A Clear Mind and A Pure Heart

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This topic is nothing new, but I feel the need to address it. Lately I’ve seen a lot of postings on social media where warnings are issued to people to be careful of those who want bad things to happen to them, or members of their family.

Once there was this man who accused people of using bad medicine on one other. I asked him what he meant by bad medicine. He couldn’t give me a definite answer. Still, for the lack of a better term or phrase, I am going to use “bad medicine” throughout this column because I hear people refer to this obscure concept a lot on my Rez.

I often hear about bad medicine happening at pow-wows. Many people have shared experiences with me about how others have used bad medicine on them at pow-wows. People will talk about witnessing dancers and singers shooting things at each other on the pow-wow circuit. In those cases, money really is the root of all evil because it prompts our own people to attempt to hurt one another. Modern contest pow-wows are often a dangerous place where jealous people go with the intent to cause harm to someone else, all for the sake of winning a few dollars.

Many people also believe the bad medicine tactics are used outside of the pow-wow arena. People might think there are others who are praying against them or putting curses on them. Personally, when people are convinced that other people are making bad things happen to them, it seems to me like an extreme form of paranoia. When you believe others are totally responsible for wreaking havoc on your or your family, it’s like you are not accepting responsibility for whatever is going on in your life.

It’s not always someone else’s fault when negative occurrences take place. Still, it’s very convenient and easy to blame others for the bad stuff that happens to us. Life is full of good and bad incidents. But when tragedy strikes you or your family, it’s not always because there is someone who hates you making evil prayers in hopes you will be hurt. Bad things happen to us all.

I am so tired of hearing people blame others for using bad medicine. It’s disrespectful to our Lakota culture. The distorted belief in people using bad medicine on a regular basis originated from the fear instilled in our people through Christianity.

So, when I hear someone putting the blame on someone else for the bad things happening in their lives, I automatically chalk it up to the negative influence of the local churches. I believe it’s their fault that so many Lakota people are focused on the concept of bad medicine. Fear and doubt are powerful motivators. And instilling fear and doubt was the easiest way for those missionaries to convert the minds of our grandparents.

I sincerely believe your own negative or fearful thoughts will attract bad things into your life. Your mind is a powerful entity. For instance, you might have fear surrounding certain occurrences. You worry that something terrible will happen. My personal experience has shown me that the more I worry about something, the more likely I will attract it into my life.

I believe one of the most powerful prayers we can hold is to have a clear mind and a pure heart. I also believe our children are born with this purity. But, they are influenced by family members who go through their entire lives scared of the bad medicine supposedly projected by others, or the threats of hell and damnation preached by the people running the local churches. We have to make an effort to raise our children to walk through life with a clear mind and a pure heart. Are you projecting fear into your children’s minds and hearts by giving energy to the bad medicine concept?

Most of the bad medicine I see comes from people’s thoughts. Disease of the mind has a powerful hold on many Lakota. When you ponder about all the bad things you want to see others suffer from, you are actively engaging in bad medicine and projecting it on others. It’s time to stop perpetuating the fear instilled in our people by the missionaries and their churches. Our Lakota culture and ceremony should not be feared.

Clear your mind of fearful, hateful and negative thoughts. Purify your heart for your children. Our ancestors were not powerful because they used bad medicine, they were powerful because they knew the key to a good life was having a clear mind and a pure heart.

Now is the time for us to be good ancestors. Our unborn relatives are depending on us to pave the Red Road. Let’s not leave them a fearful path which will lead them away from their own Lakota way of life.

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