Pine Ridge Reflection: Sweat Lodge

When I heard that we were gonna be doing a sweat lodge for the first night, I laughed inside. I had previously searched for places in Colorado Springs area that had saunas and found this a funny coincidence. When we got into the sweat lodge and Mike junior started to talk, I started to feel nervous. I had thoughts of pain and suffering. I put these feelings aside for the time being and listened to what Mike had to say. We closed the door and the experience began.

At first, the steam was not bad. I got into my usual meditative position: crossed legged, fingertips connected in a circle to in front of me, eyes closed and good posture. I began to breathe and to let whatever was to happen occur. However, I felt something different; wrong if you will. My breathing became labored and taxing on my body. Every breath felt like it was going to be my last.

Up until this point in my life, I had never really come close to death in anyway. I did have loved ones around me who had passed away, but never anything this close. During the sweat, I felt death. I imagined that I would welcome death like an old friend; with a hug and a warm welcome. However, I had no such feelings. I began to panic. I realized that I was being shoved into the dark world where I realize that I take so much for granted. I was in a place where something as small as breathing before was a God-send now. I realized that the hurt that I had felt with my recent breakup, among other things, was nothing compared to the feeling of near death. I realized that maybe the thing that I was really choking and panicking on was my overburdening sadness and heartache and the fact that I felt that life had no meaning anymore. I realized that I needed to find meaning in something other than hurt.

Most would say that it would be normal to not want to do more sweats after I left so panicked after the last spiritual Door. However, my blood pumped and my heart raced every time someone said we were doing a sweat again.

The thing that I learned to look through was the mist of complications and problems in my life and see the beautiful mysterious path I was missing. And this time I find that life is saying to me:

“Welcome back, old friend. You have changed for the  better.”



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