NATIVE EARTH WISDOM
The Great Spirit within all things and all of life is always seeking to bring into life more balance, harmony, wholeness and unity. All lives are on an evolutionary road towards greater balance, harmony, wholeness and unity. In the Native Teachings are two roads, the Red Road and the Blue Road, both of which we should walk upon simultaneously because both complement one another.
The Red Road is in the physical world, and the Blue Road is in the spiritual world. The Red Road is on Earth, and the Blue Road is in Spirit-Sky. These are the two worlds of our experience, yet they are not essentially separate worlds, because both can be experienced simultaneously together, and both are meant to come into harmony.
The Red Road is our Earth walk, where we learn how to live in harmony and in beauty with nature and all our relations. Here we learn how to be social, ecological, and practical. The Blue Road is our Sky walk, where we journey through the Spirit world and also receive from the Great Spirit, through visions and spiritual realizations. The Blue Road is also our journey towards self understanding, wholeness, and harmony. Though most often, our self-harmony is related to the harmony in our life; just as our inner experiences and our outer world are very often co-related.
The Blue Road is our journey towards self knowledge, spiritual illumination, and freedom of Spirit. The Red Road is our journey towards expressing and manifesting all of this in life. On the Red Road we each can contribute to the harmony and beauty of life, through our givingness and our creative work. The Red Road is how we walk on the Earth, and what we give to others and the Earth. The Blue Road is how we understand our self and our relation with the World of Spirit.
The Earth walk develops our groundedness, sensitivity, and responsibility. The Sky walk gives us freedom, visionary imagination, and insight. Yet, all of these are complementary. As for example, the Sky walk can give you spiritual visions, guidances, and realizations about greater purposes; then on the Earth walk you can learn how to manifest these visions, realizations, and purposes. On the Earth walk you learn how to bring love, intelligence, and spiritual vision into life.
The Sky walk leads to self understanding, harmony and wholeness. The Earth walk leads to world understanding, harmony and unity. The Sky walk brings self knowledge and freedom. The Earth walk brings world knowledge and responsibility. Freedom may sound more grander than responsibility, just as spiritual vision seems more impressive than farming or taking care of people. But as we discover greater freedom and self-knowing, our feelings of responsibility and caring for the greater whole of life becomes stronger in us. We come into a freedom from being bound by our little ego and personality desires, and we discover more of the love and caring that is spiritually inside us. Then, as we give to life more freely, with our love and care, we find a greater freedom and self-wholeness.
In most Native-Earth cultures, the Great Spirit is thought of as the Great Father, while the Earth-Spirit is thought of as our Mother. Great Spirit is the Father, while Earth is the Mother.
Many people consider these archetypal gender distinctions to be unnecessary or possibly misleading. If we deeply consider the reality of what the Universal Spirit is, as it pervades all that is, it does seem arbitrary to view this Great Spirit as a Male-Archetype, rather than as Great Mother. Essentially, the Ultimate Spirit must be beyond gender of Male or Female. It must be essentially androgynous. Ultimately, the greatest of All would have to called the Great Mystery.
Yet nonetheless, it does make some sense to think of Great Spirit as Great Father, in complement to the Earth regarded as Mother Earth, as long as one knows that Great Spirit is really beyond any gender archetype. Thus, many people naturally feel and imagine the Earth as their Great Mother, and they believe that Great Father-Spirit can empower and guide those who ask. But to say this is imagination does not mean it is unreality, false, or dumb. It is just a way for our mind to understand the reality by the means of image and analogy, and it adds a richness to our understanding.
Earth Mother is the whole spirit and intelligence of Life, including all the diverse relations of Life and also including the mountains, hills, rivers, lakes, oceans, etc. Earth-Mother has all the essential Spirit-Qualities as the Great Spirit Itself. Yet, we can view certain Qualities as especially powerful and evident about the Earth-Mother. She is Nurturing, Life-Giving, Healing, Ecologically Intelligent, and Sensitive. She loves unconditionally and loves diversity. She is Beauty manifesting.
Father-Sky Spirit has its own distinct Qualities which stand out. Great Father is Guiding, Transformative, Wise and Loving. Great Father gives us courage, guidance, and vision, and also inspires us to be creative. He often challenges the true seeker, so that more of their own creative potentials and powers may come forth to blossom. He inspires us to strive for spiritual knowledge and wisdom, beauty and prosperity.
The Sky World is also called Freedom-Sky, because here the mind is free and unlimited in its spiritual vision. Mind and spirit is free in Father-Sky and is grounded in Mother-Earth. Sky-consciousness offers an experience of freedom, self-expansion and unlimited possibilities. The Sky World is also the 'realm of possibility'. Some say that the Great Sky above and the whole universe is the Mind of Great Spirit, and that everything creative on Earth was originally an Idea or Vision in the Sky-World. You were once a Possible Idea in the Mind of Sky, until you became part of the Cloud World and finally rained down upon the Earth as a Seed of Potential. This seed is your self-essence originating from the Father Sky-Mind. It is nurtured by Mother-Earth and by All Living Relations. Mother-Earth nurtures us to grow into the flowering of all we can be – actualizing our spirit potentials.
The Great Spirit, in the Father-sense, permeates and impregnates the Earth Mother, as penetrating Light from the Sun and as rushing Wind upon the Land. Great Spirit comes down to the Earth from the Sky and moves across the land of Earth and through lives as the universal Power and Wisdom.
We come from both Earth and Sky, and in our own being we are both Earth and Sky. As human beings, our spirit comes from the Sky and we are born from the Earth. Our Divine Parents are Earth and Sky, so we are equally both in our essence. This means that our own spirit is partly Sky-Spirit and partly Earth-spirit. Realizing this is important for a balanced sense of self.
Some people who are more identified with one of these, more than the other. Earthy people are more concerned with practical earth responsibilities, and we say they are down-to-earth people. Sky-like people are more dreamy and imaginative, and often interested in spiritual things. But both ways of being can be valued, respected and appreciated. Yet if one of these is over-emphasized while depreciating the other, then an imbalance can result. Being overly earthy without any sky-consciousness can result in limited imagination and perhaps a sense of being held down by earthy and material life. Being overly sky-like without enough earth-consciousness can result in being impractical and without the ability to manifest one's visions and inspirations.
So, we need to recognize and give respect to the Power-from-above and also the Power-from-below, not just with the mind, but with the feelings and senses as well; because without respect for our Mother below and Father above, we are out of balance and not wholly human.
The Sun is sometimes regarded as the embodiment of Father Spirit. Though some cultures think of the sun as Great Mother, rather than as Great Father; it seems more intuitive to view the Sun as Father-Spirit energizing Mother Earth with solar light.
The essential Qualities of the Sun are Light and Fire. Light is the power of mental illumination, which is consciousness. So the Solar Spirit is the power of consciousness and Spirit-illumination, which is radiated into Earth and all lives, including one's own self. Therefore, our own consciousness is a portion of Solar Light. Each of us are, essentially, Solar Lights here on Earth, enabling us to have conscious experience and intelligence. This is who we really are, but few realize this, as most people have not yet received this illumination and thus are spiritually asleep. Yet when this is realized, then one can radiate and share this Light with others, since in truth we are each spiritual suns. This is our solar nature, which is equal to our earthly nature.
Father-Sun and Mother-Earth express unique kinds of energies. Father-Sun energy is electrical in quality, and can sometimes be explosive. Father-Sun energy awakens us, which can sometimes be like an unexpected shock. Mother-Earth energy is magnetic in quality, nurturing and harmonizing. All lives need the nurturing and harmonizing energies from Mother-Earth, as well as the conscious illuminating energies from Father-Sun. All lives need both electrical and magnetic energies.
All things and all lives have both the Solar and Earth energies, to varying degrees. Special sites, such as sacred mountains and power sites transmit Sun-Spirit power, and this energy also moves across the land in ley lines. These energies can be intentionally collected by sacred alters, stone alignments, or even by intentionally planted trees and hedges. So it is possible to discover and collect these energies, both solar and earth energies. But first discover these energies already in yourself.
Our powers of consciousness, spiritual and creative vision, will and assertiveness come from Father Sun. Our powers of love sensitivity, community, and ecological intelligence come from Mother-Earth.
Father-Sun Spirit gives us our individual assertive will; while Mother-Earth gives us ecological-adaptive intelligence, enabling us to adapt and harmonize with the rest of life. Father-Sun gives us persistent will and courage, which can manifest as a leader, teacher, inventor, artist, or warrior. A true spiritual warrior protects life and the earth, rather than hurt or conquer. Mother-Earth gives us qualities of love and caring, which can manifest as care-giving, healing, and serving life.
Individualism comes from our Solar Spirit; while our Earth-Spirit balances this with feelings of relatedness, community, empathy and caring. So our will-power and individual-assertiveness comes from Father-Sun, while our feelings of relatedness and community come from Mother-Earth.
As well, our sense of freedom comes from the Sun/Sky Spirit; while our sense of responsibility comes from Earth-Spirit. When you balance these polarities, you will be an expression of Earth and Sky, Great Mother and Great Father.
The will to achieve is a Solar quality. A fundamental power of Sun-Spirit is the 'fire of will' within us. Our will-power, or fire of will, is the essence of our personal spiritual power. Yet in its pure power alone, it is a power without loving and wise purpose, which can then express destructively. Will-Power can direct the mind and body for good purposes – which are love and serving the needs of our earth.
Love, beauty and harmony are good purposes for our will-power to work towards, and these purposes come from Mother Earth. Thus, the power-of-will can accomplish good, if it is guided by the Earth purposes of love, beauty, and harmony. In this way, the power from Father-Sun is balanced by love inherited from Mother-Earth. Love gives ultimate purpose to power.
So, personal will-power is a virtue, when it is balanced by love and wisdom. We are encouraged to develop our inherent power and to use this power for bringing into our personal life more enjoyment, abundance, and beauty. Personal achievement and enjoyment is considered good in the Native View, but this has to be balanced and guided by the goals of love and harmony. Moreover, the good of the greater whole is always more important than just personal achievements. But as long as the good of the whole is considered as first and primary, there is nothing negative about personal achievements, enjoyments, and success.
So the Spirit-essences of both Father-Sun and Mother-Earth can combine in us to form our holistic and balanced human spirit. Thus, will and assertiveness combine with love and holistic wisdom. Our creative power is combined with feelings of inter-connectivity, empathy, and a sense of life-giving purpose.
The spirit of will can be understand in four aspects –
will-to-achieve – to manifest one’s abilities and talents.
will-to-know – to understand life and spiritual purposes.
will-to-enjoy – to have love, beauty, and enjoyment in life.
will-to-serve – to cooperate, give and share with all life.
So we accept the importance of our personal will, when having such purposes or aims. We accept the virtues of achievement, creativity, knowledge, self-realization, enjoyment, loving-relations, service, cooperation and sharing. All of these combine to form a balanced Good Life.
There is a practice you can do to balance the alignment between the Earth below and the Sun above. It involves breath, visualisation, and feeling energy. As you breathe in, visualize and feel the vital life-energy from Mother-Earth rise up into the belly, then into the heart, then up to the Sky above as an offering. As the Earth energy rises up from the heart, see and feel it being offered to the Sun above. You might feel as though your very spirit is being offered up to the Sun-Light. Feel the sense of self-liberation in this love offering. All of this can be done in one in-breath. Pause in the breath for a moment to feel a complete freedom in the Sky-realm of pure Light.
Then, on the out-breath, consciously come back down into the heart, then the belly, and finally down into the earth, bringing the Light from above down through your body and deep into the Earth. As you peacefully let out the breath, you naturally descend back down to the Earth. The descension of Light is not forced, but naturally descends down as you allow it. You become a pure channel for the descension of Light, allowed down through the out-breath. Just allow it to happen, but see and feel it happening. As the last of your breath is released down into the Earth, truly feel the Light go deep into the physical Earth. Then, in a pause before again breathing in, feel the comfort of being in the nurturing womb of Mother-Earth.
Then repeat the breath. Consciously rise up with the breath, offering your life-energy to the Sun, then allowing the Light to descend through your body-channel and into the Earth. This practice done intentionally for just a few minutes will make a balanced alignment between the Earth and Sun.
Earth meditations increase one's awareness and connection with Mother Earth and nature, and also with one's body. The emphasis is in the outer-world senses and in the feeling of being more fully grounded on earth. Earth meditations help one be more fully present in the here and now, conscious in the breath, and aware in the senses. The basics involve conscious sensing and feeling the earth and its energies, and being more awake to nature and the natural world. Because many people are so disconnected from their bodies and from earth, and so lost in their thoughts, this kind of practice can be very transforming.
Don’t just presume that you are already grounded in the earth or fully awake in the earth-senses. This is not a thinking-about-it practice. Leave behind thought and opinions, and bring the mind right down into your body-sensations and into the earth. As this practice advances, you become more receptive in your feelings and senses to the Earth. You begin to feel as an inseparable part of the living Earth, and your breath feels to be in harmonious rhythm with the living rhythm of the Earth.
Earth meditations are done outside in Nature, in a forest or meadow, on a mountain, or along a beach. You can do it while walking, standing, or sitting. It can be done with eyes closed, for the eyes are just one of the outer senses, but at first it is better to have the eyes and ears fully open to the outer world, because our tendency is to go inside the mind or to mentally drift when our eyes are closed.
Sky-meditations are different from Earth-meditations. They are more like what most people regard as meditation or spirit-journeying. This can be done with eyes open, but is much easier with eyes closed. The basics of Sky meditations involve a degree of liberation or detachment from the body and the outer senses, though conscious breath is often helpful in order to not just fall asleep. These are not 'sleep meditations'. One can go on journeys in sleep, but Sky meditations are meant to be journeys while awake – being conscious though not focused in sensory or body awareness. A part of the mind might drift into dreams at times, but dreams are more useful if they are conscious dreams.
There are two basic kinds of Sky meditation: one being focused and intentional, while the other being less-directed and more spontaneous. If you practice each kind, you will eventually be able to maintain more of a balance or blending of these two types.
In some other kinds of journeys, one does drift into a semi-sleep or dream state, yet with an affirmed intention (before going into the dream state) of being led by an inner guide or teacher. In this kind of journeying, there is less conscious focus and guiding the journey forward, because instead one allows guides from the dream world to manage the journey. Guidance and insight can be symbolized or directly expressed in this visionary dream. Some shamans are able to go into a deep dreaming state, yet still remember the dream-journey when returning back to earth and in body awareness.
Consciously awake meditation-journeys are really the safest and also the best; in this way, one doesn't go into a dream sleep, yet the conscious journey can still appear much like a dream. The safest practices involve focused intention, while simultaneously allowing spontaneous vision and guidance from the Sky-world. In this way, the visionary journey is somewhat directed the conscious mind. Though obviously one cannot direct the guidance; for if one were capable of this then one would not need guidance! Thus, in any meditation for guidance or journey for vision, it is good to maintain a balance of conscious will and receptive allowing. Let the journey lead you, but always have the intention to be led towards the good and to what is helpful.
Receptive space and surrendering trust must be maintained, to allow for the unexpected and spontaneous guidance. What the conscious-will does is to maintain an attentive focus on whatever is given in the higher realms of Sky-Vision, rather than allow the mind to drift into ordinary thoughts and ordinary dreaming. The will maintains a kind of attentive interest in what is being given or in what shall be given. It keeps the mind centered in the purpose of the meditation, whereby the mind is either in concentrated receptivity to Guidance, or in receptive expectancy – ready like a cat, to inwardly hear or see any communication from the Higher Sky-world.
The basic balance in this meditation, between conscious will and receptive space, is very much like the balance of any good conversation between a student and teacher. The student must stay awake in receptivity, and not simply drift or fall into ordinary sleep. And the student should take responsibility in asking questions or in seeking to personally understand what is given. The student’s role is primarily to be in a receptive space, and yet this itself requires active intention and will, a continuity of consciousness, and an ability to see or hear more clearly what guidance is trying to be given.
There are two obstacles often found in Sky-journeys. One is the habit of thinking and desiring. The other is the habit of falling asleep whenever the mind is relaxed or without thought. The beginner will find that when relaxed and receptive the mind often returns to old habits of thought, or that emotional desires and fantasies take over the meditation. The remedy for all this is to 're-intention the mind' to the higher purpose, or begin working again with active-intentional imagination.
The teachings of the Sky-world cannot break through a brick wall of self-resistance or apathy, and you should not expect the Higher Guides to constantly 'wake you up' or bring you back from your ordinary mental drifting. So, you have to take some responsibility in this form of meditation, while also allowing and consciously receiving Guidance from beyond the ordinary mind. Then, high insights and visions will begin to happen.
You do need to also trust, though. Trust in the Greater Wisdom of Mind and trust in yourself. If you can trust in Great Spirit’s power to reveal what you need, then all you really need to do is to open the mind and receive what is given. This is the very essence of the Sky Journey or Sky meditation. You simply free the mind and open the mind and remain receptively awake, allowing Great Wisdom to reveal truth, vision, and guidance.
The Great Wisdom-Mind, the Great Sky-realm of Spirit, is beyond the ordinary mind, the ordinary you. Yet also it is all within you. It is all within you, and we are all within the One Great Mind. Your own mind is part of the universal Mind. In fact, your mind is the Universal Mind, for there is really only One Great Mind, as there is really only One Great Spirit – with many beings in it. Wonderful possibilities open up when you realize that there is only One Mind, just as there is only One Sky, and you are an explorer journeying through this Universal Mind-Space. It is not just your mind that is being explored. It is the Mind of Great Spirit.
Great Spirit Mind reveals what you particularly need at the time, for your own personal growth, for your own life-direction, and for your own way of helping others and the world. Thus, everyone can be given personal visions, guidance, revelations, and understandings.
Out from the clear Sky Above comes the Guides and guidance of Great Spirit, which lead us to the Great Sun of Illumination and to service and harmony with the Earth Mother Relations. The Medicine People and Shamans can become receptive to special guidance and visions coming from the higher Spirit Guides of the Sky World. They develop this ability to be receptive or to journey into the higher Spirit World. Help from the Spirit Guides is gratefully received, but the essential prayer for wisdom and guidance is from the One Great Spirit or Father Sky. For it is recognized that all true Guides exist within the One Great Spirit Wisdom, within the Father Sky or the One All-Knowing God. So the ultimate goal of Vision Journeys and the ultimate prayer is to contact and receive wisdom from the All-Knowing Father God, the Wisdom Mind of Great Spirit.
In the Native Pipe Ceremony of Prayer, we pray to the Great Father Sky for guidance, vision and direction. It is believed that the smoke rises up to Father Sky, or to Great Spirit, carrying our sincere prayers to be received and cared for. In the Pipe we smoke tobacco or herbs, which holds the consciousness and prayers of all the relations of Mother Earth, and in the smoke, the spirits of all these relations and their prayers are released to Father Sky, along with our own prayers.
In the Pipe Ceremony all Relations are recognized, for inclusion in the ceremony and prayers. We recognize the sacred connection between all life, so that all of life may join together in the Circle of prayer and in the smoking of the Peace Pipe. Sharing of the Sacred Pipe brings all life together in peace and harmony. And the sincerity of our prayers and of our recognized connectiveness is known by Great Spirit, Who will then guide us on the Good Path through our awakened mind.
Father Sky is Great Spirit, as the spacious Presence of Spirit Mind. We look up into Father Sky and we see the greater space of Spirit Mind above us and all around us. This vast space above us is Great Spirit. It is the Great Spirit of Freedom Mind and Expansive Vision. This is the Father Presence of Great Spirit, while the Earth is the Mother Presence and the embodiment of Great Spirit.
So above us the Knowing Mind of Father Sky and below us is the Nurturing Mother Earth and all our Living Relations. Of course, the Mother Earth is already infused with Divine Wisdom, yet all the Relations and children of creation are evolving toward the Greater Wisdom and Conscious Knowing of Great Spirit, and thus, are receiving a greater infusion of Spiritual Wisdom. The Pipe Ceremony symbolizes the raising of embodiment, and all Relations, to be blessed by the All-Knowing Wisdom of Great Spirit.
Prayers are also spoken out through poetry and song, chanting, dancing, drumming and music, and through sacred ceremony as taught by the Wise Ones close to Great Spirit. It is said that Great Spirit created the world and all its relations through song and vibration. It is said that the universe was sung into existence, and all of the natural world is the manifested expression of song and rhythm as it spontaneously emerges from the heart of Great Spirit. So this natural world, including our natural selves, is the heart-felt song of One Creative Spirit.
Hence, we find the beauty of Great Spirit right here on Earth, and we can hear the song of Spirit as it spontaneously emerges from our own hearts. As we express the song and music of the heart, we harmonize with the music of all creation, and all our relations and all the Great Spirits recognize when these prayers and songs are truly of the heart and sincerely come from love. For ultimately we make communication with Spirit and with Spirit Guides through the sincere heart, through the prayers of the heart. This is what makes the connection and strengthens the connection.
Prayers can be general, as in asking for overall healing or guidance, and prayers can be more specific, as in seeking answers to certain questions or specific needs in life. We can pray for ourselves, or ask questions for our own understanding, and we can pray for others or for all our relations. Yet the basis of all prayer is the sincere humility that we need greater help and the growing faith that what is needed will be provided by Spirit and the natural world.
Prayers can generally be distinguished into three kinds or three basic needs. First is the need for material sustenance and good health, as provided by enough good food, good water, good air, things of enjoyment, and good environmental conditions for our material well-being and creative expression. Next is the need for spiritual balance and healing, which is the need for spiritual healing and the energies of love in our lives, and our prayer to become one with the spirit of goodwill and harmony. Next is the need for true guidance and vision. This is the prayer for true understanding of life and direction along the way, in the humble realization that we all need to grow in our understanding, and we all need some direction in life and guidance toward some form of creative service and artistic expression of spiritual harmony and beauty.
So many people feel lost and floundering in a confusion about their life-direction, or about where they want to go and how they can possibly get there. And many other people just don’t admit to their confusion or to their feelings of being out of balance and harmony with themselves and others. If we are really honest we can all admit to being at least somewhat in the dark, and needing a bit more light upon the way. It is in this humility that we pray and ask for self-guidance, and might pray as well that others are guided to truth and goodness.
Remember, it is perfectly fine and good that we pray for ourselves. This is not just selfish, because we all have these needs. So, to pray for our own spiritual healing and guidance is a prayer that we may become closer to Great Spirit and more in harmony with all our relations. Being led to spiritual truth and attunement to spiritual harmony is certainly not selfish, for it is becoming more at-One with Great Spirit, and if we all could receive such a gift, then the whole world would be a wonderful paradise. In this Way of the Original Truth, we do pray for others and for all our relations, for the protection and harmony of all life. And let us not forget to make these prayers, for those prayers do help the world.
Yet, the healing of the planet and the world, and the guiding way for all, must ultimately begin with ourselves. It is you who first needs to come into spiritual balance and harmony. It is you who needs to be more in harmony with the natural world, becoming more attuned with Nature and all its living relations, and becoming more cooperative and ecological in how you live your life.
So do pray for yourself, as well as the whole world. We all need those prayers. Pray for your own peace, harmony, healing and guidance. You need it. Then, as these prayers are fulfilled through you, you will be the radiant answer to the prayers of others. You will Be the living radiance of peace, love, harmony, healing and guidance. This is the greatest gift and greatest prayer you can give to others and the world – the gift and prayer of your own being and the expression of Spirit coming through you.
So if you want to give love and healing to the world, then first allow love and healing into your own life, and become healed by the Spirit. Then you become the healing vibration of Spirit and this healing radiates out into the world. First, allow love into you, and become love, and then love naturally ripples out from you, love overflows from you. First allow wisdom into you and then you have wisdom to give.
Affirm your sincere intention to contact the highest and most expansive Wisdom. Then nothing can really stop you from the Great Journey, the Great Discovery, as long as you hold the power of expansive consciousness and high intention. You need to reach a deep silence of conscious mind. Then, present your intention, question or prayer. Then remain receptive and listening in the deep silence. Wait in a receptive trust, giving some time for the wisdom or vision to emerge from the Great Silence, from Wisdom Mind, and to emerge into consciousness. Be grateful for what is given, however short or simple the wisdom-guidance may be. Then go on in life to make use of this wisdom.
Those who do not make use of the wisdom given to them will probably not be given anymore guidance; not until they make use of what is already given. If you are always praying and asking, but not receiving anything, then it is probably because you have not made use of the wisdom already given earlier.
Sometimes we need to interpret the meaning of images or visions. Know that whatever is given, you can interpret it rightly and know what it means and its value. Whatever is given would not be given if you did not already have the ability to interpret and understand it. All that comes from Great Wisdom, however symbolic, is understandable by you, if you make some effort to recognize what is meant. Great Wisdom and Guidance does not reveal to you things which cannot be understood. That would be pointless! So if something comes in a vision or from Great Wisdom, then you must be capable of understanding it and of making use of it. Understanding is a matter of recognition.
Your intuitive mind and your truthful heart will be capable of recognizing the meaning of any symbols or images given. Your truthful heart and intuitive mind might even already know what is needed. Great Wisdom, through visions, guidance and symbols, is just reminding you.
Each person develops their own peculiar habits of mind and belief, which then become one's limitations. For example, you might be skeptical about spiritual visions or you might think that Sky-visions are mere flights of fantasy. You may not have faith that your own mind is inherently a portion of the Great Mind or that you have the power to journey in the One Universal Mind. Or maybe you are fearful of letting the mind be free, like a fear of flying or journeying through unknown places. There are many conditionings that can hold you back from a free flight journey in the Sky-Mind. These are your personal limitations, and it is up to you to break through these barriers. Realize that you hold yourself back, and no one else. Maybe the conditionings were brought on by other people, parents, or culture, but it is now up to you to break through your conditioned mind which weighs heavy on your spirit-wings.
So the first step for many people is letting go and trusting. This involves mentally calming down, surrendering the thinking mind, and allowing the mind to enter into its natural silence. When you come into the inner space of natural silence, the mind becomes more expansive, more vast, and more free to explore. First is a process of calming the mind, and letting go of conditioned and ordinary thoughts. Surrender the ordinary thinking mind, until there is nothing left of mind but just consciousness and silence. Relax in the quiet nature of mind, just being and breathing consciously. Once there is a relative degree of peace and silence in the mind, and in the body as well, you can then enter into freedom in mind and the powers of your spirit-wings.
In meditation open your mind and realize your freedom in the larger Mind of Great Spirit. Realize that Great Spirit is right here to guide and enlighten you. Once you realize that you are not alone, then you are freed from the illusion of separation which is what ultimately limits people. Know that you are meditating and journeying in the great Sky of Spirit-Mind. This is not just your own little mind; you are in the much larger Mind of Spirit. Though in your meditations and journeys, you will only be aware of a portion of the whole Spirit-Mind (or Spirit World).
Your power to freely journey in Spirit-Mind is dependent on your spirit-wings. One wing is the power of mental concentration, or staying conscious. The other wing is the power of freed spiritual imagination, which is a freedom from the limitations of ordinary thinking and practical logic.
Imagination takes us beyond ordinary thinking and ordinary logic, but this is not mere fancy nor daydreaming. Instead, this is your spiritual imagination, which is our mental vehicle for journeying, for vision and for understanding. Allowing imagination is the freedom of mind. New insights and also wisdom symbols will come through the imagination, but it first needs to be free from ordinary logic and conditioned thought. As well, imagination can bring us into spiritual intuition. Spiritual visions come through the imagination, and creativity unfolds through the imagination. So let the imagination be free. Let it be open. Open up your imagination and intuition, which opens your mind to spiritual vision and insight.
To be successful in wisdom-meditations and insight-journeys, the mind needs to be conscious, receptive and free. In order to be free, the mind must first relax and surrender the worrying and chattering habits of ordinary thinking and conditioned logic. Let the mind be free and open within the great expanse of the inner Sky World.
One always has to begin from where we are now at – from the space we are now in. This present space we're now in, our present frame of mind, is limited in some way. So in our spiritual meditation, or journeying, we have to free up these limitations in order to expand our experience in Spirit Mind. Then, as the boundaries in our own mind dissolve, the greater space of Spirit Mind opens up. As an analogy, you are entering into the Great Council Meeting of Spirit, where you can become open to a greater Wisdom. Open your little mind to the greater Wisdom.
There are many possible approaches, or attitudes, in Sky-meditations. For example, you can approach the greater Council, or Group Mind. You can approach your own Spirit Teacher or Guide. Or you can more generally approach the overall Universal Wisdom-Mind, or Great Spirit. These approaches are different, yet essentially the same. Because even if you approach the One Great Spirit-Mind, you may still be guided by Spirit Teachers within the One Mind, and if you approach a specific Guide or a greater Group-Council this will still be part of the One Spirit-Mind. Another possible approach, or attitude, is to become receptive to your own inner Wisdom; but of course this is essentially the same as opening to the One Wisdom-Mind, since Great Spirit is already within you and your mind is already part of Great Universal Mind.
Each journey must involve both conscious intention and free imagination. A balance is needed between active intention and receptivity, or between an intentional use of imagination and allowing wisdom to spontaneously come through the freed imagination. Knowing how to use conscious intention is the key to shamanic mastery, but we also need to be receptive and allow truth to spontaneously come through the imagination. Generally, one needs to use more intentional imagination in the beginning stages of an inner meditation journey, then gradually our active intention gives way to a more receptive mode. In the active mode, you hold a clear intention or a question in approaching the greater Wisdom.
You might reflect for some moments on what is your intention or purpose in doing the meditation. This may include a short reflection on what you are aiming toward and the approach you will take. The meditation will have more chance at being successful when you begin with either a question or a purpose in mind.
Also important is the intention to open one's mind and be receptive to higher spiritual vision and guidance. Your intention is essentially to approach and come into a higher, greater wisdom. This means staying conscious, because the wisdom needs to be received and recorded by the conscious mind. If you merely go into a passive sleep, there may be a chance for a dream vision, but more likely you will simply enter ordinary sleep and never really have any experience of higher wisdom. So make a firm intention to remain conscious, and keep maintaining this consciousness throughout the Sky meditation journey. Remaining aware of the breath will help.
During the meditation journey, use active intentional imagination to catalyze expansions of mind and relationships with greater wisdom. For example, you can imagine walking up Wisdom-mountain to meet your Spirit Guide, or you can imagine transforming into a spirit-bird then flying high up to the Sky-World, or you might imagine a Spirit-Teacher as a Light ahead of you who beckons you closer to hear a needed wisdom. These are different possible approaches in Sky-meditations.
Using your intentional imagination becomes a way to reach more spontaneous visions. The intentional approach simply sets up the possibility, like setting up the stage. The intention sets forth the general direction of the journey, but it should not be too imposing on spontaneous vision or on where the journey goes. As in art or music, an intentional structure can help unfold spontaneity. So, intention of purpose and intentional imagination help direct and structure the meditation or journey, but most important is our receptivity towards what unfolds more spontaneously and without our directing it.
Our ultimate aim is wisdom and guidance, which must come from 'out of the Sky World', emerging spontaneously rather than pre-arranged. By analogy, if you go to a teacher for guidance and new insights, it would be foolish to pre-determine what will be learned. You cannot pre-arrange or intentionally structure your own learning. If you already knew what you need to learn, then you wouldn’t need to go through the process of learning.
Thus, even though intentional imagination is useful at times, in the overall journey one needs to be unconditionally receptive. So you can take an active role in guiding the meditation, but this is only to generally structure and catalyze spontaneous vision and guidance. So, begin with an active intentional imagination, along with active concentration, but then gradually give way to your receptive imagination or receptive mind, so that the greater Wisdom-Mind can bring forth new vision and insights. As you work more with this, and as you trust more in Great Spirit, then higher truths, insights and guidance will simply come naturally and spontaneously whenever you ask a question or approach Spirit with the intention to listen and receive.