If you want to learn the way another culture thinks, listen to their stories. But don’t just listen to any stories; listen to the stories they have about how knowledge is gained. That gives you the key to understanding all of the other stories and teaches you everything you need to know about the experiences you need to have to gain knowledge.
Thinking about the Nuu-chah-nulth methodology of oosumich today which is the way of stilling oneself to listen to the world and enter a dialogue with the unseen. My friend Pawa says that prayer is the act of speaking to the immaterial and meditation is the act of listening. It takes at least that quality and depth of engagement with thoughts to reach beyond the material world to the source level.
Taupouri Tangaro says “access into the inner sanctums of hula knowledge is reliant on a vocal invitation.”. It begins with a murmer, a sound uttered into a void field. As you approach a moment or a place in which you are seeking knowledge, begin with a sound. Introduce yourself to the moment and to the place. Offer a song.
And the journey: I was re-reading Eddie Benton-Banai’s teachings about the little boy that brought the Midwewiwin to the people. Part of his journey was traveling through the dark part of the moon, the part the we know is there but that we can’t see. It is a call to go to the spiritual parts of ourselves that we know exist.
Easy. You can sit still in a beautiful place in the forest but can you sit in the beautiful stillness of a forest? That which you know is there bit which you cannot see. Anishnaabe epistemology relies on our ability to learn from both the seen and the unseen.
Tomorrow is the solstice. It is the longest night illuminated by a full moon that will be in eclipse. Layers of darkness and light. A time for exploring the complex interrelationship of light and dark, yin and yang, male and female, action and structure.
Listen to it. Sing to it. Celebrate!