Three Ohiyesa by Charles Alexander Eastman The Presence of the Spirit
“We have always preferred to believe that the Spirit of God is not breathed into humans alone, but that the whole created universe shares in its…Maker.
We believe that the spirit pervades all creation and that every creature possesses a soul in some degree, though not necessarily a soul conscious of itself. The tree, the waterfall, the grizzly bear, each is an embodied Force, and as such an object of reverence.
We are in a time when none of us seem to be on the same page regarding “God,” the Sacred, or the Holy. How do we know when something is holy and not just a warm feeling.
I am surprised when the Native youth can dip into their tradition and so easily connect to the sacred.
“Okay,” I say. “When we created the Spirit Journey Youth we wrote our rules. The first one you chose is ‘Honor Sacred Ground.’ Talk about that.”
Silence rules. No one speaks. I wait it out.
Finally, one of the youth speaks, “If God is there, it’s holy.”
Another teen snorts, “That makes everything holy then.”
We laugh and I wait it out.
“I think it is when we pay attention,” one teen says.
Another youth speaks up, “I think it happens in two ways. When we mark it with sage or corn pollen, like when we celebrate something or remember someone who is in the spirit world. It also happens when something good happens, like when we shared our food with those on skid row in L.A. and we all felt something awesome. I can’t explain it.”
“I know what you mean,” says another youth. “For me, it is when we stop and really look at something outside, or notice someone hurting, or give thanks for the animals that gave up its lives to feed us. It’s anytime we look both inside and out at how awesome something is.”
“Sometimes when we talk about what happens, it happens again,” contributes one of the Native women. “It’s like we know that the spirit is in everything the Creator gives us so even when we look at a tree, we connect. And it is the holy we connect to.”
That sums it up for me. We know the spirit is in everything created. It is well said “We believe that the spirit pervades all creation and that every creature possesses a soul in some degree, though not necessarily a soul conscious of itself.”
We know the Holy is in everything. We notice it. We speak about it. We respect it.
Learning how to mark moments as holy releases the goodness around us. This we know.
How do you know something Holy is present? What do you connect to that lets you dwell in the deeps like these youth?