Saturday, July 11, 2009

clash of spirits

fall of the native american

The Native American culture succumed to European influences. Instead of giving you a historian's or an anthropologist's position - neither of which I am, I am offering an intuitive explanation of what may have been the cause, based on my understanding of the soul forces of cultures and individuals.

In Philosophy of Freedom, Steiner presents us with the concept of human freedom - our ability to discern the eternal truths, and have the awareness to know what motivates us to action. When we are not bound purely by desire, by external pressures, by automatic, reflexive responses, then we are closer to acting on true free will, and thus be truly free.

Steiner also poses that humans have an inherent thirst for knowledge, which is what ultimately drives us to seek these truths in the first place, to seek freedom and transformation, to seek higher worlds. Unfortunately, this thirst for knowledge, wherever it sits or originates, can take the dark, negative form, which is greed.

So stay with me here. The human soul has within it this thirst for knowledge. I agree. But I want to pose that this thirst for knowledge has varying degrees of strength, and varying concepts of what knowledge is. And to take it further, I think this thirst for knowledge has a collective pulse.

In European minds, such as with Steiner, and his philosopher-contemporaries, and broader still, with explorers from the Mediterranean, such as Columbus and Magellan, there exist a major thirst for knowledge. Religion and spirituality is based on acknowledging that the high forces of the spirits are in the ethereal world somewhere in the universe. The ancient cultures such as Greece demonstrates for us that this collective pulse of knowledge, of progress, leads to the distillation of philosophy, the technology of architecture and medicine, and of modernization - all great stuff that enriches our world.

Now take the Native American mind. Intuitively, my sense is that their thirst for knowledge has an entirely different flavor. Picture their homes, shelters of earth and mud, timbers and hides. Picture their crafts - pine needle baskets, carved branches, berry-dyed animal skins. Picture their lifestyle - sustainable, hunter-gatherer villages. Picture their ceremonies - dancing and chanting to thank the spirits of the trees, the eagle, the sun and moon, the river, fishes, otters, bear. What picture does it paint for you? The Native American individual lives in the present, firmly grounded to the earth, accepts the mysteries around them, and the spiritual world is the physical world. Mother Earth and Father Soul are one in the same.

The most important difference then is how the two cultures' spiritual drives affect their actions, their will, their consciousness soul. The best image I can create for you is this, a Native American man and a European man are sitting together in a house structure. Their thoughts are different, the native American is thinking, "I exist in the present, this is shelter, it is all I need, today." The European man is thinking, "I exist in the present, and look towards tomorrow, this is shelter and needs improvement, how do I make it my own, tomorrow I will strive for more, work harder."

So what happened when the explorers showed up on native american soil? The Native American people, without the concept of land ownership (Mother Earth simply lets us partake of the bounty), without the need for expansion (use only what is needed), and without the drive for higher spiritual order (there is nothing beyond oneness with the earth spirits), it was very easy for foreign influences to overtake the Native American cultures, as easy as an explorer simply stepping foot at the edge of a lake and saying, "What I can see I will claim on behalf of my country." There was hardly any opposition from the native peoples. An unfortunate chapter of American history.

Modern cultures all share the European way of thinking, we all have that drive in us now - Asians, African Americans, today's Native Americans. The USA is a testament to the greatness of the previous generations' drive, so I am thankful for that. And like all other moments in history that lead to achievements and milestones of humankind, there were sacrifices by individuals, class systems, and entire cultures - the Jewish people, Armenians, Japanese, African slaves, the Quakers.

In truly reaching higher levels of consciousness, we must look within ourselves and question every action. How can I contribute to the goodness of our world, today, tomorrow? When our thinking, feeling, and willing life is perfectly synchronized with the universe, then we will be free, then we will know eternal truths, then we will be attuned to our world - no more clash of spirits - only a family of spirits.

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