The old ones know this truth – no two spirit roads are the same. It is not our place to see the way for others, only to see the way for ourselves. There is great wisdom in the understanding that each of us has a personal walk with Spirit. And that walk is indeed, personal. It is unique for each of us. And yet, we are not alone in our journey. We have each other to share with, and to learn from. For if we only see the world from our own perspective and close out all others, we will become narrow and shallow in our thinking and in our spirit. We will lose our connection to the greater good, and the oneness that exists in us all. This doesn’t mean we will always understand the view from the eyes of another. In fact, many times we won’t! What it does mean is that we have a responsibility to open our hearts and our ears and listen, that we may strengthen our humility through learning, and grow our wisdom through exploring the unknown. It is in that spirit that I share with you now….
In the Lakota way of life, we honor the seven directions of the Sacred Hoop. The seven directions are: 1. The East, 2. The South, 3 The West, 4. The North, 5. Mother/Grandmother Earth, 6. Father Sky, and 7. The Center. There are more details to each of these; I have kept to the basics to keep this discussion simple. These seven sacred winds are the sacred points on the spiritual journey of the good red road of life. They teach us how to live in each phase, how to look back and learn, how to look forward and seek, how to look down and grow, and how to look up and reach. There is an irony in the seven directions of the sacred hoop that I want to share with you. It is this: You cannot fully grasp the 7th direction until you experience the other 6. And yet, you cannot fully fathom all the lessons of the other 6 directions until you understand the 7th! Seems a bit like a dog chasing its tail doesn’t it? This is what it means to touch the spirit with your feet on the ground....
We walk on this earth. Our feet, our bodies and our rhythms are connected to the ground. We must remember this when we reach for the sky. For if, in that reaching, we lose our grounding, our sense of who and what we are, we will find ourselves adrift, rolling about in the spiritual ether like tumbleweed, with no root and of no use to anyone. We will bounce about from this to that, from here to there, unable to make deep connections and learn deep truths. We will tumble along with every strong wind that blows, chasing the swirling dust only to find that it vanishes like an apparition before us when we try to catch it. And so we must return to the earth. We must plant ourselves in its truth. We must seek not the quick and fleeting fanfare of a passing cloud, but rather commit to the long wait of deep roots and profound wisdom found only in the ground of our sacred path; the quiet, unassuming trail of respect, honor, humility and sacrifice. And so it is that we can really only touch the spirit and connect to its great power if we are planted with firm roots in the soil of humility, balance and love. Such is the way of the sacred hoop. We can only touch the 7th direction if we are planted in the other 6.