Law Number 12: Love your Life…Story from North American Indian Lore, for age 10 to adult

This story was given to me in meditation by an ancient Indian Chief, ‘Calling Horse’.

Love your Life, Perfect Your Life, Beautify all Things in Your Life, Glory in Your Strength and Beauty

This Law was unspoken ‘common sense’ in most tribes, but some would quote it often.

 

Everyone knew the uplifting benefits of making an effort to produce beautiful artifacts, be they clothing, tents, tools or pots.All were appreciated both by the maker and the user, if true skills and craftsmanship were used in their making.

 

Likewise when people made an effort with their appearance, they could hold their heads up high.They were clean and handsome and admirable.A child would adore its parents and would wish to copy their sheen and style.Parents would train their offspring in the traditions of producing the clothing of their tribe.

 

I can tell you a story about a couple in my tribe, her name was Blue Bird and his, Red Fox.Their families used to joke about their possible betrothal.‘Will Red Fox catch the Blue Bird?’ they would ask.

Blue Bird’s family said she would not willingly be plucked of her feathers, as she was a strong and willful girl.However Red Fox was determined to catch her and for her to be pursuing him in the chase.He thought if she chased him, he would be able to agree, but if he chased her, being stubborn, maybe she never would give in.

 

It was a time of feasting, spring was in the air and several young braves had love and pursuit on their minds.So indeed did the young unmarried girls in the tribe.There were four braves and five girls all hoping for a match.This meant that one of the girls was going to be disappointed.Blue Bird was determined that it would not be her.

 

Over the winter when there was less to do by way of gathering plants, she made a special effort with her clothing.She carefully dyed the skins and cut and shaped them so perfectly that the other girls came to ask her to show them how to produce the same effects.She helped them, but she did not give away all of her secrets.Her grandmother had told her: ‘Some things must be kept in the family and handed down, mother to daughter, father to son. Not everyone needs know about your skills and techniques.It is not a matter of life or death whether you can look more handsome than the others in the tribe, but it will help you to secure the husband you desire.’

 

Blue Bird knew her grandmother was right.She showed the other girls how to dye their clothing, but she did not tell them quite all of the herbs that she used.She showed them how to create patterns on their tents, but she did not share her very finest needles and yarn with them.

 

When the feasting began the young men held competitions to show who was the strongest.She noticed that Yellow Cloud had the most stunning headdress and clothing, and that he seemed to be performing for her.She watched Red Fox out of the corner of her eye.She had always admired him but did not want to let him know, until the moment she saw him dancing towards another young girl known as Prairie Flower. A feeling arose in her which she hardly recognised.It was a feeling of panic and fear of the loss of him. She walked quickly to her tent, her eyes brimming.Her grandmother had been watching the proceedings. She knew exactly what was in the girl’s heart.

 

‘Be proud but be clever,’ said her grandmother.‘Stand behind Prairie Flower, not too close, and hold this token in your hand, almost as if you were offering it to him.Look at him; do not take your eyes off him.He will come to you.When he does, give it to him, touch his hand and look into his face.Then he will know that you have chosen him, and indeed that he has chosen you.’

 

Blue Bird took the token and walked proudly into a space behind Prairie Flower. Her black hair glinted in the sunlight, her garments draped over her shapely figure in the most flattering way. She looked at Red Fox, how strong and graceful he was! He might not be the most handsome young man, nor the best dressed, but she knew he was kind and amusing, strong and brave. She would be happy with him. She caught his eye. Not looking away she lifted the love token almost imperceptibly towards him. He did not need a second invitation.With a huge leap of joy and triumph he left the dancing braves and swept Blue Bird off her feet. They both shrieked with laughter as he carried her around the dancing circle. Soon all the young men were carrying a maiden. Only Prairie Flower sat alone, a single tear coursing down her cheek. One of the boys too young to take a wife respectfully approached her.

‘Prairie Flower, next year I will be choosing a wife, and if you would like to wait for me I would like to choose you.’

 

The girl’s father came over and said, ‘There is plenty of time for you to find a husband, Prairie Flower, and plenty of time for you to learn how to beautify yourself and your home. Go and talk to Blue Bird, she obviously knows a thing or two.’

 

‘Yes, Father,’ replied the young girl. ‘I shall continue to enjoy my life in your tent. I am not unhappy that I was not chosen. Next year my hair and my dress will be as beautiful as Blue Bird’s, and I will decorate your tent so that it rival’s the Chief’s tepee.’

 

‘You are a wise girl,’ said her father.‘Others may have entertained jealousy and anger in their hearts, but you know how to perfect your life with love and acceptance. Your mother has taught you well.’

‘Love your Life, Perfect Your Life, Beautify all Things in Your Life, Glory in Your Strength and Beauty

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Law No 11, A story about Cleanliness ( American Indian Tradition) for 10year olds to adult

BE CLEAN, BOTH SELF AND THE PLACE YOU DWELL IN.

Told to me in meditation BY CALLING HORSE an ancient Chief.


When my people moved into a new place each family would be allocated a certain part of the camp to look after. They would set up their teepee or teepees. They would construct their own fire for cooking. They would have to care for the entire area under their control.
On one occasion I remember an argument between two families. It was about a certain bush. One said it was in their territory and so they could use it to hang their washing on, and the other said no, it was theirs. It was indeed a petty argument. However, there were deeper causes for this argument. In the past these people had argued amongst themselves over other things. One of the families was very clean and tidy. They would always be first at the river for morning ablutions.  There would never be loose stones lying around their teepee. Their drying plants would be arranged in tidy rows, hanging on ropes. Their teepee would never be torn or dirty looking. The other family, on the other hand, was very different. They would be last for ablutions, if they were there at all. They would never all have a wash on the same day. Some days two out of the five members would wash, other days, none. They were a foul smelling bunch. People used to castigate them for their bad habits and every so often one of them would get hurled into the river. Their ground around the teepee was never swept so that stones would hurt people’s feet if they walked by.

The clean tent and the dirty tent. All Calling Horse pics by Alan Nisbet

The clean tent and the dirty tent. All Calling Horse pics by Alan Nisbet

At the time when the two families were arguing about the bush for drying their clothes, we were in a camp where there was not really enough space for everyone to spread and to have their own privacy. People were irritating each other. The chief was having a hard time keeping the peace. The main reason that the clean family objected to the dirty ones was not on account of the small tree, but because they smelled so bad.  Their teepee smelled bad too and the clean family was just down wind of the offending tent.

The argument grew heated. The chief had to come and mediate. When he had heard both sides of the story and had inspected both the teepees and the surroundings of the two families, he sat down half way between the two tents.
“I shall let my senses be the judge of this argument.” he said.
“As I sit here, I am aware of the tent over there even if I close my eyes. I can smell it. I am aware of the tent over there if I walk round it with my eyes closed, because I stumble on the stones scattered around it. I am aware of the family which lives in that teepee over there, because even with my back turned upon them I can smell them. They are clearly not following the laws of the Great Spirit with regard to cleanliness.
I ask myself how I can help these people to tread on the correct path, the proper way, the Way of The Great Spirit. The answer is this. I feel that if only they had a little bush to hang their dirty clothes upon, they would be able to wash their bodies and their clothes.They would also able to clean the tent and wash the cleaning skins and hang them out to dry. It is clearly because they do not have this bush to dry their washed clothes upon, that they are such a smelly, dirty family. So I think they should have the bush. The clean family will have to set up a rope and some sticks to dry their clothes upon. I expect they will arrange their washing in a very beautiful design.”


With that the chief stood up, the dirty family looking very embarrassed and the clean family looking rather bemused.
“Carry on, my Children,” said the old man. “The Great Spirit enjoys the sweet smell of cleanliness. See what you can do to provide it for Him!”

Law No 9 Do not be greedy for possessions (North American Indian Tradition)

Do not be greedy for possessions

(a story told to me in meditation by Calling Horse, an ancient Chief)

In my day everybody in the tribe had similar possessions. While we all valued cleverly made pots, well sewn clothes and tents, we did not accumulate possessions in the way that people do these days. Indeed we spent our time travelling form place to place, resting in a camp for a few weeks and then moving on. We did not need or want more possessions than we could comfortably carry to the next camping ground.

I can tell you a story about a small family, members of my tribe. There were two children, a girl and a boy, a mother and her husband, White Feather. The husband broke his leg one spring time in a hunting accident. He was unable to hunt, unable to move far at all. His wife was very worried about how they would manage, how would they find food?

In the next tent lived an old woman, a very skilled potter. She suggested that the husband learn how to make pots, since he could not walk and would not be able to for some time. He readily agreed, he was a quick learner and as his hands were already strong he found he could make pots fast and well. He had an artistic eye and decorated them beautifully. The old lady was relieved to have another person to take over her work. She was growing too tired to make pots any more she said.

Members of the tribe had been accustomed to exchanging food and clothing with the old woman for her pots. Now they went to White Feather. He paid his teacher well and was also able to feed his family with the proceeds from the pots. He made enough pots to trade with visiting tribes for other goods which he needed. Sometimes they did not have exactly what he required, but he would take what they offered anyway. He knew that he would be able to barter for what he needed later on.

Every so often a potlatch was held within the tribe. People would gather together all the things which they no longer wanted and laid them outside their tents. Others could come and take what they needed. It would be considered a disgrace to take more than one’s fair share. People did not try to gather more than was necessary around them. The potlatch system worked very well.

One day at a potlatch the chief’s wife came to the tent of the little family. She was carrying a beautiful pot. “I would like you to notice that I have chosen this pot to take home with me today,” she said. “I have never seen such a beautiful pot and I am sure your husband made it. I want to say that I hope he continues to make pots for the tribe even when he can walk properly again. Nobody makes pots like he does.”

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White Feather’s wife was very touched by this. She reported it to her husband.

“Indeed I will continue to make pots; I find the process very satisfying. I prefer it to chasing and killing animals.” So said White Feather and he was the potter in the tribe for many long years.

Introducing Guptananda

Welcome. I’m Teresa. I plan to put my stories on this blog. I hope you enjoy reading them. Although I started off writing Yogas Stories,  I write about other subjects too, and you will find different stories under the different categories in my blog. I’d love to hear any thoughts you may have. Click on the word ‘comment’ below each post to get in touch or share your thoughts. For the time being here is a short introduction to my background.

My General Background
I live in the UK with my husband where I worked as a special needs teacher in a college of Further Education (now retired). I’m also a mother of two grown sons, a grandmother, a qualified yoga teacher, psychotherapist and counsellor. I also embrace other forms of healing including energy healing, Bach Remedies, essential oils, and crystals. In my spare time I love to garden.

The Stories
In 1995 an amazing thing happened. A spirit guide, Guptananda, came to me during a meditation when I was asking for help to teach my yoga classes. I had met him once before in a meditation circle when I asked for help in understanding New Age writings. I was taken up into a blue sky and across to the continent of India. I travelled across the snowcapped Himalayan Mountains, to a cave, inside was a guru. He told me that I didn’t need to read New Age material, but told me instead to read the Vedas, Upanishads and the Bhagvad Gita, and that I would find all the answers I needed there. I had read them once before as part of my training to become a yoga teacher. In response to my request for help  He said “There’s no point in teaching people spiritual practices unless they are obeying the ‘laws of life’.” I couldn’t remember what they were myself and he sternly told me off! Then he told me not to worry, and said that he would help me. He gave me a story on greed, then another on chastity. Over weeks and months he gave me a set of  stories all about his own life. He told me he lived 400 years ago. The first yoga principles are the yamas and niyamas, the laws of life, similar to the 10 commandments. I’ve used these stories to help me to teach my students. The stories given via Guptananda offer the teachings of these principles in a very readable and acceptable format, suitable for both adults and children.


As time went on people began asking me to write stories. I discovered that other guides would also visit me to offer stories on other themes, for example therapeutic stories for my counselling clients and stories for Education In Human Values in schools and colleges I believe that these stories are wonderfully touching and relevant to today’s life. They have been a gift to me and I want to share them with other people. They are of particular relevance to those on the path of studying or teaching yoga, but are useful to people in all walks of life.