"Happiness needs unhappiness.
Joy goes hand in hand
thanks to the shadow that we exist.
We must not dream of
an absurd abstraction.
We must guard the bond that links us blood to earth.
We are a
We are more than we believe."
0 woe, woe,
People are born and die,
we also shall be dead pretty soon,
let us act as if we were dead
"I asked my grandfather once
if he could tell me what truth was.
"I don't think I've lived long
enough to know that," he said, "all I know is that without truth
Iktomi, the Trickster, would be the most powerful
Having lived more than half a century, I think I'm just
beginning to gain some insight into my
Truth is often difficult to distinguish.
Truth can be a gift or
a burden; it can be
frequently eludes our grasp and we
find it difficult to describe.
Truth can at times
hide so well that we can't find it to save ourselves, or it
disguises itself so
skillfully that we walk all over it without knowing.
In the next instance it
becomes plain as day, whether we want it to or not.
In the end we learn we can't live without
"Truth is the marker along
the roads we travel in
life," my grandfather said.
The Red Road, the good or straight way,
has many markers.
If you choose the
Black Road, there is only
the illusion of truth.
We can be influenced by truth or
Two chieftains met on a plain while their two armies
"I have ten thousand warriors, skilled with weapons and seasoned
by battle. Victory will be mine," said the first chieftain. "What do you
"Only the truth," replied the second chieftain. "This war has
decimated my people so I face you now with an army of children.
truth will either destroy you or glorify you."
The first chieftain
returned to camp, where his army stood ready for battle.
He ordered his
army to put aside their weapons while
he went into seclusion to ponder
the truth his enemy had spoken.
With the new dawn he sent his chief
aide with gifts of food and
an offer of peace to the army of children.
The chieftain then returned
to his homeland and stood to be judged before his countrymen, fully expecting
to be dishonored for his
Instead the people fell
down on their knees praising his good sense.
also like sunrise and
We see the sun come up over the
eastern horizon in the morning and then
disappear behind the western horizon
in the evening.
of our existence on a spinning
sphere, the sun appears to "rise" and
In reality the sun
Reality is what is, first and
foremost, to be reckoned with on Earth.
four seasons cycle in precisely the
same order year after year.
Reality is lakes
freeze in winter and thaw
in the spring.
things die, that change is
Truth is the result of
the trials and errors of life.
"Without evil, goodness
would be harder to recognize."
"The first casualty of war is
"A bird in
the hand is worth two in the bush."
Some lessons rise out of
the illusions we have
"Good will always prevail
Some truth is subjective and subject
to change with new
"Man was not intended to
If there is
a universal human
weakness it is that we want static answers.
Truth consists of two parts.
That which is given and that which is
We Lakota have heard Iktomi sing several times.
Fort Laramie Treaty Council of 1851
As thousands upon thousands
of white emigrants made their way along the Oregon Trail from Missouri to
Oregon and passed through Lakota territory, the US peace commissioners told us,
"They are only passing through and need only as much room as the width of their
The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868
the Great Sioux Reservation - the entire western half of the current state of
South Dakota - for "as long as the sun shall rise, as long as the rivers shall
flow, as long as the grasses shall grow."
We are survivors.
We took on the worst our "conquerors" could throw and are still
The cognitive illusion is that we are part of the past -
something to be studied, analyzed, measured, dissected, and ultimately
The truth is we are still a viable culture with traditions,
customs, and values.
The idea of death is avoided and
most feared by American society.
Death, an American taboo, is the
standard against which all is measured.
References to death are made in
hushed and apprehensive tones.
a cemetery and confirm the
general state of denial about death.
Funeral directors sell coffins
to "protect your loved one for ages to come."
Stone or cement crypts and
mausoleums are used for the same reason.
Logically, we are at least
apprehensive about anything we don't know.
People fear death when
they fail to understand the reality of consciousness.
about death is simple. It will happen.
Nothing is more inevitable, no
matter how vigorously we deny it or fight it.
We can fight to live, but
we will always lose the fight against death.
A profound and reassuring
truth about death is that it is a part of life.
Life begins with
birth and ends with
Death is the great equalizer connecting all living
Iktomi, on the other hand, presents illusion as truth, and
Beware of Iktomi."
adapted from Joseph M.
Marshall, Keep Going: The Art of Perseverance
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