Health and Wellness— The Medicine Wheel by Guest Writer Ralph P. Brown
In our last article, we were discussing the Medicine Wheel as it is used in the Native culture related to Health and Wellness. This month, we’ll look at two more directions on the wheel, West and North.
THE WEST – the Spiritual
Why are we here? What is our reason for being? Are we part of something greater than ourselves? What is this greater thing? These are some of the questions asked (and sometimes ignored) by people. We largely accept the need for food, clothing and shelter (our physical needs) and recognize that we feel and are sentient beings (emotional), and that we possess the power of thought (mental) but spirituality is the one thing that people can somehow deny. For those who do recognize and accept that we are spiritual creatures, they also know that there is a need to feed and nourish the spirit just as we need to care for our physical, emotional and mental bodies.
One of the ways we do this is through prayer and meditation. Every thought that comes from our mind and every word that comes from our mouth is a prayer. When we think, we send thought energy out into the world and universe. This is why we should be careful with our thoughts. Whether we know it or not, our thoughts are intentions that go out from us even if we are not conscious of it. Our words bring into the physical realm that which we think. Awareness that our thoughts and our words are forms of prayer should have you asking, “To what, and for what, do I pray?”
Our spirit is our essence – what we are at our core. To be spiritual is to raise our essence to the highest level possible. We do this through our thoughts, words and deeds. AND with constant awareness! Feed the body, mind and heart good things and you nourish the spirit. Seek understanding and truth and dedicate a portion of each day to prayer and meditation and your spirit will be strong. Another thing that is important to the spirit is the attitude of gratitude. Your thanks is the one thing that you can give to the Creator that isn’t already His. Whatever it is that you are thankful for, when you dwell upon it in your mind, you give back to a generous universe from the heart. The spirit is nourished through this.
THE NORTH – the Mental
We have the capacity for endless learning. The brain continues to grow throughout our lives but like our body, heart and spirit, we must feed it good things.
The mental aspect of our being is important because the thought is the start of what we work to create. Change your thinking and you change your beliefs. Change your beliefs and you change your actions. Change your actions and you change your character. Change your character and you change your destiny. It all begins with the thought. This is our opportunity to create, through our intention, the life that we want for ourselves. When you focus on the positive things in life, positive is the outcome. To become aware of thoughts that might need adjustment or change, meditation is central.
In addition to meditation, we want to stimulate and challenge the brain and dedicate a portion of each day to intellectual pursuits and growth. Puzzles, learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, anything that causes the brain to work can be germane to growth.
I can’t stress enough the power of being positive and keeping your focus on the good in life. The term “we reap what we sow” is true. When you send good things out to the universe, you get good things back. The seeds that you sow today are the garden from which you will eat tomorrow.
Next edition, we’ll explore the “above” and “below” on the Medicine Wheel.
Ralph P. Brown (also known as Tawennihake) is a Mohawk Indian of the Akwesasne tribe. He currently resides in Nebraska, creating his art and delivering his message from Earth Lodge Studios. Visit his web site at www.mirroredwindows.com for additional insight, stories, lessons and visual creations related to many Native American stories. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved worldwide. Please contact the author at the website mentioned above for permission to reprint.Tags: medicine wheel and the directions, native american and directions, North - Native American, West - native american
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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