The Circle Way Overview
From the ancient wisdom carried by elders of many indigenous cultures we may distill three basic instructions for a good life, a good society, and a good world. When followed they will maintain human happiness and well-being, benefiting all of life.
THE FIRST instruction is respect. Respect reminds us that everything in creation is one piece, that it is all connected and we are related to it all, that when we touch any part of it we are touching ourselves, when we harm any part we are harming ourselves, and when we heal or help any part we are healing and helping ourselves.
THE SECOND instruction is to follow this respect with as much connection and closeness as we are able to make with any part of Creation. To learn as much as we can about the universe we live in and the other beings that inhabit it with us. We think of this in terms of a circle in which all are connected, all are important, interesting, necessary and sacred. The closeness of our connections, to ourselves, our families, our neighbors and colleagues, to strangers, the plants in the garden, the trees in the forest, the animals, the waters, the winds, the stars, to any and all part of this Creation, fills us with love and joy. This circle extended in time becomes a spiral that enhances the positive evolution of humankind to ever greater understanding and bliss.
THE THIRD instruction is celebration. To continually be aware and give thanks for the wondrous gift of this life and the consciousness by which we are able to perceive it. We can, and often do fail to perceive the wonders about us, but if we make a practice of regular thanksgiving and celebration we remind ourselves that choice is always ours to make every moment.
ALSO BASIC to our closeness is our understanding of our nature: how good, how compassionate and kind we all are naturally, how we like to have fun and enjoy each other, when we are not confused by old hurtful patterns getting in our way. How we all want to be helpful, and how the best help we can give others is to listen to them, be a mirror to their true selves and an ally in seeing and discharging negative patterns.
And for this the third instruction is very, very helpful: to remember to appreciate each other and ourselves often. We all get stuck in patterns sometimes, get discouraged, confused. We can all use support and encouragement. Let us remind each other – please remind me – how perfectly wonderful and loveable we all are – and celebrate!
So to those who feel to use the designation The Circle Way for their activities: if these instructions of our elders are a part of your activities it would seem entirely appropriate to call what you are doing The Circle Way. When you are together spend some of the time listening to each other and appreciating each other, reporting your successes, sharing your needs, and having fun. In the interest of our extending the connection and closeness of the second instruction I hope that everyone using that Circle Way name would stay close and keep all of the others, and me, informed of how things go.
We make our circles to help each other. That was the purpose of the first circle ever made by our ancestors. We make circles in order to help each other.
That is why we are together, and in that we are also helped. The elders always instructed us never to speak disrespectfully of anyone in the circle, never to criticize or denounce another person. Those things are harmful not only to the person at whom they are directed, but to the circle and to the person doing the criticizing or denouncing. They create a disharmony that extends beyond the persons and small circles involved and increase the separation and negativity everywhere they touch.
So members of a circle must agree to this instruction of the elders, otherwise it is not The Circle Way. And if they slip and forget they must be gently and fondly reminded by the others. But what about the criticisms and denunciation of people who are not part of a circle, who do not agree to The Circle Way and to our need to be helpful to each other?
Unfortunately we can have no influence over what they do except that of our love and understanding. Our love teaches us that they are us, that they are completely good and valuable as all human beings are only they don’t know that, and our understanding teaches us that they, like us and all human beings, are afflicted with negative patterns, derived from earlier hurts for which they are not to blame and which they do not understand, but which may add to their present hurts and confusions and obscure their true loving nature and their wish for harmony and to have fun with us.
I am convinced that if we were able to devote the thought and the time and energy for it, our own caring would eventually slip past those patterns to the person inside who really doesn’t want them but wants connection and closeness. If time and opportunity for that are presented, it would certainly be worth a try. If not, it doesn’t help to feel bad about it, or to let it bother us even though it makes us sad. We only must continue on our paths of unconditional loving, connecting and getting as close as we can wherever we can.