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seven spiritual laws

Posted Dec 04 2008 1:25pm
Guest blogger: Joe Johnston

In the Lakota way, we're taught that we should live by seven main spiritual laws or values.

The first law is to walk quietly. Walk humbly. Be gentle with everyone and everything on earth. Some people like to feel big and in control. But really we're not in control. We're created small and weak, so our Creator can fill us with power. We have nothing, do nothing, are nothing, without the gift of life.

The second law is to be respectful of everything in creation. We're all created by the same God, and the same holy spirit dwells within us. The very thing we waste or throw away may be the most important thing to someone else. And of course respect has to start with ourselves, respecting our bodies, minds, emotions, and feelings.

The third law is to be helpful, or generous, which are really the same thing. Whatever we have is not ours alone, but is a gift to be shared through us. One person may have money, and another not. One may be strong, one may be smart, and one may be a good cook. Whatever we have, it's something we all need.

The fourth law is to be compassionate. Everybody has a story. Everybody has their pain and joy. And when we see someone, we don't know what their story is, or the reasons for the way they act. We're in no position to judge.

The fifth law is to have a good attitude. This may be the most important value for our children, because the way we act is the way they'll act. So we don't have a good attitude only when life goes the way we think it should. We're to have a good attitude no matter what life brings our way.

The sixth law is to be forgiving. Everybody has been done wrong. We all have reasons to be mad and resentful. But that only shortens our own life. It's like drinking poison and hoping someone else dies. When we forgive, it sets everyone free. And we have to start by forgiving ourselves.

And the seventh law is to be pray and be thankful. Our lives are abundant. Not because we have this or that thing we want, but simply because we have life. If we're truly thankful, then the other laws will fall into place.

Different teachers may talk about these values a little differently, or call one or two by a different name. And there are many values in Lakota culture, including self control, courage, and patience, among other things. Personally, I enjoy hearing the seven laws in this way I've told them here. I find this list to be fully Christian, and compatible with many other faith walks. It's is the best prescription I've found for happy, peaceful day-to-day living.

Joe J
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