We created a scrap-book of stories and themes that united spiritual coincidence stories among themes and within the context of Lakota spirituality. The stories we received from friends, family, and classmates guided our creation. In sharing our stories we can find a community. We can come together to believe in a bigger picture. Below are examples of two of our six theme pages that unite the seemingly very different stories.
Lakota Spirituality vs. Spiritual Coincidence
The visit to Pine Ridge exposed us to a culture with a strong connection to and appreciation for the land that has been given to us. The Lakota have always believed that we should live with the land instead of on it. They have a unique relationship with the land and understand the connection of all living things. On the contrary, people in the Western world tend to overlook the beauty in the simple things that happen around us. We do not have the same respect for the land and the web of life because we overlook much of what the land has to offer. In this way, we do not appreciate it in the same way the Lakota people do.
Through our experiences in the Sweat Lodge and Yuwipi ceremony, we saw that the Lakota unquestioningly accept what is and do not find the need to explain every occurrence; they understand that some things simply are. Mike Senior, a Lakota spiritual healer, insists that everything we see is real, and any interpretation beyond that is superfluous. It is challenging to fathom the idea of embracing the spirits and events we experienced, when we have grown up in primarily analytic settings.
This all ties in to the idea of spiritual coincidence in Western culture. To the Lakota, the word coincidence is not utilized because things are accepted as they come. They focus on the meaning of their experiences, rather than attempting to explain whysomething occurred. Alternatively, in our culture, we speak the word coincidence with an air of skepticism surrounding it. We see events as happening sequentially and logically. When something happens that is outside of this sequence and our understanding, it brings up bigger questions of life. We struggle to allow the unknown to remain unknown, and demand reasons behind everything, including spiritual happenings. The Lakota emphasis on spirituality has provided an alternative way to loosen our grip on learned knowledge and open our hearts to ancient wisdom. This ancient wisdom allows for spiritual coincidences to guide us along our journey and connect us to all aspects of life.
We found through the process of gathering stories, creating this book, and sharing the work with our class, that these little “coincidences” can happen to us all. Magic comes to you when you begin to pay attention to it. Our conclusion page above brings the stories to an end by reminding the reader to be receptive to every day happenings.
-Lucy Gamble, Lauren Schneider, and Emily Naranjo