enlightened

Lessons From Indigenous Communities: How We Can All Benefit From Some Of Their Principles by Guest Writer Omar Beretta

July, 2018

Lessons From Indigenous Communities: How We Can All Benefit From Some Of Their Principles

By Guest Writer Omar Beretta

 

(Photo by Pablo E. Ortiz on Unsplash)

Imagine this: you switch off your iPhone now, pack your backpack, and get lost in a tropical jungle in search of powerful lessons from Indigenous communities. You’d better have a passport, because Indigenous communities are rarely found in our backyard. And we need to go now, because Indigenous wisdom is rapidly evaporating in the heat of modern times, but there is still a lot we can learn from them.

But direct to access Indigenous tribes isn’t always easy. Not everyone has an enlightened employer that will support your mystical journey and time away from the office. Or, an understanding and loving significant other that will drive you to the airport without a return ticket.

What’s the bottom line? Accessing alternative sources of knowledge may change your life forever — and this is good news. But you do not need to burn all your bridges to take the first steps in the direction of a new understanding of life. Take one step at a time.

First – what does “Indigenous community” mean, exactly?

This may seem crazy, but Karl Marx got it right when he explained that the natural world is further and further removed from us and arrives only in a relatively processed, mediated form. And he wrote that in 1844. The immediacy of nature has been lost, and nature confronts humanity as an alien entity. Moreover, as the Marxist theorist Max Horkheimer would later put it, “The history of man’s efforts to subjugate nature is also the history of man’s subjugation by man.”

The chances of finding an authentic Indigenous community in a natural, pristine environment, willing to share their wisdom to a newcomer that does not speak their language, are next to nothing. What we can learn from good old Marx is that we have created a production system that alienates us from nature, and over the years it has generated an urban malaise from which I suffer, and, if you have read this far, probably you too. The bad news is that apparently this malaise can only be cured by accessing the wisdom of aboriginal communities, which have been almost entirely crushed by the very system of production to which we contribute each day by waking up, buying coffee, and going to work.

But even if we got lost for a few months in the Peruvian Amazon, we would discover that most of the Indigenous knowledge has already been formatted to the urban lifestyle. It would take significant time and effort to find a spot where white men and women have not already set up a spiritual shop to cater to our quest. And before the spiritual shops arrived, various churches roamed the aboriginal wilderness, turning original knowledge into a mere remembrance of things past.

So, if you only have one or two weeks to spare for your spiritual quest, do not shop in the Spiritual Supermarket. More importantly, do not buy that six-day, four-ayahuasca ceremony package tour to the Amazon, facilitated by white people that can speak your language. Rather, donate that money to a reliable NGO and wait for good karma to hit back. It always does.

Here’s the kicker: we may actually find powerful lessons in our backyard. We have the atavic need to be a part of a tribe, because it offers protection and the possibility of achieving greater goals. Some of us might have belonged to, for example, a gym tribe or a clubbing tribe. Over the months we found out, perhaps with bitter resentment, that the tribe we thought we belonged to was actually what is called a pseudo-community, a gathering that was not based on fundamental principles, merely on transitory activities. The day I stop going to the gym or reduce my clubbing expeditions my tribe will desert me.  

But perhaps you have a meditation tribe going, or you feel that you belong to a yoga tribe that has passed the two-year acid test. If you and the core tribe members are still meditating or practicing yoga after two years, your tribe may be ready for the second stage. This is advice I got from actual Indigenous masters in the Amazon, as well as from teachers at an intentional community in Scotland: first you need to have things in common, then you strengthen the bond. Finally, a real community is born.

Want to know the best part? Here is something that you can take away. Basic aboriginal wisdom: consume less and spend more time together. You can divide your tribe in three groups. On week 1, the first group goes shopping for organic products to cook veggie burgers. The second group gets together and cooks the burgers, while the third group rests. On weeks 2 and 3, the groups shift chores. This may prove more challenging than you think, because it entails coordinating people to get together once a week to do an additional activity that is not merely recreational; it supports the welfare of the tribe. Thus, we learn to put the interest of the collective before the interest of the individual. If you can achieve this, you have probably learned the most important lesson there is to learn. It is highly likely that your tribe will be decimated over the first two weeks, but you will learn who is for real. Keep it going for a couple of years, and abundant wisdom you never thought you had inside you will flow from your heart.

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About the Author:

Omar Beretta is the co-author with Bénédicte Rousseau of Shaman Express. A former lawyer, yoga instructor and publishing company owner who – after a near-death experience – left his corporate career to practice yoga and shamanism, Beretta is now a full-time world traveler. He learns from people living in countries not yet fully spoilt by Western capitalism as well as indigenous communities. When he is not traveling, Beretta teaches creative writing workshops in Asunción del Paraguay. For more information, see www.yacarevolador.com

About Shaman Express: Amazon US link: amzn.to/2vKd4CZ 

Shaman Express

A Woman’s Place

May, 2018

Judging Women Ourselves & Others

One of the things that stand out for me in the everyday world is how women judge themselves, and other women, so harshly.

It happens between friends when one is unintentionally hurt by the words of others. In a friendship, for the most part, although there are exceptions, no one ever wants to hurt the other, but it happens. You apologize and, with hope, move forward.   

Stop a moment and think about how much and how often we judge others; those we know, and more often, those we do not know.  This is especially prevalent in women; women judging ourselves and women cruelly judging other women.  We do it; we ALL do it, even those who believe we are enlightenedand feminist in our thinking, whether we wish to admit it to ourselves or not.

I am of the opinion that this is the way this patriarchal culture, this male-dominated society, has trained us to be so.  I am not going to go into the many wrongs done to women and to people of color by a white-male privileged society, not here anyway and not yet (fair warning).  This is more to the way women are trained from birth to judge and to distrust other women.

It would appear that the most important thing any female can do in this culture is to find a man, keep him, marry him and raise a family.  We are told this continually, we see it daily in movies, on TV, in books (for those fortunate enough to love to read).  This is the life we are trained for.  Little girls get toy vacuums, little plastic kitchens, tea sets; we are the ones who are taught to set the table, clean the house, do the chores, and maybe get taught how to cook, at least the basics.  As we grow older, we shave the unwanted hair on our bodies, make ourselves up like kewpie dolls, all in the name of getting a man”.  

(Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash)

As we look around at the men available to us, the women who should be our friends, our allies, somehow become our enemies, our rivals, in the getting of a man.  So, we look at them.  What do they have that I dont have?  What color is their hair?  Are they fat?  Are they thin?  Who looks at them and who looks at me?  We slowly begin to judge ourselves how do we stack up compared to them.  Media and culture being what it is, we NEVER come out on top.  There is something wrong with us, because we are TOLD something is wrong with us.   We begin to judge the other women.  If we are not perfect, then neither are they.  This does not make us sympathetic to them because we can relate; this makes us judge them even more harshly.  It becomes shes ugly”, shes so fat, shes easy, whatever the hell that might be.  The names being “fatso”, “slut”, “whore”, bitch”.  How often do the mean girlsstop and think about how they may feel if these words were hurled at them in hatred?  Unfortunately, words like this are said by even those who are not considered the mean girls and it continues into adulthood. When women, themselves, judge each other, see each other as “enemies”, how hard does patriarchy need to work to put us down? Not very hard as we put ourselves down.

This, I believe, is one of the biggest problems faced by feminism, and, really, it does not matter if you are a radical feminist, or a liberal feminist or anything in between because we are all affected. Seriously, how do you get a woman raised to believe they are second-best, inferior, not-good-enough, to get rid of the judging, get rid of the distrust and band together, stand together to fight the status quo?  

I don’t pretend to have the answer, but I believe it starts by teaching little girls they are valuable, they are worthy, they are important.  We teach them that the Divine once was, and still is, a woman.  We continue this dialogue that has already begun, with each and every woman we meet in real life and online.  We create sacred circles of women to stand together and be strong and TEACH each younger generation of women what is right and what has been wrong for so, so long in the treatment of women and it has to change and it has to begin, and continue, with women.

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

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