The Roof is on Fire: In my opinion, organized religions function like Walkman’s in an iCloud era. As ridiculous as it may sound – it is quite possible – religious bureaucracies may not ever desire reform for their classic methods. We tend to always give hierarchies the benefit of the doubt that our investments in them may someday produce the fruits that they promised us. The benefit that I tend to appreciate, for me anyway, is that these conservative rules and protocols have the power to put your ass to sleep better than a few shots of Nyquil. I love my sleep! It appears that Indian Country is hit by these slow functioning religious-applications probably more than most other homogeneous communities in the United States.
Because everything (governance, economics, technology, etc.) in Indian Country is so dated, that slow-pace is spiritualized as a legitimate and valid belief mechanism. Don’t believe me…even our most precious and most intimate actions have been masqueraded as protocol or tradition. Unfortunately, most of us don’t really know the difference. It’s not our fault really, we’ve just always been fed the same old soup and have never really stopped to question its nutritional value. If you can’t tell, I tend to relate the correlation of non-reform agendas of tribal-spirituality to that of religious dichotomies.
Personally, I have no dog in the fight, either way. Truly, I have no intention to be destructive or counterproductive, ever. My mission has always been for my beloved tribal communities to flourish and find peace within. That being said, I’m not promoting that we shit-can entire belief systems, but the minimalist in me says, always travel light.
As a collective, it may be advantageous to our current mindset to seriously re-evaluate ourselves and plan for a more practical future. Whether or not we want to pass down some of these rigid perspectives into the next phase of tribal identity, is really up to all of you? But we’ve got to do something, seeing as how we can’t seem to get the desire for magic and wonderment out of our palette. I question if what we were promised has ever gotten us closer to their proverbial holy table? The bottom line: if you’re still drinking their Kool-Aid, why not ask them for more? Don’t they kind of owe you? I hate to be that guy, but here we are…
We know our DNA craves mystery and electricity and right now, we’re mad-hungry for higher intelligence and oneness; oneness that is very often juxtapose organized religious doctrines. Your spiritual-self must demand the upgrade you were promised by your leaders; if they can’t do that, then ask for a full refund!
As modern people, we’ve over-learned how to contemplate and operate only within acceptable time frames. I say down with the pre-approved structural knowledge, vetted-wisdom, and veiled-understandings. I say its time to start dreaming again, but that’s just me, I’ve got an aversion to institutions in general because they don’t want you to ever question the shit that they are doing, which for me, makes me question them even more. Check it out young blood, too much organization fosters standardization, which creates domestication and complacency; that’s how pets are made. The choice is yours. I hope you choose to not be pet-like.
Philosophically, everything you need is outside under the sun and the moon, and most importantly, inside you Bruce Leroy. Try being creative (or be innovative) and make every place you go to rest, a church, be the church. Go climb a mountain or something! Most of all, follow your own damn intuition and be more accountable for your own actions. There doesn’t appear to be a straight path to enlightenment, for any of us. But absolutely don’t be lazy or expect this road to be easy! If you want to test your mettle, go to the desert and challenge yourself for the betterment of humanity. I’m biased, obviously.
I can’t stress this enough, that this sacred, yet remote quest for freedom, occurs beyond all walls, permanent structures, or even books. And the people “that know” and belong to these institutions that I’m talking about, know this. We all have a purpose to do something awesome in this life. If your current institutions don’t mind you operating independently of them, maybe keep them around, I don’t know? Pay attention all my brothers and sisters. When you’re hip to the many roads in front of you, and begin to de-institutionalize the spirit, you may find that there’s no good and there’s no bad in anything ever…there’s only energy, nothing more and nothing less. The final message: hurry up and get with the flow of the universe, your tribe needs you.
Think about it this way, the totality of all of our lives may only be meant to fulfill one divine moment: so be sure to live for your moment, not some else’s. If you happen to get stuck somewhere precarious in your decision making, just ask yourself this, “what would my Ancestors have done 5,000 (or 10,000) years ago?” That seems to help me determine how I feel about any institutional relevancy.
Brian “BB” Melendez, is a Northern / Southern Paiute – Western Shoshone: Community Leader; American Indian Spirituality Scholar; and Practitioner of Great Basin Indigenous Custom(s) and Culture(s); CEO / Problem Solver of Lucentree, LLC; Creator of Mahkwuhoo (Guided-Meditation); and Host of the Coffee with an Indian, Tribal Podcast.