Today I have a conversation with a really amazing indigenous healer, Arkan Lushwala. Arkan is a Peruvian ceremonial leader who was adopted by a Lakota Elder named Basil Brave Heart. Arkan has written a couple books, one called The Time of The Black Jaguar: An Offering of Indigenous Wisdom for the Continuity of Life on Earth. And more recently, Deer and Thunder: Indigenous Ways of Restoring the World.
One of the things you’ll hear is that he is a very humble man. In fact, he’s the only podcast guest I’ve had who, when I asked him to describe himself, says, “First, as a farmer.” Please take anything you hear in this interview with some caution, particularly some of the rituals and ceremonies that he talks about. Some of these things are potentially dangerous and not to be played with. There’s a real concern there, so taken care for your safety, making sure that anything you might do along these lines is under the guidance of someone who has experience and is looking out for your well-being.
00:04:11 – What’s life about?
00:14:02 – Second oldest civilization.
00:23:51 – Awareness of who we are.
00:34:25 – Fearing nature.
00:52:02 – Who Arkan writes to.
01:02:13 – The Coca Cola quest.
01:15:40 – How do you find yourself when you’re the one with something missing?
01:29:37 – Forgiveness.
Books by Arkan Lushwala
Bryan: 00:00:53 Today I have a conversation with a really amazing indigenous healer. Arkan is a Peruvian ceremonial leader who was adopted by a Lacota Elder named Basel Braveheart. He has written a couple books, one called The Time of The Black Jaguar, an offering of indigenous wisdom for the continuity of life on earth. And more recently, Dear and Thunder, indigenous ways of restoring the world. In this interview we spend nearly two hours talking and we never get to the writing part. In fact, he agrees to do a part two at some point in the future. And one of the things you’ll hear is that he is a very humble man. In fact, he’s the only podcast guestsI’ve had who when I asked him to tell me who, how he describes himself, he says, first, as a farmer, I’ve never heard that before. Please take anything you hear in this interview with some caution. Particularly some of the rituals and ceremonies that he talks about. Some of these things are potentially dangerous and it’s not to be played with. There’s a real concern there, so taken care of for your safety, making sure that anything you might do along these lines is under the guidance of someone who has experience and is looking out for your well-being. I think you’ll enjoy this conversations and take away something that will help you to live a more satisfying, deeper life, than perhaps you’ve previously known. That’s a big claim, but you know what? I think it’s true.
Arkan: 00:02:39 Thank you so much Bryan, I’m happy to be a part of this.
Bryan: 00:03:10 You know, I, as I was reading your book, I realized that we have another friend in common, David Tucker with the Pachamama Alliance. I went to the Amazon with him and he was the first person who showed me around in the, in the rainforest, and it was truly transformative experience as well.
Arkan: 00:03:37 Yeah, David Tucker is a good friend of mine and we feel very aligned in our missions. The way he sees the work that needs to be done. To improve the presence of humanity in this world. You know, we’re pretty agreeing on some of the things that need to be done or the mind frame, the heart that we need to have in order to do our work. So, uh, yeah, I always had really good conversations with David. I’m looking forward to this good conversation with you Bryan.
Bryan: 00:04:11 Thank you. So Arkan tell me if you will please, what’s life about?
Arkan: 00:04:16 Well, from, from that perspective, of a where I come from, from the Andean world. I was born in Arequipa in Peru and now my, um, indigenous culture that I most identify, where I do my ceremonies and my indigenous life. Is in the area of Cusco and for all of us in sanction times the way we see ourselves is not only a, inhabitants of the earth, we see ourselves without really making a big effort, it’s just part of our culture and our language. We see ourselves as members of the universe, members of the cosmos. So we know that we are children of the earth and we are also children of the cosmos. We are children of the stairs in they, particularly of the sun. And this is not just a belief system or um, religious thing because we don’t really call our spiritual ways a religion. This is really based on the understanding of who we are. And wisdom of people who for thousands of years observed nature and observed their own nature, you know, who they are. So we, our body and a lot of where we are is the earth. We have water inside. We have minerals inside. We have the same at the mountains have inside and we eat food that comes from the earth and water that comes from the earth. That is our nourishment. And that’s what we are, what we eat, what we drink.
Bryan: 00:06:11 Yeah.. Yes
Arkan: 00:06:12 And then on the other hand, uh, we, we are always absorbing light from the sun. We are always receiving the light of the sun directly. When the sun touches our skin, our eyes, it gives us it’s warmth or through the food that we eat. Also because all the greens absorb the light of the sun. In that way we’re always receiving. If you want to use this word “information” from the universe through the light of the sun. So we have permanently being formed, informed, informed by the earth and the sun. And we become the product of that comes from both of them. So, so that’s how we see ourselves. You know, we see the world, the earth as part of the cosmos. And we see ourselves as part of the earth and the cosmos and the most important of course, is to take the opportunity of having consciousness as we live in this, on this earth, in these cosmos, the opportunity to take all that is given to us with consciousness. Become aware of what is the gift and live a beautiful life accordingly to all that is given to us and that is formed.
Bryan: 00:07:45 No, I love that perspective and as I hear you say it I think back to even my time in grade school and you know, as we learned about the world and the United States and the different states within our own country here. I think about the debate that occurred. Are we federalists, you know, or are we, are we state first?Are you a Utahan or are you an American and are you a Californian or a American? And your discussion of the cosmos beyond, you know, any other label we might apply to ourselves is one I think really beautiful. And I wonder what our world might be like if more of us held that perspective. What do you think?
Arkan: 00:08:30 Yeah, yes and you know there is a example of this, I’m sure there are many in the world. But, uh, the one that I know there’s where I come from, the Inca people who were, it was not an empire it is totally officially in the books and everything that it was more of a confederation, a unity of different nations. Uh, they, uh, in the heart of the culture, one of the most important principles of the culture was to be aware that we are all equal. No matter what nation you belong to or where were you born, that we are all in the same path. We are all. We all belong to the earth. We all belong to the cosmos, to the universe, and then, uh, some of those wise ancestors, they insisted on people learning about that. That, you know, we, we are all capable of receiving the same guidance, information and nourishment from the earth and the universe, no matter where we are. In the Andes, there was a time that actually lasted a long time different periods, sometimes hundreds of years, and sometimes even thousands of years where people have this mentality. Where you wasn’t allowed, you know, I’m different than you because I belong to this nation and you belong to that one. Yes, we are different and I love my culture and the way I dress and the way I speak, but in another level, I’m exactly the same you are. Therefore, we can cooperate. We can do things together. We don’t have to be in war, I don’t have to defend myself from you because we’re the same. You know, there, this consciousness was really present with me for a very long time in some parts of South America. And it, for me, that is proof that it can be done and actually the times when the, that was the case where the best times. It was when you know, there was less work and more abandons for the wellbeing of all people, all humans in all life, you know, because actually the truth is this mentality also extends to any mouse, plants, rocks, mountains, that they also, you know, have the same quality, the same capacity to receive light from the universe and develop themselves as we do.
Bryan: 00:11:21 You know that’s not something I was taught in school about. It’s not an empire. It was a federation and the nature of it. And I love to hear your view on that. And as I listened to you, one thing I wonder is if there’s a perspective inherent in that worldview that leads to or inevitably means that it will be overtaken by a more aggressive culture. Where if it’s so welcoming, if it’s so open, if it’s so inclusive, does that mean that it’s inevitably subject to subjugation domination, control eradication. Or is there a way that, that same spirit, which of course is still present on the earth and in many people today, but it doesn’t seem to be the predominant one. Is there a way that, that what might be a more heart centered way of living can still be strong enough to withstand any kind of aggressive or outside influence.
Arkan: 00:12:27 Yes, it takes a lot of courage because you know the way, the way of protectionism and the aggressive way, it really comes from fear. You know that people who are, use that way of course they think they are right and they think that their values are correct and they are not necessarily bad people. They are probably not aware that they are acting from fear. The other way, the way that of sharing instead of protecting so much, it takes a lot of courage. But it doesn’t only take courage it takes a certain development, you know, in order to have an influence on other people in a peaceful way, these people have to respect you. And in order for them to respect you, you have to be a well developed human being. They won’t respect you if you are trying to teach something that you don’t practice or if you are trying to, uh, speak a lot of human quality that you don’t really have. You have to or we have to, those of us who want this peaceful culture we have a big responsibility and we have to really polish ourselves, develop ourselves to a big extent in order to be able to do that. And let me give you an example. You see, okay. If I take a little time to speak aloud, one of our ancient cultures and uh,
Bryan: 00:14:00 Yes, please do.
Arkan: 00:14:02 Yeah. Well in, in Peru and actually very close to where I grew up part of my childhood 24 years ago, what now is considered a second oldest civilizations in the world. It’s called Caral. C A R A L Caral. It’s a the second oldest in the world, first Mesopotamia then it’s Caral then it’s Egypt. So this civilization lasted at least 2000 years. There’s proof of that. Of course there is a lot of studies being made by scientists, archeologists. A, 2000 years. They had seven permanent fires lead for 2000 years. And they use these fires to make offerings for 2000 years. Their main dedication was to offer nourishment as a reciprocity, as a form of gratitude, to the universe and to the earth for all that they received. So kind of their main occupation was to nourish in a sacred way with a high vibration, with a high quality of energy through ceremony, to nourish that what nourish them, and in that way, keep the beautiful high quality world alive. That was the main dedication for 2000 years.
Bryan: 00:15:44 What kinds of things? So if I understand what you’re saying, you said that this civilization, Caral, had seven fires burning continuously for 2000 years and they’d use those to offer gratitude. What kinds of things would they, would they burn in the fires or do you have an idea of what those rituals were like?
Arkan: 00:16:02 Yeah, because we still have them a more and more the people who study these things are coming to that conclusion. They’re are still studying it but many of them are already coming to the conclusion that Caral really was like another culture in South America. And even the Inca culture happened, you know, like 5,000 years after Caral. Has many, many aspects of the culture that I recognize already as being born in Caral. In one of which we still have and actually I use in my work, is that making of offerings. So now of course we do it in a different way because after the conquest we had to learn to make our offerings, not in temples but anywhere we were. Sometimes hiding in mountains or caves, but we have never stopped doing them. So the offerings pretty much consist on preparing a design on top of a, could be a piece of cloth or a piece of paper nowadays. With flowers, coca leaves, sweets, corn, you know, a different kinds of seeds in prepare a beautiful design that actually because of the way we place things, it has meaning it has a balance it has, you know, a power because of how it is designed. But it is made only with these elements that I described. And then that prayer, that design with these elements is placed on the fire. It’s burned and all the prayers in the beauty and the vibration and the heart that was placed in that piece of cloth or paper. When that design was made, when it is placed in the fire, it becomes smoke and that smoke goes everywhere. It goes to it’s destination, the destination that was named when we did the prayers. So that smoke carries the prayer. Kayak carries vibration, the heart, the love, the gratitude in that energy penetrates it’s destination. It penetrates the mountains. It penetrates the trees it penetrates the land, it penetrates. You can go all the way to this because its energy. I have spoken of this with quantum physics scientists and she told me that technically speaking what I, what we do is possible. It’s really, it’s not a religion, it’s not just a belief system. It is possible to do these things. And as you well know that Tibetans do the same. There are many ancient cultures that do the same so that when, when the archeologist studied those fireplaces in Caral, they went down a, a escalating looking for organic matter, and they have proven that for 2000 years people were putting these offerings in those fires all the time. There is, I cannot tell you right now exactly what are the elements they used in Caral. But there were some fruits. Uh, I think some fish they use there because it’s very close to the ocean, you know, there are fish scales. I think they found their, um, you know, I pretty much things that we eat, you know, we give for the earth to eat. But charged with our prayers which is different so a fish or an apple or you know, some, some, something that we’d actually comes from the tree. And another thing is when it is charged with our prayers, with our celebration, with our gratitude it’s enhanced, it has a different type of energy and that’s what we give back. We give back where we were given but enhanced and charged with a much higher vibration. And we offer it to the sources of our own nourishment. That is what for us, pretty much defines what it is to be a human being. A human being in our culture is someone who takes responsibility for nourishing, nourishing the earth in the universe and making it even more beautiful than it was when it was given to us.
Bryan: 00:21:15 So that’s inherent in the very definition or idea of what it is to be a human being in your culture is to nourish.
Arkan: 00:21:19 Yes. I could not consider myself a real human being if I wouldn’t do that. You know, because let’s put it this way. Every form of life has a mission and that were three examples. A bear, you know, a certain, uh, place, a mission in the ecosystem of the mountain where he or she lives. The fish, the salmon that the insects. Everyone has a mission that is part of the balance of life. You know, so what is the mission of a human being? If we, when we really place ourselves as part of nature, what is our mission? Our mission is in our talent. Our talent is what tells us where our mission is. We have an amazing talent to do art to transform the things that we receive and enhance them into a much higher, much refined, beautiful, powerful frequency of vibration that is delightful to all the other forms of life, to the earth itself, to all of creation. And those vibrations, those creations of us humans, they have a nourishing capacity. They, they feed life. They feed the quality of the earth and the universe and doing that is really a, anyone who does that, you know, even a musician, an artist, someone who takes care of a gardan. All of us who do these things, we know that doing that, we discover ourselves. While doing that we find out our talent, we find out who, that we can do that, who we are, and it is a, it is really fulfilling to arrive to that awareness.
Bryan: 00:23:22 That’s such a wonderful perspective in a very empowering one. And there’s a line in the last chapter of your second book, Dear and Thunder, where you write “a human being becomes nature doing the work of nature.” And I was really impressed by that and it sounds like, um, you know, clearly that’s something that’s available to each of us, but not all of us maybe realize it or certainly pursue it.
Arkan: 00:23:51 That also answers one of your previous questions when, when we have that level of awareness of who we really are, then you know, how to be in the world and how to relate to people of other nations. It’s not a political decision is not an intellectual necessarily and intellectual decision. It is natural. You know, we were guided by our instinct by, you know, by, by this heart and mind that we have that is part of the heart and mind of the earth and the universe. So it becomes kind of common sense, you know, I assume that people have Caral or the Inca people who, you know, didn’t have war. Well the Inca people did have war, but the Caral people didn’t for 2000 years. And find really good ways of having good relationships with other nations. I don’t think it took them, you know, a lot of political training. It was more a instinctual in some way. They knew it. They were guided by the light. They carried within themselves. They were being themselves. It was a natural wisdom in my opinion.
Bryan: 00:25:11 Yeah. I think you’re right and in some ways I think that’s been forgotten or maybe never learned. I have the sense that it is somehow innate to all of us, so how can we forget something that’s already in us? But maybe it requires an awakening or a return to something which is part of why I’m so fascinated by, by you and your work and your teachings. When I met you, I didn’t really know what to expect and you know anyone that says, hey, you know, trust me, you’re going to like this person and you’re like this experience. You know, I went along with it and when we were together, well, I do want to get to this, but before we do, I want. I know we’ve been talking for about a half hour, almost about a half hour and I haven’t asked you yet to share a little bit about who you are. People have heard this voice speaking and they’ll have heard my intro setting this up, but I’d love to hear from your own voice. When someone asks you who you are or what you do, how do you describe yourself? When you talk to someone, I realized that might change from person to person or situation to situation, but how do you typically introduce yourself in the, in the times that you do?
Arkan: 00:26:41 Well thats, uh, that’s a hard one because in order to the things that we do, we understand that we need to stay as humble as we can, you know. The capacity to do our work really requires that we always stay humble, you know. When we make a big deal about ourselves, then we think we end up thinking that the power to do what we do comes from us. And uh, yeah, you know, so no matter how young or old we are, we have to always, you know, be careful to, uh, you know, to not have too much grandiosity about how we defined ourselves. So I’m just a humble man. I’m just a, I’m a farmer, I’m a father, I’m a dad and a husband and uh, and for some reason a, since I was little I had the inclination to, to do ceremonial work to prepare the offerings, to lead the prayers and the ceremonies. I was born with that, with that inclination and that capacity. So, uh, he led me to find people older than me, teachers and elders who told me that I could learn what they knew and they taught me some things that make it possible for me to sometimes help people when they are sick or when they are confused. Uh, that’s more individual type of work which sometimes I do, but now they said in the last 10 years or so, I do more of the bigger ceremonies oriented to a, to a healing of all that has been damaged on the earth. And also, uh, now, uh, my elders telling me that I need to share or what I’ve learned. So that sometimes puts me in that position of someone who teach, you know. But it’s hard for myself a teacher because I’m also learning. So, and I still have teachers. So he’s just a role that they play. Uh, sometimes I play the role or ceremonial leader. I lead the ceremonies, my elders entrusted me with, uh, they gave me the authorization and the bundles, you know, the outdoors, the elements that someone needs in order to have the authority to lead ceremony for communities and people. So, so I do that, you know, I, I do those things. That’s my work.
Bryan: 00:29:33 When I met you Arkan one of the things that made an impression on me was that there’s a whole bunch. But one I was really, I was really struck by one thing you said just at a lunch we were having together where you shared very quietly that in the western culture or the northern culture, depending on how you call it, uh, in our society, very often we have a tendency to speak from a place of intellect, a place of knowledge. We’re sharing our conversation is a share of, of the mind, but not always or maybe not so much from the heart. And I thought about that because I’ve looked at the intention behind things I do, you know. From how I brush my teeth in how I eat and how I talked to another person. And I find, you know, very often I am looking at how can I use this information? How can I optimize or maximize the benefit from this situation, this interaction, you know, something like that. And it really invited me to slow down and investigate my intention in my connection with other people and with things. Will you talk to me a little bit about that?
Arkan: 00:30:43 We were really in big trouble. Humanities in trouble. It’s going to require a lot of wisdom and an alignment of the wisdom of many people to get ourselves out of this very difficult situation. It’s going to take a, if you want to call it that way, impeccability, we gotta to be impeccable. We, we have to close all of our leaks as so as people who serve as a, you know, a spiritual warriors, if you want to call it that way, as servants of humanity. You know it’s going to take really the best of ourselves, the best of the best leaders in the world to get us out of this very dangerous situation we are as humanity. So I feel responsibility around that. I need to stay humble in order to do the best I can do. I myself you know, I am in the same danger of death than everyone else is. So I have to always watch for how, you know, I, I can, uh, go in the wrong direction, you know, in the wrong direction would be to make myself bigger than teachings. To make us more important than the instructions that come from the earth, the sun, the universe. The ancient wisdom of humanity, of the ancient people who are really wise. I cannot make myself bigger than that because if I do, then I can’t serve well. Then I will be busy, you know, uh, you know, keeping that image for myself and for others. And that’s a lot of work. You know, I, I don’t want to do that. I, I prefer to just stay humble and, and keep learning and not be tied to an image where I have to always be the one who knows everything or the, they, that people look at for, for wisdom. I prefer to encourage actually every human being to find their own wisdom because we need lots of human beings to wake up and have the same wisdom so we can make a big team of wise people and find the solutions to our problems. Unfortunately, in, in modern culture, there is a certain personalities that are being followed and seen as especially important. That is a distraction, that isn’t support necessarily the awakening, that collective awakening, you know, that people will rely on other people for their wisdom or the people compensate for their shortcomings and their lack of development by making, you know. By having someone important that has that development in, in, uh, you know, out there and in the monument and say, this is, you know, I follow this one. No, I mean, my wish is that every human being takes responsibility for their own development. You know, I’m not special and not better than anyone. I just did my work. You’ll have a lot of work to do. You know.
Bryan: 00:34:25 Do you mind if I read a paragraph in your book that I think speaks to this. So you say in, this is now in Time of the Black Jaguar, you write “those who instructed me didn’t try to educate me. They left me alone on a hill. They gave me medicine. They played tricks on my ego and mostly they touched my heart, my little heart with their big hearts. When I was ready to learn something, they put me in situations where they knew I would learn by myself. More than being an authority superior to my own will. They made everything possible to assist me in my awakening. They never interfered with the destiny that I was forging for myself.” That’s, that’s, that’s pretty different from the way the, you know, the industrialized world educates people. It’s not, it’s a, there’s nothing like the way I was, I was educated, but I think again, that’s part of what really draws me to you and your work is that I, I feel, you know, that’s not something I’ve had and that it could help me develop and round out as a human being. What I’ve spent a lot of years studying Asian culture, Asian thought, you know, western rational, empirical, you know, psychologically and scientific informed traditions, personal growth, you know, these other things. But when we were together, I thought, you know, despite having grown up here in the rocky mountains and having the right in my own backyard forests and lakes and, you know, a lot of beauty I have not learned from nature. I’m sure I haven’t learned in one of the things that you said when we were there and I think it came up from something as simple as the insects out in the desert where we were with you. And you said to one of the participants who was like shooing this fly away, like don’t, don’t fear nature. Will you talk a little bit more? I mean it, I tend to think, oh, nature can be scary. It’s, you know, it’s big, it’s powerful. It’s, it’s mysterious. You know? And then here you were saying like, don’t fear nature. Will you talk a little bit more about the thinking behind that?
Arkan: 00:36:37 Thank you so much, that is a beautiful question. You know there is so, most people seeking to help in make sure that the earth doesn’t, it’s not destroyed by human activities and people who want to protect and take care of the earth. There’s a lot of people who are afraid of insects and snakes and this and that. So that is a contradiction. Don’t be afraid of the earth, you know, if all those snakes and insects and cold and wind storms and all of that is the earth.
Bryan: 00:37:29 Yeah.
Arkan: 00:37:30 You know, so we cannot have a relationship with something that we’re afraid of. We can’t, you know, so uh, we can have respect. And we can have a, the awareness that what is in front of us is a really powerful and have respect and be careful. Have some caution in some cases, but not fear, not fear. It’s very difficult to have a good relationship with someone that we are afraid of. In all of those elements that people are afraid of are the earth. The snake is the earth. The mountain is the earth. The wind is the earth. So where is the wisdom for us to do our work going to come from? The wisest entity on this earth that can tell us how to bring the environment back to a state of balance. The one who knows that more than anyone is the earth herself.
Bryan: 00:38:45 Yeah.
Arkan: 00:38:45 This may be weird for, you know, in, in western culture, maybe not for everyone. For some scientists actually it’s not weird what I’m going to say, but for indigenous people is natural. You know, we can have communication with the earth. There are ways in which we can read what the earth is trying to tell us. We can learn directly from her. She can guide us. She is the wisest scientist and and source of information for asked to find a solutions is the earth herself. Like how can we find, how can we keep open that channel of communication with the earth when we stress her? When she think, when we think she’s wanting to hurt us. When we think that she’s mean, you know, so we, we know that they’re dangers, that we have to learn how to live on the earth and be careful. But that doesn’t mean the earth wants to hurt us. That mean when something happens, we didn’t have the wisdom, we were not careful or we were not listening, you know, to that, to the signs telling us to be careful. Your question is very important Bryan. Thank you for asking that. That, that, you know, I’m not telling people, hey, you know, go play with the rattlesnakes.
Bryan: 00:40:18 Yeah,
Arkan: 00:40:20 You better be careful if you’re in front of a rattlesnake, but don’t hate rattlesnakes. Don’t kill them if you see one, just be careful. Yes. Don’t step on them, don’t touch them and you know, and if you see one, say hello, you’re so beautiful and walk away. Don’t. Respect for environment. And also find, find out what is the wisdom of rattlesnakes. Don’t make them your enemy because they are not.
Bryan: 00:40:56 What about mosquitos though?
Arkan: 00:40:56 Those are difficult to be friends with.
Bryan: 00:41:00 Yeah.
Arkan: 00:41:00 They also play a role. They give me a hard time and I have to be very patient, you know.
Bryan: 00:41:08 Well, one thing I wanted to say is that, how do you offer what you have to offer in a way that doesn’t puff yourself up or make you seem, you know, maybe more important than you really are?
Arkan: 00:42:26 I’m willing to uh, to, to do this work. To give a message to really good people like you and I’m grateful for this interview and the opportunity to, uh, touch people that I don’t know. I don’t know who’s going to listen to these words and still I know they are my brothers and my sisters and I’m glad that through this interview some people are going to here some things that I hope are helpful. Also the books I write also seek that. It’s a matter of balance. You know, it’s a matter of balance. What I am careful with is with a, we see it becoming too big. If it becomes to big or it is absorbed by the modern culture that makes people famous or that makes it too commercial. If I am, if I am absorbed by that I can lose, you know, I can lose what, uh, what is precious to me. Because if I lose it, then I have nothing to give. You know, I give you an example from nature. Let’s say there’s this tree. This big tree has a lot of, uh, avocados you know, and you know, the best that can happen is that some people come and take some avocados and the seeds, you know, go to other places where new avocados grow as big as that one and there is a lot of avocado trees, you know. But if, you know, if you make a big deal about one tree, you know, lots of people come to that one tree and eat all the avocados off that tree, that tree, it’s going to be famous for awhile. It’s gonna get a lot attention for awhile. It’s going to be done, it’s going to be wasted. You see so it doesn’t seem to be a wise approach, you know, I don’t want to do that. You know. And also what if, related to what I told you before, uh, I, I do believe that everybody can learn. Everybody can receive that. The same wisdom I received but that takes a lot of work. You know, I don’t really think that someone hears one phrase that I wrote in my book or that I something that I said, and because of that they already know. In order to really learn people have to practice, people have to do the work, you know. So you know, I don’t want it, I don’t want to make it just about that where you know, people hear some things that I said that I learned from my teachers and or that I was instructed through a ceremony by the earth or the sand and that they think that because they hear that sentence or, or, or this teaching that they already know. That can be misleading. That is not true. You know, in the modern world that is very intellectual. There is the big danger that people think that they know something because their intellectual mind knows it. I don’t think that’s true. You have to completely embody the teaching. The teaching has to live in our heart, mind, body, and spirit in order to really have completely landed in ourselves. So we may be able to have that teaching be the foundation of our actions and our words. You know, if we have not really embodied the teaching completely in ourselves, if it’s not carried by the water and the light that lives within our body. You know, it’s just in our head. That is one of the problems of the modern world. A lot of teachings are just in the head and you know, we can spend hours and hours and hours talking from our head without really having the capacity to create change. To create change we need to have an inner power. I mean there’s sacred power, a real ability and capacity to move things to transform things like the sand. I said like the earth I said like any natural sacred power does it. You know, so it has to go way beyond our head. I can, you know, if I spent most of my time, you know, just talking, you know, of course you know he’s going to inspire people in the. It maybe, it may lead some people to look for the practices and to go do what is required in order to develop themselves. I understand that. I am sure that some people listening to this interview, we’ll do that. You know, but I also have to do my ceremonies. I also have to have a small community of people where I can really have a direct relationship with some of my relatives and especially younger people that can learn. But, you know, a teacher who has, uh, 1000, uh, people learning from him or her is not going to be able to really teach them well. Ten I can, you know, help really well. A 1000 I can’t, you know. It is better to have 1000 teachers, you know, that each one of them has ten people learning from them then have one teacher that has a million students, you know? Yes. It’s just a practical thing. You know, why I prefer that because I really care. You know, I really care not for whatever is good for me personally. It’s what necessary. Traveling less. We have millions of people remembering the original wisdom of humanity.
Bryan: 00:49:06 I think your right and at the same time, of what you’re saying about we get out of the trouble we are in unless we have, you know, millions of people having this collective awakening that you’ve described. And at the same time with respect, I push and I know I invited you to share your perspective, but I would just challenge you a little bit on, on what you’re saying or I love. You’re talking about working with small groups and I mean I think about me personally with anyone that I want to learn from, if, if that teacher holds that perspective, that’s a privilege to be one of those few. And at the same time I do think there are some teachers today, some leaders who are effectively leveraging technology and organization with a certain intention who are helping to transmit an almost an energy or that intention even though it’s at a larger scale. And, and I say that, I mean the one who comes to mind most is someone I don’t know if you know, is a guy named Sagrew and I’ve been learning from him for about the last year and a half and over 40 years he’s built of a massive volunteer organization here in America and in India and around the world. But it’s interesting to me to see him because I’ve never seen a teacher who I believe has done what you’re saying about embodied the teachings in heart, mind, body, and spirit. And then been able to scale that in a way that I don’t think was possible. Well, it might’ve been possible, but I don’t know how we would have done it without modern technology. And I, I just, I’m not suggesting you’re wrong necessarily just um, and I know everyone has their own style and preference, but um, I think maybe there is something, something more possible. But what do you think?
Arkan: 00:50:54 Well, for sure, it’s excellent someone can do that. You know I admire people that can do that. That the universe and the earth can work in, in many different ways. And there are many different types of talents and medicines people carry. So you know bottom line I can say, you know, that’s not my way. If someone can do that and do it well and do it in a way that really goes deep and really transforms people and really gives people the tools for, for a deep transformation and arriving to having the wisdom and the power to make the earth and humanity better gets. Big respect for people like that. That, you know, that that’s not me. I don’t, you cannot ask a, an apple tree to give you a pear. It’s not my way. I could not feel in, in my environment and my, my own medicine doing something like that. I do admire people who can do it for sure.
Bryan: 00:52:02 Okay. So we’re about an hour in and I haven’t even yet asked you to talk a little bit about your books, but I want it. I want to turn to that now by asking with, with, and maybe the answer is different for the two different books, but who. So this first one I’ll read the title of The Time of the Black Jaguar and offering of indigenous wisdom for the continuity of life on earth. And the second book that was recent, more recently released Deer and Thunder, indigenous ways of restoring the world. Will you tell me who did you write these books for and what did you want the books to do for them?
Arkan: 00:52:40 Yeah, there is, you know, throughout the years mostly since I moved from Beirut to the United States to New Mexico. I, a, do ceremonies and I also do teachings. I go to places where people invite me. I meet people from, like you, you know, who are also doing their work in the world. People have different organizations, people making different efforts and uh, this is actually tied to a, to our previous conversation a, and please, I’m not really making any judgement here. It’s just something that I learned in my own experience is that there’s so many talented people, really, really good people that are willing to put time and effort into this mission. That sometimes, uh, do not have the full understanding of how they can increase their sacred personal power, their sacred inner talent, which can really, really help them do their work better. You know, there’s some efforts that really, uh, create powerful consequences and there are a lot of efforts that don’t. And because we’re in a crisis, we need most of the efforts to really make a difference. You see? So my perspective is, you know, what, if these really good people who are making an effort, you know, received some of the gifts that I received from, from the ancient wisdom, from the elders from the indigenous cultures, from that connection to the spirit world, that connection to the spiritual guides that are really gifted in, that can help us do our work better. You know what if those people really remember, not even learn, but remember that you can have allies in the, in the, in the world that are mountains and that are rivers that are you know powerful sources of energy and light that can really help them do their work. You know, and now I realize that’s a different mind frame. That’s a different way of seeing things. That’s a different methodology. The methodology of people who go to college and school and again, please understand. I’m not judging that methodology. Yeah, I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m just saying it’s missing something. In the methodology of the, you know, that we are taught in school, in college. We’re not taught to make direct connections with the powers of nature in the universe. We’re only thought to see them from the distance and study them. We’re not taught to make our relationship with them. Some people don’t even believe or have in their mind that the understanding that that is possible. You know, so in my books and in the teachings that I give, I, uh, what I try to do is to offer what I was offered. Which is the possibility to claim our inheritance, you know, are the inheritance that we all can claim that comes from the ancient people, very ancient people before humanity became highly intellectual and anthropocentric. You know, there was a time in the ancient times where humanity, where the world was not anthropocentric. Where not everything was run by humans and actually humans were humbled enough to listen and be present. You know, that has been lost. And that is something so that’s a huge, huge loss when we humans think that the intelligence to resolve our problems only comes from humans. You know, we’re handicapped. The intelligence that doesn’t come only from humans. The intelligence comes from the earth itself, from this, from this great world, from the universe. There is so much intelligence in the universe that we can access if we know how to, if we are humble enough. If we know how to listen, but that is a mind frame. That’s another methodology. That’s another way of being humans that requires, you know, certain skills that we, indigenous people develop in ceremony. In ceremony we get out of our head and we listen and we feel with our heart we receive, we remember in our heart things that are way wiser than what we learned in school or what we are read the book. You know that of course I totally understand. It is a very valid choice. You know, some people say, well, I’m not interested in that. I love human intelligence and that’s what I want to pursue. I say, that’s fine. You know, everybody can choose whatever they feel more attracted to by the reason why I wrote my books because I know that there are many people. And you maybe one of them Bryan, because you, you have said many times you were touched by what you experience when we met. Many, many people who feel that something is missing in their work, that they are having some progress, but maybe not as much as they would like to, you know. So what I have reflected on what is, what is missing is the ancient wisdom of humanity. What if, what is missing is indigenous methodology, you know, a different way. Albert Einstein said, we cannot solve a problem with the same tools that created the problem. That really strike me. You know, I say, well, what, what if, uh, there is a lot of people trying to resolve the problems created by the modern world with the same tools of the modern world. Is that going to work?
Bryan: 00:59:51 I think we’re seeing the answer to that question right now.
Arkan: 00:59:54 Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, I really don’t take me wrong. I’m not about this regarding technology or the tools of the modern world, you know, some of them are, we’re using them right now. You and I and they are being useful and they may help people. So I, I don’t, I’m not against it you know but there may be a problem if that’s the only thing we use. They may be a problem if we think that this technological development in this intelligence of humanity that humanity has reached in this, in this time, is really what’s going to take us out of the crisis were in. You know, I don’t know, but my feel, I feel that the answer is no. It doesn’t seem to be happening, you know. Look what’s going on. I mean we should have resolved the crisis of the Environment 10, 20 years ago.
Bryan: 01:01:03 I think that’s one of the ways that people keep themselves from taking action is they’re just thinking, oh, you know, technology or are evolving consciousness or the government or something will ultimately save us. Things are crappy now, but they’re all going to be fine and then they don’t embrace their personal power or what you’re talking about developing their own sacred talents. They just sit on the sidelines.
Arkan: 01:01:24 Exactly right. That’s what I was trying to say Bryan. You say it more clear then me.
Bryan: 01:01:30 Arkan, how many languages do you speak?
Arkan: 01:01:33 Well, I speak Quechua, I speak Spanish, I speak English and uh, and then I speak Italian and Portuguese, but not so well.
Bryan: 01:01:45 Aw, amazing.
Arkan: 01:01:47 And then that little bit of Lakota, but you know. Yes. When I go to Pine Ridge to my relatives in South Dakota, you know, I understand the prayers, I understand some things. I can sing the Lakota songs in ceremony and know what they mean, but you know, I can say I speak Lakota very little.
Bryan: 01:02:13 So one thing I want to ask you, you were talking about just a few minutes ago talking about through ceremony, how we can learn or maybe remember something and you told me an experience about a young man who participated. I believe in a vision quest. I don’t know if it was a vision quest or maybe a sundance with you who afterwards came back and wanted to drink a coca cola. Will you tell me a little, will you tell those me and those people listening that story and, and what that was like for you.
Arkan: 01:02:47 Which one? Can you remind me a little bit of context?
Bryan: 01:02:49 Yeah. So you shared something about someone who had come to you from outside and wanted to learn something or have a certain experience and did. And then at the conclusion of it, as you were riding back in the truck, asked you to pull over.
Arkan: 01:03:12 This guy, he did a four day visual quest. Four days with no food or water and I come get him from the mountain. We go to a sweat lodge. I hear his prayer and it was beautiful prayer. He had remember a lot of wisdom being alone with nature and with spirit here. Yeah, I was. I learned from what he said, he was beautiful. A lot of wisdom came from this young man. I was very happy to hear that. And you know, I, I felt I saw myself in him because I had those experiences and I felt this is a turning point in his life, you know. He, if he pursues this wisdom and he doesn’t forget what he received when he was on the hill. He’s going to be a leader. He’s gonna go far. So then when we come down from our ceremonial grounds to, um, the valley where we have our kitchen in our showers and stuff, we’re going back to a, you know, to the away from nature, closer to a comforts of, our homes. He wanted me to stop? He asked me to stop in a gas station to buy a drink. I said well you had water? No, no, he said, I have been dreaming with that, with having a cold drink. So your choice, you know, I stopped and he went in and he came back with Coca Cola. With a cold Coca Cola in his hands. And uh, he started drinking it. And you know, I, I felt pretty sad because I knew that that was, that was when I turned it off. You know, that he, he needed to. Has happened to many people actually in different ways. You know, he couldn’t stay in that state that was far from his comfort zone. Far from what was familiar to him, far from what he’s human is, was caught on in this world. You know when you do, when you have very sacred, powerful experiences, you are away from that. You, you kind of start seeing yourself differently. But sometimes you’re identification with your humanness and what you and your membership in the simple human world, you know, wants to, pull you back. Not be that sacred being you cannot be that guy that is connected to the spirit world. You’re going to come back to us and be as one of us, so why don’t you have a Coca Cola and get over with it.
Bryan: 01:06:11 And you told me after drinking the coke, he said, “I feel like my old self again.”
Arkan: 01:06:17 Oh, that’s right. That’s right. That’s the most revealing. Yeah. He said that
Bryan: 01:06:26 And what a shift, right? Because it’s not what he thought was his old self was perhaps not his old self, but he had achieved a connection in some way with his old self on the hill for days with no food or water with an intention and some prayer.
Arkan: 01:06:43 Yeah, exactly so that’s what I was talking about before. Thank you for bringing that up. My question to to all those who are listening is how far are you willing to go? How far are you willing to go into your real self? I, I’m not really. I’m not saying do very extreme things and put your life in danger and, and do crazy things. No, I mean go to people who know how to build a safe container for you. For meditation or ceremony or whatever, where people who have the experience doing those things that can create a container for you to be in silence for a long time to be fasting. To be, you know, able to really go out of your hand and deep into your deep self that is part of the earth and the universe and really discover who you really are. And then when I ask how far you’re willing to go, you want to do that for four days only. Are you want to do this for 10 days? Do you want to be who you really are just for a month, no. Are you really, really want to be that and stay like that?
Bryan: 01:08:10 Yeah,
Arkan: 01:08:11 I have to be honest. There is a time when people do have a conflict between that, that real self, awakening and their human part. You know they don’t speak the same language, they don’t want the same things. There is a conflict it is difficult and that’s why when we go through that conflict with teachers, we need mentors, we need practices. We need a container that can help us go through that and then one day everyone can arrive to a place where the human self is still there. The human self has its shortcomings, he has his human appetites. He has all that a human has, and I’m not saying get rid of that or make it wrong or you know or crush it. No, not at all. We got to love ourselves and all that we are by what changes is that, that human self with all these it’s appetites and ignorance and shortcomings is no longer the ruler. It’s not longer the one who runs our actions. We have arrived to a place where our real self, the light of our spirit, the part of us that is keen to the earth and the universe has grown. Has grown big enough to be the ruler. To be the one who decides what we say what we do, how we do it, and in years we still will be human. We still make mistakes but not as much as before, you know, and of course that the higher self will have compassion on the mistakes of our humans and the mistakes of its own human cells. And not be a tyrant and not be, uh, you know, ridged and stay, humble and always learn. Because the truth is if you arrive to that point and you can be connected to your higher self and you know how small you are. Big stars out there and that the earth has so many sacred people you know, and you are just one more you know, and then you keep listening and you keep learning. You keep paying attention in, you know, but something has changed. What has changed is when you really need wisdom, you know how to access it. You know why this is the place within you that you need to go to in order to access the best wisdom, the highest light you can, you can make use of when you really want to do something good for someone else, for the earth, for humanity. That’s what changes. Now you have quick access to that that you don’t have to take a long time to get to that. It’s right there. You have cultivated a relationship with that part of yourself. Just walk a step in you are there anytime you want. That is a treasure and that is a treasure that any person trying to do good for humanity and the earth could have. And in my opinion sorry for saying it like that, but I think should have. That’s the biggest resource, you know, wisdom in the access to it.
Bryan: 01:11:52 It’s really amazing for me to hear you speak about it that way because I think that’s what I personally have been looking for and I think a lot of people have been looking for for a long time. In that sense you mentioned that so many people in their work or just in their lives overall feel that something’s missing and when we say something’s missing, it implies that it’s possible. It’s available and all the other is to do is to find it and to integrate it. And when in your, in your book you make this mention, you say very difficult ceremonies, like fasting alone on a hill, provide us with the resources to remember the wellbeing of our people and the world in which we live. In these ceremonies, years of human routine are severely interrupted, right? Like years of living the way we’ve lived to just go out and have this prayer, this fasting, no food or water for days at a time. Of course, that’s, that’s pretty intense and it’s no surprise because just a couple of pages earlier, you write indigenous people intentionally get close to death. Not from wanting to physically harm ourselves, but to liberate the flow of our lives from certain heavy energies that create stagnation, illness in oblivion. No, I would imagine people listening to this, if they’re like me, they hear that and they simultaneously want it, but they’re afraid of it. They’re like, you know, I, yeah, I would love to do that. But A: I have all these responsibilities. I’ve got a job, I’ve got kids, I’ve got a mortgage, you know, I couldn’t possibly go off. And B: is it safe? Like I might die, right? It’s, you can’t go four days with no water. That’s, that’s crazy, you know, that kind of thing. But what’s your experience with finding people or rather people finding you? Because I would imagine that people who are in intense pain, I mean as we know, many people are addicted to substances to unhealthy practices, whether it’s work or shopping or something else or they’re just outright killing themselves, committing suicide. And, and I, I understand that some people find you as an, as an alternative to you know, those hopefully. They don’t know what else to do, but they make their way to Arakawa or they somehow cross paths with you in search of healing. What’s your experience with someone like that? Who wants to participate in, in a transformational experience like a vision quest?
Arkan: 01:14:15 You mentioned a few different things that I would like to address. The first one is please, if you hear the interview don’t go do things like that on your own. It can be dangerous. I know people, young people who say, ‘Oh, I’m going to do a vision quest” and they went out to a mountain by themselves without any guidance or any container or knowledge of how to do it. And that was the end for them. But it is dangerous if it’s not done under the experience and wisdom of traditions of doing that go back thousands of years where there’s a way to do it and that is safe and there is a way to do it that can be pretty unsafe. So that I really wanted to say before I say more,
Bryan: 01:15:08 No, thank you.
Arkan: 01:15:12 You know, you mentioned a, that people do these things because they feel something is missing. And you know, I always say when you feel that something is missing, most probably, you know, what is missing? It is you, really. It’s you, nothing else. It’s just you, you know, so.
Bryan: 01:15:40 That just makes it worse in some ways Arken. Cause when your the thing is missing. How do you possibly find yourself when you’re the one having the sense that something’s missing?
Arkan: 01:15:46 Yep, your saying it yourself. You create a time in the space to a, to get rid of the distractions, you know, and uh, and make yourself available to feel yourself. To feel the deepest part of yourself. And it takes time. When I do vision quest the first day is so ridiculous. It’s so, oh man, it’s just listening to a, like a broken record, you know. My thoughts, my mental activity that by inertia keeps going, no, I have nothing to do. My mind is so easy thinking about the same things. Family, work, my past and this and that. And then suddenly all that activity starts diminishing, diminishing, diminishing, diminishing. And suddenly, there is silence, there is a, you know, and then I’m just really there with myself and then I start feeling things and perceiving from my real self, you know. From my real self, I can perceive this period of a tree. And it’s an extraordinary experience, you know, to, to be connected to my real self, be who I really am. My, from my spirit, my essence and connect to the essence of a tree that is in front of me on the hill. You have, I mean, there is no way to describe what that is. You know, I, I can’t define it, but this is extraordinary experience, you know. So that, the real me is always there it’s just that I’m not listening to it, I’m not paying attention to it. And when I say the one missing is, it’s me is that it doesn’t mean it’s not there, you know. It’s like, imagine you have your partner or your friend right next to you know that you are so distracted that you are not paying attention to that one and sadly you realize, “Oh, I’m missing my friend” and you turn around and he’s right there. You know, but why were you missing it because you weren’t paying attention. You were so distracted, so in your head. So you know, you know, self absorbed that it was right there next to you and you are not paying attention. Actually I can say thanks to your question, Bryan really good question, you know, everything starts with a feeling of missing it. You know, maybe it is a real self who misses that feeling, you know, but that feeling is the beginning of the path. And going back to the path and we have to go back to the path a million times, many times a day. Every time I feel I’m missing myself, I’m about to give myself back when I don’t feel nothing. When I don’t remember that I’m missing myself. That’s when I’m totally lost. You see? So it’s really good to hang out with people. Go to places go to ceremonies or meetings or conversations where that can help us remember that we are missing ourselves. The moment we remember that we’re one step away, you know? And if we realize, yeah, I get myself back, I remember myself, but I can only keep myself in my awareness for a minute, maybe five. The meeting is over, the conversation is over and I go back to my old habits and I lose myself again. Well, that’s when you can make the decision to do something stronger. You know, really go look for someone that can help you have more, many days, you know. A more intense experience. Uh, am I asking people to come to me. No, no, not really because I can’t. How many people? How many vision quest can I lead in a year? Just one. Really when the time is right and there is a time to do ceremonies. How many people can I put on vision quest at one time, you know. I, I promised that I would never would put more than 20 and now I’m putting 30 or 32. I need to know each one I need to take care of their lives of each one. I need to make sure that each one learns where they need to learn really well and I need to be able to pray with them before they go into healing. When they come back. I cannot do that with more than 30 people. What we need is more people that can help people go on the hill and we are trying. We are trying because you know my father, some of my relatives myself, we are looking always for the people who learn well. Who then become capable of doing the same we do. That’s how it spreads, you know. Like the example I gave you of the tree, we have seeds that go on to other places to make all their trees. But if everyone goes to only one place and you have hundreds of people in one ceremonial location, you know. Again, there may be teachers and ceremonial leaders that can make that work and I admire them. I don’t know how to do that. I like to really know each person that I am working with and I feel responsible. I feel responsible for their, not only for their lives but for them really learning well and in order for them to learn the well, they, I have to have an intimate connection with them. I have to become close to them and not becomes close to huge amounts of individual only a few.
Bryan: 01:22:36 And my understanding is your request for those who do participate is that it’s actually a five year commitment because it’s before you come and just participate as a vision quester you actually support others who are doing it as a volunteer. And then you come back yourself four consecutive years for more than four days at a time. Even though it’s four days without food and water. Fasting and praying and being awake, that the commitment is actually bigger than just the four days or the one time.
Arkan: 01:23:05 I just wanted to add, I don’t know if I told you this, but after you, after the five years there can be five more or 10 more depends on you. Because there are people there that we are, we’re a family that has grown to over the years and you know many, not all of them, because it’s a personal decision, but many of the people who did four years of vision quest, then they kept coming, you know. At least one year and they have to come back to do what we call a, which is a thank you ceremony, for gifts for all that was received for the four years. So that makes six. After that, some of the people they want. I say, Hey, I need help. I cannot put 30 people on the hill by myself, it’s a lot of work. I know, some of you please come back and help. Some people will come back and keep helping for five, 10, 15 more years like that. You know, people in our ceremonial community coming here for 20 years. And those are the people who are the new trees. That carry, you know deep inside. Those people now know, rent some lodges or do things like that. Of course, it’s very delicate to pass an indigenous way of prayer to someone who didn’t grow up in an indigenous culture. In, you know, I respect the indigenous peoples that do not want to do that or do not agree. But there are some indigenous elders and leaders who say that actually we need to do that and we need to teach our ways. But some of us who do that we do it in a very, very responsible way. I only share the way of doing some ceremony or a sweat lodge or something with someone who didn’t grow up in a indigenous nation if they prove themselves throughout many, many, many years of work and have full respect for the traditions and the way we do things, you know. So, uh, for those of, of, of the people who want to learn these ways from indigenous people. Let me say something that may sound funny, but you know, and you can take it anywhere you want as a joke or as a serious thing. I say Thanksgiving, you know, next Thanksgiving November next year, instead of, you know, doing a big thanksgiving celebration at home and spend money in a lot of food, go to a, an indigenous reservation and give thanks to the indigenous people for keeping that life the ancient memory of what it is to be a human being and the connection to the earth through culture, prayers, ceremony that keep alive, that connection between humans and the earth. You know in our culture when we want something, it all starts with giving a gift, you know. To, to ask for any favor or any guidance, the first thing we do is offer tobacco or give a gift and say, you know, here, this is for you because I, I may ask for your help. You know, like that, you know, and, uh, and then builds a relationship. Keep your antennas sharp and see who may be able to help you. By the way, I 100% believe that the one who ran for this is the earth herself and there’s crucial guides of humanity. So when someone is ready the teacher comes, you know, that’s really true. So you know, it’s not about like going everywhere, seeking for a teacher or doing things like that. Yes, you know, have the intention, I’m ready. I really need to do this. One thing leads to another and then you end up, you know, knowing someone who knows someone who say, yeah, there is you know these people in Arizona in South Dakota or here and there, you know. And go visit them, bring them a gift and humbly, once you have earned their trust, ask for help, you know. But there is a lot of, a damaged relationship that needs to be repaired. You know, the let’s be aware that the people who carry the wisdom in the containers for doing these practices in a safe way and actually in a way that really works. Where you don’t waste four days on the mountain, but you really receive the help that you need. The people who hold the memory of humanity. This memory belongs to humanity, of how human beings develop these relationships, these profound relationships with themselves in the sacred powers of nature in the spirit world are people that belong to cultures that have been conquered and vanished in many ways. You know, so you know that that also has to be addressed. You know, it is, it is part of it. Is, you know, we, that cannot be ignored. There is a, asking for help to people that who were, whose lands were stolen. Who’s ways were a made wrong and were people who are colonized. So how do we approach that, you know. How do we go to someone like that? You know, in a respectful manner, uh, willing to even have that conversation, you know, you know, and say, hey, you know, how do we do this in a humble way?
Bryan: 01:29:33 I imagine however we do it there’s some humility involved.
Arkan: 01:29:37 Absolutely. And my father, my adopted father Basu Braveheart, he’s a Oglala Lakota Mason man from Pine Ridge South Dakota. He has done and he still does a lot of work around forgiveness. He, he says publicly that, you know, and you may find, you know, he has some, he has done some of what I’m doing now with immense wisdom and he speaks about the importance of forgiveness. The healing power of forgiveness, you know, how, uh, how healing it is to ask for forgiveness. How healing it is to be asked forgive you know. And you know, the way he explains it in what he has found about that it’s very, very, very profound. You know, so the sharing of our traditions and the sharing of the way we do our ceremonies with, uh, with people of the world. It’s very, very delicate. I’m always consulting. No, actually this year I have invited some indigenous leaders for a gathering so we can have a counsel around it. I need to ask the question, you know, I, I’m learning how do we share our ways, you know. In a way that there’s no cultural appropriation. We don’t lose the treasures of our ancestors or they are not taken from us in this use or use for the wrong purposes. And at the same time we do forgive. We do participate in the healing of the world by giving some of our ancient wisdom to people that are sincere and need that wisdom for their work. A work that will benefit all of humanity by healing the earth, all the damage done to the earth. And by also bringing wisdom, wisdom into all of the institutions that run the world. Scientific education, the government and everywhere, you know. So it is very delicate subject that, you know, it’s, it’s kind of new, you know, that some indigenous people are sharing, uh, and uh, you know. Mistakes are being made for sure. But there are also some really good benefits to it, you know, some really good people learning and using what they are learning in a good way. So this is a big conversation happening right now. And uh, when you, uh, Bryan asked this question and you even put it out there for other people to ask about how to benefit from these ancient traditions, I have to say these things, you know, they are right in the middle of it.
Bryan: 01:32:46 Thank you for sharing that. And also even more, thank you for doing that in that middle place of serving as an intermediary or a liaison of a kind between, you know, a bridge between the traditions of ancient wisdom and healing for our modern world. I think there’s many, many people who are, who are looking for this and many more who stand to benefit from it. What’s, in your opinion, what’s the most important quality for spiritual teacher?
Arkan: 01:33:17 Humility. Number one. Nothing else works without that one.
Bryan: 01:33:22 I totally. I totally could have guessed that from what you said already. That’s great. That’s great. Okay. Let me just wrap up. Begin to wrap up by saying thank you and one way that I have endeavored to express my gratitude to you for sharing your time and your knowledge and your experience. Your wisdom really is I have made a what’s called a micro loan to an entrepreneur in a developing in Peru actually. I’ve, I’ve gone onto Kiva.org, which is a website I, I like to use to try to share my blessings with people around the world and I’ve loaned $100 to a woman named Leah who lives in San Antonio Huabal. I don’t know if I’m saying that right, but this, she’ll use this money to help buy fertilizer and prune her coffee plantation. So that’s just one way that I have wanted to show my thanks to you for your time today.
Arkan: 01:34:17 Thank you so much. That’s beautiful to hear that. I want to tell you something Bryan. I have had a few interviews throughout my life. Not many, you know, maybe 10, 15 and uh, your, the way you do it is excellent, and it’s, I don’t know how you do it, but you, the way you keep track of the most important elements of the interview, the way you come back to things that were said before that are really important. The way you right away know to what part of my book not go, you have to go to in order to support something that we are talking about. Uh, amazing. Really. I mean, you’re very, very good at doing this, so congratulations.
Bryan: 01:35:14 Well thank you. You make it all possible.
Arkan: 01:35:16 Yeah. I just want something that you could hear in the interview and maybe we can use for our next interview. There was something really precious that could have had a little more of development when when you asked me about one of the most powerful questions I felt, you asked me was about building the culture that is not aggressive.
Bryan: 01:35:41 Yes.
Arkan: 01:35:43 A culture of sharing an that, and that was telling you that there is an example of that. And you know I have some knowledge of how the Caral people, did it without weapons. They used a lot of people in the Indian world without weapons. They spread their culture actually by sharing and by becoming attractive to other people that wanted to learn. And also I know a lot about how the Inca did it. But the Inca did it out of a state of emergency, there was war. You know, so the memory of this, is my opinion, it belongs to the memory of humanity because these were human beings. They were not from another species and what they accomplished, what they did in those times is extraordinary and I really think that it could good be a reference for all those fashion in the modern world. Trying to build a new culture. This new culture may look a lot like what those people’s did thousands of years ago.
Bryan: 01:36:54 Yeah, I think your right. That’s definitely something I want to explore because I. There was something I wanted to ask about that’s related to that is your sentence in The Time of the Black Jaguar. “The whole economic system needs to become natural, ecological and sacred.” And and so I think those two things will be a great, a great place to pick up, so I would love to do that.
Arkan: 01:37:10 Okay. Excellent.
Bryan: 01:37:12 Again, saying thank you Arkan and thank you to everyone who has listened. I hope that you’ve taken away many, many things that will deepen and develop in you. Go far beyond the level of mind, but as Arkan said, to truly embody the teaching, some of the ideas here, explore them and yourselves. Find yourself if you have the sense that something’s missing and ultimately infuse it into your heart, mind, body, Spirit, and live it as the truest expression of who you are. So with that, take care until next time we’ll resume part two with Arkan Lushwala.
Sign up to receive podcasts, blog posts, and other inspiring content from Brilliant Miller delivered to your inbox.
Live a good life. Help others live a good life too!
We will never sell your name or email address.
Opt-out at any time. No strings.