10 Native American Proverbs for the Wisdom Seeker in You

 “What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” ~ Blackfoot.

There may be hundreds of Native American tribes spread all over America even today, still they are all bound by the same love and awe for nature. Their voices are soft and words simple, yet their message is ever clear.

native american proverbHere are some quotes soaked in the wisdom of the ancient ones:

1) “I have been to the end of the earth,
I have been to the end of the waters,
I have been to the end of the sky,
I have been to the end of the mountains,
I have found none that are not my friends.” ~ Navajo

The Navajo share a very close relationship with nature, and its revered by the tribe. Nature forms an important part of their ceremonies, as they believe it reactivates our connection to the source and reminds us of our true divinity.

This saying is about understanding that all nature is a gift and when you realise the interconnectedness of all things, you receive its limitless love.

2) “Our first teacher is our own heart.” ~ Cheyenne

Like Rumi said, “If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.”

Trust your instincts, listen to the whispers of your heart. It may not be as loud as the rage of the mind but it is the only thing worth listening to.

3) “Don’t be afraid to cry. It will free your mind of sorrowful thoughts.” ~ Hopi

Crying is an act of letting go and surrendering to the moment. The mind may be confused but the body responds in perfect harmony with the heart.

Shed your tears, they are the physical manifestations of spiritual and emotional trauma. When they are dispersed, the mind, body and heart feels lighter and weightless.

4) “There is no death, only a change of worlds.” ~ Native American Duwamish

native american by Zoundsheeler (deviantart)Energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed and transferred from one form to another. The Duwamish believed that ‘death’ was simply a journey to another world.

They also believed that everything was created by the Great Spirit which resides in all things and we all return to that upon death.

5) “Thoughts are like arrows: once released, they strike their mark. Guard them well or one day you may be your own victim.” ~ Navajo

The Navajo were peaceful people that only fought to defend their land, livestock or community. They understood the power of thoughts and those who were in control of their thoughts, could also control their life.

Once you act on your thoughts, it cannot be undone and it has as much of an effect on you as it does on the other person or thing. This is why it’s important to make a conscious effort to transcend negative thinking.

6) “Man’s law changes with his understanding of man. Only the laws of the spirit remain always the same.” ~ Crow

Man is limited in his perception, bonded to the physical realm. Therefore his principles are ever changing alongside his perception. Universal law is unwavering, all encompassing and does not require thought and debate to enforce.

The Crow Indians or Bird People believed in immersing themselves as deep into the rhythm of nature so as to be in tune with the laws of the spirit.

7) “When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us.” ~ Arapaho

native american proverb
All beings acknowledge the presence and spirit of each other in the wild. It is only mankind that thinks its superior to nature. Native American tribes however, knew that respect was the binding thread for peaceful co-existence.

Before and after a hunt, it was a tradition to say a prayer, thanking the animal for its nourishment.

8) “Be still and the earth will speak to you.” ~ Navajo

The relationship between man and earth is like a cosmic dance. But man cannot always lead, he must learn to follow and in doing so, earth reveals to him his own intuition.

When the mind is full of chaos, it is clouded by worries and fears. In stillness, the body relaxes enough to let reason come in and be guided by intuition.

9) “If we wonder often, the gift of knowledge will come.” ~ Arapaho

Like Albert Einstein said, “He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” Curiosity is bereft of judgment, worry or forethought. Insight comes in a fraction of a second, if we open ourselves to pure wonder.

In this way the Arapaho believed that we become the way of the arrow we are trying to shoot and the woods we are trying to map.

10) “If a man is as wise as a serpent, he can afford to be as harmless as a dove.” ~ Cheyenne

With wisdom comes compassion. It was common perception among the Cheyenne’s that those who focused on strength, would serve the tribe as warriors, but those that lead the pack through their wisdom did not have to subject themselves to war.

The wise man’s contribution is a gentler, subtler kind but the most important and most powerful.

Image source
Native american art
Eye of the Elder

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Pia 'Llama' is a visual artist specializing in photography, illustration and comic strips. She aims to help people question their conditioning, shed the non-useful and move into a state of love and awareness so they can embrace themselves and one another fully.
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