Spiritual Warriors and Truthsgiving

Warrior

1. One who is engaged in or experienced in battle.
2. One who is engaged aggressively or energetically in an activity, cause, or conflict
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/warrior

Warrior seems an unlikely term for Quakers to use, since the word is usually thought of in terms of battles and wars, which Quakers oppose and work against.

I like the second definition above though, related to engaging energetically in a cause.  Today there are many causes to choose from, with widespread conflict, injustice and oppression.

I’ve been writing a lot lately about colonization and Thanksgiving/Truthsgiving because this is a time when stories involving Native Americans might be told. Stories most likely to be quite inaccurate. These could be great opportunities to educate your friends and relatives. Obviously you would know whether that would be possible in your situation without creating great conflict.

I say great conflict because it might well be necessary to make people uncomfortable if you are going to raise these ideas. I’ve been writing about why I think this is an important time to work on decolonizing, beyond just setting the record straight. As Martin Luther King says:.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Martin Luther King’s Letter form a Birmingham Jail

I believe we will never make real progress toward justice in the United States until we understand and heal the fundamental injustices the country is built on.

  • Enslavement and oppression of African Americans
  • Cultural genocide and oppression of Native American
  • Privileges accorded to White males

Another reason is the spiritual poverty around us today. There are many sources and means of spiritual help and practice. Native ways demonstrate deep, sacred connections with Mother Earth and among all relations.

And perhaps most urgently, Indigenous spiritual and environmental ways provide some examples we might use to try to reduce the rate of environmental damage.

I think a useful approach to engage others about these things is through the use of stories. That takes the focus off individuals.

Most of us lack the stories that help imagine a future where we thrive in the midst of unstoppable ecological catastrophe.

James Allen

One of our goals could be to imagine that future.

I’d like to end by encouraging you to think of yourself as a Spiritual Warrior. This idea came to my attention from the following from my friend Joshua Taflinger.

I am inspired to share with you all more directly a post I wrote, because I consider you an established & effective nature/spiritual warrior, and believe that there is a need for the perspectives shared in the attached post to be more common thought in the minds of the many.

If you feel truth from this writing, and are inspired, I highly encourage you to re-write your own version, in your own words/perspectives, and post to your network.

With the intention of helping us all wake up, with awareness, clarity, and direction.

..spreading and weaving reality back into the world….

Joshua Taflinger

This is the post Joshua is referring to.

What has risen to the surface at Standing Rock is a physical/spiritual movement. Learn how to quiet your mind. To find the silent receptive space to receive guidance. To learn to adapt and follow the pull of synchronicity to guide you to where you will find your greatest support and strength.

What I have found in my time praying in the indigenous earth based ways, is that it’s not about putting your hands together and talking to god…. It’s about quieting and connecting with the baseline of creation, of nature. Tuning into the frequency and vibration of the natural world, the nature spirits. The beings and entities that have been in existence, for all of existence, the examples and realities of sustainability and harmony.

It’s about becoming receptive to these things. Being open and flowing with them. The spirit guides us, but we have to make ourselves receptive to feel, sense, and respond to this guidance.

Joshua Taflinger

So, you might start to think yourself a Spiritual Warrior. Since Joshua wrote that, I started thinking of myself in those terms. And I’ve found that helps keep my focus on the spiritual parts of what I work on.

Finally, Thanksgiving/Truthsgiving is upon us. I hope you might have some opportunities to engage, in a constructive and peaceful way, with your friends and relations. Some of the questions below might be helpful.

Since this is about stories, I would love to hear any stories of your experiences this Truthsgiving. You can either leave comments on this blog post or email me jakislin@outlook.com. Thank you.

One thing I’ve learned from living and working with Native peoples is to be attentive to place – to the earth beneath our feet, to all the living beings that surround us, and to the humans whose stories are embedded in the land. That’s why we began today’s service by acknowledging the Piscataway people – their history on this land and their continuing presence here today. Native peoples are asking churches and civic organizations around the country to open our services and meetings with acknowledgments like this. (see the land acknowledgement for Iowa below). It’s a way for us to recognize the Native peoples who live here today, and remember those whose ancestors lived and died here – right here. We can connect with them through the land.

  • Think for a moment about places on this continent that are meaningful to you…
  • Let your mind travel to one of those places that you know and love.
  • Close your eyes, picture it.
  • Now imagine that place as it might have been before you or your ancestors knew it, before colonists from other continents arrived.
  • Who were the people there, living and moving along the same rivers and shorelines and hills and valleys that you see in your mind’s eye?
  • What were their names?
  • Where did they go?
  • What happened?
  • Where are they now?

    Reflections, Paula Palmer Sermon
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