1

#42 | WHO’S DRIVING THE GOD TRUCK?

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

—Buddha

I was driving through Rapid City, South Dakota, when I saw him.

Cresting the rolling hill in front of me appeared an all-white Ford pickup truck with a giant cross towering over the cab. Streamers were attached and they danced in the wind as the vehicle came toward me in the opposite lane with a large banner that read “In God We Trust.”

“Yes,” I whispered to myself. “In GOD we trust. But that ultimately means in ME I must trust.”

We can call the creator “God,” which is the sacred name for the source of all that is. That source, it can be said, is divine.

Whatever created us is within us.  In this way, we each are divine.

In this way, God’s power is dispersed.  Each of us carries a spark of the divine, and this is why everyone and everything is sacred. I can find manifestations of God both beyond and within me. This is the spiritual interpretation of our place in the Universe.

Approached scientifically, I still arrive at the same end point. My parents created me and their DNA comprises me. My grandparents created them and so their presence is also within me. I can trace this science back to a theoretical point of origin. The first man and woman have a trace of their existence within me. We all go back to the source, and this holds true for all of Earth’s creatures.

On my most recent visit to Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota I came upon the remains of a buffalo. The once-powerful animal was now a collection of milky white bones. His carcass had been consumed by other creatures, which sustained their lives. He was now within them. The rest was decaying back into the very grass that fed the buffalo. The creature was returning to its source.

Both the scientific research and the spiritual revelations point to the same conclusion: There is one source and we emanate from it before returning to it.

This truth is written everywhere for us to see.

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, said the Lord.”

—Revelation 1:8

* * *

“Human beings and all living things are a coalescence of energy in a field of energy connected to every other thing in the world. This pulsating energy field is the central engine of our being and our consciousness.”

—Lynne McTaggart, The Field

* * *

“Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. The total amount of energy and matter in the Universe remains constant, merely changing from one form to another.”

—The First Law of Thermodynamics

* * *

“He who experiences the unity of life sees his own SELF in all beings, and all beings in his own SELF.”

—Buddha

* * *

“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the Universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the Universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”

—Black Elk

* * *

Science and spirituality are dual paths to a single truth. Everything that exists is connected. The source of that connectivity is within us all. So, yes, in God we trust and, therefore, in me I must trust, for I come from the source. I am a spark of the divine.

To hear that source within me I simply turn inward and listen to my heart, where the source resides. Unfortunately, “leaders” (religious, political, educational, business, and otherwise) have been mucking up our individual awakenings for centuries by convincing us that “power” lives somewhere out there, beyond us.

It’s time for both leaders and followers to transcend that self-serving narrative. God doesn’t collect power, she disperses it. The truth is, we are each driving a little God truck around Planet Earth. So, for heaven’s sake, take the wheel.

“What if God was one of us?”

—Joan Osborne

______

Thank you for considering my thoughts. In return I honor yours. Every voice matters. Nestled between our differences lies our future.

______

This is the forty-second post in a series of short essays to be posted by Kevin to www.thebusinessofsharedleadership.com in 2021. Kevin is dedicating these writings in honor of Black Elk, the Oglala Sioux holy man who was escorted as a child on a sacred vision quest by the 48 horses of the four directions to visit the six Grandfathers. My horses, prancing they are coming. They will dance; may you behold them. On that journey Black Elk understood the sacred power that dwelled within him and lives within us all. He also recognized that this power could be used for good or bad. Intentional we must be about the path we walk. To invite others to join The Business of Shared Leadership and receive these posts, just pass this link along. The more who join, the deeper the energy field of engagement will become! Thank you!




#35 | THE POWER OF PRAYER

“The function of prayer is not to influence God,
but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”

—Soren Kierkegaard

Catherine, speaking only in Lakota, conversed with the buffalo scattered across the high grasslands of what is today Wind Cave National Park in present-day South Dakota.

The wind blew as it always does here, as the low dark clouds dragged themselves by. Whippoorwills sang and then answered their own calls. As each buffalo passed by, Catherine waved. These were not just unrelated and detached animals she was watching. The buffalo and the Lakota people have long been brothers and sisters. This was family, and as such, this was a reunion.

Despite this being traditional Lakota land, Catherine had never been to Wind Cave National Park, and it had been a long time since she’d been in the presence of buffalo. For Catherine, each buffalo was a related spirit, and she acknowledged them as such. Toward the end of our visit, she raised her hands in prayer. Eyes closed, she prayed . . . and she prayed. Given that her words were in Lakota, I understood nothing, yet I understood everything.

* * *

Catherine always prays. I’ve never spent a day with her, shared a meal with her, or exchanged a text message with her that did not involve prayer. Prayer is, for Catherine, central to how one navigates this world and embraces the next.

Catherine Grey Day was born on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. Coming of age, she experienced firsthand the harshness of reservation life in the 1950s, as well as the tribal protests against the historic oppression of her people in the 1960s and ’70s. She attended boarding school where she was sent to be “remade” in the white person’s image.

As an adult Catherine escaped abuse, fleeing alone in the middle of the night from her home. She buried one son in his early twenties, and then a few years later, did the same for the other. She later opened clinics and safe houses for other native women escaping domestic abuse. She had homes, and was homeless. Catherine is simultaneously a realist and an optimist. In the same conversation she will laugh and she will cry. And all the while, she prays.

“I have many spirit guides,” Catherine once told me. “There are those I know and those I don’t recognize, but I talk and pray with them all. Some people think I’m crazy because I talk to them, but I don’t care. They’re with me all the time.

“Each morning, alone during coffee, I pray,” Catherine continues. “I pray for lots of people, so it takes a long time. Prayer is real. It’s heard by the spirit world and it travels as energy to those I am praying for. I pray for you, Kevin. I pray for your family and employees in Maine. I pray for everyone I know and care about. I even pray for those who have hurt me.”

* * *

 

I am a spiritualist who is also attracted to science. This dual interest has led me to realize that scientists and spiritualists are actually on the trail of the same universal truths.

One of my favorite books on this subject is The Field, by Lynne McTaggart. Her thesis is that all the energy of the Universe is actually connected by an invisible web of electromagnetic threads. There is no separation or detachment. What happens to one reverberates across all.

“During the past few years science and medicine have been converging with common sense, confirming a widespread belief that everything―especially the mind and the body―is far more connected than traditional physics ever allowed.  Our body extends electromagnetically beyond ourselves and it is within this field that we can find a remarkable new way of looking at health, sickness, memory, will, creativity, intuition, the soul, consciousness, and spirituality.”

-Lynn McTaggert

With this fresh scientific insight, let us revisit the indigenous commitment to prayer that Catherine espouses. Catherine has long understood that prayer is real. That it travels. That it is heard. That spirit responds. Prayer is connected. Its energy moves.

This spiritual understanding of prayer suddenly has a scientific underpinning. If all energy is connected, then that includes thought energy. In this context ideas would reverberate. Prayer, which is nothing more than deep, intentional thought, would therefore move with purpose across space and time.

The Lakota have long known that everything is connected. Mitakuye Oyasin, they say, which translates as “All things are one thing,” or “We are all brothers.” It is with this understanding that Catherine speaks to the buffalo and prays for their well-being.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Catherine, and I’m pretty sure she knows something about prayer that the rest of us could build upon. In fact, if my experiences at Pine Ridge have taught me anything, it’s that the old wisdom is the pathway toward new wisdom. So pray on Catherine, pray on.

 

“In the silence of the heart, God speaks.”

—Mother Teresa

______

Thank you for considering my thoughts. In return I honor yours. Every voice matters. Nestled between our differences lies our future.

______

This is the thirty-fifth post in a series of short essays to be posted by Kevin to www.thebusinessofsharedleadership.com in 2021. Kevin is dedicating these writings in honor of Black Elk, the Oglala Sioux holy man who was escorted as a child on a sacred vision quest by the 48 horses of the four directions to visit the six Grandfathers. My horses, prancing they are coming. They will dance; may you behold them. On that journey Black Elk understood the sacred power that dwelled within him and lives within us all. He also recognized that this power could be used for good or bad. Intentional we must be about the path we walk. To invite others to join The Business of Shared Leadership and receive these posts, just pass this link along. The more who join, the deeper the energy field of engagement will become! Thank you!