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Narrated by Marie T. Russell.
"Walk with inner guidance in harmony with your environment and with others. Obstacles facing you begin to disintegrate. What you have been working toward is now within your reach. You begin to see how you fit into your surroundings and to acknowledge your role within the chord and measure. " -- Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards (Sacred Songs -- Harmony)
Raise your voice in praise and let joy flow through your being. As joy courses through your veins, music and laughter will bubble up through your being. Your whole self will fill with light, and your world will lighten as well.
The School of Life is not without its ups and downs, its lessons as well as its rewards. Some of the teachings come through joy, such as the birth of a child which brings the teaching and experience of unconditional love, gratitude, and wonder.
However, some lessons come harshly, and it can be difficult to find the joy and the blessing within them. Yet as we allow the process to continue, they will reveal their gifts.
When we open our eyes and take in the teachings coming to us, we awaken to the messages that are being presented. They come in their own perfect timing, even though we may not see it that way at first, if at all. Ask for guidance and help, and let the teachings of each lesson take you into new territory. Trust and know that the lessons you need are always presented when you are ready.
We all have a shadow self, or selves. This is the part of ourselves that we often do not acknowledge, and may even deny exists. We might pretend it isn't there, yet as with a smoldering fire, you may not see flames, but the heavy smell of the smoke persists. When we add fuel (or light) to a smoldering fire, the flames jump back to life, and the fire becomes vibrant with light and energy.
We can gain some understanding and insights from the Lakota Sweat Lodge card: Shadow Self:
"I am the one you choose not to see. I am caught, trapped, unnoticed, unable to change because I am without recognition. I am unloved and unnurtured because I am unseen. I am powerless to move on without your help. Bring me into the World of Light with your attention. Guide me on my path. Love me."
It is time for us to acknowledge, accept, and love our shadow. It is not "bad". It has many gifts and lessons for us and it simply needs acceptance in order to bring forth healing. It is possible for us to reclaim our lost selves with love and restore our internal harmony.
As things occur around us, and to us, we may find ourselves confused as to what direction to take. We all have access to our inner wisdom, but it's usually not found at the surface where all the noise and chatter resides. It's deeper in the quiet, in the calm center of our being.
When animals are ill or wounded, they go off by themselves and seek quiet time. In the same way, when we are challenged by life or wounded, emotionally or physically, that is the time for us to go to our quiet space and allow our deep inner knowing and wisdom to come forth.
The Lakota Sweat Lodge card for Wisdom states:
"Wisdom links the intuitive feelings with the facts and information known to the mind. When you act from a place of wisdom, you allow guidance, opening yourself to the information provided by the universe... Act upon what you feel as well as what you know."
The word "resolution" has many meanings. There are two definitions that pertain to our topic today: 1) "a promise to yourself to do or to not do something" and 2) "the act of solving or ending a problem or difficulty". (definitions from the Cambridge Dictionary)
These two definitions I interpret, not so much as being separate, but more like a first step and second step. For example: when we seek harmony within ourselves, as well as with others, we start with step one: our hope or intention to attain that goal. That is our resolution, our promise to ourselves. Once we set our intention, things will come up for us to do or not do, as well as beliefs that need to be changed. That is our step two, where we solve or end a problem, or problems.
In anything we do, it helps when we do it consciously, with awareness, as then we won't get tripped up by old habits or beliefs that would be a deterrent to our goal. If our resolve to live in harmony wavers, we turn back to our guidance and honor the Wisdom that comes to us, both from within and from outside sources.
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To live in true harmony means to live in a state of social consciousness, aware of the highest good of all, not just our own good. This includes our "two-legged" brothers and sisters as well as all animals, plants, minerals, and the Planet herself. It includes doing for others, not just for ourselves. It requires being guided by our heart.
The Lakota Sweat Lodge card entitled Social Consciousness has very clear guidance on this topic:
"It is time to shift your attention from your own concerns to what you can do for humanity. Spend time praying for others. Send healing energy into the world. What gifts or traits do you have to offer? What role is appropriate for you to play, given your personal interests and individual circumstances? Find an activity that will give you the opportunity to experience joy while doing something useful. Work at becoming tolerant and understanding, of yourself and others. Allow yourself to forgive, through love and compassion. Create joy by giving without expectation. Rewards will be gained by those who serve."
When I think of reverence, I think of respect, honor, and love. When we revere someone, we see the best in them, we see their "higher self".
The word Namasté comes to mind which in its simple form means "I bow to you" and is further interpreted as:
I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells.
I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace.
When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are one.
What a mantra to live by! Seeking to find and recognize the place within all beings that is rooted in love, truth, light and peace. A challenge for sure!
Yet the more we recognize and revere the light of love within others, the more they will be able to find it within themselves. And the more we look for it in others, the more we will bring it to the forefront of our own being.
Article inspired from:
The Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards
The Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards: Spiritual Teachings of the Sioux
by Chief Archie Fire Lame Deer and Helene Sarkis.
This book and beautifully illustrated deck draw on the ancient Lakota ritual of healing and purification known as the sacred Inipi, or sweat lodge ceremony, which has existed in the Lakota culture for thousands of years.
The cards and accompanying book comprise a self-contained and highly original system that will help you harness creative energies to deal with issues that are of concern in your life. Used for self-discovery rather than divination, the cards gently guide you toward inner growth and self-knowledge in the time-honored tradition of the Lakota people.
Publisher: Destiny Books, an imprint of Inner Traditions Intl.
For more info and/or to order this card deck with guidebook, click here.
About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com. Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on InnerSelf.com