Meditating our way around the Medicine Wheel

 

Meditation is not my thing,” I’ve heard many people say. “I can never seem to quiet my mind long enough to sit still.”  The truth is, meditation is for everyone and anyone can meditate.  The challenge that we face is finding ourselves and our place in this broad and all-encompassing universe.  We all possess the tools within us, but we allow our daily lives and the busy world around us to dictate our thoughts, feelings and our actions.  We live in a society that places great emphasis on individuality and consumerism, two ideologies that deter us from reconnecting with our true nature.

I have meditated for years, and just like everyone else, I too would become distracted and lose sight of my goal during meditation.  For so long I accepted the limiting notion that meditation serves one purpose and one purpose alone: to relieve stress.  It does indeed fulfill that role, but to say that stress relief is where the journey ends is like hitting the visible tip of an iceberg, while the foundation of it lies submerged in the depths of an ocean.

The first and most essential step is to “reconnect” with ourselves.  I say reconnect because our true nature lies within the very fabric of our being. It is up to us to bring that supreme awareness into our everyday lives.  Coincidence had it that while I was at the library one day, I stumbled across a book called “The Medicine Wheel.”  I pulled it out, flipped through it and took it home to read.  It never occurred to me that two hundred pages could change my outlook on life so much.

The message of this book is to walk the earth with balance, to give respect to all beings, including objects and forces of nature, and to understand that everyone and everything is a unique manifestation of a Greater Force.  We all share characteristics and we reflect aspects of one another to an infinite capacity.

At certain times throughout life we experience unpleasant situations, and those particular circumstances can leave us feeling lonely and removed.  We lose touch with ourselves, with nature, and we struggle to understand how we fit into the bigger picture.  A certain arrogance leads us to believe that we are superior beings and that everything around us is at our disposal.  “We see the minerals, the plants and the animals as servants of man.  We have forgotten that they can be our teachers as well; they can open us to ideas and emotions that have been blocked from the human heart for too long a time.  We have forgotten how to hear stories… how to listen to the wisdom of the rocks… how to listen to the plants.  We have cut ourselves off from all these relations” (Sun Bear & Wabun, 1980).”

A friend shyly told me one day, that as she was picking blueberries in her garden, she smiled at the bush and thanked it for all of its fruit.  I admired her thought process and also her ability to share such genuine emotions.  We all need to allow such honesty into our lives, we must learn to seek beauty in the things that surround us and open ourselves up to the idea that we are not here alone; that all the plants, animals, everything in unison sustains and reflects each other in the universe.  I believe that even a fleeting moment of “connectedness” can serve as meditation.  It’s that very instant when we can see the picture clearly, we understand, and there is no need for words to describe it.

In the book “The Medicine Wheel,” the author describes life as a circle.  This school of thought holds that we each enter the circle at birth, at a particular place and space in time.  Due to that specific location, we each exhibit and share certain characteristics pertaining to our true nature.  We are however incomplete in our quest for self-discovery until we can “walk” this wheel.  We must strive to understand different perspectives and familiarize ourselves with all forms of existence.

There are no set guidelines to our experiences and we must individually educate our minds to open up to the universe.  Dreams, visions, emotions and simple moments of stillness can serve as meditation.  It is not necessary to sit cross-legged with our eyes closed and to fight the thoughts produced by our resistant brains.  By unblocking our energy channels and discovering our true nature, we learn just how efficiently we can all meditate.  It is important to use this knowledge as a catalyst in our quest for self-discovery.  The goal to our journey is not to reach a state of meditation, it is to meditate toward reaching a higher state of consciousness.

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