I posted an introduction to Arkan Lushwala yesterday. I was really looking forward to hearing him speak on the topic of “Indigenous Ways of Restoring the World”. My experiences over the past several years working with people of color and indigenous people on environmental issues has shown me that a spiritual approach to our environmental chaos is what is needed now.
The root of our unfolding environmental disaster is the dominant view that natural resources are commodities that can be owned and consumed without regard to the consequences. That is fed by an economic model that requires continuous grow, and therefore, consumption of resources, even those that are nonrenewable. That could only have happened by a disconnect from Mother Earth.
What follows is a summary of what Arkan said. Quakers will find much that is similar to the way we worship.
Arkan says we are facing life threatening situations related to environmental damage. We are facing such severe challenges that we cannot solve them only by ourselves.
We must move beyond thinking and talking. Action now is essential.
Action is spiritual.
We need to practice trying to reach our sacred space. We need a higher universal intelligence to help solve these problems.
We must open a sacred space for prayer so we may be open to the warrior spirit.
The importance of prayer.
- We pray as a form of connecting to other forms of communication
- We need to be aware of what is happening in the moment, elevate ourselves, move closer to the sacred
- I first have to reach deep into my own heart
You start praying while you are also listening. I become aware of, remembering, what I pray about at that moment. We need to rely on our own ancient indigenous memory. Stop being isolated. Fully become part of the earth and water and plants and air. This is an immense source of knowledge about these problems.
I am in front of the sacred fire of all who are listening. Let’s say that I am thinking now. I am remembering. The notion of intelligence and to understand refers to memory. Intelligence means learning, but also achieving that state in your mind when you are remembering. The air that we are breathing carries the memories of the ages, the movement of energy. Deepest intelligence in our culture is memory. There are always memories of the ages in all that surrounds us.
The state of being, the prayer, makes us open to receiving. If we are really open, and not blocking ourselves, and connected to what is around us, with our eyes, breath, sensations, and feeling that arrive in our heart, through our antenna, if we are open in this way while we are doing something, our action is being infused with guidance or instructions. There is something there that is watching what you are doing and helping guide you. Sometimes we need the help of the elders or others to understand these experiences.
We ask for help. When we put ourselves in that elevated space, that makes it much easier for us to receive help. Help is always there but we often miss the messages.
If I am open and receptive to other frequencies and the higher state of my being, I’ll have much more help in my work.
The correct way is not to take credit, but the joy is the moment itself, by feeling integrated to life while you are doing the action.
When we sit with others in a circle, when we all change the state of our being together, we move up to the sacred together. Working with others in community, much, much more can be accomplished.
If a person expresses an experience that is from a sacred space of high resonance, I am activated by that. It resonates in my own heart and mind and spirit, and it triggers my memory, too. by the presence of something sacred.
We sit in a circle and witness someone remembering. We receive the same spirit together. Our individual self and agenda slips away. Joining our hearts. Mother Earth is the One, all of us become the One together. A lot of wisdom comes south. We are all impressed by the presence of something sacred.
I encourage Quakers to seek out opportunities to pray and celebrate with indigenous people. Bear Creek Friends Meeting has been involved with the Prairie Awakening, Prairie Awoke celebration for many years. The next Meskwaki Powwow will be August 9 – 12, 2018. The website for Indigenous Iowa is: https://www.indigenousiowa.org/ You can join the Stop DAPL 2.0! Facebook group.