A Meeting Of The Hearts:
The Dalai Lama And The Thirteen Grandmothers
A number of indigenous cultures have foretold a time when
humanity, our future, and the earth itself were at stake--due to
human folly. In a typical fairy tale, folk legend, and in our hopes
and dreams, at such a time "a hero" would come forth to save us.
But suppose the hero wasn't a knight in shining armor, or all-seeing
officers at an omnipotent military command central--no, suppose that
the hero, or heroes, came from every corner of the earth, spoke
eight languages and represented thirteen different traditions.
Some traditions portray them as thirteen grandmothers, indigenous
healers, called forth by dreams and prophecy to join together in
prayer for the earth and its people.
There is in fact a counsel of thirteen elder wise women-- called the
Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. They have circled the globe,
meeting with the Dalai Lama, leading healing ceremonies and prayer
circles in India, Nepal, the Amazon, Alaska, Mexico, and Nicaragua.
Last week they came to New York City. On Friday night, the film,
For the Next Seven Generations in which filmmaker Carole Hart
documents their extraordinary work, made its New York debut at the
Urban Zen Center, the welcoming downtown gathering place,
founded by Donna Karan. Over the weekend, the
Jivamukti Yoga Center hosted the grandmothers in two evenings of
prayer and healing.
In welcoming the grandmothers to Urban Zen, Donna Karan revealed
that, "To be able to celebrate this film and be with the
Grandmothers is a dream come true for me. Urban Zen nurtures the
wisdom of the past (in wisdom and indigenous traditions), the
present (in health and wellbeing), and the future (through
empowering our children). The Grandmothers remind us to celebrate
the spirit of Mother Earth."
I spoke with a number of the Grandmothers.
"We're in a time of many alarming events and life crises that
involve the basic elements of life: water, earth, sun (fire), and
earth--the foundations of life are our concern," Mona Polacca, a
Hopi and Havasupai healer and counselor from Arizona told me.
"We're being a voice for the voiceless," said Agnes Baker Pilgrim, a
Rouge River Indian elder from Oregon. "Mother Earth is calling us
back. We're covering her face with concrete. We're polluting her
waters with garbage. Enough is enough. When the trees and water are
gone, how can the world banks manufacture money?"
There is one enemy: greed, they agreed.
"We pray for peace for all people," Said Julieta Casimiro, a Mazatec
elder from Oaxaca, Mexico.
Clara Shinobu Iura, who runs a healing center in the heart of the
Amazon where she uses herbs to heal, points the way to peace. To
create it, we first must create it within ourselves, she says.
"It's very important for us to hear our own soul. You have to open
the door to your own heart." she said. "Our time in this planet is
so short. It's important for us to clean ourselves."
"Together, the grandmothers have almost nine hundred years of
experience," said Flordemayo a Mayan healer from Nicaragua, "We are
thirteen voices strong to remind humanity that we must unite to move
into this new millennium. We're in the process of birthing a new way
of being, a new way for all of us to be gentle with each other. We
should connect our hearts and become one."
In their meeting in Dharamsala with the Dalai Lama, portrayed in
the film, the Dalai Lama warmly greeted the Grandmothers and
affirmed their goal, "The mother is the first real teacher of
compassion. In creating a compassionate society, the mother is
crucial. You are sharing the wisdom of that experience," he told the
And then His Holiness smiled and said, "If were not a monk, I would
be a Grandfather."
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