April 18, 2009

Natural Laws Of The Cherokee

These "laws" have been passed down from generation to generation. This is what the Cherokee based their life on. By following these, one would live in harmony and balance with all of Creation.

1. The first thing one should do of the morning is to praise the Creator for your life and all of Creation. Asking Him for guidance through the day and thanking Him for providing another day for you. Recognizing Him as the only one true God.

2. Always keep fresh in your mind that everything has been created by God and deserves respect. Everything God has created has a purpose in life. We should honor these and treat them with kindness and generosity. Always assume that others are in need of something. Offer what you have to give.

3. When you find that you have more than you and your family need, then give the excess to someone who can use it.

4. When you say you are going to do something, or otherwise promise something, you are bound by your words. You cannot break it without permission from the person you have told this to.

5. Practice silence. This shows self-control, true courage, patience, dignity, reverence and internal peace. And by practicing silence you can build these characteristics up through time.

6. Never overindulge or underindulge on anything. Do all things in moderation. And this includes boasting or attracting attention through your behavior. Eating, sleeping, working, learning and so on.

7. Know what helps you and what hurts you. Learn from your experiences and be open to new ones, remembering to live each day in itself, not worrying about tomorrow or living in the past but retaining the knowledge learned. Listen to advice and guidance offered by elders and friends. Listen with your heart and then follow up through prayer to the Creator for His guidance.

8. Always ask permission before doing anything that involves someone else, including all living things. Always give something back in return for things received, including a simple "thank you." Remember that a smile can be shared.

9. Beware of what is inside you and outside of you.

10. Always, always, always show respect. From the youngest to the oldest, from the rocks to the trees, from all animals to all peoples.

11. Never stare at someone and drop your eyes in respect to an elder or teacher.

12. Always give a sign of greeting, even to strangers.

13. Never talk about someone in a harmful or critical way. Remember that what you say it will always come back to you one way or the other.

14. Never touch anything that is not yours without permission from the owner.

15. Respect the privacy of everyone. Never enter into their place or space without permission. Do not disturb anyone's quiet time or prayer time.

16. Never offer advice or ask questions of another without their permission.

17. Never interrupt.

18. When you are in someone's home, follow their customs out of respect.

19. Always treat other things held sacred by someone with respect even though you may not understand why.

20. Treat Mother Earth with respect. Protect Earth as well as all of Creation on her in all ways.

As I read these natural laws of the Cherokee, I was struck with the realization that much of it is exactly what my maternal grandmother, who was Cherokee, taught me. And, of course, my mother, who was taught by her mother.

I can just hear them now--"If you can't say something good about someone, don't say anything at all."

"It is bad manners to stare."

"Always say 'thank you.' "

"Always knock first, and never enter anyone's house unless they ask you to come in."

They always taught me to respect others, and their property, and to be thankful for what I have, and to share with others.

They taught me so much, and so much of it was by example.

They are both gone now, but I thank you, Mama and Big Mama, for teaching me important lessons which have helped me throughout my life. You would be happy to know that I, too, have passed them on to my children.