The beauty of Native American spirituality is that it’s centered around the importance of personal spirituality, meaning that every individual should experience spirituality and the spirit world personally and not to follow blindly a book, or prophet or guru or elder’s words.
It’s somehow erroneous to say Native American spirituality as one single entity as there were more than a thousand different indigenous tribes, with their own distinct set of rituals, festivals, festivities, way of living and spiritual believes, inhabited the North American regions before Europeans’ arrival.
I am pretty sure that everyone knows of the Ten Commandments. If you have been to a Christian church more than once, you were probably taught them, especially as a child. Many will use the Ten Commandments as a basis for their life and to determine what is and is not sin. Lesser known is the Native American Ten Commandments. While little is known about its origin, the Spirit (Great and Holy) is definitely behind their origin and they offer strong words of wisdom:
As one wise elder said,
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do it to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.
Having this is in mind, there came these ten commandments with a strong emphasis on the importance of personal spiritual experience. They are the product of not a single but numerous elders’ collective knowledge and wisdom.
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- Treat the Earth and all that dwell thereon with respect.
- Remain close to the Great Spirit, in all that you do.
- Show great respect for your fellow beings. (Especially Respect yourself.)
- Work together for the benefit of all Mankind.
- Give assistance and kindness wherever needed.
- Do what you know to be right. (But be careful not to fall into self-righteousness.)
- Look after the well being of mind and body.
- Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.
- Be truthful and honest at all times. (Especially be truthful and honest with your self.)
- Take full responsibility for your actions.
Today, spirituality is all about blindly following and vehemently believing in one or another single individual’s remote spiritual experience or remotely resembling such experience molded into an article of faith, which happened some 1000, 2000, 3000 years ago, which is again a largely rigid, frigid, book-based, story-based, outdated, dogmatic control mechanism for the puppeteers to herd and fleece the flock of masses.
Once the lucrative market in spirituality is understood, there came an outrageous number of sects and cults belonging to the New Religious Movement (NRM) founded mostly by shrewd and aggressive business minds. Next came this ridiculous ratatouille-bisi bele bath-guacamole melange of New Age Movement (NAM), which is but West weds East religions coupled with self-healing, self-help, psychology, parapsychology, Gaia consciousness, alien ET ancestry, extreme antiquity, universal tolerance sprinkled with quantum physics, laws of attraction, correct thinking, yoga, transcendental meditation, astrology, astrotheology dovetailed with mysticism, magic, alchemy, shamanism, hippy culture, hallucinogenic drugs and whatever else that comes handy in attracting and hypnotizing the gullible crowd.
In the end, spirituality, now, has become a mere tax-free flamboyant business.
On the other hand, for the Native Americans, who are still clinging on to their ancestral believes, spirituality is the way of living filled with humility, awe, wonderment and veneration for life, nature and the unknown spirit world. It is about knowing and following the flow of nature.
If we wonder often, the gift of knowledge will come. If we never wonder, knowledge will never find us. – A Native American Elder