I have just finished a week in northwestern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado in which I have visited what are now called “ancestral Puebloan sites.” As I have lived in the southwest, I have increasingly adopted a Native American view of life.
That is not to say that what the Spanish and Americans brought here is totally negative. Today I visited Mesa Verde. This has to be one of the great wonders of the word. I am challenged to think of places in the world that compare. The pyramids of Egypt? Angkor Wat? Machu Picchu? It is certainly among those. It is awe inspiring.
And these remarkable places have been preserved lovingly, respectfully, and with great care by people from non-Native American backgrounds. These people, who see beyond the narrowness of personal narrative, are true heroes.
But what most impresses me is not the buildings but the spirit of the people who lived here and continue to live here. This is Indian country… Ute, Navajo, Apache, and Hopi.
Along the way I heard an interview with a Hopi. He said that for them these sites are not ancient ruins, but a part of the continuation of the story of their people.
Our lives are like that, too. We are on a journey. We are on a personal journey. That is our path from lifetime to lifetime to lifetime.
Our journey is also part of a peoples’ journey. My peoples are German and Dutch. And I have been touched by the journeys of people from many pasts. Native American. India Indian. English. French. Irish. And recently Ecuador. So many people on so many journeys.
We are different, but we are one. Everyone has experienced joy and sadness, grief and happiness, despair and peace. And I hope that everyone has experienced humility in the face of life’s great challenges.
It is in our commonality that we aspire to greatness. It is in our commonality of experience that we should aspire to generosity, reverence for life, and respect for each other.
I feel great humility in the face of the greatness of the universe. I bow to the universe, and only aspire to give, and not to take. We may not all be Buddhas or Arahants, but we can all give. When we see a need, we can fulfill it. And in doing so, the graciousness of the universe can flow through us.