30 July 2011

Living in the Circle


"This knowledge came to us from the outer world with our religion. Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same, and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our teepees were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation's hoop, a nest of many nests, where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children." - Black Elk - Oglala Sioux

It was because of my alcoholism that I began looking at different philosophies and religions of the world to find my own unique Higher Power. I'm not talking about religion and truth be told it upsets me when others can't separate religion from spirituality. I believe religion is a very private and personal thing that is between me and my Creator. Spirituality, to me, is to me the presence of someone or something that makes my life more manageable while I'm alive. With that being said, I would like to share something I read years ago and was recently reintroduced too. And that is the power of circles.

When I said I studied different beliefs early in my recovery, my mind really opened a lot when I looked at mythology... especially the Greeks and Romans. As I read the stories it was easy for me to imagine living in a time like that, before science, to make everything into a special Higher Power. From a thunderstorm, to fires, to earthquakes... it was all because of the gods that these things happened.

For me, it all came together when I started looking at the ways of the American Indian. I believe it was from the book “Black Elk Speaks” that I began learning about the power of the circle for an individual. The Indian believed that no good can come in a square or a rectangle... it puts boundaries on not only the physical body but also the soul as well. And it was with this faith that the elders of the Indians believed was why they didn't do well on reservations... they were given houses and huts that were square and their circle died, which killed part of them.

The Lakota believe that the center of the Universe was in the Black Hills of South Dakota, but it was also said that wherever you were was the center of the universe. And part of that center was the circle that covered you... an invisible tube that protected you as well as guided you.

With a circle, there isn't any straight lines like that in a square. Straight lines that could stop your progress. Squares also have corners that could trap you. But a circle? No straight lines to stop your progress, nor corners to trap you. You are free to move in any direction and your journey can move freely.

Our universe, is part of a large circle. The earth where we live is a circle. The water and the land are part of that circle. Every breath we take is not only a part of our individual circle, but also part of earth's circle.

We also can use a circles an imaginary friend. Just look at the ground in front of you. See that circle... in it place your your good traits... your honesty and integrity... everything that is good place in that circle... step forward and as you do... give thanks to your Higher Power for your strengths which were freely given to you and enjoy your walk and journey in the circle of life.

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