I have been talking about the connection I felt with the whole class ever since we were up on pine ridge. This connection is completely organic and positive in nature. I have felt that the emotions everybody is feeling has an effect on my own and that we all have the capability to heal one another. My feeling on the reservation that there is a single collective emotion we all shared though physical spiritual exercises.

My feelings that this omni-emotion was always positive though was limited to the reservation. Once we returned to class I felt that we lost the positive energy we had gained through the ceremonies. I had the vibe that much of the class had this feeling but maybe it was simply my experience, I quickly spiraled into negativity in the classroom noticing only the bits that annoyed me. We were constantly talking about the bad things our society has done and how nobody had learned about it. Everybody went around the room at one point explaining how their high school had systematically ignored indigenous peoples. Yes, we have done many bad things but repeating it does not atone for our crimes against their culture. I felt as though the whole week was spent judging the way the media looked at Lakota, and how christian church screwed over the Native people. The negative attitude we brought to the classroom was not productive when compared with the energy we felt in ceremony. I feel as though we somehow overlooked the fact that our classroom selves were being negative, passing it off as normal and only looked at how the ceremony brought us all together and made the atmosphere one of healing.

Our final pipe ceremony returned us to an overall positive energy. The aura of goodness seemed to flow from everybody. My question is what makes the ceremony elicit such a beneficial response? Why can’t our natural state be as healthy as the state we seek through ceremony? While there is a certain inherent emotional separation between ritual and day to day life — the profane and the spiritual, much of the difference between positivity and negativity I believe stem from intention. People clearly try to clear their minds of ill thoughts before ceremony as they should as not to offend the spirits or cause pain to somebody though the spirits. But what if people brought this intention to every day and every interaction? This is my goal after leaving this class: I no longer want to get bogged down in negativity, no longer want to feel disconnections between me and other people because I fail to see the side that is filled with love, I want to approach every choice as an opportunity and every person as my family member. I want to thank everybody in the class for helping me realize that we are all part of the same larger experience and all effect one another.

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