CHIEF SEATTLE ... End of Living Beginning of Survival

In his profound and poetic words, Seattle gives us a glimpse of the indigenous Indian “divinity-in-nature” worldview. Also conveyed is the native American belief that man in his innate nature is divine.

We may attribute the origins of our estrangement from Nature to the influence of the Hebrew Bible which teaches us that Nature was created for us to exploit. The attitude of some modern scientists is also to blame. Science approaches the natural world with a view to understanding it and ultimately controlling it and making it serve us.

By contrast, ancient and indigenous cultures like the American Indians did understand the workings of Nature; they did recognize and respect the influence of the sun and moon, the regularity of the seasons, and the weather portents—good or bad—written in the sky. They respected the flow of Nature and they knew that Nature is greater than man; that it is only in Nature that we can find our true spirituality.

Having removed ourselves from Nature, Americans seem to have now ceased to “live” and begun only to “survive,” just like Chief Seattle predicted would happen. Most of us don’t even realize it. The American lifestyle—the constant pursuit of money, luxury, fancy cars, big homes, entertainment, and different bodies than we were born into—is in many ways contrary to Nature. Yet the American people aren’t to blame; the American lifestyle is being “dictated” by the mass media and the corporate sponsors of the mass media. Americans are simply buying into it.

The greatest irony is that we think we are free. We think because of our technology that we live in the greatest era in human history, when in reality we may very well be living in the darkest of ages. It takes a strong mind to see this, an “awakened” and “freed” mind to see how our departure from Nature has really meant exactly what Seattle said it would: The end of living and the beginning of survival.

The greatest minds of history certainly understood the basis of this idea. They knew that Nature is closer to spirituality than any dogma, religion or written word of man, and that it is only by returning to Nature that we can find the inner peace that all of us seek:

Nature speaks a universal language that everyone can understand, no matter what part of the earth a person lives on, or what faith, nationality, political persuasion, age, profession, or income. Nature holds the great secret to life.

The next time you feel stress, worry, fear, loneliness, grief…then go outside and find a place in Nature where you can see trees, a stream or river, the sky, the sun, the clouds. Walk in it, sit in it, admire it, touch it, stay for a while and reconnect. Only then will you see life as it should be, amidst the simple beauty and majesty of Nature. Your fear will melt away and the right path will present itself before you.


You will find something more in woods than in books.

Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.......


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