- INTERSECTIONAL TEMPLE
- Native American Jedi? Part 9 - What we do to others, we do to ourselves
Native American Jedi? Part 9 - What we do to others, we do to ourselves
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
The idea that all things are connected once again draws direct parallels to Buddhist and Hindu wisdom.
To understand deeply our interconnected and interdependent nature is to understand that we’re all woven together deeply, like one great big tapestry.
To truly understand just how intricately we’re woven together can seem almost impossible, but the idea is simple: what we do to others, we do to ourselves.
This includes not only our actions towards others but also the thoughts and feelings we express in our mind towards others.
Stop separating “I” and “them” and you’ll see that greater peace and happiness will follow.
[From a blog post by Matt Valentine at Buddhaimonia.com]
Commentary: This one is not difficult at all to draw parallels into how the Jedi view the application of the Force in our world. So I won't.
John Muir was a great man, and proof that there was hope, although small, for peace between Native American and European. But I did not come here to expound the teachings of a European Mountaineer. From my earliest memories, my father would take my family out on trips to the Black Hills of South Dakota. On many occasions, we stopped at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, to see the sight where Crazy Horse was killed. He was never a villain in my eyes. My dad always spoke of how Crazy Horse was a hero, fighting against an oppressive and dishonorable force that was always cheating the natives out of their lives and livelihoods. My cultures shared this view - that everything is one under the great spirit. They were forced to drop this notion and defend their lives against Europeans with their steel and "us vs. them" mentality - why do we constantly have to see this theme played again and again?
Us vs. them.
Us vs. them.
Us vs. them.
Us vs. them.
Everyone is always seeking conflict. Power. Difference. This reminds me of the first section of the Initiate Program, where Joseph Campbell quotes "The ego that sees a thou is not the same ego that sees an it" The Native American teaching that moved me most isn't necessarily related to this interconnectedness, but for me this simple paragraph contains more honor, virtue, and wisdom than the entire New Testament of the Bible.
“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.” - Chief Tecumseh of the Shawnee
It is odd to consider the foundations of the United States and what we are taught to hold as right vs. wrong in light of how the Native American tribes were treated. I have often wondered how the 2017 U.S. society and government would view the actions of the 1850-1910 U.S. society and government in our handling of the First People. Would we still sweep it all under the rug? Or would we be standing in front of the United Nations screaming about injustice and oppression?
The "Us vs. Them" dichotomy is bothersome, but a real construct of humankind that spans the ages. In his book on the psychological impact of warfare, "On Killing", Lt. Col. Dave Grossman touches on the concept as a mechanism of conditioning the warrior mentality (and the warrior's supporting public), to overcome the innate aversion to killing our own species. Civilizations throughout human history have applied this Us vs. Them approach in nearly every struggle one group has ever had with another, for any reason. Look at it today: modern western democracy versus ISIS. The world versus North Korea. Antifa versus Trump. BLM versus Cops. Whatever you will have it as, that parallel is present. Can we break this trend? What do we need to do ourselves, to avoid suffering the same delusion?
Lastly, I also really like that Chief Tecumseh quote...It was featured in my "Part 3" of this little series on "Native American Jedi" found under the general "Faiths" forum. I used to have part of it in my signature line:
"When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself."
Own it. Own yourself. Don't blame anyone else but you. Perhaps there is insight there into avoiding the "themness" we seem predisposed to find when we feel like nothing is going our way and we can't see all that is in front of us to be thankful for.
Own it. Own yourself. Don't blame anyone else but you.
Thank you for this. It's easy to recognize all the problems out in the world - yet fail to recognize the same problems within ourselves. Ceaselessly complaining about the world's problems will never solve them. Neither will telling other people how to live their life.
Our only hope is to change ourselves and let the influence of our actions have their silent yet strong impact. We must first change ourselves. Therein lies our greatest positive impact.
I would have included the entirety of that Chief Tecumseh quote in my signature line...but it is quite lengthy...which is also why I backed down from the Roosevelt "Man in the Arena" quote for something a tad more simple.
TO the other point...agreed! I can want to change something all day long...but until I change myself first, my moaning, complaining, and even logical reasoning is unlikely to change anyone else. If anything it tends to harden other's positions. Don't believe me...have a child! (Ok...don't go have a child just for these purposes, but you get my point). I can tell my 8 year old daughter to act a certain way until I am blue in the face! But...if I act the same way I am expecting her to act...she will simply pick up on my example and follow suit. It is amazing, but also quite frightening...as the little things about children that tend to annoy us are generally reflections of our own behaviors and attitudes which we refuse to acknowledge.
But then...a lot of this leads into my final post on the series...Part 10...