Fresh Thinking, Inspiration, and Vision on the Process of Spiritual Transformation
(Selena Boier offered a dramatic presentation of an adaptation of “Prayer to the Great Spirit,” attributed to Lakota Chief Yellow Lark, 1887.)
Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds
Whose breath gives life to the world, hear me
I come to you as one of your many children
I am small and weak
I need your strength and wisdom
May I walk in beauty
Make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
And my ears sharp to your voice.
Make me wise so that I may know the things you have taught your children.
The lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock
Make me strong——–!
Not to be superior to my brothers, but to fight my greatest enemy…myself
Make me ever ready to come to you with straight eyes,
So that when life fades as the fading sunset,
May my spirit come to you without shame.
You are part of me now
You touched me,
With your kindness and love
Your soft lips are kind.
Your eyes glow with life.
I’m glad you touched me,
You’re part of me now.
Thank you, Selena—very, very moving. In the words of that poem there are two universal messages, two statements made that permeate the spiritual paths of people everywhere. The first is that there is one spirit that gives life to all the world and whose voice can be heard, even in the wind. The second statement is: “May I become a clear vehicle for this Great Spirit to move though.”
The Native American man who voiced that prayer was acknowledging the need in him to provide a vehicle, open and clear, for the expression of this spirit. For me, these two statements are the universal principles that guide true worshippers across the globe. When these two elements are present, this Great Spirit can find many unique expressions through different peoples around the world, in different cultures, in a variety of ways. In my heart, they are all valid. They all have a place.
Throughout history, when various cultures and religious traditions have met or interacted, as when Christianity came to this continent as well as to Africa and to Australia, there has sometimes not been the heart, the awareness, or the openness, to really see the treasures that were already present in the peoples of those lands. And so, many opportunities for spiritual connection and the cultivation of the one spirit have been lost.
As this poem states, acknowledging the oneness of life—this one Great Spirit that is animating all life in a variety of forms—is the first step on all spiritual paths. The second step is to recognize the necessity of providing a clear and clean vessel of body, mind and heart, through which this Great Spirit can express itself. When these two steps have been taken, we find ourselves in position to see past the cultural conditioning and mindsets we have inherited, and embrace this oneness in its variety of rich expression in one another.
I’d like to read something from Sitting Bull. He said: “What does it matter how I pray, so long as my prayers are answered?” In order for one to truly know the spirit of love and the spirit of truth, there has to be a heart that’s an available facility through which the spirit can act. It’s not a matter of concepts of the mind, but it’s truly a matter of the heart. The truth isn’t absorbed in the head, but there’s a place in the heart that is the seat of God, where that truth can be known.
There are people who see the spirit of God as being outside of them, in nature. There are those who see it as being one with them, inside of them. Somewhere in the Bible Jesus makes the comment, “I in thee” and “Thou…art in me.” Here is a state of oneness. By whatever name you want to call it—God, the Great Spirit, Allah, the Tao, the Way—it’s all the same thing, and those who worship God worship in spirit and in truth.
The Way. That term has been with me a lot this week—the Way. As a group of people, I believe one thing we bring is an understanding of one way to proceed, a way to open the door for this universal Spirit to come through us. Years ago, Martin Exeter referred to the Emissary body as a door, and he commented, “Don’t stop at the door. Open the door and go through it.” Spiritual growth is a journey in which we take one step at a time. Open the door and go through it. Don’t stop. You go on to the next step, and you keep moving—you don’t stay in any one place. You keep opening more doors as you find the Way.
Lao Tzu referred to the Tao as the way of heaven, the flow of life, the way of things. It is the force that moves in all things, permeates all things and governs all things. It is the movement of invisible currents and man’s relationship to those currents.
Jesus spoke of the Tao, the way, as “the kingdom of heaven,” or the kingdom of God. And later on, orthodox Christianity misunderstood that and structured it into—“Well, there’s this perfect world that will be ushered into the earth, the kingdom that will come to the earth in the last day at the end times.”
However, Jesus said it is already here. His gospel is that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, within reach, here, there, everywhere. If we just train our eyes to see it and our ears to hear it, we’ll not only recognize that it’s everywhere but that it’s within us. It’s here to be delivered, to be brought out.
This week, in a group, I had an opportunity to read a service of Uranda’s, entitled “Lighting the Way in You.” In this service Uranda says that Jesus explained: “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” (John 14:10)
And Uranda went on further to say that if we agree that Jesus knew what he was talking about, then we have to attribute every word he ever said to this One that he referred to as “the Father within.” The truth is that this Father does exist and is the source of life for everyone. As the poem says, it is “the Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds” and “whose breath gives life to the world.” The Father is present within each one of us, always ready to speak through us.
I would like to read something from the Bible, and I’d like you to hear it from the perspective of the Father speaking through Jesus.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:5,7)
There is a place where we all can know the Father, the Way to God, the sense of oneness in our experience. The Way is known through our hearts, not through the collection of concepts in our minds. It is in our hearts that we can truly perceive our oneness with one another and with all life. It is there that we can receive each other and the spiritual gifts of all people.