The Next Step on Brooke Medicine Eagle's Path
Brooke Medicine Eagle, a respected teacher who blends the Native American traditions of her heritage with degrees and experience in contemporary psychology and academics, walks a self-styled rainbow medicine path. Her first book, White Buffalo Woman Comes Singing, documents Brooke's personal journey and visionary work to bridge cultures. From Wolf Creek, Montana, in the midst of a ten-day workshop in plant spirit medicine, Brooke made time for a phone interview with me. In these excerpts from our conversation, she describes the emergent themes of her teaching and of her next book, The Last Ghost Dance.
Barbara: What is this idea you call "skywalking"?
Brooke: We can ascend to a different level of living, a higher plane of living, if we really balance the physical body and awaken our spiritual body. This is what I am working on and calling "skywalking." What I really want to talk with people about is that sense that to be fully human we should have our spirit body as alive and fully awake and active and useful to us as our physical body. I'm certainly just along the path of learning, myself; I'm not a master of any of this. But I'm really being invited by my guides and teachers to urge people to wake up at this level and understand what incredible capacity we have.
Our native teachers down through time have really understood that. Every high spiritual tradition there is, whether it's Tibetan or East Indian or you-name-it, works on this aspect of things where we're able to quiet the physical self and awaken a part of us that is really not bounded by time and space. When we move into that -- the place of spirit or the invisible -- then we're really out of time and space. Our elders have told us for a long, long time that we can move through time and space; that we can become a part of things, if we want to know them, rather than scientifically tearing them apart and killing them and dividing them down and looking at the cells. We can literally become a part of a tree, you know; we're able to move into and out of whatever we may choose.
What begins to happen at that level that's very exciting is that we move into a place where we're really in exquisite contact with all our relations -- capitalize that: All Our Relations. At that level -- where we're in the place of wholeness and connecting deeply with the spirit of things -- we're in a sacred place or a place of harmony and good relationship. We're connecting with a larger whole. When we're not just looking at one side of a problem or one problem, we're more aware of the whole thing, so we have not only knowledge and facts and connections that way, but we have wisdom.
I feel wisdom is what's been missing in our culture. We look at a single, isolated thing. We're used to isolating everything...so we look at something at one level and make up a solution, and that solution is often terribly damaging to the rest of the cycle of life. Stepping up to that level -- a devic level or a spirit level -- allows us to look at a much broader plane. When we make decisions from there, we make better decisions, wiser decisions, which are more in line with what I would call "sacred ecology." We're honoring and respecting the life of everything and in fact being ecologically sound. Then what we're looking toward, I believe, is creating a sustainable future.
The decisions we've made in the past have not really supported that&ldots;I just believe that we've been standing in the wrong place when we've made the decisions -- a narrow, small place in the physical world. If we move into that place of spirit where we can see a larger, deeper, more relational perspective, then I believe the information we receive is much more useful and sustainable.
Barbara: You have been working on physical aspects--the plant medicine and some of the other grounding bodywork and rituals. Is this "skywalking" a shift of your attention now?
Brooke: A real way of talking about my work is "the embodiment of spirit." You know, when we first do this kind of work we have to sort of sit still and quiet ourselves and shut our eyes, and we think of that as spiritual. But the old ones understood; our ancient lineages tell us that we can learn to hold that energy in our everyday life and walk in a sacred manner. The practice, what we call "the third attention," is literally being able to pay attention to the whole thing. It's being able in our daily life to experience that connection that helps us to be in good relationship with All Our Relations -- and to hold in mind seven generations of children ahead of us.
Barbara: So your work is introducing people into the ways of paying attention and seeing with this larger perspective?
Brooke: Yes, that's what I really intend for people.
Barbara: In doing that, it seems you are synthesizing traditions and cultural views.
Brooke: I've always had a very global view...my real interest in life and in my teaching is in helping us to become fully human -- you know, fully integrated and in good relationship.
Barbara: Would you comment on the quality of attention that you're finding these days among the people that you're working with? How do you feel we're doing as a culture?
Brooke: Let me just say that there are two different things I see. One, I'm just appalled at how little we really see and pay attention. I know a butcher's son who doesn't know that you have to kill cows to eat meat! That kind of lack of understanding of our world is appalling to me. We're just hooked into TV; we believe everything TV says. That's where our attention is. What we're getting there is definitely not about truth and wholeness and holiness and All Our Relations and good relationship and all of that. So at one level, just in general, there's a level of unconsciousness.
At another level, among people who have been paying some attention and doing a bit of homework and trying to wake up -- doing some training and workshops, if you will, and meditation and learning spiritual ways -- I see a fabulous thing, which is that we are graduating to another level. I used to have to go in and teach all the basics, and now I can go in and we can jump way beyond those into really putting our energy toward something positive. That is very exciting. That's where I feel I can put my attention the best: to help hone and lift and continue working with those who are really willing to make those steps and to attend and to wake up at other levels. If a certain number of us do that, we lift the energy enough that it kind of helps everyone else wake up that may not have much intention toward that at this point.
Barbara: Do you have some sense of our moving toward that so-called critical mass?
Brooke: It's hard to tell, but I feel like we are. One of the things that really is helping with this spiritual upliftment and with our awakening is that we're coming to a time that all the prophecies say we have literally more light, more consciousness, more vital life force -- just more energy.
In some ways, I think there's going to be a parting of the ways. If people have no intent toward any caring or honoring or respectfulness, or a way of unity and wholeness, I believe that there's going to be a real hard time for those folks that may be almost like another plane of life. For those people who want to lift up and live in harmony and wholeness, and really share and care and work together...we'll literally be lifting up -- sort of that "skywalking" idea: we'll be lifting up to another level. Some people call it the fourth and fifth dimension. It's hard to describe, but it'll be a different level of our reality.
There are many levels of reality. Some people will be on one of disharmony and disrespect and using up our resources -- the way that it is -- and that will end up in a very bad way, I think. With all this energy coming in, wherever our attention is, whatever we're creating, whatever we're working toward, is going to be magnified. If we're working toward good things, I think that will be really magnified, and if we're still thinking that greed and rape and pillage are how to be secure and safe, then we will reap the benefits of that, which won't be very pretty.
Barbara: A curiosity I share with a lot of people is how this is going to be reflected in terms of the planet itself and the earth changes that seem to be happening as others that are imminent. What's your sense of that when you talk of fourth and fifth dimensions?
Brooke: That's an interesting one, because what I've been told is that Earth is graduating. She is Lady Gaia, is growing and evolving to another plane. The prophecies say, and all my highest and finest teachers say, the earth will be in harmony. That is the decree. That is what is going to be happening, so those who wish to be in harmony with her will continue on with her and grow to a new plane of beauty. Those who don't wish to do that...in physical terms it's almost like the rocket will go on and the launching unit will stay. There will be a dropping away of those, and it may seem like the earth plane, but I believe it will be a different plane of learning. Mother Earth as we know her will evolve into beauty and wholeness and those who don't wish to be in harmony with that evolving will in a sense be asked to go somewhere else.
Barbara: People often think of ascension in terms of going somewhere else, leaving the planet. "Skywalking" seems to offer a different image.
Brooke: I don't think any of us will really know exactly what's happening until it does. But I do believe that Earth herself is ascending. That's part of what The Last Ghost Dance is about. It tells that in the old days the people saw: the ghost dance was about seeing a renewed earth, an earth of beauty. The animals were back and there was peace and joy and clean water and plenty for all, and just a gorgeous, gorgeous peaceful, golden world. That's what they were dancing for and have continued to, in secret, over all the years. I believe that all of us are being asked to join in that dance, that process of trusting and looking forward and working toward that world, and that that will be manifest for those who are putting their eggs in that basket.
Stargazers and Dawn Songfeather Davies bring you a weekend with Brooke Medicine Eagle entitled "Skywalking -- Renewing the Ghost Dance Vision" September 19 (7:00-9:00 p.m.), September 20 (9:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m.), and September 21 (9:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m.). Join us for this powerful weekend. Come ready to both go into stillness and to dance with abandon! For information call Stargazers at (425) 885-7289.
Barbara Sophia Douglas creates Guided Retreats for Body & Soul, for individuals and small groups. She lives and writes on Whidbey Island (PO Box 271, Langley, WA 98260).