Guidance received – 25 November 2016

by Eileen Caddy

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Shoulder Your Responsibilities With Real Joy In Your Heart

Judge not any soul and condemn not, you simply open your heart and love your fellowman and try to understand and lift, never drag down. Be very loving and very tolerant and seek that divine spark within each one and fan it into a flame. You each have your part to play in the whole scheme of things, play it to the full and be everlastingly grateful that your eyes have been opened and shoulder your responsibilities with real joy in your heart and a longing to give of your very best. Source

Elder’s Meditation of the Day November 24

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“Things would go well for us if we would think positively about everything.” –Mary Hayes, CLAOQUOT

Each of our thoughts are like individual seeds. These thoughts will plant our life garden. Whatever our thoughts, they grow in our gardens. Each day we will process about 50,000 thoughts or thought seeds. Positive thoughts will produce positive results. Have you ever been aware of what you are thinking about during the day? Of the possible 50,000 thoughts in one day – if the positive thoughts were flowers and the negative thoughts were weeds – how would your garden look at the end of the day?

Great Spirit, let me plant positive seeds.

Elder Wisdom – Lessons of Respect

“We’re sitting on our blessed Mother Earth from which we get our strength and determination, love and humility, all the beautiful attributes that we’ve been given. So turn to one another; love one another; respect one another; respect Mother Earth; respect the waters-because that’s life itself!” –Phil Lane, Sr. YANKTON SIOUX

Our entire point of view can be altered by making one change to align with the principles of the Great Spirit. Let’s say we decide to become respectful. As we become respectful, our attitude will change. We will automatically draw into our lives knowledge about the other principles of the Great Spirit such as love, appreciation, trust, beauty, and peace of mind. By focusing on these principles, we will let go of selfishness, self centeredness, self pity, dishonesty, and fear. You focus on respect, you get respect; you focus on love, you get love; you focus on the Red Road, you get peace of mind.

Great Spirit, let me learn the lessons of respect.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day November 19

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Where there is vision, the people live. They are made rich in the things of the spirit; and then, as the logical next step, they are rich in human life. –Phil Lane, Sr., YANKTON SIOUX

Since the beginning of time, Indian people have been blessed with the ability and knowledge of the vision. The vision determines our future. The concept is, we move toward and become that which we think about. We have known that all visions are about the Great Spirit. They should include God’s will in every area of our lives. We should have visions about our people, about healthy relationships, about helping others, about being happy, about being educated. Each day we should renew our vision. We should ask the Creator to give us a vision of what He wants us to be and where He wants us to go in our lives. We should be the seekers of vision.

Great Spirit, give me a vision to follow today. Let me do Your will.

Important Message from Keeper of Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe

by Phil Lane Jr. on November 5, 2016 at 3:30am

chief-arvol-looking-horseKnow that you are essential to this world. Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You are desperately needed to save the soul of this world. Did you think you were put here for something less? In a Sacred Hoop of Life, there is no beginning and no ending.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse is the author of White Buffalo Teachings. A tireless advocate of maintaining traditional spiritual practices, Chief Looking Horse is a member of Big Foot Riders, which memorializes the massacre of Big Foot’s band at Wounded Knee.

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The Lost Sacredness of Tobacco

By Jonathan Davis – Tuesday October 11th, 2016

The Hidden Power of Tobacco

For many indigenous people alive today in the Americas and Australia, tobacco and other nicotine containing plants are considered just as sacred as they had been for their ancestors. For most people, however, the idea that tobacco and nicotine might be sacred sounds about as ludicrous as a magazine article from the fifties with medical doctors recommending cigarettes. How can a plant with so much potential for harm be considered sacred? Over the past decade, I’ve somehow gone from being someone who had no respect for tobacco whatsoever, actually having quite a lot of harsh judgment for anyone who smoked it, to a person who now has a very deep level of reverence and respect for what has been an ancient friend to humanity.

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The Distinction Between Use and Abuse

For the past five hundred years, tobacco has been used by the western world. During most of that time, there were no chemicals added and still there was addiction, sickness, and death caused by tobacco abuse. Before Columbus encountered it for the first time in Cuba and brought it to the west, tobacco abuse and addiction was not a cultural problem for those who worked with it, and the reason according to Indigenous North Americans is the concept of the right relationship.

Tobacco abuse and addiction was not a cultural problem for those who worked with it.Tobacco abuse and addiction was not a cultural problem for those who worked with it.

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‘Right Relationship’ with Tobacco

I’ve heard it said that for the Indigenous North Americans, tobacco is the hotline to the Great Spirit. If your culture had taught you that every time you smoked tobacco, the entire universe was listening intently to every thought that was moving through your mind and every feeling that was moving through your heart, you might not be so quick to light one up. It’s hard to imagine some of the kids at school sneaking away behind the bike sheds to eat the Eucharist bread they took from church on Sunday. It puts tobacco into a completely different context. In this way, there was cultural regulation of behavior, casual use didn’t exist, and there was no-one trying to convince anyone that it was cool.

Pre-colonization Native Americans, in comparison to most modern western people, lead incredibly healthy, active lives, with very few toxins and a high level of nutrition. Many also engage in regular rituals, such as sweat lodge – which causes intense detoxification. Combine these factors with the fact that tobacco was used sparingly and smoke was almost never taken into the lungs due to wild harvested tobacco being lot stronger than cultivated tobacco, and you can start to get a picture as to why there is no evidence of tobacco being any kind of problem in their society.

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Tobacco was sacred –  Artist: Jonathan Thunder

Tobacco as an Intention Amplifier

The oldest evidence for tobacco cultivation was found near the Peru/Ecuador border in the Amazon jungle. Nicotina Rustica is up to 26 times stronger than commercially available tobacco and is considered one of the three most powerful plants in Amazonian shamanism. To many, it is even more revered than the sacred visionary medicine, Ayahuasca. Over almost a decade of exploring South American plant medicine practice, I have again and again seen people I respect show deep reverence towards tobacco, and slowly over time, I have come to gain a perspective on why.

From what I have learned from engaging in non-western spiritual practices, perhaps the best model for explaining people’s beliefs about tobacco is that its primary gift is that of an intention amplifier. This helps explains why tobacco is considered by many indigenous cultures to be food for the spirits. When it is offered, it is a way of us giving the gift of amplified intention to whatever the being is that the offering is being made to – something like ‘may your prayers and intentions be made stronger’. For the curandera (shaman) that wishes for the discordance in her ayahuasca ceremony to pass, or for the ayahuasca to come through with more strength, it amplifies her intention also. If she wishes for a person’s energy field to become clear and sealed, it amplifies this intention too. All across the amazon, tobacco is employed for spiritual protection, as when this is the intention, it is amplified.

For the modern smoker, when we feel uncomfortable and wish for this current moment to be in the past and a new moment to be opened up in the present, it will amplify and enable our avoidance of discomfort. If we want to feel more confident in social situations, it will amplify that. If we want to suppress anxiety or the pain of past trauma, tobacco will amplify these intentions too, though more evidence every day is linking supression of emotions with suppression of immunity. Psychiatry even recognizes its ability to help bring a degree of stability to people going through extreme mental health challenges, much like the way it is used in the same way during turbulent ayahuasca experiences.

When it is offered, it is a way of us giving the gift of amplified intention.When it is offered, it is a way of us giving the gift of amplified intention.

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Tobacco is a Hallucinogen

At high doses, tobacco is indeed a hallucinogen. At every dose, it brings about an adjustment in our perception: varying degrees of non-ordinary awareness, from slight to moderate. Commercially available tobacco causes just enough of a state change that we want it, but not enough that we really notice it has happened. The problem here is that hallucinogens, and indeed all forms of voluntary or involuntary non-ordinary states, may be inducing varying levels of enhanced neuroplasticity. We have seen numerous studies in recent years showing how psychedelics can cause neurogenesis and help brains rewire after trauma. If tobacco also causes an enhanced state of neuroplasticity, it would provide a tangible basis for some of the claim that it amplifies intention.

Imagine a person going outside to have a cigarette break at work. They smoke their tobacco from end to end feeling angry, frustrated, bitter: “I hate my job, I hate my life”. If the ancient wisdom is true, then this kind of thinking and feeling is being amplified inadvertently through the use of tobacco. If nicotine were to accelerate neuroplasticity, there would be a more significant strengthening of the pathways associated with these negative thought patterns, perhaps requiring something like cognitive behavioral therapy to undo. As we increase our scientific understanding of the effect hallucinogens have on the brain, as well as the feedback loop between our emotional state and our immune system, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if there was a significant link between negative thinking during the use of tobacco and cancer. Personally, if I smoked commercial tobacco, the last thing I would want potentially being amplified by enhanced neuroplasticity is all the words and pictures that are on the warning labels. SMOKING CAUSES CANCER, written on the packaging may possibly be woven deeper into the consciousness of the smoker, by the very tobacco the smoker is being warned about.

At every dose, it brings about an adjustment in our perception. At every dose, it brings about an adjustment in our perception.

The Power of Culture

Perhaps one of the key reasons why cancer wasn’t a significant problem for indigenous people working with tobacco was because their culture knew better than to smoke tobacco while not being in right relationship with it. Indigenous culture may have described things in language that sounded too poetic or didn’t sound rational enough to be considered important – but this doesn’t mean that there isn’t the accumulation of thousands of years of wisdom encoded in those traditions.

There’s a reason why indigenous people didn’t get sick from tobacco and it could be this simple: they had traditions that told them how to engage with it in a safe way. This is the advantage of having the experience of your ancestors passed down, fully in tact, through culture. Somewhere along the way, over the course of tens of thousands of years, people probably found out the hard way that tobacco is dangerous and needed to be shown a deep level of respect. That information was woven into tradition and people could trust that the tradition was there to keep them safe, even if they didn’t fully understand the reason for it. Even if the original reason for the tradition was lost, there was still trust in the intention of their ancestors to preserve and care for the lives of future generations.

Tobacco could be dangerous if it isn’t a deep level of respect.Tobacco is undeniably dangerous and requires a deep level of respect.
So You’re Saying It’s OK To Smoke Tobacco?

No. There are many other factors at play. Native Americans may have co-evolved with this plant and have a certain level of immunity, just as westerners are more immune to certain diseases for which indigenous people have little or no immunity at all. Growing the plant in non-organic conditions may also be a factor that increases the risk for modern people.

The undeniable fact, however, is that the plant simply is poisonous, even without the 200+ carcinogenic and addictive chemicals added to commercial tobacco. Even organic tobacco is actually one of the best natural pesticides known. Reconciling the fact that tobacco is in fact toxic, is perhaps the trickiest challenge for having a sacred relationship with it. It seems ancient cultures partly resolved this with the knowledge that poisons and medicines can be the same, depending on the dose. I have also spoken with modern day tobaqueros (tobacco healers) who hold the belief, and remain very aware, that they are giving some of their own life in exchange for the amplification of their prayers and intention. Hence the care in using it sparingly and in an extremely conscious way.

For people who have been trained by their culture to believe that tobacco is inherently toxic and nothing else, there may be even more risk. Smoking a substance that may be amplifying your thoughts (either spiritually or through neuroplasticity), and at the same time thinking you are smoking something that will kill you, isn’t a good combination. For people who are already addicted, however, transitioning to a more sacred relationship can mean smoking less, because in a sacred relationship with tobacco, a person not only uses it sparingly, but also maintains a clear purpose, remaining in a state of full presence and reverence for the entire duration. There is nothing casual about it. It is done in either silence or the only words spoken are prayers. Most people just don’t have time for that much deep prayer in their day, and so use reduces. It should also be mentioned that anyone considering taking a sacred approach to their relationship with tobacco will immediately stop purchasing tobacco that contains more than 200 carcinogenic and addictive chemicals that are intentionally placed there by the tobacco industry.

Transitioning to a more sacred relationship can mean smoking less.Transitioning to a more sacred relationship can mean smoking less.

A Deeper Relationship with Tobacco

I strongly believe that all substances that bring non-ordinary awareness should be treated as teachers. As addiction expert, Gabor Maté suggests, ask yourself what you are getting from the substance? How is it helpful to you? Then learn how to achieve the same result without needing the substance. Transitioning from an abusive relationship to a scared relationship may be a helpful stepping stone to an even deeper relationship. There are those I have met who are capable of gaining the same effects that they once gained from smoking tobacco, by simply singing a song to call its spirit. In terms of neuroscience, perhaps the song causes the same neural pathways to fire that were developed while smoking the tobacco… without needing the tobacco to do it.

If taking a sacred approach to your relationship with tobacco is taking you closer to this level of mastery then keep going with it. You’ll know because you’ll need to smoke it less and less frequently, in smaller and smaller amounts. If your sacred approach is not continuously taking you closer to not needing it at all, then the tobacco is still the rider and you’re still the horse, so to speak. This approach is not for everyone, by any means, but for some, it will resonate like a bell. To those people, I wish you luck in coming into the very highest level of relationship with this plant.

If you, or someone you love, is still dependent on tobacco, remember the power of intention. Treat this substance with respect and perhaps bring in a clear and pure intention by considering what you are grateful for. Keep in your mind and heart the thoughts and feelings you wish to amplify and soon enough, you may find the need to reach for tobacco reducing.

Source

Feature Image: Artists beloved to be Asuman and Atanur Dogan.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day September 23

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“When that spirit comes, we don’t ever ask questions. If I don’t understand, I just hold onto it. Then later down the road, maybe in a couple of years, I understand what that spirit meant.” –Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

At certain spiritual events or happenings, it is possible for the spirits to come. Sometimes these spirits look like sparklers of light, sometimes you can feel them, sometimes they will look like live human beings. The spirits always come for a reason. When we deal with the spirit world, we need to be patient. The Great Spirit will tell us the meaning of these happenings when He is ready.

Great Spirit, let me be aware of Your presence.