The indigenous way of life has not forgotten the extraordinary miracles that happen to us each and every day.
Today, there are many thousands of territories inhabited by indigenous peoples around the world. These territories behold something of immense and unique importance to all humanity.
This uniqueness is revealed among the human capacity to develop an intuitive bond with the natural environment. Indigenous peoples behold unbreakable bonds with their landscapes, yet they are too often marginalized into the adventurous compartments of our minds.
Indigenous peoples are fellow human beings that aspire to express themselves in synchrony with nature’s own expressions. They have yet to fall out of step in the obligatory dance between humans and nature. Here, hypnotic rituals are ordinary and transcendental experiences melt nature and humanity into a persistent and impalpable union.
Cultures are molded by their landscapes as much as landscapes are molded by cultures themselves. Traditionally, indigenous peoples have lived in harmony with the Earth, and their lifestyles have been based on environmentally sustainable principles that neither exploit the environment nor destroy the future.
This way of life contains absolute contemporary relevance to the world we are constructing for tomorrow; and according to the conservationist approach to indigenous wisdom, tomorrow is all we ever have since the past is always devouring the present.
But what about the here and now; just this moment, fresh and as is? What about the continuous stream of persistence that can never seem to capture time and space within the same grasp? Perhaps indigenous wisdom spawns from a preservationist worldview. This is a point of view that grows comfortable with the uncertainty of past and future.
So indigenous wisdom does not strive to contain, but rather, facilitates innate intelligence to utilize the creative genius of the human mind as a framework to galvanize nature’s transcendent self-expressions. Thus to ‘preserve’ is to melt into unity, and engage the present moment to flourish.
Some argue that it is imagination that lends humans power over the natural world. As always, biological life will adapt to circumstance; nevertheless, our discordance within the realm of nature has wounded the cradle we call home. But the world will keep spinning without us, because it is only precious to humanity according to our own needs of it.
Every indigenous culture that has ever been assimilated by self-interested expansionism knows this lesson all too well; that cultural diversity is equally important to the evolution of the human species as biodiversity is to life in general.
A shift in human consciousness entailing our own slight value to Earth’s biological systems has realized the delicacy of the current situation impacting humanity as a whole — the Earth is not in danger. We are.
We must guide our forward momentum towards an ideology that knows humanity and nature thrive together when neither attempt to tame the other.
Some researchers have labeled the contemporary age we live in as the “anthropocentric era”, which essentially means human centered world.
Anthropocentrism is derived from a cascade of relatively recent scientific and technological discoveries that have led to the exploitation of previously unacknowledged energy sources within the Earth. This new ability to light up the world has given us the opportunity to look at the planet from the outside in, and has diminished traditional means of production into the faint echoes of history. But along with this synthetic ability to withdraw from the natural world, we have also perceived the fragility of our own anthropocentric inertia.
Acknowledgment of the resilience manifested in the indigenous way of life is not only bound to our detrimental anthropocentric prognosis, but is common sense.
In the midst of our current epoch of development, humankind has overcome the limitations of sheer human muscle through a groundswell of innovations. Many of today’s technological developments have provided brilliant solutions; nonetheless, they have also created unprecedented challenges for society.
Exponential amounts of growth have disengaged the chronicled trends of human progress and have made possible the relative prosperity of modern developed economies; many times at expense of the more beautiful world we all desire to live in.
The squeamish reality of the artificial existence we are creating points to indigenous territories as treasure troves of overlooked and undervalued human potential.
Indigenous peoples are greatly affected by the comprehensiveness of globalization, yet still, they remain the gatekeepers for the very last pristine landscapes on Earth where resources are still abundant and where souls still roam free.
But what is a product of the cultivation of knowledge? And what is simply untouched by human intervention and inherent in nature?
One worldview says the Earth is composed exclusively of material substances which fabricate nature’s innate genius upon structures such as living biological organisms, entire ecosystems, genomes, and the human brain itself. All of these exist without humanity’s creative interventions. Under this premise, knowledge is not “out there” but rather belies in the capability for humans to create utility out of nature’s preexisting substances. So consciousness in this regard is disconnected from the innate. This point of view suggests that we are most aware when we become the master over matter.
On the other hand, indigenous knowledge is a product of collaboration with nature to intentionally develop beneficial outcomes through the stimulation of natures expressive elements. Here, indigenous ways of life are cultivated by an intuitive understanding of environmental surroundings in a form of intelligence that has almost been forgotten in contemporary times.
Have we run ahead so quickly that we’ve left something behind? Is there something innately beautiful about watching the endless strings of light burst through sprawling canopies as they bring the essence of life? Is there something profound about how leaves cradle crystal blue drops of dew as if each were an elixir for the future?
There is a dance we can see when we wander back into the forest. We immerse ourselves among the seeds that allowed us to thrive; and we begin to hear whispers of the wind as they bring the reminiscence of a long forgotten story.
When our own indigenous wisdom is stimulated, the giant inside is stirred to awaken. Our hearts begin to rattle their cages and our eyes shine with a nostalgic luster that longs to reunite. Once the giant inside fully awakens, we become aware that a more peaceful and just world is something that inherently exists within each of us.
And with these fresh eyes we see that consciousness comes not from the master of matter but from the creative genius who is merely the catalytic thrust for nature’s own self-expression. Through us, nature expresses itself!
Among this path of consciousness, the identity of individuals is galvanized upon the essence of their freedom and self-determination. Denial of free will is adverse to the continuing evolution of the human species. When one is oppressed, one cannot adapt. When one is marginalized, one is not empowered.
The right to human dignity is universal and should not be discredited because a cultural model does not conform to an economic paradigm. Holistic models of human capability integrate physical and spiritual worldviews in a way that transcends the barriers between the two. Globalization under the auspices of individual self-interest has run out of room on a finite planet and so we are turning to the wisdom within.
This wisdom knows that compassion, shared dignity and collaborative conscientiousness are the traits that are necessary to cultivate on behalf of our collective humanity. No longer can greed win against justice and no longer can something profitable to one take precedence over something profitable to all humanity.
The great surge forward in human development will continue once the immeasurable value of human compassion is met with the courageous embrace of our wild spirits. Indigenous wisdom is kindled within the corridors of our own creative genius, which itself is deeply interwoven with natural elements.
Perhaps humanity is on the edge of a visionary revolution. Temporarily, we have become lost; but we have noticed the stars shimmering above; and we realize that we’ve been missing something — something that indigenous peoples have been aware of all along.
As we tilt our heads towards the skies, the indigenous wisdom within recognizes there is something that nature is trying to say. We hear the wind rustling through the trees, bringing with it, the profound secrets of a forgotten past. And finally, as we feel the thumping of our hearts, we begin to understand that it is beating with the rhythm of the world swirling through us.
This wisdom finds its way back within us when we experience the extraordinary miracles that the indigenous way of life has never forgotten.