February 11, 2010
Lessons from an Indian Tribe
“Mommy, what does G-d look like?” My six year old asked me one day.
“G-d looks like the best most wonderful encounter you’ve ever had,” I responded. “What’s a wonderful encounter?” he continued. “It’s like a grand moment you experience that leaves a warm feeling in your heart that you know is true, everlasting, and holy.”
An innocent yet profound response, if only it was that easy for adults to tap into the “scent” of the Divine as with the ease that innocent children can. How do kids know this and where, when, and how did us adults forget how to savor the aroma of Holy matter?
Do you ever feel the urge to find meaning, seek truth, or belong to a collective consciousness? These urges stem from your Divine place, the Neshama (soul), part of your being. Ignoring a soul’s whisper could be a recipe for disaster.
A friend recently complained of having anxiety. When I inquired where she thought her apprehension came from, she mentioned the discontent in her life due to the economy. Her worries were keeping her up at night leading to an all night trip to the hospital prompted by terrible chest pain.
This friend thought her chest pain was due to the economy, but really, it was a bigger issue. She was lacking spirituality and “soul-growth”. She needed a tune up, and fast.
But what sort of tune up would help her anxiety subside and make her feel less empty and paralyzed from focusing on the economic crisis? There are many remedies to a “broken” soul. Prayer, creativity, learning, teshuvah (returning or making amends), and of course the big Kahuna- charity.
When we become caught up with any one of those experiences, we become connected to our inner core, our soul begins to take flight and we become our true selves, images of a more divine consciousness that gives us purpose and meaning. We get out of ourselves and stop thinking about the “I”, the ego, and begin to think about the “bigger picture”.
While on a field trip with my daughter’s class to a Chumash Indian reservation, I learned about their fascinating culture. They are a people of the earth. They once lived in large tribes. Before the European explorations they would spend their evenings chanting to ONE God and spend their days crafting jewelry, hunting, and building aps (Aps are huts made out of branches. Bulrush was added in layers starting at the bottom with each row overlapping the one below. I know, complicated, yet the Chumash managed to build these aps in an hour. Today it takes man two weeks to figure it out.)
Never mind the primitive conditions this was a spiritual experience for the Chumash. What made the Chumash people so interesting was, they never found a way to allow their ego to overtake their existence. Allowing their ego to get in the way would counteract their survival. They were equal beings with equal duties, a utopian society.