the slayer of ignorance, the one with an ever present state of consciousness, the master of the senses" -- finally rebuked him: "Your words are wise, but your sorrow is for nothing. The truly wise mourn neither for the living, nor for the dead ... there was never a time when we did not exist, nor shall there be one when you, these kings, nor I, shall cease to be ... a serene spirit accepts pleasure and pain with evenness ... there is a Reality which is omnipresent and which is indestructible ... therefore, you must stand up and fight for what life demands from you ... " (This is an excerpt from the Baghavad Gita, paraphrased by the author.)
Symbolically, this battle refers, in essence, to the attitudes towards the challenges in life and the efforts required to freed the spirit from the many layers of delusion which cover up its ever shinning light. These efforts require not only traditional spiritual practices, but also physical work, such as has to be exerted in serving others, to sustain oneself and to make good by trying to correct injustices. It is a matter of discernment.
It is in the present world-wide "battle" scenario where the indigenous people of the Americas can enter with great wisdom and offer true hope. In spite of the suffering and deprivations to which they have been subjected to, they have been able to preserve an eminently clear, truthful -- and hopeful -- vision of life and living. It offers answers to the key questions which the latter poses: where do we come from (our origins), who are we, what are we here for and where are we going to after this life experience. The response to these momentous questions can be found in their ancestral traditions, which are summed up in the Circle of Life and the Sacred Tree symbols. Inasmuch as the teachings in these symbols are so profound and sacred, the author suggests that they be respectfully approached through the words of many well known and highly respected indigenous spiritual elders. (Some recommended readings are included at the end of this chapter.)
Many assertions made in this article exalting the indigenous people of the Americas, making particular reference to the American Indian, should not be taken as an indiscriminate idealization or generalization of this ancestral world. However, the fundamental values mentioned constitute the reality which they perceive, and traditionally manifest in the code of conduct they follow in their personal, family and community life.
Through personal experience, the author has come to believe that the great majority of those who make up the indigenous world of Turtle Island, as well as the Abya Yala, harbour deeply imbedded in their hearts, in the depths of their subconscious, perhaps in their archetypical genetic make up, a body of sacred knowledge from where can be drawn the right answers to meet the momentous challenges humanity is currently facing and which signify even survival. An exemplary case in point of the right answers is the dramatic recuperation of the traditions and culture of the Andean indigenous people, taking place in the great Tawaintisuyu -- the territory (suyu) of the four directions (tawa) of the sun (inti) --, on which was imposed to some of its ancestral people the geopolitical division known today as the Republic of Bolivia.
It was precisely the cosmic vision, principles and values of the indigenous people of the American continent -- the Abya Yala -- which the invader from the west did not acknowledge or understand, and apparently still does not respect. Instead, the latter imposed what many have termed as a Death Project, for it has no future. It leads to annihilation by establishing separateness, creating imbalance, plundering nature and fostering war, domination and subservience. This project has gained force and momentum lately through a globalized neo-liberal capitalistic ideology, which is nothing more than a rapacious and oppressive big-business tactic imposed through a so-called "free trade" scheme. Contrary to what it is said to be, it is designed to benefit and empower a cadre of greedy human beings. Considering the ruthless and destructive nature of this scheme, one can surmise that the players behind it must be individuals who have strayed far off from their humanity and fallen into a state of perverse madness. Difficult as it may be, one should bear in mind, however, that these individuals are, after all, our brothers. Ultimately, they deserve compassion.
If the globalization scheme were to continue expanding and developing, it would end up practically terminating whatever would be left of hope in humanity, and finally, life itself. But this can not be. Before this could happen, many are convinced that the Law of Equilibrium (Law of Karma) will set in, with cataclysmic force, to restore balance on Earth. There is a growing number of persons who in many ways are already tuning themselves to the forthcoming restoration process, to at least reduce the impact of the balancing forces. This is being done through prayer, devotion and selfless service. Nevertheless, it appears that very big and momentous events related to the restoration of balance to Mother Earth are already approaching very fast now (the envisioned dawn of New World?); and that the "good' and the "bad" , the animate and the inanimate, will then, and in ways we do not know precisely how they will unfold, continue ascending in the endless spiral of evolution, according to the level of consciousness, or spiritual vibration, attained by each. This envisioned supreme reality is the basis for being compassionate.
The aforementioned visions and conclusions are subject to interpretation. In many instances they are outright negated by those immersed in materialism and who can not see beyond their material possessions. They are particularly negated by the majority of the scientific and academic establishments, which function strictly within the bounds of the senses and the intellect. On the other hand, many perceive that these visions are a self evident reality which, nevertheless, can only be perceived by intuition and other ways of knowing which can not be expressed with words. Perhaps the latter ways are found somewhere in the heart ("the heart has reasons the mind does not know") or deep in the recesses of the inner self, where it is possible for Man to know and understand, in silence. Of course, each individual will make his own interpretation of the aforementioned statements on the key questions on life and living what are we here for and where are we going after this life experience.
To conclude this chapter, the author shares with the reader the following brief reflection on the relevance of the traditions and culture of the indigenous people of the Abya Yala in these critical times:
--- In its form and contents, the life-plan model of the ancestral indigenous people corresponds to a life in balance, as was briefly described in many instances throughout this reflection. It has, therefore, extraordinary relevance in these critical times.
--- Although the Death Project mentioned will still cause devastation for some time, it will not succeed. The Life in Balance plan will, as being the one in harmony with creation and in accord with evolution.
--- A truthful life attains a limitless dimension, for truth is pervasive, not only in Mother Earth, but beyond. It resides in the spirit, which is a spark of the Creator, and therefore it is infinite and eternal.
(Some references suggested on the subjects covered in this chapter are:
The Wisdom of the Native American, edited by Kent Nerburn, New World Library, 1999;
The Sacred Tree (by various authors), Lotus Light Publications, Wisconsin, 1985;
The Earth Shall Weep, by James Wilson, Grove Press, 1998;
Hiawatha and the Great Peace, by Torkom Saraydarian, T.S.G. Publishing Foundation, Inc., 1984;
In the Absence of the Sacred, by Jerry Mander, Sierra Club Books, 1991;
Dreaming the Council Ways, by Ohky Simine Forest, Samuel Weiser, Inc., 2000;
Return of the Children of the Light, by Judith Bluestone Polich, Bear & Co., 2001.
The Act of Praying
The author considers we are already in a survival mode on planet Earth. Also, that we are at the dawn of a great awakening where many will experience a raise in the level of consciousness through self realization. This is the evolutionary process which has been termed as Ascension.
In these critical times prayer is paramount. But, what does praying really mean and how does one pray? There are numerous concepts and practices, inasmuch as the origin of this spiritual activity is immemorial. It has many forms, such as those established by institutionalized religions, cults and devotional groups. Other forms have evolved from custom and become traditional. In most western dictionaries praying is defined as: "a solemn request or thanksgiving to God or an object of worship".
Following is a definition of prayer which the author believes can serve to broaden one's view and understanding of this spiritual practice:
"PRAYER -- an authentic prayer is a receptive state and an aspiration to establish contact with transcendental energies and to express the intent of consolidating the inner self with these. It is a very powerful instrument, but its effective use is little known, due to the fact that human beings almost invariably have used prayer to fulfill a personal wish or obtain a boon. This use corresponds to one based on a polarized emotional level. Prayer to fulfill a personal wish or obtain a benefit for others is an activity guided by self interest; it pursues human objectives, and thus creates karma, while disinterested prayer is an unconditional opening, a pure selfless rendering to the will of the Supreme Conscience which reflects itself in the will of the inner self of human beings. It mobilizes the energy of the individual and raises it to the level of intuition, and beyond; it does not create karma, or attachments, or develops ties which bring retribution. These free energies are then reunited as an offering, and cosmic life can use them in the purest way. Therefore, in prayer only exists the search for truth in an unrestricted manner. It is constructed in the silence of the inner self and is based on faith and vigilance. It reflects in the outer world as the pacification of personal desires and thoughts, and also in the lifting of superfluous activities. The individual which engages in this form of prayer induces transformations in others, without intending or being aware of it; he irradiates clarity and lucidity to the planetary aura. Prayer is, therefore, an instrument of service to the World. To use it effectively it has to emerge from humility. Invisible and selfless, it serves as a basis for evolutionary endeavors." (This definition of prayer is a translation made by the author from the Diccionario Esotérico de Trigueirinho, Editorial Kier, 1994.)
The indigenous world of Turtle Island (North America) offer us a magnifiscent example of a form of praying which have been called by some as: The Ten Indian Commandments (source of origin unknown):
THE TEN INDIAN COMMANDMENTS
1. Remain close to the Great Spirit.
2. Treat the earth, and all that dwell thereon, with respect.
3. Show great respect for your fellow beings.
4. Work together for the benefit of all mankind.
5. Give assistance and kindness wherever needed.
6. Do what you know to be right.
7. Look after the well being of mind and body.
8. Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.
9. Be truthful and honest at all times.
10. Take full responsibility for your actions.
These commandments essentially embrace the traditional way of thinking and acting of the American Indian. They promote an active awareness of the relationship which exists between all beings which harbor the great temple of creation which is Mother Earth -- the Pachamama. They foster spiritual evolution and can set Man in the path which leads to the Great Peace, for We are all One.
After a considerate reflection on these commandments, one can state that practicing these constitutes a prayer of unique excellence.