Deep Prayer & Meditation

Lessons From the Sacred Inipi (4)

By Ghost Dancer

2018 – Today our lesson is on deep prayers and focusing on the prayer as I was taught and shown by elders and Spirit. When we pray it is important that we visualize and focus on what we are praying for.

In the ceremony, we will use the old traditional teachings of mind control over our bodies to help us become stronger. I do not teach this at every ceremony. Each person has to work their way up to this level of focus and discipline. If they are not ready they will fail. If they get distracted they will fail. If they have doubt or fear they will fail. Just as in all things, the mind is very powerful, and this exercise today lets each of us discover what level we have achieved. I am more focused on my responsibility to demonstrate, teach, to protect and allow each one the freedom to work on his/her personal discipline.

We started this training at the fire where the brothers learn to become one with the fire. Those who have handicaps, medical problems, or are elders are not required to do this, but for the others, readiness to learn will be revealed by their deep prayer and ability to visualize themselves being the fire. When this disciplined control is complete students are able to bathe their arms, and face in the fire and not be burned. When a high level of discipline is achieved, practitioners can walk on hot coals, pick up burning logs and place them back in the fire.

Now, understand, this is not for show or to try to impress anyone; it is for the person to learn to discipline themselves, to truly become one with the fire so that later, when we are all in the sweat lodge, we are able to pray more deeply and better help all those we are praying for.

When the brothers each learn this deep meditation and prayer, called “stepping into the world between worlds,” and each is able to pick up hot coals and hot stones without being burned, the circle truly becomes so strong, that when we pray as one: one thought, one prayer, one mind, one heart, the power and energy becomes truly awesome.

Just as I have often said, each individual is like a spoke in a wheel. Weak spokes will eventually cause the wheel to break. A circle is only as strong as its weakest member, so it is important for us to help each other. By identifying the ones who may be having difficulty, or have not achieved this level, we can then work to help these brothers, lift them up and make them stronger.

Today, I did not expect any of the brothers to achieve a high level of concentration, but I was able to assess and assist each one on their different levels. These young guys are just now beginning to learn their red paths. None have actually been on their personal vision quest which is needed by anyone who truly seeks to learn their destiny or who and what is there to help them. Only when a person actually comes face to face with, and fully accepts their faults, weaknesses, doubts, and fears, and becomes one with that, can they truly meet and see their destiny, talents and gifts.

Through years of practice, I mastered advanced levels of martial arts and yoga, both of which require deep meditation…and I’m still learning. Even though I can no longer physically do the yoga poses, I still practice deep meditation just as such true masters as the Dalai Lama, Buddha, and so many Buddhist monks, and masters of martial arts have. When I was doing deep meditation practice, I used to meditate upside down in the headstand, balanced on my head only with hands folded across my chest and legs crossed in the lotus position.

It is said that the longer one can meditate this way the more oxygen gets to the brain, and this allows the person to go into the highest trance reaching for spiritual enlightenment. When traditional Native people do deep prayers, we step in between worlds. All time, all movement stops, we still our minds to total silence. It is in this silence that true spiritual enlightenment can begin because we have now surrendered the illusions of the world, of our eyes and mind, to find the essence of the life force energy.

Within all the world’s religions there is the practice of total silence and meditative prayer, though it may be called by different names. When a Native person speaks of “stepping between the worlds,” the practice is no different. In all meditative practice, our minds must be disciplined, trained to be quiet. Trained to concentrate.

In the Christian tradition, one simple example from the New Testament, Matthew 10:1, “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” Now, when the disciples had difficulties in carrying out healings, Jesus most surely taught that to be successful, they must have faith and focus and discipline, for the key is not so much the faith of the person they mean to heal, but rather the faith of the healer.

Practitioners of yoga and martial arts, athletes, doctors, and scientists all must push themselves to be disciplined. Imagine a firefighter who is not disciplined in an emergency, or a police officer, or a military service member when they are called into action. Training and practice, again and again, makes you stronger and more able to do things you ordinarily couldn’t do.

There is an annual event, The Golden Warrior Run, held in the desert amongst traditional Native warriors over the age of 80. They must run 100 miles in one night, from dusk till dawn. Oh, I can hear you now doubting their abilities to do this. Let’s take it mathematically. The average jog is 4-5 minutes per mile; slow would be, say, 7- 8 minutes a mile and maybe even slowest, 8- 9 minutes a mile.

Now, 9 minutes/mile is almost a slow walk, but would be 6.6 mph. So in 10 hours you would be able to do 66 miles. Now at the fastest, a 4-minute mile would be15 miles every hour x 10 = 150 miles. So you see it is very possible and in fact is done in the Golden Warrior run. Now if we figure it say, at 7 minutes/ mile would 8.5 miles per hour. 8.5 x 10 = 85 miles. Now let’s add another 2 hours making it a 12-hour run. Oh my, that is 102 miles. So if you didn’t think this was possible, remember, so many things are truly possible if we don’t let our doubts, fears, and mind block us from it.

In yoga we must open our minds and discipline our bodies in order to do things that most figure impossible to do. Same with martial arts. So in our traditional Inipi ceremony – handling the hot coals, rubbing the flames of the fire on our arms and face, sitting in the Inipi and breathing in the hot steam (breath of Spirit) – is really no different. Just think of the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the Old Testament. These were men of total faith.

In our practice, each member of the circle is and should always be pushing themselves more and more so as not to be stagnant or comfortable sitting in the same place. Our religious practice requires that we always try to be better, to become more. Every single religious teaching in the world urges us to grow and become more.

So if you have misgivings, I hope this helps you come to grips in your mind and heart about these teachings. Not all or even most will be able to reach the highest discipline, but each one will strive to become what they can. I have spent my whole life doing these things. So what comes to me is different than what comes to someone who has practiced 20 years longer or 20 years less than me.

Ghost

© Ghost Dancer 2018, 2021

“Love inspires us all to be better than we are, to do more than we would otherwise do, to say what we would not say, and to think what we would not have thought of. Love changes us completely.” ~ Ghost Dancer  

Published by Sings Many Songs

I am an elder in my 9th decade. Throughout this life I have been a seeker, an outsider by nature, always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. Being an outsider is often lonely, but oh, what treasures can be found in most unexpected places if we just have the will to see them. On my path I have come to know two very different warriors, both hidden in worlds of their own. Their powerful stories, talents, wisdom, knowledge and humor have moved me and my eyes have been opened by their insights into worlds few of us can even imagine. As a writer and editor of sorts, I seek now to give voice to these two who have enriched my life and hope you too will be enriched as we follow their personal “Journeys of the Spirit.”

3 thoughts on “Deep Prayer & Meditation

    1. Richard, your comment reminds me of when I went back to college in my mid-forties because of a thirst for learning over and above my nursing skills. At the time I was swimming regularly in a Master Swimmers program. One of my friends there had also enrolled in our local community college, so we decided to take a swimming class to fill our PE requirement. So we were two “oldies” in a class of young jocks. On day 1, the instructor asked the class to do a 10 minute swim. Of course all the youngsters thought that would be a piece of cake and the competition was on! My friend and I set a nice steady slow pace amid all the masculine splashing. As we swam, we noticed the guys falling out one-by-one, clinging to the side of the pool, panting for breath. Soon we were the only two still swimming and by the time those 10 minutes were up, we were still going strong. So, the moral of the story is never underestimate the power of the human mind and body to achieve impossible things if we are dedicated and work at it.

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