I believe that being a medicine man, more than anything else, is a state of mind, a way of looking at and understanding this earth, a sense of what it is all about."
-- Lame Deer, LAKOTA
The Medicine Wheel explains different ways of looking at the world. The four directions are the East, the South, the West, and the North. In the East is the view of the eagle. The eagle flies high and sees the earth from that point of view. The South is the direction of the mouse. Moving on the earth, the mouse will not see what the eagle sees. Both the eagle and the mouse see the truth. The West is the direction of the bear. The bear will see different from the mouse and the eagle. From the North comes the point of view of the bison. To be a Medicine Man you must journey through all points of view and develop the mind to see the interconnectedness of all four directions. This takes time, patience, and an open mind. Eventually, you understand there is only love.
Compare the above with the lament of Eugene O’Neill which is relevant to the western way of thinking: Go West Young Man, Succeed at any rate, Walk over others, Goal Oriented approach, Networking, pull yourself by your socks
I was forced to admit, at the end of thirty years’ devotion to the Cause, that I was never made for it. I was born to be one of those who has to see all sides of a question. When you are damned like that, questions multiply for you until in the end it’s all questions and no answer. As history proves, to be a worldly success at anything, especially revolution, you have to wear blinders like a horse, and see only straight in front of you. You have to see, too, that is all black, that is all white.
This conundrum is faced by many of us who live in the west especially those with some sense of their quest for spirituality.
You have to define “success” and then follow it. If your definition of success is a material oriented, network world where selfishness is rewarded, then the western concept is what you should follow, whether you live in New York or Kuala Lumpur. If your definition of success is finding contentment and be of help to others , then follow the American Indian way ( and in many ways the Yogic path). This also you can do, while living in Miami or Paris.
All great Spiritual leaders from Dalai Lama to the elders in many tribes in the USA would tell you that Happiness comes from doing what you can do for others.
"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them."
— Dalai Lama XIV
A good friend of mine Dr JK who practices good quality family medicine at a small town in South Dakota once said to me:
You can chase money or happiness, never both.
Each day I want to wake up to the thoughts of North American Indians or a spiritual leader like Dalai Lama.
And put those words into practice.
"Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can."
— Dalai Lama XIV
and as my good friend and teacher, Pierre of the UmonHon has taught me:
Be happy with what you have, don't be unhappy with what you don't have..
Thank you my teachers among the North American Indians, especially DR B of the Meskwakia and Pierre of the UmonHon.