By Fran Dancing Feather
Many indigenous peoples around the world believe that we can help each other heal from any affliction of the body, mind or spirit by using prayers, natural medicines from the earth and other components of ceremony. These beliefs for many of us, are older than any of us can remember.

Anyone can write whatever they choose about spiritual matters and everyone is entitled to their own opinion and form of worship, belief or ceremony. Ancient sacred Tribal rituals however, are another matter. American Indian Creation stories and language translations very often appear poorly represented in the public media as individuals retell them who are sadly misinformed. As the result, many indigenous peoples become less likely to share ceremonies with outsiders. We may feel inspired to share only in a general way, about the gratitude we feel for our culture and heritage without revealing particular sacred aspects of the ancient ceremonies. We do this because of some of the horrible misunderstandings that have occurred throughout history. The spirituality of our ancestors is not a fantasy world and neither does some native people experience the dreams and visions. Many of us hold a deep and reverent respect the workings of the Creator in our everyday lives.

When we attend 12-step meetings we often hear people describe various spiritual experiences, from a variety of religions or belief systems. There are hundreds of different types of Christianity, Judaism, native and many others. They are all good. None are wrong. We do not criticize the faith of anyone. We respect each other. We are grateful when anyone feels the presence of a loving Power that can keep them clean and sober. Our text reminds us that the book was written for the purpose of helping us find a Power greater then ourselves that can solve our problems.

An Ojibwa professor at Bemidji State University, Anton Truer, says, “The Great Spirit is both male and female and more, a force beyond our full comprehension.” I agree with his description for my own concept of a loving Higher Power but do not deny the concepts of others, no matter how different they sound to me. I have learned the value of open-mindedness and look for the similarities, rather than the differences between others and myself. This attitude makes it possible for me to know that spirituality is not fantasy, but rather the reigning grace of a loving God shared equally by everyone in recovery. Any of us who believe we can recover this way are truly blessed. We have made that impossible leap from the seemingly hopeless state of body, mind and spirit, to standing securely within the sunlight of the Spirit.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, January 28th, 2012 at 7:46 am and is filed under 12 Steps, Alcoholics Anonymous, Big Book, Recovery. You can leave a comment and follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.