I can tell you the true story a Hopi healer told me. He spent seven days preparing for a ceremony. He fasted, dried certain grasses and prepared certain potions. He made a special altar and really worked strenuously for seven days to have everything perfect.

On the morning of the seventh day, he went out at sunrise and began his chanting and singing and prayers and doing all these actions — and he went on and on for hours.

But he could not feel his connection with the Creator! He had done all this work to please the Creator and to call upon Him and all the Spirits, yet he felt nothing. But he kept up with the ceremony for many hours more, and yet he still could not feel that connection, that presence of the spirits.

It was getting dark now, but he kept going, doing his ceremony over and over with great fervor — but nothing.

Finally, it was late at night. The whole thing had been a dismal failure. He felt like a failure as a healer. He put away his ceremonials and went to a tree in the forest. He sat down with his back against the tree in the moonlight and he wept bitterly for a long time.

Then he just cried out, “Why didn’t you listen to me?”

And he heard a voice say, “You were so full of yourself and your ceremony, there was no room for me to enter! Here by this tree you are doing the most beautiful ceremony — and here I am!”

That is what I wish to teach you about ceremony. Ceremony is what you are doing in your heart. Any rituals or step-by-step instructions for this moon or that feast day or the other holiday are just for show, not for Creator. The best ceremony is the one you make in your heart.

Aho!

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