Late last year I had the pleasure of visiting some unique Native American sites north of Flagstaff, Arizona, and surrounding Sedona. To walk into these places invites their history to blend within one’s own spirit and to feel perhaps a breath of what it must have been like for these tribes to live, love, and die in those places. From sanctuaries nestled high into cliff faces, to mud-brick citadels perched on dry plains, the influence of the culture still whispers to us as we do our best to respect and honor them.
Many of these places were abandoned well before the appearance of white man, while others bring a strange echo that may recall the clash of cultures as was played out through the marching of time. Nevertheless, the presence of the past is still quite palpable -- and if one is sensitive enough, capable of being felt and observed.
One such moment came while we were inspecting some Pueblo ruins along a shallow canyon in the Wupatki National Monument north of Flagstaff. These structures have been standing since 12th century; with archeological evidence suggesting they’ve been empty since 1225. While standing near a wall of one of these huts, I decided to work with psychometry (this is when a psychic or medium tunes in to information by touching an object that has been saturated by a person or a site’s energy). Upon gently placing my fingertips on the mud-brick barrier and opening my consciousness, a wave of energy started to envelope me, striking my inner senses with images and emotions of what had been randomly recorded in this environment by a couple generations of Native inhabitants hundreds of years earlier.
It was truly FASCINATING. As I was swimming through the information stream, it became apparent that they were not so different from us today, at least in terms of stresses and challenges. It appeared they toiled and tried to anticipate outcomes under similar feelings of uncertainty and unrest just as we do. Information from the rocks revealed discussions concerning water shortages, coming up with strategies for growing and harvesting more food, planning on where to hunt next, as well as the sense of domestic squabbles – who said what behind whose back, and so on. In that moment, a sense of kinship between myself and these past inhabitants was as solid as the rocky earth beneath my feet.
Information from the rocks revealed discussions concerning water shortages, coming up with strategies for growing and harvesting more food, planning on where to hunt next, as well as the sense of domestic squabbles – who said what behind whose back, and so on. In that moment, a sense of kinship between myself and these past inhabitants was as solid as the rocky earth beneath my feet.
A second moment of awe came while passing from one of these grand structures to another, a simple walk of maybe 30 yards. I was stopped in my tracks by the sheer silence all around me. Not a sound. No birds… no wind… no annoying car engines or airplanes overhead. Empty… Yet at the same time, full of all life’s potentials. To have stood in that same spot 700-800 years ago with the inhabitants and being witness to that immense potential made me understand why everything to the Native Americans was sacred – it literally felt all around within and outside of the silence. It was literally a sense of a Great, Wonderful Spirit. Imagine standing in the silence of one of Europe’s great cathedrals – feeling the awesomeness of it all – and then transferring it to the plains of the Wupatki National Monument in the silence between steps… That is what it was like.
Similarly, the past came to touch us when we visited Montezuma Castle National Monument and Montezuma Well. Though these sites never saw the person they were named after (and are considered to have been inhabited before Montezuma was even born), with a mild stretch of one’s feelings and intuition, you could see snapshots of the past – tribesmen canoeing down Beaver Creek, for instance. And again, also the sense of daily challenges.
So how does this apply to recognizing YOUR own sacredness? How does visiting ancient Native sites in Arizona (or any ancient site around the world, for that matter) have any bearing on your divine self?
Simple. Not one of the folks in these ancient villages do we know as a superstar, or whose name has been emblazoned on the winds of time that dwarfs all the others surrounding him. These inhabitants from our vantage point were ordinary, regular people of their time -- struggling to live, love, and survive within the context of the era; yet here we are hundreds of years later in total awe, compassion, and reverence for the lives they lived. When we visit ancient sites, we oftentimes greet the memory of the inhabitants with amazing veneration, far more than what they probably afforded themselves. Was there a superstar among them that stood out above all others? Probably. But do we care? No – we honor all of them. In their own era, they were living “normal” lives; in ours who they were and their history is sacred.
Why shouldn’t yours?
Every human being has challenges and struggles, no matter the culture and no matter the time. This is another thing that unites all of us. If we can freely give our admiration and veneration to those of the past, then we must also accept that our own lives – our own massive, struggling, chaotic, frustrating and depressing existence – is also worthy of such sacredness.
It was by no means a cakewalk for any of these ancient cultures. In fact, without many of the modern technological conveniences we have today, the gulf of their challenges could be considered much wider than ours. If we were in their shoes 800 years ago looking back on a life just departed after dying, would we consider it as sacred as a visitor viewing it 800 years in the future? Maybe, maybe not.
Forget 800 years ago. Think about today -- your own life, your own existence. If you were to leave it tomorrow, would you grant yourself the same veneration as a native of the distant past? If not, why? Why is it so easy to honor and admire those who came before us, but never ourselves in the present?
To be blunt: your value and worth is the same, no matter where or when you are. Imagine being someone from the future 1000 years from now, coming upon an old photograph of you from this time. Would you be simply discarded, or would you be a revered and fascinating curiosity? Are you honored for the journey of your life or just simply forgotten? If we are willing to grant this admiration to any of those from the past, then you are worthy of such sacredness in the present.
After all, you were born a perfect spirit, beyond Time and Space. Eternal as those of the ancient past.