Our spiritual inner strength and home within ourselves
A year ago I read a book that enlightened me so much that I just have to share some of its
content and philosophy with you. The Book is called Listen to the Drum by Blackwolf Jones and Gina Jones. You can also find it in my resources section here. Blackwolf is an Ojibway man and his writing is just simply beautiful and touching. In the past year I found myself going through some tough times and really leaned on Blackwolf’s words and teachings to find my spiritual inner strength as well as my bigger purpose in life. Following the Red Road truly helped me remain calm, serene (up to a point…) and okay with whatever came my way. So let us look at some of Blackwolf’s teachings in regard to inner strength.
Ain-dah-ing: our home within our heart
The concept of Ain-dah-ing (pronounced AH-da-ning) is important for Blackwolf Jones. It refers to our home. Our home within ourselves, within our heart. Ain-dah-ing is our inner sanctuary, that place within ourselves where we feel safe, protected. Where we find ourselves at peace. In our Ain-dah-ing, we feel safe from our worries, from threats, it transcends time and space. What do I mean by that? Well it means that no matter what is happening in our lives, we can go to that place within ourselves to feel safe. I don’t know about you, but to know that such a place exists is very reassuring to me.
How does one find their Ain-dah-ing you ask? It starts by following your breathing. Follow your breath to see where it comes from. Follow it to its source. You will find a very deep place within yourself, a place where nothing can affect you. It is a place where there is no end, no death, as we rejuvenate ourselves. Ok I know this sounds easy and some of you might be thinking “yeah I can follow my breath, not a problem”.
Well it’s not as easy as that. It took me a while to fully grasp what this means. it requires an ability to shift our awareness and fully focus on our breathing. I am normally able to do that when I smudge or talk to the Creator at the end of the day. I lay still, take deep breaths and whisper to the Creator. I then get into a sort of trance (no not in a New Age way…) and feel such a calm overcome me. I feel at peace and very safe. You need to be very much in the moment for this to be possible. To just stay still and see what comes up. It is not easy to do when one is stressed to the max but with practice, time and by integrating other traditional practices, one can get there. When one finds their Ain-dah-ing, one feels connected, relaxed, capable, calm. One feels at home. There is also an exercise to find one’s Ain-dah-ing in Listen to the Drum, which I won’t copy here as it is lengthy. However, it is a helpful one.
Mash-ka-wisen: the gift of Ain-dah-ing
When we find our home within our heart, we find the source of our spiritual peace and strength. We find our connection to the Creator, the Creator’s strength given to us. Its energy. A calming and strengthening energy. Mash-ka-wisen (pronounced mash-KOW-sin), in the Anishinaabe language means to be strong and accept help. Mash-ka-wisen includes the concept of inner strength and is what one gets out of the Ain-dah-ing. It is the gift of our Ain-dah-ing. It is the energy that originates and flows from our Ain-dah-ing. As we are fluid. Indeed, a good analogy to consider is this one. We are like rocks and rivers. Indeed, we need to stand strong like a rock while moving like a river. In other words, to be strong without being rigid (but rather being fluid and accepting help). I have lived it and I now know that accepting help is necessary. To take comfort in and lean on that inner strength that we have while also accepting help to overcome obstacles and heal.
Mash-ka-wisen helps you overcome or neutralize fears. But it is important to remember that the only way that fear can overwhelm or hurt you is if you react to it by fear, flight or freeze. If you react in one of those three ways, then it will become your master. If there is fear there is a master; either you will master the fear or it will master you. In order to master fear, one has to think and act like a warrior. A warrior faced fear head on, thinking clearly and not letting emotions cloud his judgment. Fear is felt on the inside even if it is caused by external events. We then need to identify its source, and really isolate the fear itself, separate it from the self. in other words, one has to feel the fear to track it but not engage in it. Then one can dip into one’s Mash-ka-wisen to face the fear. I know it sounds abstract, but if there comes a time when you will be able to do just that, you will know right away, you will feel that change within yourself.
By practicing the traditions and principles of the Red Road, I have found so much inner strength I did not know I had. I have let go of some fears by doing exactly what I just described. I have found comfort that I am not alone and that the Creator’s strength is also within me. I have accepted that life is a journey, that there is no “there to get to”. I see now that there is a process, a step-by-step process that cannot be rushed. I listen and keep my eyes open as I know the steps on the path that was created for me are shown to me. I now do not want to rush things. I am exactly where I was meant to be at this moment. And I was certainly meant to read Listen to the Drum, a book that can really help one on their healing journey.
Has anyone read the words of Blackwolf Jones? Anyone interested in them? Wanting to discuss more what was said here? If so, comment below and I will respond.
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