Sacred Indigenous Wisdom: Wholeness Is the True Opposite of Corruption

Below is the transcript of a presentation I gave in early June ’11 at the 2nd International Anti-Corruption Conference at the Siberian Academy for Public Administration in Novosibirsk. I acknowledge my gratitude for Patricia Anne Davis’s generosity to the world in general, and to me specifically, with some of the core information in this presentation. I am also grateful for the wise editing by Maia Rose and Karah Pino, who astutely commented that the viewpoint regarding wholeness is not the exclusive realm of Indigenous people, but includes any nature-based culture.

It is always such a pleasure to be here in Siberia!

I would like to introduce myself, to give some context to what I have to say. I am a cosmic citizen on a spiritual path of a very practical nature—to help humanity awaken to our intrinsic power to create our own destiny—for clean environment, ethical governance, fulfilled populace.

I am not an official or an academic or an expert about corruption. I am a generalist, and as such, it is my gift to bring together disparate ideas and see the overarching patterns. As I have been exposed to sacred Indigenous cultures globally, I have come to believe that the “natural order” that they seek to sustain is, in fact, what mainstream society is now awakening to. Thus, I see their spiritual technology—their ancestral wisdom—as the practical vehicle through which our world can be truly healed.

To demonstrate one such technology that is readily accessible to mainstream thinking, I have structured this paper according to the “Ceremonial Change Process” as shared by Navajo wisdom-keeper Patricia Anne Davis. The steps in this process are: naming the out-of-balance condition or root cause; emptying or venting the sickness or disharmony; re-framing the situation using our inherent wisdom; coming up with a co-creative solution; and applying the solution to real life.

Naming the out-of-balance condition and root cause
The pattern I see is that the current global system is the corruption, because it separates us from direct connection with our intrinsic knowing.  We are wrapped—and trapped—in an artificial, materialistic world:
– working (if one is “lucky” enough to have a job) for “money” whose worth can be decimated by decree,
– entertained with fear-mongering propaganda called “news,”
– fed (especially in the United States) with genetically manipulated and poisoned foods and medicines,
– breathing poisoned air and drinking poisoned water,
– educated with “science” that is almost totally beholden to corporations,
– waging (again, especially in the U.S.) incredibly costly wars of aggression against civilian populations.

Emptying or venting
Why is this happening? I look at who is reaping benefits. Multinational corporations and banks, outside of the laws of any country, consistently benefit. And the uber-rich also consistently benefit. I was horrified to see, as Communism collapsed, the assets and resources of people of Russia divided among a handful of oligarchs.

Following the inspiring reports from the Central Asian delegates about their efforts to draft laws that minimize corruption, my heart aches to hear that, on the other hand, they are inviting in “foreign investment”—which is thinly veiled parlance for raping the land, destroying local ecosystems, and displacing local economies by promising wealth. All over the world this is happening. I beg those of you in decision-making positions to consider the historical facts. It is the ultimate corruption: there can be no civil society when a people’s lands are confiscated and ruined.

At the end of our lives, what is a person’s real accomplishment? One’s integrity, peace of mind, and life-giving legacy. Physical death, as a gateway, tends to bring one’s perspective back into balance. But it’s too late, by then, to make the world whole again. In the current global system, the “whole”—the “holy,” the sacred—is not only a low priority, it is undefined. It does not exist as a tenable concept. As a small case in point, I understand that, when I presented this paper verbally, the translator simply skipped the word “sacred” each time I used it—it was apparently nonexistent for him, and thus nonexistent even in my effort to communicate with you, within the global system.

Frankly, within the current global economic system, corruption is not fixable. Usury, at the system’s core, corrupts intrinsically, because it is fundamentally designed to divide and exploit rather than steward.

Reframing within our inherent wisdom
As Albert Einstein said, “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.”

So, at what level of awareness can the problem of corruption be solved? Under “natural order,” defined in the Ceremonial Change Process as an open system with the basic tenet of “power with” rather than “power over,”  leadership serves not only for the welfare of the people of today, but for the next seven generations as well. In such a system, it is “corruption” that is undefined.  This is the sacred foundation of Indigenous cultures worldwide.

But wait, aren’t we told that Indigenous peoples are uncivilized? How convenient it is to declare that those whom we exploit and dispossess are unworthy. But, of course, because their sacred way illuminates the short-sighted unsustainability of our dominant, dominating global culture, it has been denigrated or made invisible.

For the past five years, I have been working with the Indigenous Altai people and with Native Americans to help them strengthen their sacred cultures, primarily through fund-raising/awareness-raising campaigns that provide seed money for traditional land rights and sustainable traditional livelihoods, but also through international leadership exchanges involving both youths and adults.

Thus, I am at an interface between the dominant society in need of healing, and ancient indigenous wisdom that has the tools to facilitate the healing. Indigenous spiritual technologies can help us reclaim a paradigm in which corruption is moot, because people are actually, practically motivated by abundance, love, and life, rather than want, fear, and death.

I should clarify: I call the wisdom “ancient” because the hereditary lineages are ancient. However, the wisdom is not a body of learned, intellectual knowledge as taught at universities in the dominating culture. Rather, it is a way of being—a connectedness with “all that is”—the natural order—that is so open and profound that any aspect of the entire historical, cultural experience/essence is directly available through the wisdom-keeper. The key is that the wisdom-keeper knows how to access it.

Some may think that I idealize Indigenous people. Certainly, I have great respect for my Indigenous friends, but I don’t idealize them. Rather, I treasure and share their mission of using their locally adapted tools to create “power with” communities. All over the world, Indigenous lineages of wisdom-keepers have maintained their sacred roots, in the face of sustained and continuing genocide.

Remoteness seems to have somewhat protected Indigenous wisdom-keepers until recently. In Europe, centuries of witch-hunts exorcised the wisdom-keepers and effectively severed European people’s direct connection with the natural order. Nonetheless, through the twentieth century, the direct connectedness has begun to re-emerge on the fringes of the dominant culture, especially with what are called the “indigo” children. And a good example from Russia is the Anastasia phenomenon.

Sadly, most Indigenous societies have now been corrupted by “divide and conquer” promises or the horrific double assault of alcohol and exploitative religions, or even more insidiously, by the need to feed their families when their lands are taken and ruined. Many have bought the fairytale that their millennia-old communities are not really sustainable. But somehow, in Indigenous lineages, wisdom-keepers have held on, carrying forth a living, practical, integrated yet locally specialized template for wholeness.

Manifesting a co-creative solution
The Ceremonial Change Process paradigm holds that there are two minds—the life-enhancing “natural order” and the death-producing “spirit of hindrance.” Just as the conception of “sacredness” is absent in our death-producing global culture, “corruption” is absent within the natural order.

The Ceremonial Change Process is an elegant pathway out of our closed dysfunctional system into the open “natural order.” The process itself is the co-creation of a solution. Its five simple steps—naming the out-of-balance condition or root cause, emptying or venting, reframing within our inherent wisdom, manifesting a co-creative solution, and applying it in real life—belie the extraordinary power of the process. For more information, see the interview or the video.

The Ceremonial Change Process is only one of many such locally adapted but globally useful processes, being preserved and protected within Indigenous cultures worldwide. Coming out of my Western European mainstream heritage into my personal life-work of bridging between Native Americans, Siberian Indigenous cultures, and mainstream society, the glimpses that I have been given into sacred Indigenous cultures have been awe-inspiring. I urge those of you who are still living within your Indigenous culture to seek out the wisdom-keepers among you, and to reconstruct your society on that basis—locally adapted and intrinsically free of corruption.

Applying the solution in real life
You, because of the nature of your work, are agents for change in the dominant society. You are powerful people, and you succeed with what you set out to do. As such, your focus on creating the practical mechanisms of the change allows the old paradigm of corruption to simply fall away.

I am glad to hear how many of you organize your programs around “building society” as a way to prevent corruption. Of course, we all want to prevent corruption, but we can actually end it, by curing our global society, rather than just coping with the inherent corruption. Davis defines curing as “reawakening to one’s spiritual identity and inherent wisdom.” As we continue to awaken individually and consciously base our efforts within the “natural order,” society itself shifts.

I remember the period of glasnost here in Russia in the late 1980s. I was in Moscow then, not here in Siberia, but I imagine that the feeling was similar here: There was such hope—that it was time for the NEW RUSSIAN—the evolved human.

Those now known as the New Russians are not exactly what we had in mind. But I’m not pointing fingers at Russia – it’s a global situation. However, the New Russian—the evolved New Russian—does exist, and has only gotten stronger.

So I say, let’s
– name the out-of-balance condition or root cause,
– vent about it,
– reframe it within our inherent wisdom,
– manifest the co-creative solution, and
– apply the solution in real life.

It’s so easy to think, That’s impossible—we’ve always failed. But that’s not really true. Some things have failed and some have succeeded.  And we learn as part of the process. I suggest that it is not the rule of law that has failed, but rather our underlying perspective. The laws and systems themselves only have the power of the human energy that is poured into them.

I propose that peace, justice, and human welfare are not directly functions of any governmental system—that governance can only bring these forth when they exist as the primary moving force of the human population.

Gatherings like this conference are part of the success story. Let’s build on this! We can focus on re-instituting the “natural order,” so that everything that leads to corruption—fear, greed, hate, suffering—is cured.

Oh, I know—that’s unrealistic.  Or is it? What of the wisdom in the sayings, “you can serve only one master,” and “you cannot make peace while preparing for war.” A healthy society cannot be made by fighting. Even if it is corruption that you are fighting, it’s still fighting. Words are important—they are the voice for the concept. Put your power into words that promote harmony and life.

So, I invite you to hold yourself in the sacred mind as you continue all your amazing work, and empower yourself with the egregor* of human hope. To quote the Bible, “leave the dead to bury their dead,” and step forward into an ancient, but always new, life-enhancing, “natural order.”

Sacred Indigenous wisdom teaches that wholeness is the true opposite of corruption.

* Egregor is Latin-based word used in Russia, meaning “a group’s energy field.”

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