Do we get smarter as we grow older? Native Americans believe so because they have deep respect for their elders. As my Dad, Moses, became one he said the Salish word for it is “Sqool-Chel” which strictly means “Soul” but better understood as a process of “Going into goodness.” That means the best of anything. Dad believed it is our purpose in life and we naturally gravitate to it.
This is embraced by most tribes. Authors Tony Hillerman and Aimee Thurlow describe the word “Hozho” in their books about Navajos. It is said to mean “achieving balance to walk in beauty.” Hozho is short for “Sa’a naghai bik’e hozho.” Roughly translated this means “To mature by repetition according to a prescription that is only good.”
This concept is taught by Christians in preparation for Lent (See Matthew 5, forgiveness, turn the other cheek and become whole or perfect).
But there are differences. The Christian sees the world in dualistic terms of good and evil whereas the Indian views the world as a unified whole.
The Soul can only be quieted by practicing balance in one’s daily life. The ability to live in balance is gained through acquisition of knowledge to achieve a cosmic concert of the universe. This is similar to the Chinese “chi,” the binding life force that causes harmony in the universe when balanced.
From the moment of our birth, we began building our perception of the universe. It grows from nothing to what we think is a complete picture. But instead it is just the reflection of our environment.
We see our parents, family and our immediate surroundings and adopt their customs, beliefs and language. We begin molding our ego around that culture until it becomes our entire viewpoint including prejudices and false conceptions. Our ego creates order out of a chaotic world by limiting our viewpoint. The ego develops until it becomes so important to our functioning that it overwhelms our Spirit. We then lose our identity as a Spirit and accept the illusion that we are just a physical being.
Our ego programs itself like an email screener and rejects unwanted messages. If it rejects something we want, we never see it. The ego is a guardian that protects our very being. Unfortunately, it becomes jealous of its duty and turns into a guard instead of a guardian. A guardian is broad-minded and understanding but a guard is a vigilante, a narrow-minded despot. It causes dysfunction in our minds and eventually affects the collective consciousness of our community.
The ego structures the relationship between our brain, body, senses and environment, which results in operating as a separate entity alone in the world. Conversely, it disallows perceptions of oneness with the world and an awareness of our connection with nature. Ego plays a big part in divorces, acts of violence, politics and forming prejudices.
To circumvent your ego, you must go beyond thought to determine your identity and your sense of who you are. You must become aware that you do not depend on the past for your identity and the future for your fulfillment. Awareness is the greatest agent for change.
When “going into goodness” you are returning to your Spirit where time is infinite and space is imaginary.
Wendell George writes Go-la’-ka Wa-wal-sh (Raven Speaks). He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.