Knowing who you are and what your purpose is are two important questions most people ask throughout their lives. After all, if you lose your sense of identity, you can suffer from disillusionment over who you are and what purpose life serves. Such a disconnect can certainly result in low self-esteem and limited self-worth.
Stress, anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and anxiety flow from this fountain of self-deprecation. Unfortunately, some people try to find solace in alcohol or the temporary relief drugs offer. This type of self-destructive behavior is more common than many realize among Native Americans.
Yet, there are solutions that enable one to appreciate and grasp their personal value. The spiritual practices of Native Americans have, at their heart, an interconnectedness that displays the balance and harmony one is longing for.
At the core of native American spirituality is the concept that everything is connected with everything else. This is at odds with the mainstream teaching of the West that sees individuals as separate entities.
Healing is seen as only coming about by one having harmony with yourself holistically (spirit, mind, and body), harmony with other people, and with the environment that surrounds you. These areas cover the four main cornerstones found within Native American healing practices: spirituality, community, environment and the self.
The rituals and ceremonies of Native Americans help one reconnect not only with their environment, but with their ancestors and, more importantly, with themselves. By re-establishing this connection, it allows for personal growth and recovery. One discovers who they are, what purpose they have for their life, and how they can contribute to the wellbeing and harmony of all things.
Native American spirituality emphasizes balance and how of all things are intimately entwined. When there is an imbalance within yourself, it is seen as a result of a disharmony between you and the spirit world. This can be rectified through the purification and transformative power of Native American spiritual practices.
The symbol of the Circle helps us to remember that we stand in its center and share a bond with all things. It represents power and unity and reminds us of our responsibilities in aiding and contributing to the Circle of Life. Within the Circle, we realize that all things work and flow in perfect unison and harmony.
This Circle can be broken through the disharmony and disunity that one exhibits towards oneself, one’s community, and the spiritual world. Such discordance results in frustrating personal growth and recovery. The balance needs to be restored.
If you’re a Native American, you’re probably familiar with some spiritual practices that have long been in your lineage. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, know that there are treatment centers that take your cultural values and rituals into consideration in recovery.
Aligning yourself with such a culturally relevant rehab center can help you mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
The following are several spiritual practices that can foster addiction recovery using the wisdom of native American ways.
The Sweat Lodge
The Sweat Lodge is one way of reinstating harmony, as the practice of the Sweat Lodge is seen to be transformative and cleansing. It is seen as offering participants an opportunity to create a new life and new beginnings through rebirth. It’s a powerful way of reinventing oneself and embracing the individual you are meant to be.
A vision quest will take you beyond your egoic self to get in touch with your spiritual self. Vision quests allow you to reconnect with the spirit world and through this find guidance and wisdom regarding life. Through the visions received, you gain an understanding of what your life purpose is. The quests and visions received are unique to the individual that undergoes this practice.
The result of visions quests can help you no longer feel like your life is aimless and without meaning. It shows that you are a valuable part of an integrated system that encompasses the spiritual and physical world.
There are various ways Native Americans use smudging as a cleansing ritual or ceremony. Purification from negativity tends the be the main goal of the Smudging ceremony. One can inadvertently be exposed to what is deemed “Bad Medicine” by innocently passing through someone’s smoke (which could be at work or in some other social setting).
The cleansing smoke from the Smudging ceremony removes the negative influence of the “Bad Medicine” and restoration is achieved. Wholeness can be regained on a spiritual level, which then positively affects the individual mentally and physically.
Psychological and emotional issues arise when an individual loses sight of who they are and feeling that they have nothing of value to contribute to society.
Native American spiritual practices can provide a holistic approach that addresses this kind of negativity. By showing how we are all part of an intimately entwined system that encompasses the spiritual and physical, we start to appreciate that we individually have a part to play.
The purification and cleansing offered by the spiritual practices allow you to let go of the past and face the future with new hope. This kind of healing is truly transformative as it provides one with the personal growth and recovery that they have been longing for.
Embrace these practices and allow yourself to be reborn.
To learn more about addiction recovery treatment that includes Native American spiritual principles and practices, reach out to us here at Sunrise Native Recovery. We’re happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.