Great Spirit

Great Spirit within and all around us

Most Native Earth teachings believe in an ultimate Great Spirit. In the whole Universe, and throughout all life, there is One Great Spirit; and this Great Spirit is in all things and all beings. Great Spirit pervades all of space, all of life, and all of us. Great Spirit is the life-giving, intelligence-giving, love-giving, and creativity-giving Spirit; which pervades and lives in all of us. It pervades and lives in all of nature and all of Earth. Great Spirit pervades who we are, as our Spirit-essence. Great Spirit is the spiritual essence of life and of breath. The Great Spirit lives within all things, all beings. You live within the Great Spirit and the Great Spirit lives within you. All things and all life are energies and expressions of the Great Spirit. And all of life is interrelated in one great web of Great Spirit-Being.

There can be many spirits of nature and even many spirits of the heavens, but this does not contradict the existence of one ultimate Great Spirit – which is greater and all-encompassing of all other spirits and beings. The Great Spirit is even greater than the Earth Spirit (our Motherland Earth) and all of the nature spirits living here. Yet the Great Spirit is not 'outside' of the Earth and is not 'separated' from the many nature spirits of life. Rather, the one Great Spirit is encompassing and inclusive of all that is, all of life, and all of us human beings as well. Because Great Spirit is the Spirit of all spirits, the Spirit of life, the Spirit of Earth, the Spirit of the Whole Universe.

Also, Great Spirit is within us. Great Spirit is the great Spirit within us, the great Spiritual Essence in us. Look inside to find the Great Spirit within you. The whole great Spirit of the Universe is within you. This is Great Spirit. So, make some time to discover the Great Spirit within you. Discover what your indwelling Truth is, and the various qualities of your indwelling Spirit. This process of discovery is your inner journey to Great Spirit. It's your inner journey into spiritual discovery – into your true self discovery. This journey is into your own heart-mind, to discover the various aspects, qualities and powers of the Great Spirit. Some of the qualities we can experience from Great Spirit are love and dedication, understanding and wisdom, inspiration and creativity.

But also, Great Spirit is all-around us and is permeating the very space we live in. So, practice being sensitive and aware to the Great Spirit pervading in life. For the Great Spirit is actually right here, in the space all around you. This is the Presence of Great Spirit. The presence and energies of Great Spirit are circulating through the air and potentially through our conscious breath. So one of our spiritual practices is to become sensitive and aware of Great Spirit pervading the space around us. Another practice is to actually breathe-in Great Spirit; breathe in the presence of Great Spirit, giving you Life and spiritual presence. Then, breathe-out Great Spirit into the world. In this way, we help to circulate the presence and energies of Great Spirit throughout the world.

Great Spirit is not simply an idea or concept. It is a living Reality, like the sun, like the wind, like the flowering of life. So even though thinking about the Great Spirit is a step towards knowledge, one also needs to feel the Spirit and have an experience of Spirit in one's heart. And when you consciously breathe in the Spirit, you experience Spirit as a real energy, a real feeling, and a real presence. Then, Spirit becomes a living experience, and not merely an idea.

So in summary, Great Spirit is not a Being who is outside nor separate from life and who we all are. Great Spirit is all around you and also within you. Discover Great Spirit within you and also become aware of Great Spirit all surrounding you throughout the natural environment. Open yourself now to the Great Spirit – which surrounds you, encompasses you, and lives within you.

All guidance and all healing essentially comes from Great Spirit. It is true that we can receive guidance from Spirit-beings and from our living brothers and sisters, and we can receive guidance from within; but Great Spirit is ultimately behind all true wisdom guidance. The same is true for healing; Great Spirit is the ultimate Source of all healing energies. Though we can also receive healing from Mother Earth, which embodies Great Spirit.

But so often we close ourselves off from Great Spirit's guidance and healing. Or we are closed off by our own unconsciousness of Great Spirit. The remedy is to become conscious of the Great Spirit and also receptive to this Presence. So, open your feelings to Great Spirit. Open your heart and your mind to the One Great Spirit of Life. This opening, this receptive attitude, and this discovery-consciousness are the steps that lead to spiritual awakening.

Great Spirit can be known in four ways: as Energy-empowering, Guiding-wisdom, Healing-love, and Inspiring-creativity. These correspond to the directions of the Medicine Wheel. The Earth is a living embodiment of the Great Spirit. So the Earth has these same Qualities, and so do we in potential – because all of these Great Qualities of Spirit are potentials in us as well.

These four Qualities of Great Spirit are similar to the Christian attributes of God as Powerful, Knowing, Loving, and Creative. So a belief in Great Spirit is similar to a belief in God; except that Great Spirit is not thought of as being separated from nor distant from Nature and this world. The Presence, Qualities, and Energies of Great Spirit are always here, and also within us, even if we might not be aware of this. Nor is Great Spirit believed to be judgmental or vindictive, as in some beliefs about God. Nor is Great Spirit believed to be deciding everything that happens. Nor does Great Spirit determine all that exists in nature. Instead, creation is an organic creative process, based in creative freedom and with the goal of creative diversity. Great Spirit inspires creativity, but does not compel what this shall be. Creativity unfolds organically, rather than pre-planned and enforced.

Also, Great Spirit is believed to be actually within us; and it could also be understood that we and this world (the Earth) are embodiments of Great Spirit. The Earth is essentially viewed in the same ways as Great Spirit, because the Earth is an embodiment of Great Spirit. Great Spirit embodies Itself in the Earth, in the natural world, and potentially in the human world. Great Spirit is the unfolding Spirit of the natural world, including our human evolution. This world is an embodiment of Great Spirit, an embodiment of Spirit energy. In other words, the Earth and all of life here is an embodiment and expression of Great Spirit.

Freedom and Choice

All natural-spiritual powers ultimately come from the One Great Spirit, the Source of all creative powers. All true powers and all true qualities of self and world come from the Power and Creative Mind of the one Great Spirit. It is still true that powers and qualities and creativity come from our Mother Earth, but the Source of all of this is the Universal Great Spirit. The plurality of spiritual forces and aspects of our being, and everything in the world, all ultimately emerge from the One Being, the One Great Spirit.

Great Spirit gives us the power of free choice. Great Spirit gives us the opportunity to learn from our own efforts and experience, and to develop intelligence by trial and error. Life's challenges and learning opportunities and learning experiences are seen to be blessings from Great Spirit. We learn by our own efforts and choices and experiences, rather than just by what an authority tells us is true or right to do. We think for ourselves, using the intelligence given to us and also developed by life's experiences.

Great Spirit does not force things upon us and does not even force wisdom upon us. Yet still, the Wisdom and Guidance of Great Spirit is here to help us along the Path to Harmony and Beauty, but only if we freely choose this or ask for this. Nothing from Spirit is forced on us. Wisdom, Guidance and Love are given our unconditionally, like rays from the Sun, but the receiving depends on us. We can either open to this and receive this, or else we can close off from it. If we choose to be guided by Great Spirit, and if we allow this, then Great Spirit will lead us towards wisdom, love, harmony and beauty.

Great Spirit is the power, consciousness, and wisdom at our center core; yet this does not force Itself into expression. The expression of these qualities of Great Spirit requires our conscious agreement and the nurturing of our personal will. Human beings have inherited the Qualities of Great Spirit; so that we can develop these and eventually express them. This is in our potential. But it doesn't just happen automatically and is not forced to happen. This is because we have freedom, which we inherited from Spirit, and because our whole great purpose is to freely choose the path we take. Our power of freedom and creative choice are the very qualities we inherited from Great Spirit.

So we have a choice to either nurture or deny the spiritual potentials within us. Either we nurture and cooperate with the emergence of our inner Spirit, or we deny our emerging spiritual qualities and remain stuck where we are. Our Spirit-within is always trying to emerge, (from being neglected and forgotten to being recognized and welcomed), but this can only happen if you (the you that is conscious) makes a deliberate effort to recognize and allow your inner Spirit to emerge and be expressed. So now is the time to awaken and to consciously notice what is inwardly emerging – which is our creative and wisdom spirit, our reflective expression of Great Spirit.

We are unique expressions of Great Spirit

We each need to find our Path to Understanding, Beauty, and Wholeness. We need to learn from All Our Relations and be helped on our way, but we each must find our own way and our own unique expression. We must also learn how to work cooperatively with other relations, and learn how to serve each other’s path, as well as our own.

We are each unique potentials of Great Spirit, to naturally manifest on Earth. In a more figurative narrative, each of us are unique seeds planted into the Earth Mother by Great Spirit. These seeds are then nurtured by the illumination of Spirit-Sun and the Love-Waters of Mother Earth. But to actually blossom requires our own self-awakening of our creativity, intelligence, and love. We need to realize our own self-potentials, then consciously self-actualize them.

If we can discover our unique interests and unique abilities, and allow these to grow and manifest, then we are actually serving the creative purpose of Great Spirit and the purpose of life. This is a beautiful realization – that we can actually serve the Purpose of Life by being naturally true to ourselves and express our individual creative inspirations. Each of us are here to make some kind of contribution to the Whole of Life. We are all part of one great Purpose, yet we each need to discover our own unique way of expressing and manifesting this Purpose. Just as there are different kinds of life which contribute to the Whole Ecology, we too can be unique contributors to the Life.

This overall realization is told in many Native Wisdom teachings and stories. We each have unique gifts and talents, which need to be shared in our Circle of Relations, or in the Circle of Life. The unique gifts and talents of each person are looked for, recognized, respected, and given an opportunity to be expressed; because there is an understanding that every life has unique gifts – which adds to the Whole beauty, diversity, and harmony of Life. Each person adds their unique character and gifts to the Whole.

The beauty and harmony of Nature is nurtured by diversity. So the Native Wisdom ideal of community and personal expression is not mere conformity, nor trying to be just like everyone else, and people are not forced to be just one way. Instead, the ideal is unity in diversity. If diversity is allowed and accepted, then an inclusive Harmony and Unity will result from this. Though all individualistic expressions need to be balanced by social and ecological considerations – being considerate, caring, and respectful for others and for the Earth, rather than merely self-centered and self-serving.

So, Unity and Harmony is not produced by an imposed conformity, like making everyone follow a certain imposed design, or imposing a certain design on nature. Instead, it's a free expression Unity, where freedom of diversity is respected; as long as one freedom does not infringe on the freedom of others. The Great Way is to build harmony and unity out of diversity, rather than imposing one kind of unity on all others. But this requires a creative process, involving a balance between freedom and harmony.

The Will of Great Spirit

In order for us to manifest greater harmony and beauty, we need power and will, we need intelligence and know-how, and we need love and goodwill to motivate this choice and power. These are all energies and qualities given to us by Great Spirit.

As we learn to give of our talents and qualities to the Greater Circle and to serve the Larger Life around us, we actually express the 'Will' of Great Spirit – which is always for the greater whole, the greater life, and the greater good. In nature, there is a will-to-live and a will-to-survive; which is a driving inner force of all life. We have this as well, but also in us is a spiritual will to serve life, to give to life, and to work for the greater Whole. This is the Great Spirit Will that is within us.

Related to this spiritual will within us is a spiritual intuition that there are greater purposes in Life. This can be another way to understand the Will of Great Spirit. One of the great purposes in life must be intelligence – to increase and expand intelligence holistically. In studying nature and life, we see a gradual natural evolution towards greater intelligence. But as humans, we have a capacity to accelerate this gradual process, by applying our consciousness and intentional effort upon this purpose.

Another great purpose of life is beauty. Life evolves towards greater and greater beauty, which includes evermore beauty in 'complexity and diversity'. And as humans, we can purposefully work towards creating and nurturing more beauty in the world and in our lives. Another great purpose in life is the increase of love in the world. We all naturally feel the need for more love in the world; yet it's not easy to know how to do this. Another great purpose in life is harmony and unity. We feel the need for more harmony in the world, as well as more love and beauty. This inner feeling, this deep inner wish, is from the Spirit within us.

As we realize these purposes in life, our own individual will becomes more aligned with the greater Will of Spirit. And from this realization: the power, love, intelligence and beauty of Great Spirit flows through us and manifests more in the world. The Will and Purpose of Great Spirit expresses through our own individual will, when we recognize the greater Power, Love and Wisdom within our self, and then as we allow this to emerge through us.

Our inspiration and our will for learning and self-expression comes from the Great Spirit within us, which also guides us towards service and our unique part to play in the Wholeness of Life. So if we listen and follow our deeper inspiration and inner guidance, we will be on the greater Path of Beauty and serving Life. Great Spirit gives us the guiding intelligence and vision to creatively serve the greater Harmony and Beauty, because Great Spirit is the Conscious Intelligence which leads us to greater Harmony and Beauty; while Mother Earth gives us the vital life energy to express our Spirit. We learn from Our Relations on Earth, and we respect the sacred creativity and beauty around us in the natural world, but Great Spirit also inspires us to be creatively unique in our own self and to creatively bring more harmony and beauty on Earth.

Great Spirit is the living creative power within all creation. The Great Spirit is in each of us; though usually not yet recognized or discovered. So let the Great Spirit within you emerge and express true wisdom and love. Yet also, learn from others and appreciate what they also have to give. Recognize the Great Spirit expressing uniquely through them. So, realize the Great Spirit within you, and help others realize the Great Spirit that is within them. In this Way, the Great Spirit will emerge and manifest in all our lives and in the whole world.

Great Mystery

The Great Spirit is also known as the Great Mystery. The One Essential Spirit which lives in all things is Great Mystery. The Original Source of existence is Great Mystery. This whole Existence, this whole Life, is Great Mystery. The All, the Totality, is the Great Mystery.

When we honor this Totality with reverence, we honor Great Mystery. When we experience Mystery in our life, we honor Great Mystery. When we allow Mystery into our life, we honor Great Mystery. And when we all allow Mystery to emerge from within us, we are honoring Great Mystery.

Allowing Mystery into life, or allowing this to emerge from within, is not something that happens automatically. We need to consciously allow the Mystery of Life into our experience. We have to consciously allow the Great Mystery to unfold within us and to reveal Itself around us. Otherwise, it gets ignored, forgotten, or even denied and shut out. And then, it cannot flow so beautifully through life.

It is good to look within, to discover the Spirit-Mystery and inspiration within. But also look outside of yourself for Spirit, for Mystery, for guidance, wisdom, love and sacredness. Spirit and Mystery is both within and outside of us. Look for the Wholeness of Great Spirit. Remember, Great Spirit, Great Mystery, is within and all around you. So wake up to it, and begin to see it everywhere. Great Mystery is revealed in many possible ways – through all kinds of beings on Earth and in the Spirit World. If you are closed off or unconscious of this, then you will not recognize the many manifestations of Great Spirit.

Our spiritual wisdom and balance develops as we look within to discover our inner truth and inspiration, but we also need to look outward to discover the unique sacredness and beauty of All Our Relations in Life, the many manifestations of Great Mystery.

Allowing the Spirit to emerge from within

True freedom is allowing the Spirit within us to be revealed and express. True freedom is natural spontaneity and a natural response to life around us. True freedom is following our heart and inspiration. Freedom means to learn, to grow, and to express ourselves in new ways, with a deeper understanding of our self and life’s relatedness. Freedom is the maturing and blossoming of our spiritual seeds, the truths within us.

Freedom is the unfolding spontaneity and creativity of our Spirit, which is new at each moment and ever fresh at each step of the Way. Being in free Spirit, each moment is a new step along the Path, with new insights and new experiences to learn from. Our self-expressive Spirit can spontaneously emerge at each new moment and each step along the Way; if we allow it. This is true freedom, in a Spirit of never-ending mystery. It is the Spirit of a child, but not mere childishness. It is the innocence of Spirit developing and maturing in us. This is the freed Spirit within us, when it is free in us. And it is the Path to Beauty and Harmony.

So in freedom, allow your inner spirit to emerge. Allow your spirit of inspiration and creative expression to emerge, just as a seedling emerges from the soil of Mother Earth. Great Spirit, expressing through us, is like this little seed which gradually grows, gradually emerges, and gradually matures into blossom. This is the power and the creative beauty of Great Spirit emerging through you.

Allow this Spirit to come forth from within, like a hidden little seed in the ground rising with inner power to become the strength of a tree. Then let this power of your inner Spirit spread out with freedom into the world. Emanate and express this power of Spirit – express it into life and into the world. This is how the creative power of Great Spirit emerges and expresses into the world.

Spirit expresses through us in different ways; there are different ways that Spirit is expressed. We are each unique expressions of Spirit. This is the creative diversity of Spirit; as manifested in the diversity of life on Earth. So, creative uniqueness is to be valued in ourselves and in the world; as the diversity of Spirit. Each of us are uniquely beautiful, within the Great Beauty. So, love yourself and love others. Respect yourself and respect others. Recognize beauty and create beauty. This is the Way of Beauty.

Allow your inner spirit, your inner being, your inner truth, and your inner potentials to naturally and spontaneously emerge. And allow the spirit of others to emerge as well. Honor and nurture their emerging spirit, the truth and creativity that is emerging from them. Honor their unique path of exploration and awakening, and honor their unique qualities of Great Spirit. Discover the fresh spirit of each moment, and be open to learning more of this Great Mystery.

Be free to discover truth

In order to make room for the greater Spirit to emerge from within, we have to at least be willing to let go of our conditioned beliefs, the beliefs that we were merely given to us by parents, society, religions, or even books. We have to be willing to give up everything that we think we know – a willingness to give up all of our beliefs. We have to be willing to give up everything that we've ever been told; so that we can clearly see what is truly revealed by Life, without being clouded by the beliefs given to us by others. This is our step into clear knowing and true freedom.

Then, when we are finally not holding onto any fixed beliefs, we are free to self discover the truths of life. We are then free in our self, and free in our path of discovery. This is the path of Spirit – this is the free Spirit of self-discovery and discovering what is True by our own self-intelligence and our own spiritual intuition. We all can learn from religions and cultures, from groups and books, but to just be a 'follower' and merely accept what is told, is to ignore the Spirit within you – the intelligence and intuition within you, which has the self-capacity to discover the truth, without being imposed or coerced upon. So, be free in yourself and free in your mind. You are meant to be a self-discoverer of truth, not merely a follower of what others tell you is true.

Balancing freedom with responsibility

Our own inner spirit is naturally loving, naturally wise, naturally creative, and is reflective of the Great Spirit. Great Spirit, the Creator and Presence of this Universe, gave man and woman the power of free will, which is the power to make decisions and to be freely creative. But with this power, we are expected to be responsible and considerate of the larger Circle of Life. We are expected to be sensitive and respectful to the rest of Life. So, with power comes responsibility; and thus, the more power we actualize, the more responsible we have to be.

We can be creatively and spontaneously free, but at the same time we need a developed sense of responsibility for nurturing and protecting the greater environment of which we are a related part. This involves a caring sensitivity to all other lives and an intelligent sense of adaptability to the natural environment which physically and spiritually nourishes us.

When we realize the inter-relatedness of all lives, every free choice we make needs to be balanced with a sensitive responsibility towards the greater Whole, the interconnected Circle of Life. We are here in life to enjoy life, and to be free and creative, but we also need to respect the freedom and creativity of others. So may we respond intelligently and lovingly to other lives and to the greater Whole of Life; in order to nurture and maintain an overall balance and harmony on this planet in which we all live.