A Message From Our Editor, Issue #41 – Choosing Our Perspective
As we welcome the spring here in the northeastern U.S., there is much to be grateful for. Warmer weather, longer days, budding trees and flowers, and the return of many songbirds singing their hearts out each and every morning brighten our spirits with hope. This issue also celebrates Pathways’ 10-year anniversary, and so we appreciate you, our enthusiastic readers, subscribers and Pathways Connect supporters, who have grown this magazine into a movement.
Pathways began as a magazine to introduce the varying facets of family wellness so parents could make conscious, informed healthcare choices. Coming from the vitalistic major premise that there is universal intelligence and each individual is a unique expression of this intelligence, Pathways has accompanied many practitioners and parents on their journeys to discover their own innate potentials. With its Pathways Connect Gathering Groups sponsored by practitioners around the world, Pathways has provided support and community as individual families seek out their understanding of conscious living. In this issue, once again, we are so grateful to offer the wisdom of our contributors: advocates, practitioners and parents sharing their wisdom on this journey.
There is no denying that we are living in extraordinary times. All facets of our lives are undergoing transformational changes: politics, economics, religion, education, healthcare, parenting, personal awareness. For some, these rapid changes incite uncertainty or fear. Others, however, understand that the seeming upheaval we feel signals an unprecedented shift in consciousness for all humanity. In welcoming the new year, the Dalai Lama posted this on his Facebook page: “I feel optimistic about the future because humanity seems to be growing more mature; scientists are paying more attention to our inner values, to the study of mind and the emotions. There is a clear desire for peace and concern for the environment.” With more than 200,000 likes and close to 5,000 supportive comments, suffice it to say his words resonated with many who choose to perceive these changes as good.
In our Conscious Path article in this issue, “Turning Point: Resilience in a Time of Extremes,” Greg Braden addresses this as well, asking, “Are we willing to embrace the thinking that makes such possibilities a priority? Will we allow the science that reveals the deepest truths about our relationship to ourselves, one another, and the earth to become the passport for our journey?”
These are momentous questions. I believe that the perspective from which we think is critical. I am reminded of the poem “The Blind Men and the Elephant” by John Godfrey Saxe. In this famous literary work, this author captures the epitome of reductionism, that each individual sees only her limited perspective and refuses to expand her consciousness to respect the experience of another. This type of reductionist thinking, so prevalent today, dooms us to separation, failure and despair.
As a teenager, I came across the book Seven Arrows by Hyemeyohsts Storm. I became engrossed in hearing the teaching stories of the Native Americans. One lesson about the importance of perspective seems to offer a solution to the argumentative state that Saxe’s six men from Indostan were left in. This teaching described putting a single rock in the center of a circle of people. To each observer, that rock would be perceived differently. Based on each person’s own unique experiences in life (even though they lived closely together with the same tribal ways), it was recognized that no two people could possibly observe the rock as the same. Taking this analogy a bit further, the lesson described that if there was an idea being considered, rather than an object, the perspectives would vary even more.
The sheer genius of these people is in understanding that individual perspectives will always differ because each life experience is unique. So how, then, was a sense of unity established to allow for peaceful and cooperative living among the many perspectives? They did not legislate morality. Instead, they had an inherent understanding that within the whole there was something greater than the sum of its parts, and they had utmost respect for each individual expression as a valuable part of the whole.
In the Native American way, first and foremost, there is a deep recognition of sacred intelligence with an inseparable force that unites all creation. It is this major premise from which they deduce all of their decisions. The Lakota people actually have a greeting that reflects the intertwining connection of this intelligence, “Mitakuye Oyasin.” Its translation is “All my relations.” At every greeting and encounter, they consciously re-establish their premise of unifying intelligence and their deep respect for its presence in everyone and thing. Truly, their perspective on life is a vitalistic one.
I leave you with this beautiful Lakota prayer. May it bring you peace and optimism as we journey together during these shifting times.
For the raising of the consciousness,Jeanne Ohm, D.C.
A Lakota Prayer
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin. All my relations.
I honor you in this circle of life with me today.
I am grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge you in this prayer.
To the Creator, for the ultimate gift of life, I thank you.
To the mineral nation that has built and maintained my bones and all foundations of life experience, I thank you.
To the plant nation that sustains my organs and body and gives me healing herbs for sickness, I thank you.
To the animal nation that feeds me from your own flesh and offers your loyal companionship in this walk of life, I thank you.
To the human nation that shares my path as a soul upon the sacred wheel of Earthly life, I thank you.
To the Spirit nation that guides me invisibly through the ups and downs of life and for carrying the torch of light through the ages, I thank you.
To the Four Winds of Change and Growth, I thank you.
You are all my relations, my relatives, without whom I would not live.
We are in the circle of life together, co-existing, co-dependent, co-creating our destiny. One, not more important than the other.
One nation evolving from the other and yet each dependent upon the one above and the one below. All of us a part of the Great Mystery.
Thank you for this Life.
The Blind Man and the Elephant
It was six men of IndostanTo learning much inclined,Who went to see the Elephant(Though all of them were blind),That each by observationMight satisfy his mind.The First approached the Elephant,And happening to fallAgainst his broad and sturdy side,At once began to bawl:”God bless me! but the ElephantIs very like a WALL!”The Second, feeling of the tusk,Cried, “Ho, what have we here,So very round and smooth and sharp?To me ’tis mighty clearThis wonder of an ElephantIs very like a SPEAR!”The Third approached the animal,And happening to takeThe squirming trunk within his hands,Thus boldly up and spake:”I see,” quoth he, “the ElephantIs very like a SNAKE!”The Fourth reached out an eager hand,And felt about the knee”What most this wondrous beast is likeIs mighty plain,” quoth he:”‘Tis clear enough the ElephantIs very like a TREE!”The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,Said: “E’en the blindest manCan tell what this resembles most;Deny the fact who can,This marvel of an ElephantIs very like a FAN!”The Sixth no sooner had begunAbout the beast to grope,Than seizing on the swinging tailThat fell within his scope,”I see,” quoth he, “the ElephantIs very like a ROPE!”And so these men of IndostanDisputed loud and long,Each in his own opinionExceeding stiff and strong,Though each was partly in the right,And all were in the wrong!
—John Goodrey Saxe