The purpose of life is to live it,

to taste experience to the utmost,

to reach out eagerly without fear

for newer and richer experience.

 

–Elanor Roosevelt

 

Haah-nahe ma’heoo, GREAT ONE,

You who bless your entire creation with spiritual life–

With sacred water,

With the sacred light and fire of the sun,

With the sacred sky dome covering of air, and

With the sacred red earth altar, from where I send out my prayers to the four sacred directions.

Ne-a’ese, hear this humble prayer.

 

I thank you for the Grandfather Spirit Power of the East­Southeast, the place of beginnings.

I pray for the young mother who is bringing new life to the people–bless her and her baby with health and serenity.

I pray for the small child, new to the earth walk on this medicine wheel of earth-bless this new life with all things good and with long life.

 

I turn in prayer to the Grandfather Spirit Power of the South­ Southwest, the place of continued human growth called youth.

I pray for the young person, both male and female–bless this person with power and awareness to walk as a respectful relative to earth and everything on and in it.

 

I turn in prayer to the Grandfather Spirit Power of the West­Northwest, the place of adulthood.

I pray for a man and a woman, the humble, two-legged

walker with five fingers.

Bless this person, this parent, this grandparent with spiri­tual knowledge and patience to build a good, stable family and a strong, unified community.

 

I turn my prayer to the Grandfather Spirit Power of the North­Northwest, the place of wisdom and old age.

I pray for the elder that has walked long on this earth and experienced the wonder and mystery of life.

Bless this beloved grandparent with a generous heart and spirit to wisely and lovingly share the sacred teachings of life.

I turn back to the East and pray that all my relatives be clothed with holiness, with ma’heo’ne-vestse.

Maheo’ne-vestse all those yet to be born.

Maheo’ne-vestse animal people, water people. Ma’heo’ne-vestse crawling people, flying people. Ma’heo’ne-vestse rooted people.

Maheo’ne-vestse human beings,

Who too are spiritually rooted in the good Mother Earth, Who must collectively be prayerful-minded about the sa­credness and interdependence of life.

Bless us with the knowledge and wisdom to live as good relatives, with happy hearts and strong spirits, who can face the next millennium with the courage of love and power of peace.

Hena’haanehe.

 

Henrietta Mann
Cheyenne, professor
of Native American Studies,
University of Montana

 

 

A priest was in charge of the garden within a famous Zen temple. He had been given the job because he loved the flowers, shrubs, and trees. Next to the temple there was another, smaller temple where there lived a very old Zen master. One day, when the priest was expecting some special guests, he took extra care in tending to the garden. He pulled the weeds, trimmed the shrubs, combed the moss, and spent a long time meticulously raking up and carefully arranging all the dry autumn leaves. As he worked, the old master watched him with interest from across the wall that separated the temples.

When he had finished, the priest stood back to admire his work. “Isn’t it beautiful,” he called out to the old master. “Yes,” replied the old man, “but there is something missing. Help me over this wall and I’ll put it right for you.”

After hesitating, the priest lifted the old fellow over and set him down. Slowly, the master walked to the tree near the center of the garden, grabbed it by the trunk, and shook it. Leaves showered down all over the garden. “There,” said the old man, “you can put me back now.”

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