Monday, October 8, 2012

the karma of a pure act

This story of the effect of karma related to a pure act, (an act done without attachment or any hidden agenda), that was done by me.  As part of a background to this story, I want to explain an affinity I have with American Indians.  It started when I was about seven years old.  I was at a movie theater with my father watching a movie about Jim Thorpe, a famous American Indian athlete, in track and field, football, and baseball; the movie starred Burt Lancaster, as Jim Thorpe.  In the opening scene a young Jim Thorpe, about seven, was running, full tilt across a wide field, jumping over creeks and hurdling log fences.  Seeing that young boy running so joyfully and in complete freedom immediately attached me to the boy, his enjoyment and freedom, and his Indianess.  This attachment has had an enduring affect with me.  I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, where there were few open fields to run through, creeks to jump, or log fences to hurdle.  However, I knew joy and freedom, when my friend, Tim Brennon and I raced every block on our way to school.  We had equal speed, and the winner of the race would aways be the one who would start the race with the words, "ready-set-go."  As for jumping and hurdling , the closest I came was climbing to the roof of a garage and jumping off and a one hand flip over a neighbor's fence, or a two hand flip over a mail box.  When watching Cowboy or Cavalry and Indians movies, I always empathised with the Indians: their horse-men-ship, their nobility, and their fearlessness; even though my greatest hero was a cowboy named, Roy Rogers.

As I got older my affinity grew stronger by reading books like, "Black Elk Speaks," "The Memoirs of Chief Red Fox," "The Education of Little Tree," "The Man Who Killed the Deer," and many others.  My empathy also gained strength when I moved to Minnesota in 1970, and became interested in the history, culture, and spiritual practices of the local Indian tribes: the Dakota, Lakoda, Mdewakanton, Ogalala.  In the late 70's my Indian affinity inspired me to write a poem.  The title was

"Great Indian, the wind whistles long,
    lonely, sadly, searching for his lost brother.
 'O my brother, come ride my currents
    as the eagle.
 'O my brother, listen to my lonely
    song forlorn as the wolf.
 'O my brother, sour with me, sense the
    earth, touch the mountains, remember
    my ways as your ancestors once knew.'
 O Great Indian, fly with your brother
    the wind once again, and share your
    wisdom with me."

It was my step-son Albert who brought me into the Mdewakanton community in Shakopee, Mn.
Albert did work for some of the Indians families on the reservation, and over a period of years became a trusted worker.  I was having chronic pain in my right hip.  I asked Albert if he would ask his Indian friends if they knew anyone who could perform a healing ceremony.  My alternative to a healing ceremony was having total hip replacement surgery, so I was highly motivated to participate in the less invasive healing ceremony.  One of Albert's friends recommended a pastor of an Indian/Christian church, on the reservation named Jerry.  Albert gave me Jerry's phone number.  I phoned Jerry, and set up an appointment.

Jerry did not live on the reservation, but in a home in Shakopee.  On my way to his home I happened to see a bald eagle flying west in the same direction I was traveling.  This I took as a favorable and reinforcing sign.  At the door, Jerry and is wife meet me and welcomed me in.  Jerry showed me to a lounge chair, and before I sat down, he put a colorful blanket with Indian symbols around my shoulders.  He asked me what is was that needed healing.  I told him it was my right hip.  He walked around me saying prayers in an Indian language.  I believe he was invoking the powers of the North, East, South, and West, plus the Great Spirit in my healing behalf.  Then he began to fire up a bundle of sage, and smoked me from head to toe, and side to side, all the while saying prayers.  The healing ceremony had now been completed, the blanket was removed, and I sat down in the chair.  We then spend time talking about our individual lives in relation to our spiritual path.

I had four additional healing sessions with Jerry.  I must say I was feeling better, and my pain was more bearable.  On my last session, I had brought a gift for Jerry.  It was a print that was given to me by my daughter for my birthday.  The print was mounted on a wood board, that was trimmed with a dull, red paint.  The print was a creation by a Native American named, Nakoma, and was called, "The Circle is My Path."  It was written in verse, and was a blend of poetry and prose, with drawings of Native Americans and animals native to North America.  It is a kind of autobiography and spiritual evolution of Nakoma.  He is a taste, one verse of its poetry and prose:

"We are all on the rim of the world and at its center at the same time.
  We are attached to the ripples that emanate from its center-life is so. 
  We ride the waves-the wind turns us.
  We flow as the prairie flows, and we are bound to the sacred land-
    walking our path in a sacred manner."

I loved that print.  It had brought me great joy, insight, and understanding.  Truthfully, I struggled intensely with myself to give it up, but in the end I was able to release all attachments to it, and gave it to Jerry with a pure heart of gratitude.

Two years after my last healing session with Jerry, I attended, along with my wife and step-son Albert, a Pow Wow, on the Mystic Lake complex.  It was a North American gathering of Indian dancers.  The dancers were there to compete for prizes.  There were also tents where food was sold, and various arts and crafts were displayed and for sale.  As we were looking at the various arts and crafts displayed in the tents, I found a tent with not only arts and crafts, but also historical artifacts, and portraits of old chiefs.  One of my deep affinities was with an Ogalala, Indian named Crazy Horse.  I have a strong desire to draw the likeness of Crazy Horse.  I thought this might be an excellent place to ask about a portrait of Crazy Horse. 

My eyes set on a short, middle aged man, black hair in a pony tail, and a thin black mustache, who I supposed was the owner.  I moved to where the man was standing and asked if he had a portrait of Crazy Horse.  He said , "Yes," and I followed him to the corner of the tent where he pointed to a sketch on a wall.  "Is that Crazy Horse," I asked dubiously.  He answered, "Yes., I drew it."  I asked, "What did you use as a model?"  He replied, "My imagination."

I explained to the owner that I got to know something of Crazy Horse's history by reading, "Black Elk Speaks" and "The Memoirs of Chief Red Fox."  The owner walked me back to the center of the tent and picked up a book he was currently reading and handed it me.  It was about Custer's last stand at the Little Big Horn River.  I do not recall the title.  As I handed the book back to the owner I caught sight of the print, "The Circle is My Path."  I had told the owner that I had had this print, and how much I enjoyed it.  He told me that when he created it there was confusion about the direction the verses should be read; he said "That the verses should be read left to right, and not down and up."  Surprise and excited, I said, "Your Nakoma!."  He said, "Yes."  I immediately pushed out my right hand and shook his hand vigorously.  I really wanted to give him a huge.  I told Nakoma the story of my healing sessions with Jerry, and how I gave Jerry my beloved print of, "the Circle is My Path."  Unknown to me at the time, Albert, after hearing my story of giving my copy of the print to Jerry, had purchased a copy of the print, and Katie, Nakoma's wife handed me the print. 

There in that magical moment, all seeming incidental points were magnetically made to connect, and there I stood with the return of my print, and Nakoma, the creator of the print.  This was the effect of the eternal law of Karma, initiated by my pure act of gratitude.

If there is any reader that would be interested in purcharsing a copy of "The Circle is My Path" you may contact Nakoma at,