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Beside Restful Waters

by Greg Hermann

“I can't just live. I must live in a certain way.”

James Vukelick

I must live in a certain way.

I have been thinking of the “ways” I have been taught over the years. There have been many.

From Christian scriptures I have learned of commandments and beattitudes.

From Vedic scriptures I have learned the yamas and niyamas.

From the great and binding law of my Ojibwe grandfathers I/we have been given seven gifts of life.

I am sure there are great and binding laws of Creator from every spiritual expression. Which do you live by?

During times of stress from Covid, rioting, brutality, and inhumanity in its many forms, where do you turn for stress management, for peace, and for purpose? Times like these drive me to the brink of hopelessness.

At this very moment, I am hearing the 'big drum' of our Native American ceremonies. I am recalling the first time that the voice of the drum penetrated my soul. I could feel the vibrations in my chest. Something deep within stirred. Now, I often bring out the voice of my hand drum. I have done this also in groups with drums and shakers.

The first time I sat at a big drum, the leader instructed, “don't try to sing along. Follow us to the sound on one beat, one heartbeat.”

Follow us!

Follow us!

To follow, I had to listen and become one with the heart beat – the voice of the drum who is my Earth Mother's heart beat.

I had to listen. When listening, I learn to let go of my script, I learn to let go of my way of thinking, I learn to let go of my power. Well, my power and ego does not give up without a fight. So what is there to fight about??????

My battle is between me and we.

At the drum, one single beat or voice often gets out of rhythm with the others. When this happens, there is disintegration of the voice. Other participants are distracted. The voice becomes indistinct due to loss of energy.

What voice do you follow?

We have a God/Higher Power who speaks in so many beautiful, strong voices. Each Spiritual expression calls. The beauty is that many of us hear similar voices. Thus,we can come together in ceremony – song, dance, music, stillness – ceremony unites us to a single voice, a single energy, a collective healing energy. We can march, chant, dance; we can participate in a way that our energy changes the way we live. Within the varieties of these many voices, there is one Source offering life in a 'certain way'.

We live in a certain way.

We find our growth in community, solidarity, oneness.

We express our purpose in community, solidarity, oneness.

We find God/Higher Power in community, solidarity, oneness.

God operates in me as we. “If God operates as me, God operates as 'thee' too, and the playing field is utterly leveled.” (Richard Rohr)

God expresses her/himself in many voices. Together the voice is heard and followed with community, solidarity and purpose. Thus, I follow with greater confidence and courage. The beattitudes become alive. The Great Binding law becomes breath. The yamas and niyamas transform our being. The ceremonies bring us to the love intended as source of healing.

In the midst of our presence among each other, our silence becomes deafening.

Thank you.





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