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/ A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 1
24 / A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 1
My understanding of spiri-
tuality has always affirmed the
concept of the many connecting
with The ONE; and this speaks to
indigenous people.
Over the past twenty years I've
drawn a distinction between re-
ligion and spirituality, suggesting
that religion describes a group of
people who have definite beliefs
and rituals, expressing concepts
that concern morality, holy writ-
ings and worship.
Religions and denominations
are necessarily exclusive, sepa-
rating themselves from other re-
ligions and beliefs. Spirituality,
on the other hand, is inclusive;
it enjoys and celebrates the di-
versity of beliefs in the world,
affirming individual cultures and
sacred writings.
When I was visiting Teoti-
huacán, Mexico, I came to un-
derstand how the Toltec people
had absorbed Spanish, Mexican
and Native American rituals and
fables into their culture and wor-
ship. Indeed, their inclusion of
cultures enabled it to meaning-
fully represent the various indig-
enous tribes and survive.
Today, people who have nev-
er traveled to Teotihuacán are
being introduced to some Toltec
beliefs in the popular book, The
Four Agreements by Don Miguel
Ruiz. Spirituality is that golden
thread that connects today with
ancient times.
A fascinating aspect of Toltec
spirituality for me was the con-
cept of living in a fog. The idea
that we can live for years not
knowing who we really are, or
what we need to make us happy.
This Toltec story suggests that the
fog, the mist of not knowing, is
created by a tragic truth; we are
living somebody else's story.
Too often others have told us
what to believe, how we should
feel, what is the correct thing
to say: and we exist like empty
zombies. This was true for me.
Society and the church
had given me a tape to
play in my head and I
had never questioned
what I believed until
recently.
Today I am becom-
ing spiritually aware
of what I believe, what
I truly feel and what I
need to say; my truth
is taking me out of
the fog into an authentic life.
And I'm grateful to the people
of ancient times for giving me
an insight into my personal re-
covery.
September this year I shall be
taking a group of spiritual seek-
ers to Cambodia and Vietnam.
Again, we will see and experi-
ence a comprehensive spiritual-
ity that brings together Hindu,
Buddhism and various Chinese
religions, not forgetting French
Catholicism, combining a col-
lection of indigenous peoples
and rituals. The diversity of the
rituals adds something to the
teachings, reflecting a divine
Truth: The many connecting with
ONE.
On my last trip to Vietnam I
remember a Buddhist friend tell-
ing me that the smallest gesture
can reflect an ancient spiritual
truth. An example; he smelt and
gently touched the fruit he was
holding before cutting it into del-
icate pieces; this showed respect
for the fruit, respect for the earth
that had fed the fruit, respect to
the Creator of all things.
Today, I often catch my-
self smelling the apple or or-
ange, gently holding it before
I respectfully eat the fruit. I'm
Spirituality and Indigenous People
by Rev. Leo booth
We can do no great
things -- only small
things with great love!
-- Mother Teresa
sure this tradition was birthed
in some forgotten indigenous
tribe and has been passed on
as a living tradition.
I believe spirituality holds
the key to peace and
harmony in the world.
Instead of the histori-
cal record of religions
fighting with each
other, arguing that
one belief is superior
to another, we are
moving into an all-
inclusive spirituality
that combines the
best of all the indig-
enous cultures and brings a
respectful reverence.
It is this message that I will
bring to A Celebration of Re-
covery at Common Ground on
the last Sunday evening of every
month. Those wounded by alco-
hol, depression, mental health
issues and co-dependency will
come together as an indigenous
group to affirm the power of
Wellness.
Everyone is welcome to bring
their specialness to the ser-
vice. My first talk will address
the ancient Chinese concept of
"Letting Go; moving with the
flow."
If we imagine ourselves fall-
ing into a powerful river, we will
survive if we cease to fight the
waves and let the mighty current
take us to the surface. Recovery
comes when we cease to fight
our challenges and embrace the
ancient spiritual truth of surren-
der. Indigenous people, all over
the world, are knowing this
Truth, not from reading books,
but by absorbing and experienc-
ing nature's totality.
Reverend Leo booth is a Unity
Minister and Associate Minister at
Common Ground in Tustin, Califor-
nia. he is the author of several books
including, say yes to your life, say
yes to your spirit and The Wisdom of
letting Go. he presents a Celebration
of Recovery the last Sunday of every
month (7:00pm) at Common Ground.
For more information on Rev Leo and
his Spiritual Journeys visit www.father
leo.com, email: fatherleo@fatherleo.
com For more information on Com-
mon Ground: www.embracehumanity.
com or call (714) 573-2546.
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